Camera bags – like most things photography – are stupidly expensive. If you get change out of three figures for a decent-sized bag, you’re doing well. So when I saw the AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack for £35, my “too good to be true sensors” started blaring. Having now used it for a month, including a trip to the US, I’ve silenced the sensors. It’s a bona fide bargain.
AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack review: design
Let’s face it, nothing with the word ‘Basics’ in its description is going to set the heart aflutter with its stunning looks. The bag is black, boxy and functional, while the AmazonBasics logo on the back immediately marks you as a man (or woman) where money is indeed an object.
The interior comes in two colours. There’s John Major grey (my branding, not Amazon’s) or a more shouty orange. I’ve actually seen both first-hand as I received two of these bags for Christmas thanks to an Amazon Wishlist snafu, and I now wish I’d plumped for the orange. But it’s the inside of a bag. Nobody’s going to decide to be the mother of your children on such criteria.
The bag has three compartments. The rear compartment is for the laptop, into which my 14in Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1 slips nicely. There’s not a fantastic amount of padding in there, which led me to take an extra laptop sleeve for my recent flight to Vegas, through fear of it getting assaulted in the overhead cabin, but for everyday use I wouldn’t bother with the safety sleeve.
The middle section is for the camera, and here there’s plenty of room. The middle section comfortably accommodated my Canon 70D and hefty 70-200mm lens. There are velcro straps to keep everything secure and they’ve not once come loose. All of the other compartments can be adjusted in size with the velcro dividers, allowing me to create extra space for my laptop charger, while still packing a variety of lenses, business cards, international plug adapters and cables.
Finally, the front section is a thin zipped sleeve into which you can stow iPads, Kindles, documents, memory cards, pens and all the other knick-knacks that end up cluttering travel bags.
There are two further velcroed pockets on either side, into which you can stuff lens caps, receipts and other small items.
AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack review: comfort
Even with the bag loaded to “Christ, are they going to let me through security with this?” levels, it was never uncomfortable to lug. The straps are well padded and, with it slung over one shoulder, it never cut into me. There’s an option to go full foreign exchange student with the waist-band, too.
The only concern I’ve had with the bag is that the zips to the rear compartment kept coming undone by themselves, leaving the laptop exposed. However, that was almost certainly due to me stuffing an extra padded sleeve in there. With that removed, the problem disappeared.
AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack review: verdict
You’re not daft, so I’m not going to waste your time. If you’re looking for a bag to hold your laptop, camera, chunky lenses and knick-knacks, and you don’t want to sell your first born to Angelina Jolie to fund it, then this a cracking option. Go buy it.