Wotancraft Commander Digicam Backpack Assessment: New Metropolis Explorer
I’ve examined a number of Wotancraft luggage through the years however by no means had the chance to check the Commander backpack.
Thankfully, the model has up to date quite a few its luggage, and that is considered one of them.
Now that v3 of the Wotancraft Commander Digicam Backpack – named the “New Metropolis Explorer” – has been launched, I had the possibility to take it out for a spin.
Wotancraft calls it a journey bag, however at 21 litres, the Commander is ideal as a digital camera backpack that’s suited to each journey and on a regular basis use.
Among the objects proven on this evaluate are elective extras, so I’ll attempt to level them out the place attainable.
Others are supplied as a part of a Christmas 2022 provide, so it’s value noting these is probably not accessible if you buy them later.
Wotancraft Commander v3 Specs
- Class-leading high quality and supplies
- Distinctive styling
- Flexibility of modular configuration
- No baggage pass-through
- The value received’t go well with everybody’s finances
- Exterior: 30 x 50 x 17 cm (W x H x D)
- Inside: 27 x 45 x 15 cm (W x H x D)
- Aspect Entry Doorways: 10 x 20 cm (W x H)
- Prime Lid Zipper Pocket 23 x 14 cm (W x H)
- Aspect Door Zipper Pockets 12 x 14 x 4 cm (W x H x D)
- Aspect Zipper Pockets 13 x 14 cm (W x H)
- Entrance Zipper Pocket 25 x 18 cm (W x H)
- Laptop computer Compartment 25 x 43 cm (W x H)
- Weight ± 2.35 kgs
- Capability: 21 litre
Construct & Look
The Wotancraft Commander model may be very Wotancrafty: the model has a singular model.
For many who don’t know what this implies, Wotancraft prides itself on WW2 aesthetics delivered with trendy development. I like their model.
The bag I obtained from Wotancraft was black with black leather-based accents; nevertheless, the bag is available in each black and olive inexperienced alternate options, and the inexperienced comes with brown accents.
The black will go well with these with extra conventional tastes. Neither will go well with the manager boardroom like a leather-based briefcase, however they received’t be noticeably misplaced in a company work setting both.
One of many issues I like about Wotancraft is that they’ve discovered methods to innovate whereas staying true to their styling.
They’ve discovered methods to make their leather-based accents sensible and purposeful whereas sustaining the model one has accustomed to. You’ll discover this throughout a number of areas of the bag.
Given the aesthetics, it’s simple for individuals to mistake the bag for simply one other classic navy bag, however as is predicted with a $700 price ticket, the development is class-leading.
To totally respect Wotancraft’s development, you should look carefully into how a lot element goes into the bag.
The supplies utilized by Wotancraft are premium. Wotancraft makes use of a mix of CORDURA 500D and distressed cow leather-based and claims that after promoting 10,000 luggage, they’ve solely ever needed to restore three.
Having used and abused my earlier Wotancraft luggage, I can vouch for his or her sturdiness. (See all our different Wotancraft bag opinions.)
I’ve overloaded my Wotancraft Nomad a number of instances to the purpose the place I wasn’t positive if the stitching or materials would give means, and thus far, it’s come out unscathed regardless of a number of lengthy highway journeys with nicely over 15 kgs of drugs.
So far as fittings go, like the fabric, the fittings are top-notch. Zippers are YKK, whereas the standard of buckles and clips is equally excessive. The snap fasteners with raised leather-based loops are additionally a pleasant contact.
Because of the supplies used, waterproofing is as anticipated with the usage of CORDURA 500D and waterproof YKK zippers. Wotancraft claims to have examined their luggage for over an hour within the rain with no water reaching the inside, and I’ll take their phrase for it.
If I used to be planning on staying out for days within the rain, a rain cowl is perhaps an extra possibility I’d think about, however for on a regular basis use the place rain is unlikely to be ongoing, the usual setup will work high-quality.
There’s no scarcity of options on the bag’s exterior. Because of this, this part shall be prolonged.
Wotancraft has included a tripod cowl to make carrying your tripod simpler. It is a light-weight tripod cowl you slide your tripod legs into versus the straps and small pockets on most luggage.
At first look, it appears counter-intuitive, however it works nicely. It’s simple to get the tripod out whenever you want it, although it solely fits smaller travel-style tripods just like the Gitzo 0 or 1 sequence.
