Wandrd Travel Bags Review

With the requirement for a lot of photographers and content creators to be available to travel last minute, with minimal warning, it’s no surprise to see bag and accessory manufacturers homing in on designing products to take the stress away from this situation.

Wandrd, with their already popular PRVKE backpacks, are the latest to extend their range into the TRANSIT travel line, a series of bags and accessories feature packed for the photographer or tech enthusiast on the go, that all combine and work together to form a travel system dedicated to transit.

The idea of modular packing is not a new one, with the introduction of packing cubes allowing photography equipment to be stored in removable pouches that can effectively be ‘dragged and dropped’ in and out of the wider carrying system as required. This again plays into the hands of creators on the move often, who desire a compact, neat, and organised way of storing and carrying, for whatever the next job will entail.

Wandrd were kind enough to lend a Transit Carry-On Roller, and a Tote backpack for a weekend away to South Wales recently, to really be able to put the bags through their paces.

Wandrd Transit Carry On Roller Bag

Deisgned to fit perfectly in overhead luggage compartments (although some budget airlines will still try to charge extra for anything bigger than a pencil case), the Wandrd Carry On Roller bag is the perfect size for long weekend trips away, whether just for leisure, or for a day or twos shooting away from home.

Roller bagFeaturing plenty of internal organisation, up to 40L, there is more than enough room to carry a simple photography or videography rig, as well as your weekend working attire.

The bag features a hard-shell back for sturdiness and longevity, and a rugged, high end, water resistant but sleek looking front, that maintains that premium feel we all now come to expect from Wandrd.

The front of the bag features zips on either side, that allow access to slimline pockets, perfect for easy access to a book, magazine or newspaper, as well as any travel documents such as visas and passports.

Behind which, there is an oversized laptop sleeve designed to comfortably carry your device of choice, as well as associated cables and portable, external storage. This can even fit a compact travel tripod inside.

The clamshell access opens up to the main portion of the bag, via a pair of triangular, twist to lock zips, secure enough to deter any chancers on trains or in the city, who may be tempted to gain unauthorised access. Within this main section is the integrated AirTag pocket, that allows integration to track your luggage from your phone. This has already proven useful on numerous occasions with tracking down of lost or stolen equipment.

The open door of this bag houses yet more zipped pockets, perfect for t-shirts and flat clothing.

The bulk of the storage within the roller bag is fully compatible with Wandrd's line of packable pouches. The Essential Plus Camera Cube is designed to fit perfectly in the bottom of the bag, exactly where the slight protrusion of the (very durable, crushproof) wheels, cuts into the bottom corners of the bag, keeping it firm and snug. With this in place, the large packing cube fills the rest of the space. For the times where your camera isn’t required on a trip away, the raft of other packing accessories, such as the tech or toiletry bag, can all be interchanged in a Tetris like manner, to tailor the bag and its contents to your specific needs. The best thing about the modular design to modern day travel systems is the removable camera cube, that keeps all your gear safe and sound, still ready at a moment's notice, without the need to completely unpack, and store in cupboards, shelves, wardrobes etc. (Pro Tip – It’s always worth popping some Silca Gels in, just in case.)

Once your bag is all packed, two magnetic compression straps close and tighten to keep everything firmly in place for the duration of the transit.

The 4 grab handles around each side of the bag mean that no matter the angle or awkwardness of the carry, there is always a firm place to grip, alongside, the two stage pull handle for wheeling along the case.

Specifically for photographers, the Wandrd Essential Camera Cube comes in 3 sizes;

  • Wandrd Essential – Fits PRVKE 21
  • Wandrd Essential Plus – Fits PRVKE 31 (Included in the Roller bag Bundle Pack)
  • Wandrd Essential Deep – Fits PRVKE 41

The essential plus has a 9.5L capacity and can carry a mirrorless camera body, with a lens attached, plus one to three extra lenses depending on size.

My user experience of this bag for myself and my partner's weekend away meant that we could both pack everything we needed, with plenty of space to spare, not getting anywhere near to requiring use of anything but the main compartment. I would confidently say that a long weekend with a landscape/portrait photo kit, would be easily managed by using the roller bag, or, travel backpack, which is essentially the same, without the wheels.

