[Chester's Note: This message originally appeared at One Day, One Picture on March 7, 2008. I plan to do a follow-up soon.]
Going on a trip to Florida in a couple of weeks, and I didn’t want to hassle with carrying on my camera bag and laptop backpack. I looked around at the options, and there were some impressive ones. But I didn’t want to spend a fortune, so I would up going with the Caselogic EVA Hardshell Camera/ Laptop Backpack. It’s going for about $67 right now. The one I ordered arrived today. It’s about the same dimensions as my Targus laptop backpack (that I absolutely love), but with specific design for the camera and lenses as opposed to the laptop and general backpack versatility.
It is pretty rugged, and has a firm, waterproof base to keep it from falling over. The camera compartment is supposed to be totally weatherproofed (the zipper does have a seam seal). Kind of unfortunate they didn’t do that for the laptop zipper since laptops have similar environmental needs.
I don’t have my camera with me today (doh!), so I can’t properly test the fit of the camera area, but I do like the “shelf” system they have devised for the lenses and accessories. Everything I have will easily fit in here.
The laptop compartment holds my Dell 17″ laptop just fine. I was kind of concerned about this, until I realized that the 15.4″ in the description is the straight width of the laptop, not the diagonal screen measurement. With the laptop in it’s area, I am also able to fit a legal pad and a Lightroom book, which should be fine for this trip. If I were going somewhere that I knew I would have more cargo needs, I would take the Targus and figure out something to do with the camera.
Besides the Camera, Lens and Laptop compartments, there are two side zippered compartments that are big enough to hold miscellaneous items. In one of them I am storing the power brick and mouse for the laptop. In the other I have travel documents, business cards, pen, etc. Should be wholly sufficient for this trip. Attached to these side panels are straps and buckles, implying to me that I could strap my tripod or some other items to this pack. Caselogic has always built tough things out of ballistic nylon, so I would expect these to stand up to some pretty good abuse. There are also various loops you could use to attach carabiners or other devices to hang god-knows-what off your pack.
Even though it only just arrived today, I am suitably impressed. The real test will come in a couple of weeks when I travel to Florida, but I am going to use it daily for now to get a feel for it. So far I am comfortable recommending it if you are looking for an economical backpack for a laptop and camera.