I’ve two Gitzo tripods, the 1545 and the 0245, each of which match. They’re tight, although, and the bag received’t match bigger fashions.
I believe that is by design, as carrying massive and heavy tripods in your digital camera bag isn’t one thing most individuals wish to do for an prolonged interval.
Nonetheless, if in case you have a big tripod, you could possibly use the straps from the tripod pouch or the leather-based buckles, which might work simply as nicely.
As with most luggage, this one has a high carry deal with. It’s delicate however sturdy and never dissimilar to different Wotancraft luggage I’ve tried.
The exterior storage on the Commander is substantial, with a number of pockets and attachment factors on the bag.
On the entrance of the bag, you’ll discover a big pocket. For people who wish to carry a water bottle with out an attachment clip, that is the spot that appears most suited to it.
The use isn’t confined to a water bottle – it’s a multiple-purpose pocket that comfortably suits outsized objects like an AD200 strobe.
Whereas it has a canopy with a thumb snap, it has no zipper, so I wouldn’t advocate smaller objects that will fall out.
There’s a mid-sized (23 x 14cm) zipper pocket on the highest of the bag that may match a big Speedlight with room to spare. (That’s used as context for measurement and never essentially what I’d retailer there, because it appears extra suited to lighter objects.)
On the highest of the bag, there are two small pockets on the entrance edge and the rear edge on both aspect. The highest entrance ones are related, offering a single pocket (25 x 18cm) with entry from both aspect. The rear pocket is smaller (13 x 14cm), about passport sized.
On the aspect, you’ll additionally discover metallic loops for fixing objects (like a water bottle) together with two further (12 x 14 x 4cm) storage pockets that camouflage the aspect entry factors to your decrease digital camera compartment.
These pockets are massive sufficient to suit laptop computer chargers or equipment if required.
Lastly, on the decrease part of the entrance, you’ll discover straps which can be suited to carrying bedding (or a tripod), as talked about above. If you happen to use this, you might be restricted from utilizing the entrance pocket for water, however I don’t assume it’s a serious limitation.
So far as shortfalls go, that is all the time subjective and relies on what is crucial to the person. Noticeably lacking for me personally is a baggage pass-through which I like when travelling.
Some nations don’t have trolley entry, and the distances travelled in trendy airports might be substantial. A closely laden digital camera bag can get slightly onerous on the shoulders transferring by way of airports, so the flexibility to lighten the load is efficacious.
You could possibly use the decrease entrance straps, however it appears extra of a workaround than a design. Most baggage pass-throughs are central, whereas these are within the decrease half of the bag.
Inside options will rely on whether or not you purchase some add-ons, as this can be a modular design. I’ll cowl the baseline bag as a place to begin after which take a look at the add-ons.
Beginning with the bag, it’s nonetheless moderately complete, even within the baseline format. It will in all probability suffice in the event you’re solely carrying a single digital camera and one or two further lenses.
The decrease digital camera compartment is a digital camera compartment with a aspect entry accessible from both aspect of the bag. Wotancraft mixed the highest and backside compartments with a velcro divider. This offers slightly extra flexibility with storage.
The door entry is by way of YKK zippers and delicate velcro. This permits flexibility with the varied modules on provide as a way to connect a module to every door. The standard of the dividers is as anticipated in a premium bag.
Within the high part, you may have a big hole much like a small 1-camera/3-lens digital camera bag. Additionally, you will discover a laptop computer compartment.
If you happen to aren’t utilizing the elective moveable digital camera insert, it leaves you with a good quantity of room for headphones or perhaps a 12.9″ iPad and keyboard.
The elective moveable digital camera insert retails for US$75 and completes the package deal so far as I’m involved.
It’s a small 1-camera/3-lens bag designed to work with the bag or as a stand-alone unit, and Wotancraft offers a shoulder strap to permit for this.
My greatest frustration with travelling is taking a big bag to a vacation spot and never having a smaller bag for after I wish to exit with much less gear. I may have six lenses on a visit, however I don’t want six lenses each time I am going out with my digital camera.
Protecting in line with the remainder of the bag, the 1-camera/3-lens bag additionally has a velcro roof for add-on modules, so in the event you hold batteries and/or reminiscence playing cards in a module, it’s simple to switch it from the primary bag to the moveable digital camera module.
