“ Brand: Vanguard / Type: Rucksack / Recommended Use: For camera „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Normally when out and about I'll have the DSLR in a camera bag and depending on the weather, have this inside a backpack or carry it in my hand. When you're on the lookout for wildlife this is rarely practical but at the same time handier than carrying the heavy camera around my neck (especially if on uneven terrain). The Vanguard Kinray Lite 48Bk has changed all of this (unfortunately still hasn't guaranteed that amazing shot).
The 48Bk is the largest of the Kinray Lite Bags holding a DSRL with medium lens attached plus 3-4 extra lenses (where the smaller bags are only 1-2 extra lenses). There's additional space for accessories, a monopod/walking stick or travelling tripod. Although this is a 'large' bag it's not that wide but tall (280x205x490mm outside - 240x130x240mm inside) - a daypack rather than a rucksack so it can be used as an everyday backpack too.
Priced at £90-£100 you are getting what you pay for. It's high quality and very well made - you can see that thought has been put into not only its practical usage but also protecting valuable equipment. You're not restricted to using it as a DSLR bag as it offers that versatility with removable padded camera insert. This can be taken out altogether or turned around to offer padded protection to something larger like a spotting scope with additional compartments for equipment and binoculars etc. There is a lot of Velcro so each of the 3 compartments can be divided to suit which I find incredibly handy as I can stop some items dropping to the bottom of the bag for easy reach. There are pockets inside and out so plenty storage space and very handy mesh pocket for a water bottle which I do use constantly.
The base of the backpack has a slightly harder wearing material and hidden compartment with an attached grey rain cover which easily slips over the front of the backpack. This is incredibly light so it's not something you'll find yourself compromising with over its weight or amount of space it takes up. You don't even have to fold it up carefully to put it back in - my method is basically just to scrunch it up and shove it back in. Even this barely causes the base to bulge and it doesn't hold creases either.
When on my back, having that slightly stiffer back which keeps its tall shape hasn't made it uncomfortable to wear. There is a thick meshed pad which when using the waist strap up nestles comfortably against the base of my back. Again, thought has gone into the design as the harness can be tucked into the pad if not being used which even though has its plastic clips, really isn't something you can feel through the padding. There's mesh padding again on the shoulders and the full length of the straps providing it's 'air system'. If it is a hot day I do find these areas get sweaty most but no more than other backpacks even though this is far more comfortable to wear.
The harness system offers a huge amount of stability to the bag and to me. I often find myself clambering over fallen trees or walking along ridges by the river so having the backpack harnessed means I'm not worrying about it slipping causing me to lose my balance which basic backpacks can do. I love that you're not restricted to the waist and chest harness but can have one strap across body and fastened with the chest harness. This lets me whip the bag across my front to access the side panel to get my camera out quickly rather than having to take the whole bag off to take it out the top.
If I'm not using the bag for the camera I can easily take the padded camera insert out. This in itself isn't heavy but does take up a lot of space. The bag then loses its shape from the front with just the stiffer back to keep its tall shape. If I'm going on a trip I have found myself using this bag more than my regular backpack just for its comfort and streamline design. You do lose the ability to find things easily as you're piling everything on top of each other rather than having the wideness of a suitcase but I find it far more practical.
If there was something I had to change about the bag it would be the inside pocket. Although it's not that deep (which isn't a huge problem) I would have preferred a zip closure rather than just the elasticised band. This is where I'm most likely to keep valuables such as my purse, keys, spare change, phone etc if out walking rather than having these in my clothing pockets but tipping the bag would easily cause anything to fall out and it would have given that little extra safety precaution if out travelling. Someone could far too easily open the external front zip pocket without me noticing, the side opening doesn't open into a pocket and then you're only left with the mesh pocket on the other side. The top loading zip could of course also easily be opened without me noticing but it would then take a thief far more effort to then unzip the inside pocket than just reach in. Thankfully this isn't something I've had to worry about or have experience of but it is something I have to consider when out and about. At least the bag is inconspicuous so it's not obvious the camera is in it.
Overall, this bag is well worth the money and it is something I'm getting value for money from. I know my camera and equipment are well padded and easily accessible which for photographers can be the difference between getting and missing that perfect shot. It's a high quality and very well made bag which offers great versatility so you can get a lot of use out of it. The streamline design is very practical and with the 48BK gives me that extra space if needed. The inside pocket isn't that big a deal but something I would have preferred so even without that, I'd still rate it 5 stars.