Tough, watertight and with a unique way of gripping a tripod, this 23-litre bag is fit for photography expeditions
If you are the kind of traveller who likes to travel with a DSLR and lenses, here’s a watertight place to put it all in. Rugged, waterproof, and with room to store not only camera gear but also a Mac computer, there’s not much the Niko doesn’t do.
Chrome Niko camera backpack: main compartment
There are two reasons why we like the main compartment on this bag. It opens from the back, meaning that you have to put the entire bag face-down on the floor to access it. This is how photographers want bags to open; they can easily access all of their gear at nce – it makes it easy to change lenses. The second reason we like this design is that it keeps everything inside very secure and away from water. Nothing is going to get inside while you’re wearing the Niko. This roomy main compartment has at least six areas for various lenses and camera gear, and since the dividers fix using Velcro, it’s all customisable. There are three flat pockets for storing SD cards and suchlike inside the lid, which doubles as an EVA Foam Back Panel that allows air-flow to the wearer’s back.
Chrome Niko camera backpack: laptop pocket
Unusually for a camera backpack, there’s a laptop compartment on the front of the bag. It’s accessed through a top-to-bottom zip on the bag’s side, and its interior is padded with soft material over some padding. It easily fits, and protects, a 13-inch laptop.
Chrome Niko camera backpack: other pockets & features
There are three other pockets on the Niko. On the top is a section for storing accessories, though it’s very small, just big enough for storing a lunch, a pair of binoculars, or a rolled-up light waterproof jacket. However, there is another watertight pocket inside, and yet another outside. On the side is a pouch good for storing either a water bottle or the feet of a tripod, but there’s a better solution for the latter. While both sides do have clasps that could secure a tripod (though not very convincingly), the front of the bag sports two large Velcro straps that can grip just about anything. Nice use of Velco! It’s even reflective, too, adding some after-dark safety. Not surprisingly underneath one of those Velcro straps is yet another secure zipped pocket.
Chrome Niko camera backpack: summary
The Chrome Niko camera backpack is one tough camera bag. Its 1050d ballistic nylon build is ideal for outdoor photographers tramping around in the wet. The zips are all very high-quality, and together they create many waterproof zones. The fabric high quality, too, but despite all this ruggedness we are slightly concerned that neither the bottom nor the front of the bag are fitted with hard wearing plastic coverings, since both areas are going to find themselves on wet ground pretty regularly because of the way that main compartment is accessed. In fact, this bag is so nearly completely waterproof – mainly thanks to its carefully crafted pockets and zips – that it should probably go all the way and make waterproofing its raison d’être.
Price as reviewed: US$200/UK£170