As is the case with most issues on this bag, Wotancraft even included attachment loops on the aspect of the moveable digital camera module in case it’s good to connect one thing. It displays their method to creating all the pieces full as an alternative of delivering the naked minimal.
If in case you have any earlier velcro modules, it’s good to know they’re suitable. Those proven within the image had been from my Nomad, and they’re the identical choices used for the Commander.
These can be utilized contained in the aspect doorways for the decrease digital camera part, on the lid of the highest compartment, or within the elective moveable digital camera module.
If I used to be to nitpick, the divider system within the backside digital camera dice is slightly unusual, and I couldn’t discover a method to prepare lenses correctly with it.
I’d have included one thing much like conventional shoulder luggage. This may make it simpler for many who don’t have the highest dice to hold so you’ll be able to match a digital camera and two further lenses.
The Wotancraft Commander falls properly into the medium finish of the spectrum – a bag I may fortunately have used a few weeks in the past for a kitesurfing journey the place I used to be doing surf pictures, and my Nomad 15L was just a bit too small.
The distinction between 15L and 21L is extra important than many individuals realise. Simply seize three two-litre bottles and take into consideration including that storage room to a bag.
One factor I believe the Commander v3 has going for it regarding storage is the boxy form. Having 21L and having 21L of usable storage are two various things.
For example, a Speedlight or laptop computer is boxy, not curved. If it’s important to retailer lengthy and straight objects, having a field form helps.
By way of precise capability, the underside digital camera compartment will simply match a gripped mirrorless digital camera just like the A1 with a Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 or Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-f/5.6, with house to spare. It could in all probability additionally match a bigger DSLR.
With a gripped digital camera and 100-400mm, you could possibly nonetheless match an extra prime, however it could require slightly manipulation of the dividers.
For example, I may simply match the next:
- Sony a7RIII with Sony 100-400mm G Grasp (backside digital camera compartment)
- Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 (backside digital camera compartment)
- Sony a7III (not proven)with 24mm f/1.4 GM (high digital camera dice)
- Sigma 85mm f/1.4 (high digital camera dice)
- Sony 55mm f/1.8 (high digital camera dice)
- AD200 (entrance pocket)
- XPro Set off (aspect pocket)
- Filters (high pocket)
- Spare batteries (velcro)
- MacBook Professional 13 M2 (laptop computer sleeve)
- Laptop computer charger and mouse (aspect pocket)
- Water bottle (clipped onto the aspect)
- Tripod (or compact mild stand if I’m taking the AD200)
- Modifier (clipped onto the aspect)
Now, that may seem to be overkill, and it’s. That’s the utmost I may slot in relatively than what I’d take for a shoot.
For instance, if I’m going to a portrait shoot with my AD200, the 100-400mm wouldn’t be my choose; I’d take my 135mm, which is notably smaller, together with my 85mm, 55mm, 35mm and 24mm.
If I had been travelling, I wouldn’t take the Ad200 or modifier.
You might wish to load up heavy for journey after which use the elective digital camera insert for strolling round.
The above instance was a really photography-orientated carry. What about with out the digital camera dice, say on a regular basis journey to work on a day you’re planning to load up the bag?
For that, your content material might be barely totally different, and I’ll assume, for argument’s sake, that you just received’t be loading the underside dice with digital camera gear.
- MacBook Professional 13 M2 (laptop computer sleeve)
- iPad Professional 12.9 with keyboard and pencil (high compartment)
- Footwear (within the backside digital camera dice, ideally wrapped, so that you don’t soiled the bag inside)
- Sony WH-1000XM4 Wi-fi Noise Cancelling Headphones (high compartment)
- Fujifilm X100V (high compartment)
- Jumper (high compartment)
- Waterbottle (entrance pouch)
- Mouse, adapter and charger (aspect pouch)
This instance could be a fairly light-weight carry, not packed to capability, and one thing that wouldn’t break the shoulders.
Clearly, with the modular design, flexibility is the important thing, and with the flexibility to mix storage over separate compartments, you could possibly go so far as becoming a 400mm f/2.8.
Ease of Use/Consolation
As one would count on for this value vary, the bag is comfy because of the high quality of fabric used, and Wotancraft has not skimped on their materials.
The bag may be very comfy on the again, even with heavier hundreds. If you happen to intend to load the bag to capability for prolonged intervals, I’d nonetheless advocate the elective waist strap, though brief journeys are high-quality with out it.
