Enjoy the video when you can. It really shows the story of the bag!
5 MINUTE REVIEW
10 MINUTE REVIEW
Must watch review. Just did this real quick. Intended it to be a teaser, so I may do a more lengthy review at some point.
The Kenora Backpack by Portage
My personal notes, and then the specs from the manufacturer. I am a professional photographer who also shoots for fun, casually, almost daily. I have a 2 year old. So I'm often running around to parks or parties with her. And I want to bring a camera everywhere I go. I was using a lightweight camera backpack that is designed for hiking in these situations. I wanted to dedicate that for just hiking and find something a little more stylish and practical. So I was searching for a stylish backpack for casual use. I was lead to the Ona Camps Bay backpack which is approx triple the price of this Portage bag. I got this bag for $149. I feel that this bag was inspired by the Ona bag. It could be a little better than the Ona, in my opinion (IMO). I'm extremely pleased with the product, the look, the quality, and especially the value.
I can fit my camera gear, my daughter's snacks and personal items up top. and there is room to spare. This is the perfect bag for my needs. When I am not traveling with my daughter, I can fit more camera gear, or clothing for myself for an overnight.
VERY IMPORTANT! This is their generation 3 version
There are Portage bags out there for $99 on the market. They look like identical twins to this v3 bag. But they do not have the following upgrades that ONLY come on the v3:
(two most importanty first):
-Upgraded design with easy access side panel
-Smooth operating YKK zippers and YKK zipper heads
-More velcro for limitless divider configuration
-Memory card storage in front pocket
-Stretchy expansion edge on side pocket for easy storage of water bottle, etc
-Vintage leather zipper pulls
I am not going to shoot and share images of the bag b/c the manufacturer has very good images on their site. See link above. After receiving the bag on Sunday, I can say that the images honestly represent what you would get if you purchased the bag (v3). The images on amazon are not as plentiful or clear, which is where I purchased the bag. I believe this is the only place you can purchase the v3 at this time.
This bag is on the heavier side, for backpacks, at 4.5lbs. But to be fair, it's par for the course, as this is a stylish/casual bag. Not a bag intended to be used when you're climbing a mountain or biking. The clasps, buckles, and materials used are not light - their purpose is for style and durability. The bag is for travel, casual shooting, and also portrait shooters (obviously, subjective). The weight of this bag is virtually the same as the Ona, so again, it's not heavy compared to it's peers. It's just a lot heavier than a bag dedicated for the outdoors/hiking/biking/etc.
I shot a video review that captures the quality of the materials, which I posted to youtube. In case you can't see that at the moment, I'll mention that the zippers, leather hits, dividers, straps, buckles, clasps, all materials are high quality and look and feel amazing. It was important to me that the zippers and zipper heads are YKK, and they are (on this version).
What did I fit in the bag for the video review I shot?
-Two full frame, ungripped Nikon bodies and three Nikon lenses
-D750 attached to 70-200mm 2.8E VR ED FL hood reversed
-D750 attached to 28mm 1.4E ED FL hood reversed
-58mm 1.4G hood reversed
-Two Peak Design hand straps in the front pocket
-HoldFast Money Maker dual camera strap
- you could rock a third ungripped body up top, with a 24-70
or your flash(es)
- gripped bodies will not fit through the side entry door!
- it comes with several other dividers that you don't see b/c I'm not using them and probably won't since my gear is larger.
- for crop bodies and their kit lenses, you'll fit a lot more in the bag and require the extra dividers. it comes with two of the long three panel dividers that turn. and several single wall panels (all the same size). all dividers have velcro on three sides and are quite heavy duty (they did not cheap out on them, very high quality).
- velcro strips are also included. they are quite long "straps" that (in my example) would be used to hold the 70-200 from falling out. you can see them in the stock images on their site.
- 17" laptop fits. the laptop pocket is in the main chamber and is not removable. there is no access from outside the bag. it is very well padded.
- you can fit a water bottle on one side, but I would say it's best for an actual (normal size) bottle of water, not your thermos unless it's extremely narrow.
- the camera opening is on the other side.
- both sides have a buckle that normally would be used to cinch a tripod to the bag. you could use these buckles to add another (larger) water bottle, or carry an umbrella, or raincoat even. in my case I'll probably use one side to cinch my camera strap to the bag b/c I don't keep it attached to the cameras, it's too bulky.
