Wandrd Prvke 21 review

The Wandrd Prvke 21 camera backpack lets you go anywhere, take everything

Moore’s law loosely states the number of transistors in a semiconductor will double every two years. If the camera bag industry has an analog, it is simply this: The number of camera bags you own will double every two years. Just as computer chips are never fast enough, a camera bag is never good enough, and thus we keep buying more. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Wandrd Prvke (pronounced “provoke,” and stylized as WANDRD PRVKE) promises to be the exception to this rule, by offering photographers a bag that seemingly achieves the long sought-after trifecta of functionality, durability, and style — oh yes, so much style. We’ve had our hands (and backs) on the new 21-liter version of this bag for a few weeks, and while we can’t definitely conclude you won’t want to buy another bag in a year or two, we can say it delivers on its promise.

Durable design, exquisite appearance

Can we just be honest for a second? We like things that look good, and if given the choice between two equally capable products — one that looks awesome and one looks boring — we’ll take the awesome-looking one every time. The biggest development in camera bags over the past decade is simply that they don’t look like junk anymore. We’ve seen it with the Peak Design Everyday Backpack, but Wandrd may have taken the cake. The Prvke 21 is gorgeous, with the right combination of high-class elegance and utilitarian ruggedness — like a runway model in hiking boots.

Our review sample arrived in the Aegean Blue finish, a subtle gray-blue that’s sure to complement just about any outfit. The bag is also available in Wasatch Green and plain-old black. The exterior is made of weather resistant tarpaulin and ballistic nylon, and even the zippers are designed to keep out the rain. For more extreme conditions, a separate rainfly is available. Even without the rainfly, the bag had no trouble keeping our gear dry in a light drizzle, but the uncharacteristically dry Pacific Northwest winter during our review period, prevented us from truly testing the weather resistance of this pack. We’re not complaining, mind you.

It has the right combination of elegance and ruggedness — like a runway model in hiking boots.

We’ll get to the camera-specific features shortly, but one of our favorite aspects of the Prvke 21 is that it is a go anywhere, take anything bag. The expandable roll top (which is secured both by velcro and an oversized, eminently tactile metal latch) increases capacity up to 25 liters and offers space for a change of clothes or two. For weekend getaways, this is literally the only bag you’d need.

Beyond good looks and functional design, the Prvke 21 is also quite comfortable. The wide shoulder straps hold the pack snuggly to your back, and the removable, padded waste belt provides extra security and support when you need it. Two topside grab handles are cleverly designed to snap together via magnets, which offers a comfortable way to carry the bag handheld, as well. We would have appreciated an additional side grab handle, which would keep anything attached via the bottom accessory straps off the ground when carrying the bag by hand.

All about your gear

While the Prvke 21 is available in a base model sans camera compartment, it is designed from the ground-up to be a photography bag. The removable Camera Cube fits perfectly into the bottom of the main compartment and is secured by velcro straps. Gear can be accessed either from the rear or from a side door, combining security and accessibility.

Wandrd Prvke 21 review
Daven Mathies/Digital Trends
Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

This being the smaller Prvke (a 31-liter version is also available), it doesn’t hold a ton of gear, but we easily fit an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and three M. Zuiko F1.2 Pro series lenses. DSLR users should have room for a body and at least two lenses, and the Camera Cube is long enough to house up to a 70-200mm zoom.

The back panel holds padded sleeves for both a 15-inch laptop and a tablet and opens to lay flat, making it TSA compliant for your next journey through airport security. Optionally, two straps can attach the panel to the bag to hold it open at a right angle.

For weekend getaways, this is literally the only bag you’d need.

Additionally, the Prvke 21 has all kinds of little pockets for smaller accessories. The side access door has a zippered flap on its inside that hides three small pouches perfect for batteries or memory cards. A small, fleece-lined pocket nestled at the base of the roll top is built specifically for a smartphone. There’s a passport holder on the back panel that holds your important papers safely against the small of your back, while keeping them relatively accessible. An expandable open-top pocket on one side of the bag can house a water bottle or help support a tripod if you’ve attached one using the built-in strap above it. At this very moment, we even just discovered another zippered pocket, this one hidden on the back left side of the bag, which holds a key hook and looks to be a good place for stowing lens caps or perhaps a small snack. (Please pay no attention to our product photo, which erroneously shows a car key in the passport holder. D’oh!)

Wandrd Prvke 21 review
Daven Mathies/Digital Trends
Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

We did have two issues with the Privke as a camera bag, but both are minor. Occasionally, the weather-sealed zippers would get caught up on their own material, making it a bit difficult to close the side door after taking our camera out. Additionally, the Camera Cube has its own zipper and an extra, free-floating foam panel beneath it, which looks like it would get in the way whenever you need to access your camera gear from the back. As Wandrd demonstrates, however, that foam panel is really only meant to be used when you remove the camera cube to use it on its own or stash it in another bag. Here, it can actually be inserted into the cover, where it stays nice and snug. When using the cube inside the backpack, you can simply leave the panel out — the laptop and tablet sleeves are designed to provide plenty of cushion to the camera compartment when the bag is closed.

Conclusion

The Wandrd Prvke 21 is possibly the most well-rounded camera backpack we have tested (the Peak Design Everyday Backpack comes very close, and picking a winner would largely be a matter of opinion). It offers an intelligent combination of capacity, durability, comfort, and style that has eluded camera bag manufacturers for so long.

Of course, all of that good stuff does come at a price. While the base model bag comes in at an approachable $184, the Camera Cube, waste strap, rainfly, and accessory straps are all extra. Opting for the Photography Bundle (as tested) nets you all of those accessories for a total price of $264, a savings of $14 off the à la carte price. While not cheap, that is in line with competing bags, like the aforementioned Everyday Backpack ($260). As always, choosing a bag comes down to individual taste, but we have no reason not to recommend the Wandrd Prvke 21, even if we do struggle to pronounce its name.

Updated January 3, 2018 to clarify the use of the foam panel in the camera cube.

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