So far as ease of use goes, the Wotancraft Commander Backpack provides a great stability between model and performance.
The finger loops below the snap clips and tie-downs make it a lot simpler to make sure the bag is closed securely.
I believe the flexibleness of the elective modules helps with ease of use.
Together with velcro covers over a number of the velcro strips discovered on the elective digital camera insert makes eradicating the module simple.
I’d have favored a method to connect the lid of the digital camera insert to the lid of the bag, so it opens whenever you open the bag.
It’s not a important merchandise, nevertheless, as you’ll be able to simply fold the lid behind the insert within the bag.
My solely gripe was the decrease straps with buckles. The proximity of the leather-based loop to the buckle makes it slightly harder to buckle up and thread the leather-based strap by way of the loop, significantly if in case you have one thing in there.
I really feel prefer it wanted to be 1-2cm away from the buckle.
The listing of alternate options on this value vary is comparatively small. There are various on a regular basis cameras and journey luggage, however not many at this premium stage.
Peak Design provides each a journey and on a regular basis backpack, though the quantity of the Wotancraft is nearer to the On a regular basis (20L) than the Rravel (30L).
I don’t imagine the Peak Design luggage match the standard of the Wotancraft, however that’s not shocking at lower than half the value.
The Wandrd Prvke 21 v2 is one other good bag, however once more, it’s half the value. It’s my choose in the event you don’t have the finances for a Wotancraft Commander.
As with Peak Design, it doesn’t match the standard, however at half the value, that’s an unfair expectation. They’re focused at totally different markets.
In Wotancraft’s value vary, there’s solely the Compagnon Backpack and a few Ona Baggage.
I haven’t personally examined the Compagnon, however it appears nearer to a vogue bag (primarily based on the opinions) than one thing you could possibly load to capability with out considerations about it breaking.
The ONA Camps Bay and Monterey are comparable in value, fashionable, and able to getting used day by day. Each are good however nearer to vogue luggage, just like the Compagnon.
The Camps Bay would nonetheless provide some sturdiness with heavy-duty canvas.
As an older design, nevertheless, I don’t really feel just like the Camps Bay matches the Wotancraft in consolation. The usage of Canvas over Cordura additionally makes it heavier.
Worth for Cash
Let’s be trustworthy right here: at round US$600, the Wotancraft Commander Digicam Backpack isn’t successful many factors for affordability.
Nevertheless, not like another premium luggage on the market, the standard of Wotancraft’s luggage does match the pricing, with premium supplies, premium development, and distinctive designs.
If the fee doesn’t scare you, the elective modules are on high of the $600 price ticket, so you could possibly be in for near $700, relying on what you purchase. The baggage aren’t focused at each person.
Some might really feel that giving the Wotancraft a 7/10 on value/worth is extreme, so let me give some context: I’ll usually see photographers substitute their luggage each 3-5 years as they change into dated or present heavy put on.
These luggage perhaps half the value of the Wotancraft but additionally final half as lengthy – typically much less.
Wotancraft luggage, in the meantime, will final a minimum of ten years, put on nicely, and received’t look dated over time.
So, which bag is decrease worth for cash? A $300 bag that lasts 5 years or a $600 that final 10+ years?
It’s the same argument to low-cost vs costly tripods, and it’s one which I want extra customers would take into consideration after they buy luggage. The worth of a great bag is extra than simply the value.
Wotancraft Commander Backpack Assessment | Conclusion
Wotancraft has put collectively a complete providing with the third version of the Commander, and the maturity of the bag reveals. It’s a formidable design that may hold their buyer base blissful.
There’s little or no to complain about, as you’d count on with a 3rd version as a result of they’ve had two variations to get it proper.
And get it proper, they did.
Most individuals had been suitably impressed with the final model, so it stands to cause that this wouldn’t be a disappointment. The one disappointment shall be for many who can’t afford it.
While they continue to be purposeful, Wotancraft luggage are a murals. Their styling is exclusive and spectacular, while they’re constructed to outlast different luggage in the marketplace.
As somebody who opinions loads of luggage, Wotancraft’s merchandise all the time rank extremely on an inventory of suggestions.
This bag has now earned a spot as my on a regular basis bag, the place it needs to be getting some heavy utilization within the coming months. We’ll see the way it festivals in a yr or two, however primarily based on previous experiences, I don’t have any considerations about sturdiness.