- the personal area is large and fully adjustable. around 7-8" of headroom. you can remove the divider that separates the camera gear from personal items. or you can move it up or down. the result is excellent for casual shooting. you can put snacks, change of clothing, or just more camera gear - up top. the divider has velcro on all four sides and is essentially a tray.
- the width of the bag will allow you to carry a D8xx and 70-200 2.8, which is amazing. this is one of reasons I bought this bag! I do not like to change lenses on the go. so I prefer to have two bodies at all times, each with a lens attached. this bag allows me to do that perfectly.
- the front pocket is small and best for business cards and gum. there are a couple slots for memory cards in here. the length of this pocket is 4", and it's a little wider than 5", so this pocket is a bit limiting.
- the pocket under the flap is larger, 8" long, and about 8.5" wide. this area will fit more personal items, including your phone if you don't want it in your pocket. also will fit a battery charger, cables, etc. there are two pockets inside this one, that are best suited for a couple of batteries and your car keys.
- that's it, no more pockets
I don't think this bag is sold through any traditional stores. I feel that this price of $150 is very fair for the buyer. But they don't have the name/reputation/following, so they are starting low. I bet the price will go up once or twice from here, after more reviews come in.
They listened to the folks who had v1 and v2, and improved the bag in time for v3, which clearly shows.
If I had to nitpick and/or make suggestions for v4, and I'll number these so that folks can comment easily:
1. go a little lighter weight on the buckles/clasps. they are so nice, but probably could afford a diet.
2. water bottle pocket should be a little wider, length is ok
3. one more exterior pocket please, on the large overhang front flap. or simply elongate the existing pocket is really only good for business cards and a pack of gum. obviously you're not going to put valuables in there and stand in the subway. but for folks in a safe area, like on a shoot in a park, they would prefer a longer pocket so that a phone and car keys could reside here. if they were to add a pocket, for a total of two (they have to be the same width b/c they are in-between some stitching for the straps), that is ok too, but they wouldn't fit a phone. I should note that the next pocket, the one under the flap is large enough for your wallet and keys, and probably your sunglasses too, this one is longer.
4. padding overall is quite good, impressively good. but I would try to get some padding in the corners of the camera gear area (where it hits the ground). I am currently using dividers to add padding here. the bottom and sides are ok, but there is a tiny line on both bottom corners that need a little attention.
5. sternum/waist straps. personally I don't think they are needed for this bag. this is a bag that intends to help you look cool and not make you look like a nerd (good luck to you). I feel that this isn't the bag for you to stuff a ton of gear in to bring to a job site and unload. you have a nerdy (insert normal name brand bag that is probably black and sold in the only large/big-box electronic store. I bet some folks will ask for these straps, but IMO they are best left OFF of this particular bag. they would just add a clumsy look to an otherwise classy bag.
6. size wise is perfect. don't change a thing. it's not too small, it's not too big. it's the perfect "medium"
7. grab handle. thank you for including one. but unless I happen to be wearing an oven mitt or my ski gloves, you can shorten the length of this loop strap (a lot).
8. ergo/features. I feel that although I love the bag and it's quality, there is just something missing. actually, that is not fair to the manufacturer, nothing is missing, or I'd know what it was. it just "could use" that ONE thing, that one innovative or risky thing that makes you really fall in love with it. I mean, the look is probably going to make people want to own it, and the price. I think this bag will sell well. but find one thing to add, to jazz it up just one notch... and this bag could an even bigger hit.
- Manufacturer specs:
Premium quality leather and waxed canvas backpack is designed to hold a host of camera gear, lenses, and up to a 17" laptop, along with a separate space at the top for personal items. Portage uses the finest quality hardware, materials, and components, with abundant padding throughout to help protect your gear when you're on the go. If you're looking for a camera bag that doesn't scream "hey I'm a camera bag", this is your bag. It's designed for the professional or amateur photographer who wants to look good while they shoot. Waxed canvas is a water resistant material that has been used by mariners as early as the 1600's.
-Premium GearSilk interior lining with padded reconfigurable dividers. Just the right balance of rigidity and flexibility
-Heavy duty 20# canvas material (compare to premium brands like Filson)
-Premium grade, thick cut top grain leather for years of durability
-Flexible strap to hold laptop securely in laptop sleeve
Dimensions: 17 x 13.5 x 7.3 inches