Howdy, folks. We cover a lot of brand new products—sneak peeks from the cutting edge—but today, I would like to share a report on something that’s been out for quite a while. In fact, the Kickstarter behind its first iteration launched three years ago today. I’ve taken time to put this product through its paces, and I would like to report back to you all regarding my experiences. Ladies and gentlemen: the WANDRD PRVKE 31.
I love this bag.
My wife and I recently returned from an extended trip to Europe, shoestringing it around the continent for three months. We each loaded up a PRVKE 31 in Aegean blue, and that was all we brought with us. (We’re not normally so matchy-matchy, but we both fell in love with the same bag.) I’ve done some backpacking before, using a bag that was basically just a big sack with a zipper, and I wanted something a little more thoughtfully organized. The apparent care that had gone into the design of the PRVKE caught my eye—every detail is designed to maximize both accessibility and storage space. How much will it store? Check out this little video to see for yourself what I brought. (I know that I should have used the side pocket for a water bottle, but I couldn’t resist the urge to use the space for my whistle case… fortunately, we didn’t have to busk for check-in money, but it’s always good to have a back-up plan!)
The PRVKE (that’s “provoke”) comes in two sizes, 21 liter and 31 liter, both expandable by an additional 5 liters via the roll-top. The bulk of the interior is divided into two sections by an optional divider, accessible individually by a handy side pocket or the roll-top, respectively, or together by unzipping the laptop-toting back of the bag. The lower section of the bag (in both sizes) is also fitted exactly to a camera-cube module (not pictured here, but included in all kits sold by Mike’s Camera).
If you don’t want to use the camera cube, the PRVKE works just as effectively for photographers. I eschewed it in favor of the fitted bag that came with my Mavic Pro Platinum (which slots in perfectly, incidentally, taking up about 1/3 of the lower section), leaving room for general storage next to it. My wife brought her A7R II kit (complete with three lenses and a full-size speedlite!) in a small camera backpack, easily sliding out to function as a day-pack when we were able to leave the larger bags in our room for the day.
Once we arrived (and were freed of airline luggage restrictions), that extra 5 liters of space was great too. I was skeptical of the roll-top’s hook as an effective seal, having never used that form of closure before, but I never had a single problem with slippage. Big bottles of shampoo/conditioner, snacks, and the inevitable small souvenirs were all accommodated effortlessly… by the bag, at least! I typically carried about 40 pounds, without ever feeling like I was overloading the PRVKE.
And oh, how many ways there are to load it.
The whole bag is seeded with convenient pockets, and with the multiple access points for the large storage areas, I never felt like I had to wade through everything to get to anything. Nor did I feel like anything I put in the bag was at risk. It would be extremely difficult for a thief to pick anything out of the bag (especially with S-clips on the zippers during travel days), and the material is a delightfully durable-feeling tarpaulin with ballistic nylon components. Construction of the bag is firm enough to have a definite shape (there’s nothing in it in these photos; it’s standing on its own) yet adaptable when you’re trying to cram yet another book you had to have into the bulging space.
Pro tip: The only add-on I might suggest is a waterproof sleeve for anything going in the passport pocket. Admittedly, I was hiking up and down steep streets in the middle of a summer heat-wave, but there’s definitely a possibility of sweat-through.
While the padded section touching your back is susceptible to water, there’s little worry that the contents of your bag are in danger from the other side. The tarpaulin is plenty water-resistant on its own, and when the heavens really open up, there’s a completely water-proof rainfly hiding in (yet another) purpose-built pocket at the base of the backpack. The fly is technically an upgrade (the “vanilla” backpack does not include it, the camera cube, waist straps, or accessory straps), but any serious use of the pack really demands all of the accessory pieces, which is why we only sell the whole kit & caboodle.
The waist straps provided a gentle stabilizing force for when the bag was at its heaviest, and even included a bonus harmonica-sized pocket. The accessory straps (which I thought silly at first) came in very handy when strapping various extra items to the outside of the bag. I mostly used them to keep my hat attached without being crushed, but they’d also work great for a bedroll on a backwoods expedition. They even look pretty sharp, breaking up the flat field of color when strapped across the back (as below).
If “going out to shoot” regularly means carrying more than just your camera, or if you’re looking for a photography-oriented solution for all your vagabondery needs, do yourself a favor and consider the WANDRD PRVKE. Stop by your local Mike’s Camera and take a look in person! I can honestly say that I’d have a hard time coming up with a better traveling companion… except for my wife, of course. 😉