June 21, 2024

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If you are a traveling videographer or a movie-making traveller, consider the Holdland Original Backpack

6 min read
Holdland Original Backpack

When it comes to traveling with gear, there are two schools. Some consider themselves creators who happen to travel, and some would say they are mainly traveling but also create content. The Holdland Original Backpack ($249) is a great way to settle this gap for both parties. If you are looking for a “classic” photography backpack, check out our best photo and video bags guide.

Have you ever had this issue where you wanted to take all your filming gear on a trip (say, a family vacation) but could not find a way to make this experience comfortable? This is where the Holdland Original Backpack comes in, as it provides a great experience for backpackers who love taking their gear with them. It’s a 26-liter bag with some unique features for accessing your valuables.

Holdland Original Backpack review - using the Holdland Original BackpackHoldland Original Backpack review - using the Holdland Original Backpack

The Holdland brand is actually the home brand of Brad and Hailey Devine who own the Somewhere Devine vlog, covering travel and showing unique places and adventures. They took their experience in traveling and filmmaking and “cooked” a backpack for those who share their passion. I took it with me for a trip around New York and and have been using it as my daily bag since then.

Even before diving into the features, you will notice that this bag is a conversation starter. Its design does not really look like a photography bag but also not like a standard backpack. Between the interesting look and my color of preference (Canopy Green), you’ll get some comments. Let me just say that I am happy to report that this bag is Significant-Other-Approved.

Holdland Original Backpack review -  Backpack dividers and internalsHoldland Original Backpack review -  Backpack dividers and internals

I am not a fabric expert, but the spec says “water-resistant polyester 600D PVC material,” and it feels incredibly built. There are heavy-duty handles on both the top and base of the bag for when you need to move it around. The padding feels very firm, the kind you would trust when you take down your backpack in the middle of the track and place it on a rock.

I also like how the Devines handled the interior of the bag. Unlike most bags, it opens from the straps’ side. This means that it is not as easy to pick your bag, but it also means that getting your gear takes an extra step from what you’re typically used to. (Read on how they solved this.)

There are a few black dividers that provide structure and a few lighter dividers that provide separation—all are velcro-covered and well-padded. (One of those big black dividers separates the top half from the bottom half.) This system makes it easy to modify the compartments, and you can choose the proportions between the “hiking” and the filming gear parts of the bag.

I found that a 26-liter capacity is quite perfect unless it is extremely cold, in which case you’d need to fit in more clothing than gear. For 26 litters, it is a fair tradeoff.

As I mentioned, the main compartment is only accessible from the back, which makes the bag extra safe for your most valuable gear. The upper half of the bag is also accessible via the top cover (lid), so you do get some access to your gear. My only tip here is that you must remember to close the lid when you access the back. Otherwise, you will see things fall out. The zipper is very well hidden inside a flap above the lid. This makes it a streamlined back, looks-wise, but it’s also very easy to forget to re-zip the bag; then, when you lay the bag last to access your gear, things may fall off. This is one of those features that you may either fall in love with or really hate.

Holdland Original Backpack review - back fully loadedHoldland Original Backpack review - back fully loaded

You will also find some well-thought-out pockets, such as the side stretch mesh and stretch webbing combined for water bottles. These ones are handy and just at the right angle, so reaching and grabbing without taking the bag off is easy. The dual access pocket in the Lid cover is brilliant. Reaching for a power bank or my sunglasses felt intuitive without dropping everything inside the top compartment.

Holdland Original Backpack review - back accessHoldland Original Backpack review - back access
The zipper is hidden below the flap. The red arrow shows the location

The straps are wide and padded, and they feel like a traveling backpack should. The weight is well balanced between your shoulders, and the hip strap (sold separately) completes the job of holding it securely. You could say the form factor of this backpack is pretty big, but I’m a big guy. It’s a perfect fit for me, but I wonder how a smaller torso would handle it.

As a traveler with a toddler, I had to carry the bag for a full day at a time. But even then, the bag felt very ventilated. Some bags will stick to your back and make you sweat, but the Holdland puts the laptop away from your back. This not only allows for more ventilation but also has the back shaped with an S-curve that supports your lower back. Even after hiking for a long amount of time, I felt less sweaty and much happier. The downside of this tradeoff is the weight of the laptop is pulling the bag, which makes your posture a bit off balance. (17″ editor laptops can be quite heavy).

Speaking of laptops, finding a backpack that supports a large-screen, heavy-weight, editing workstation is not an easy task. The Laptop sleeve hold my 15.6″ in place while having another pocket to hold my Galaxy Tab-7s tablet. It felt secure enough that, for the first time, I ditched Asus’s original sleeve I got with my computer.

Holdland Original Backpack review - laptop compartment and upper storageHoldland Original Backpack review - laptop compartment and upper storage
laptop compartment and upper storage

If you are on the go, you can always have two lenses accessible without opening the bag. If you are familiar with belt-mounted lens pouches, this is a similar approach. Only instead of using a dedicated belt, the hip belt has two zippers that hide two lens pouches for easy access. This is a fresh approach to how film gear should be accessed, and I liked it. I was even able to “stick” the lens while attached to the camera into one of those pouches. I would not recommend it when walking, but it’s definitely a “hold my beer” solution.

Holdland Original Backpack review - Lens pouchHoldland Original Backpack review - Lens pouch
The lens pouch used for an FX3 – “hold my beer” solution

There are quite a few other pockets worth mentioning: There is one for water, one secret, anti-theft passport compartment. And many other small and useful external compartments. As a person who carries his office on his back, the well-arranged pockets for keys, SD cards, and sunglasses make this backpack a great office on the go while holding your camera and gear safe.

PROS

  • Turning heads design. Beautiful bag to go with.
  • Multiple Access to essential parts.
  • Durable and heavy duty materials for your peace of mind.
  • Vented Back system that actually feels good in a day of hike.
  • Unique Hip belt with lens holders.

CONS

  • Bulky design for the ones who used to walk with a sack backpack.
  • 26L total for you travel equipment and your photo gear can find you on the short side.
  • Quite heavy for a daily driver. (4.8lbs/2.18kg)

If you are a content creator or a filmmaker on the go, you will find this backpack answers everything you need: Space, comfort, and easy gear access. If you are a traveler looking for a safe and modular backpack to hold your sensitive gear, this is still a great option. Keep in mind that it is a bulky bag, which means you always carry a big and deep bag with you, even if it is half empty. I’m sure Photographers are used to having big bags with extra cushioning with them all the time, but for hikers who search for ultra-light hiking, this is quite a heavy and oversized backpack.

The backpack retails for $249 for a “bundle” that includes the Original backpack, the hip belt, and a rainfly. Totally worth the buck.

I would say that this backpack is for Hikers who love to film, rather than for filmmakers who love to hike. It works perfectly as a creator’s kit packing solution, having enough space for compact gear, a drone and some lenses. It is even so deep that it can fit some zoom lenses standing up. I replaced my old daily backpack because of the looks, and stayed because of its versatile use cases coverage.


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