USA Gear S17 DSLR Camera Backpack Review

Laptop Bags, Reviews

Travelling with thousands of pounds of technology is never an easy task, nor is it possible without suitable travel equipment. The DSLR camera backpack, with 17-inch laptop pocket, waterproof rain cover, lens storage and tripod holder, from USA Gear certainly seems like it’s up to the job, but lets see how it performs.

 

Retailing for just under £60, the USA Gear DSLR camera backpack has it all. You’ve got heavy-duty buckles, handles and zippers on the outside, and the entire bag is reinforced with a thick padding to protect all of the tech inside.

 

overview
 

The bag has two large compartments. One at the top and one at the bottom, the latter having two points of access (pictured below).

 

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The laptop compartment is located at the rear, with a full-length zipper down the side.

 

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The left side features a smaller pocket for holding items such as headphones or memory sticks.

 

On right of the bag you’ve got a handy pocket / strap combo to keep a camera tripod securely in place.

 

A smaller pocket is located centrally on the front of the bag, and is ideal for SD cards, or other small devices you’d like to keep safe. I found that it was also ideal for holding spare headphone ear buds.

 

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If we delve in a little deeper to the two larger compartments you’ll notice that each take up roughly half the overall space inside the bag.

 

The top section features three small zipped pockets within the compartment, and the lower section features a velcro divider to adjust the layout to suit your needs.

 

A cool feature of this bag is that you can actually remove the base of the top section, which is secured in place with velcro, to turn this in to a general all-purpose backpack without loads of separate compartments.

 

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As per the specifications, most DSLR cameras will fit in the bag without problem. Cameras without detachable lenses may not fit without adjusting the velcro dividers.

 

Testing

 

With regards to how much technology you can fit inside the S17, the simple answer is quite a lot. The following pictures are of the bag half-packed, with more than enough room for quite a few other non-tech essentials such as food, drink and even a hoodie.

 

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With the bag half-filled I managed to pack in a Nikon D5100 + 18-200mm lens, a compact Sony Cybershot camera, the XQisit XQ S20 bluetooth speaker, an action camera, 5-port USB charger, a portable car jump starter / battery pack combo, an external SSD drive, some cables, some snacks, and the all-important MacBook Pro in the laptop sleeve.

 

These items alone are probably all that I’d take with me in a travel bag, but considering that there is still excess space in both compartments even the most tech-obsessed person should be able to fit all of their devices in.

 

Carrying this bag around feels effortless, whether it’s using the hand strap at the top, or wearing it on your back using both of the available straps. The connector strap, which goes around across your chest and keeps the bag securely on your person, is a welcome addition, especially when carrying this amount of technology.

 

The bag comes included with a waterproof cover as well, meaning that any unfortunate downpours won’t have any effect on the contents of your bag.

 

Verdict

 

In terms of usability, storage and design the USA Gear S17 backpack scores incredibly high. There is plenty of space within the bag itself, and is ultimately incredibly well-padded to ensure the best protection for your devices.

 

The ability to adjust the compartments to whatever layout you wish is also a great idea. Personally I like the ability to separate everything in to different sections, but for those that wish to do so can actually remove all of the velcro dividers to create one large compartment throughout the entire bag – a simple, yet great, idea.

 

My only gripe about this bag is that it’s not possible to use a protective sleeve on your laptop, unless it’s incredibly thin. Mine, for example, is the Inateck MacBook Pro Retina protective bag, which is just under an inch thick when the MacBook is inside. It borders on nearly impossible to try and squeeze this case in to the laptop compartment. Not a major issue, but if I was to take my laptop out of the bag and needed to take it with me somewhere I wouldn’t have a bag for it.

 

All in all, an incredibly impressive backpack. One that I’d definitely recommend taking a look at if you find yourself running out of room when travelling. With a retail price of just under £60, that’s an absolute bargain when it comes to ensuring your tech is safe.

 

9/10