Battle-hardened shooters looking to carry a “run and gun” camera setup into the wilds should consider the Reload from Dakine. It gives easy and secure access to larger cameras plus all the accessories you need on a shoot.
I tested it on a shoot this fall while mountain biking in Oregon (see the video below) loaded with 30+ pounds of gear.
This included my Red Dragon camera, three prime lenses, a Canon 5D, card cases, tripod, batteries, and a shoulder mount. Here is my review of the pack.
Camera Backpack For Outdoors
To get this full kit into the backcountry at Syncline in Hood River, Ore., I needed a bigger than normal pack. The Reload ($250) delivered with 30 liters of capacity, a padded organizational main body, and expandable pockets.
Dakine is a stalwart pack-maker, and I have long loved the brand for its skate and snowboarding influenced designs. This was the first photo pack I have reviewed from the company.
Overall, the Reload delivered as a gear hauler. It was comfortable on the bike as I pedaled more than 4 miles with my gear. Then, while shooting, it was easy to access a needed lens, card, or tripod as the shoot unfolded.
(Side note: We used a drone on this shoot, too, though it was hauled by an assistant in a hard-side Pelican pack.)
On the Dakine, a molded back panel and padded shoulder straps added comfort. It has sternum and hip belts to distribute the weight, and on the hips are little “holster” pockets for quick access to small items.
It’s not waterproof. But the bag has a deployable rain cover made to keep your gear dry in a downpour.
Review: Dakine Photo Pack
As a bonus, the pack fits neatly into an overhead airplane compartment at about 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
The pack has high quality YKK zippers. The fabric is not specified by the brand but is a nylon that feels smooth and sort of “plastic-y.” It isn’t waterproof, and neither are the zippers. That’s one upgrade that I’d like to see, although it would probably add a lot to the price.
For now, we’ll get by with the rain cover.
A caveat for travel: There is a camera icon on the back of this pack. I don’t like that as it seems to scream “steal me” in some scenarios.
In the end, I liked the Reload and will keep it in my office for shoots where I need to tote in a lot of gear, and do it possibly on a bike, board, or hiking fast. At $160 online, this is a fairly affordable large camera bag. I’ve had it a short time, so can’t speak to long-term durability. So far, so good.
The Reload has all the bells and whistles of a pro-level bag you need, takes a tripod, and, as a bonus, even has straps to carry a snowboard on back when you’re heading for an alpine shoot.
More Info/Buy Now ($160)
Dakine Reload Specs
- Vertical board carry straps
- Photo specific main compartment
- Padded laptop sleeve
- Fits most 17″ laptops
- Tripod carry
- Multiple internal pockets
- Deployable rain cover
- Padded waist belt
- Adjustable sternum strap
- Compression molded back panel
- Water Bottle pocket
–Joshua Van Patter is based in Oregon. See his work at joshuavp.com.