Being a tad over 6 feet in height, I always find small cases a struggle to use when wheeling along behind me, long legs and short handles mean I consistently end up kicking the case while walking. I’m pleased to say with the size of the wheels and the handle length, this wasn’t an issue with the roller bag, and my heels stayed completely unscathed.

Asking around friends and family what their initial thoughts were of the bag, the most common feedback was its look, it really does stand out against the myriad of completely hard-shell cases on the market, with the durable soft front of the shell being the main talking point. There was talk about spraying it (and me) with a hosepipe to test its waterproofness, thankfully however, we didn’t quite reach that stage.

With Wandrds lifetime warranty, the other aspect that stood out was the ease in which parts could be replaced, the wheels being the most fragile on any case I’ve used in the past, when these do eventually give up the go, they’re easily accessible and not hidden away inside, requiring a removal of most of the bags innards to undo a screw or two, this shows Wandrd really have thought about how to better improve the lifespan of their products. (Warranty covers anything outside of normal wear and tear, and accidental damage).

Overall the roller bag really impressed on this trip away, I am currently in the market for a new case for holidays this year, and must admit, this is the favourite going forward for myself.

Wandrd Tote Backpack

The Wandrd Tote Backpack became my daily carry for the week that I had it on loan, carrying my laptop and lunch back and from home. The bag is aimed specifically for this use, as it packs down so small, it’s easily stowable in the range of larger bags and cases that Wandrd make, to be your daily carry when at your destination.

The bag enacts in two ways, a traditional tote, and when folded out, a roll-top backpack.

  • Tote as shoulder bag
  • Tote as backpack

When in tote mode, and the roll top folded into the bag, it helps to reinforce the walls, giving added protection, while in backpack mode, the roll top allows for an expanded carry capacity.

It features a self-standing design, where even empty, the bag will stand of its own accord, really handy when packing, but also if like myself, it sits under a desk for the majority of the day.

A luggage pass-through loop on the rear allows this to sit atop the roller bag with the handle passing through this loop, adding that bit of extra security and stability when wheeling around an airport.

Dual water pocket holders on either side, give plenty of space for bottles of medium size, enough to keep you hydrated through a day's shooting or shopping.

Padded straps help with the comfort of carry, whether in tote or backpack mode, and this was the most impressive part of the bag. We walked a fair way into town to pick up some lunch, and it barely felt as though the bag was there, although the straps seem fairly thin on the offset, the bag is so light the straps don’t dig in at all, a really comfortable experience in use.

Tote backpackThe Tote Backpack, as all Wandrd bags do, reels in a premium experience, the durable nature of the products gives confidence in the equipment, to be long-lasting and continually deliver this capability. Paired with the Roller Bag, it makes a perfect weekend get away combination.

Who is Wandrd for?

As with all products, this won’t cater for every single use case scenario, those with longer telephoto lenses and wildlife photographers, birders with scopes etc, likely won’t be drawn to Wandrd as a consideration when looking for a way to transport their gear. The overriding draw of these bags is for someone who regularly travels for short trips away, with or without a photographic set up, or, the ability to chop and change between needs. Sales reps with new product launches, wedding shooters travelling for a night away, small events photographers will love the space on offer, and either with the roller, or the travel backpack, have a one bag system that caters for all needs. Add in a ROGUE sling for the event itself, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic eco system to buy into.

Would I recommend?

Absolutely! Although none of the above use case scenarios is myself, I can certainly see a use for the roller bag as an airline carry on when taking short breaks abroad. A long weekend in Nice, with only a few clothes and a nice travel photography rig, plays into the roller bags strengths like nothing else. I really rate the modularity of packing cubes from Wandrd and other manufacturers, as being the way forward for a one bag to do all set up, not only reducing the storage space needed at home, but also helping the environment by having products that serve multiple purposes. To make this even better for myself, as an avid air show visitor with telephoto lenses, if there was a packing cube big enough to take something of a 600mm f4 size in the roller bag, to be able to wheel this along the tarmac, rather than take the weight in a backpack, would be a gift my back and knees would so desperately crave after 6 days of an AirTattoo.

That being said, with the latest release from Sigma in the 500mm f5.6 lens, being a smidge bigger than Sony’s 70-200mm GM2, the days of the big, heavy telephotos, may well be limited.

Convinced yet?

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  • By Aled Phillips
  • 4 Jun 2024

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