A great value option for travel photographers who like to travel light without making any sacrifices
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Big, bulky camera backpacks bursting at the seams are for indecisive travel photographers who want to ruin their trip, right? If you have a minimalist set-up and you know exactly what you’re going to do – and what equipment you need – then a large camera backpack is probably going to be overkill. Cue the Shootout 14L Slim, which is designed for those that use either a compact DSLR or a mirrorless camera. Packed with outdoorsy adventure features, but at a surprisingly low price, could this unique camera backpack be your next travel companion?
The Shootout 14L Slim can take a camera (but not a full-frame DSLR) plus about three to five lenses, as well as a small drone. It’s made from tough nylon that makes it water-repellent. It does lack the very best, very smoothest no-expense-spared fabrics inside, and nor are the shoulder straps much to write home about. With YKK zippers and clips, heavily reinforced stitching, and a helpful waterproof base, it’s high-end only where it needs to be. That keeps the price down, but also the weight. When empty it’s 1.4kg, but you can actually rip out all of the internal dividers to create a non-camera travel bag.
Tenba Shootout 14L Slim camera backpack: features
The Shootout 14L Slim (as well as a full-frame DSLR-ready Tenba Shootout 16L DSLR Backpack) can take a hydration bladder, like a Camelbak, and it even has loops on the shoulder straps to feed a tube. That instantly makes the Shootout 14L Slim a rare beast indeed. If you don’t need that you can place a 10-inch iPad in the same pocket, though this bag does not take a laptop — only the bigger Tenba Shootout 24L and Tenba Shootout 32L do that.
The sides of the Shootout 14L Slim have stretchy pockets for storing water bottles, but they also take tripods. There are no fewer than three straps on each side to secure whatever you want, from a compression strap to a loop strap and a clip. You also have the option to attach two tough Velco loops to the bottom of the Shootout 14L Slim to take a tripod. That’s probably overkill, as it’s easier to place one in one of the side pockets where they’re arguably more secure.
TravGear also loved the provision on the top of the bag of a tough grab handle and a sunglasses case.
Tenba Shootout 14L Slim camera backpack: performance
The Shootout 14L Slim lacks top and side access. The only way to get your camera gear out of the main compartment is by opening the back panel closest to your body. Not everyone is going to like that but (a) it’s secure and (b) the rather spartan (and removable) waist belt – also known as the ‘Pivot-Fit harness’ – which twists the entire bag through 180º to make the rear of the backpack accessible in your lap. It’s reasonably comfortable while hiking, with the shoulder straps that are just padded enough, while a useful sternum strap helps keep things as narrow as possible.
That main compartment has plenty of flexibility; you can move the 11 lightweight dividers to create a customised home for your gear. There are also a couple of waterproof pockets inside the lid.
Tenba Shootout 14L Slim camera backpack: conclusion
Wondering if the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim is really designed for travel? The main compartment, though well designed and able to take a lot more gear than it has any right to considering its small size, is nevertheless is hamstrung by the bag’s small size. The fact that it can double as a non-camera travel bag is good to know, but when carrying a compact DSLR or mirrorless camera and lenses the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim feels comfortable and reliable. With plenty of travel-centric features – such as the sunglasses case, the hydration bladder, and modular design – TravGear rates this camera backpack as one of the best value around for travel photographers who like to travel light without making any sacrifices.
Price as reviewed: US$199.99 / UK £161
Others in the Tenba range include: