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GoGroove DSLR backpack review
There are plenty of great photo backpacks out there, each offering you a safe and comfortable way to carry your kit. The problem is that most look like camera bags: dull and frankly uninspiring. And in most cases, they cost an absolute fortune. The GoGroove DSLR manages to strike a comfortable balance, style, price and capacity.
For GoGroove DSLR Backpack
- Well Priced
- Great looks
- Plenty of room for kit
Against GoGroove DSLR Backpack
- Quite thin straps
- Medium level of protection
- No waterproof cover
I, like many photographers, love camera bags and seem to be on a never ending quest to find the perfect balance. It must have enough room to fit at least one DSLR, a couple of lenses, some filters, a GoPro or two, food and a lightweight rain jacket.
There are many bags like the GoGroove DSLR Backpack that fulfil this brief, but it’s only when you get out into the field and really test them that you know whether or not they’re going to be any good.
The GoGroove DSLR Backpack has a lot going for it: the canvas retro look that many people are after these days, mixed with a touch of leather. Billingham gets this mix right, as it’s what the company has always done. The GoGroove DSLR Backpack almost nails this fine balance, too, and although the looks don’t initially inspire me the bag has definitely attracted adoration from others.
What does appeal is that this bag offers that something different that you usually have to pay a fortune for at a very reasonable price. The quality is by no means Billingham-level, but at the same time, it’s not at all bad. In fact, after a quick once-over, the bag seems pretty sound and well thought out. But is it all just looks or is this really a true functioning camera bag?
The GoGroove DSLR Backpack is what I’d class as a medium backpack on the smallish side. Constructed from pretty strong nylon fabric with a decent amount of thin but solid padding that is more than enough to help protect the kit inside.
There’s a selection of zips and buckles that give the bag that authentic ‘working photographer’ look. Zips are obviously functional and the buckles are there to enable some length adjustment over the magnetic clasp straps.
At the top of the bag, there is a single large zipped and clasped flap that gives you direct access to a relatively large cavity that features enough space for a jacket, food and a few other bits and pieces.
The bottom of this section features a velcroed in bottom that can be removed if you want to open the pack into one larger bag.
Under the top flap, there’s a handy mesh pocket that uses a zip to keep the content safe.
Moving on from the top the back of the bag features a large pocket that’s covered by a buckled flap, again with magnetic fasteners. This pocket is the ideal size for an OS map or guidebook which is very handy.
Around this pocket is a zip that gives you access to the main section. This reveals a decent inner space with enough room for a medium sized SLR or CSC with lens and a further five pockets for further medium sized lenses or accessories.
On the rear of the flap are two large velcro closed pockets to keep memory cards and or cables.
On one side of the bag, you have a small change or memory card pocket, and a larger opening that again gives you access to your kit if you’re using the bag as a sling.
On the opposite side of the bag is a pull cord pocket and strap that will enable you to attach a small tripod, such as the MeFoto BackPacker Air.
Along the side of the backpack, there’s a long zip which reveals a large slot for a laptop.
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Build quality and handling
My impressions of the quality of this bag are surprisingly good considering the bargain basement price. The fabric, which is mainly nylon, is a nice colour and seems durable enough.
Looking around the edges, the flaps are all finished off with a leather look trim and zips buckles and padding are all well finished.
As you start to look closer you can see that the workmanship of the bag is actually very good and the overall aesthetic is very pleasing, even for those who aren’t fully sold on the whole retro look.
Look a little deeper and you can see where the cost savings have been made. The leather style buckles are quite thin, this doesn’t mean that when it comes to function they don’t work, they just don’t have that high-quality feel.
Likewise, the zips function, opening and closing the bag is easy enough but they don’t have that smooth feel that you’d want from a premium product.
This is, of course, obvious as this isn’t a premium photo bag that costs hundreds, but as you use it and talk to other photographers this bag very quickly fools you and others that it is!
The build quality is a perfect balance, workmanship is excellent and the quality of materials gives the bag the look and quality feel you need.
Components such as zips and buckles are reined back in order for the bag to be affordable.
Load up the bag and it’s instantly apparent that there’s plenty of space for kit; an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with kit lens mounted, a couple of addition fixed lenses, jacket and tripod attached to the side.
The padding between the bits of kit feels sturdy and I was more than happy that it would protect everything during the day.
I put the backpack on and it felt comfortable enough, although even at this early stage you can feel that the shoulder straps lack some of the padding that you would expect from more expensive bags.
There’s also a chest and waist strap that helps to keep the bag comfortably in place. Usually, I don’t bother with the waist strap, but making sure that it was secured helped to take a little of the weight off the shoulders and made the bag more comfortable to carry.
I’d loaded the MeFoto BackPacker Air into the side pocket which balances the load slightly. As this is a relatively lightweight backpack that additional weight can really be felt through the straps so a little adjustment was needed to help rebalance the overall weight.
Each of the straps features the usual strap adjusters and these are easily tuned without removing the pack.
Through the day the pack’s straps did start to become a little uncomfortable, but then I had the bag fully laden, but overall it was comfortable enough for everyday use.
I found that the Sling ability over the left shoulder to access the camera worked well, although it wasn’t as refined as some other sling bags.
The pockets across the bag and the space inside ensured that there was plenty of accessible room for all my kit.
I used the backpack during typical British autumn weather and it helped to ensure that my camera gear remained safe and dry, despite a few light downpours.
[nextpage title=”Verdict” ]
GoGroove DSLR backpack review Verdict
The GoGroove DSLR Backpack is a good bag at a great price. It has plenty of room for your kit and there’s enough space to comfortably hold a few personal effects for the day.
While the retro styling will appeal to many as it breaks away from the all too common, dull black camera backpack, it’s the build quality that really sells this bag. The workmanship in the stitching and the quality of construction is excellent.
It’s clear that the manufacturer has really thought hard about the balance of the backpack, with good quality materials used where they are needed and lighter-weight options where they’re not.
Although this is a very affordable bag, it doesn’t look cheap. It’s only on very close inspection that you’ll see that the straps are slightly thinner than you’d see on premium bags and items such as the zips and buckles are of a relatively budget-conscious, but functional quality.
Crucially, the bag works well, holding plenty of kit with the padded dividers keeping it protected while the sling function enables easy access.
Although the bag isn’t robustly weatherproof, it will protect your kit during light downpours and the padding is more than sufficient to stave-off a knock or two.
On the downside, with the bag full, the straps started to cut into my shoulders after an hour or two. I also found that with and no protective base, I was a little warey of putting the bag on the ground, especially in muddy conditions.
It’s an ideal backpack for walks with the dog and family, or for carrying kit around town as long as the load isn’t very heavy. The lightweight construction and looks make it stand out and it has all the features and carrying capacity you need for brief photographic outings.
If you’re looking to load up and go for a day’s hike, I’d look for a backpack with a little more structure on the back and padding on the shoulders.
For the price, however, this is a fairly well-rounded backpack with great looks and plenty to offer.
Who should by the GoGroove DSLR
This bag is definitely for the style-conscious photographer looking for a lightweight backpack with plenty of space and a decent amount of protection.
A small to medium DSLR or mirrorless camera along with a second lens and jacket or jumper in the top is the perfect load. Ideal for quick outings, walks with the dog or a trip into town.
GoGroove is offering Camera Jabber readers a special 20% discount on the purchase price of the bag using the details below.
Coupon code – DSLRBK20 Discount – 20%
Via this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9Q1ZM8?m=A17IS3V46S4DN9&ref_=v_sp_detail_page
This offer is valid between the 23 October through to the 23rd November 2017