3 Legged Thing is known for doing things differently, so it’s no surprise that the team behind the tripods has created the Morally Toxic brand of bags, including the valkyrie camera backpacks that also break a little from tradition.
That break only goes as far as the materials used with the love it or hate it a mix of alien vs reptilian design and colour. They certainly stand out and partner well with the sibling company’s excellent tripod range.
The Morally Toxic Valkyrie backpack also offers some innovation in the frog (wet/dry) pocket at the back, and while 3LT/Morally Toxic has tweaked the traditional front-loading backpack design, it isn’t quite the leap I’d expect from 3LT.
The new Valkyrie camera backpack will appeal to those looking for something slightly different aesthetically or those who want a backpack to match their 3LT tripod.
- Very well made
- Plenty of kit protection
- Decent outside pockets
- Suede material absorbs wet without cover
3 Legged Thing are great at tripods; they produce the excellent Punks range that features the Punks Billy, one of my all-time favourite supports.
Now the company has launched an all new brand, Morally Toxic, focused initially on bags with two new releases. A messenger, the Wraith, and the Valkyrie camera backpack.
Both are striking to look at and are available in two stand-out colours, Emerald and Sapphire; there is a third option, Onyx (Grey), for those of you who are more reserved.
The colours aren’t the only part of the aesthetics that jump out when you see these backpacks. Morally Toxic has spent time and thought in the use of materials and material textures.
Each backpack features a specially commissioned material finish that blends alien and reptilian textural design. It’s certainly bold and I like the fact that the company is trying something different.
In this review, I’ve taken a look at the 25 Litre Valkyrie camera backpack in Sapphire Blue. This blue material is set off against matt grey suede-like material. Visually it looks great and is certainly a break from the usual dull grey and black backpacks that we’ve come to expect from camera manufacturers.
The Valkyrie camera backpack is available in two sizes; the 25L version and the smaller 20L option. All are available in the three different colour options.
Any way you look at it, Morally Toxic is aiming these bags at those photographers who want a camera bag that’s a little bit different, and at first look, they have certainly succeeded at that.
Build and Handling
Looking at the finish, which, will have love or hate appeal, it’s apparent just how much work has gone into the material selection. Checking over the seams and meetings of materials shows how much thought has gone into the design process.
The first design feature of note are the materials that Morally Toxic has specially commissioned. Colour is one thing, but the texture, a mix of alien and reptilian, gives the bags an instant unique look.
The Sapphire (Blue), in the case of our review model, really stands out, although the sapphire brightness does seem to be a little toned down. That sapphire is mixed with a matt grey material, and the contrast of the two materials works well aesthetically.
Further enhancing the look is the wave-cut style large front pocket with plenty of room and organisation slots for pens, phones, chargers, note pads and all sorts.
Under the pocket are two straps with hooks that have been designed to hold a tripod. The 3LT Albert 2.0 fits in here perfectly, and once in place, it all feels very well balanced when carried.
Behind this large pocket on the left is the laptop slot; this is again well padded with an additional insert and enough room to fit a 16-inch MacBook Pro, although really only designed for a 15-inch.
On the left side of the backpack are two good sized pockets for batteries, memory cards etc. Again these are well laid out with a slot section on one side and zipped on the other.
On the right side of the pack are an elasticated lattice and a large elasticated bottle pocket. The lattice is great addition and gives you another option over the straps at the base, if the bag holding a tripod. There’s also a small elastic loop that can be pulled from the side of the bag to ensure that the legs stay together.
A standard bike water bottle will fit in the pocket with a bit of wiggling but is far better suited to the size of a Chilli bottle.
Flip the pack over and near the base is the usual back pad; however, this pad gives you access to the bag’s Frog Pocket (Wet/Dry section).
This pocket features a waterproof liner, so you can either keep your wet gear in here away from the rest of your kit or if you have something that you must keep dry, then this could go in here depending on your circumstances. Although being a camera bag keeping your camera kit dry I think would be of paramount importance.
Looking at the back of the pack and the padding has all been well thought out and positioned. Most importantly, a good level of padding on the straps should make them comfortable to carry when fully loaded.
At the top of the pack is a sturdy carry handle. This is something that I like as it’s handy for when stashing your pack in a flight or train locker.
All the openings are secured with high-quality YKK zips, which are very neatly machined into the material that should ensure a good level of weatherproofing.
In the bag are also optional chest and waist straps to help take the extra load when needed.
Finally, under the bag, secured by a bit of velcro, is the rain cover. This pulls directly out and very neatly fits over the entire pack.
Inside the Valkyrie camera backpack
The inside of the pack is laid out carefully with seven sections by default to fill with the kit. As inner divides go, they’re about as solid as they come; there’s no fear that a lens will come to damage after being knocked by a body!
As ever, these dividers are held in place by velcro and can be moved around. I hold back from saying easily due to the iron fist like the hold of the velcro.
Essentially this is a good thing, just a pain when you first set the bag-up for your kit. A nice feature of some of the divides is an added velcroed pocket. They seem like a great idea, although I have yet to use them after a month with the bag.
One surprise for the size of the bag is that there’s no side access to the kit. Ok, it’s a backpack, but recently we’ve seen some great backpacks from a range of manufacturers, and side access is one feature that has now become a bit of a staple.
On the front lid are two further slot pockets, ideal for colour charts, notebooks and all sorts of flat things.
Fitting in a Sony A7 III, 24-70 f/2.8, 85mm f/1.4 and 35 f/1.4, and there’s still plenty of room for a Profoto A1x along with filters and a snack or two.
The inner dividers are solid, so after a good 20-minute battle, they’re in the position that I want. I’ve also completely removed the lower section divider to fully expand the frog pocket (Wet/dry cavity).
The backpack is pretty standard out in the field, and it’s a shame there’s no quick side access. However, for the size, it does hold plenty of kit, and popping it down on the floor and unzipping the front panel folds open wide and flat.
As ever with front access backpack if it’s wet, then the back of the pack gets wet when you go to get out kit. You can of course use the waterproof cover as a base to help keep things dry.
I learnt after the second outing that even with the waterproof cover securely attached; this was not a bag to be used in heavy downpours. The materials, while aesthetically pleasing and water resistant in a slight shower are not resilient enough for a full on rain storm.
One of the features that seemed like a great idea when the backpack arrived was the frog pocket. I carry drybags as a matter of course and have done for years. From being stuck on the German, Romanian border in the early 90’s to swimming in panic down croc-infested rivers in Northern Australia, dry bags have saved my kit on more than one occasion. The thought of one built into the backpack is inspired.
Ultimately the Valkyrie camera backpack is a good backpack for the summer and autumn.
Morally Toxic have the power to innovate, but here I feel like they have been slightly reserved. I think the bag looks good and the quality of materials is good with a few nice innovations, but nothing too groundbreaking, this is their first venture into backpacks.
I do like that they have experimented with the materials but feel that there is some weight in the aesthetics over function, especially with the absorbancy of the material.
When it comes to comfort, the backpack feels good even when fully loaded, and there’s plenty of adjustment in the straps.
Morally Toxic have done a great job at producing a functional bag but could work on the accessibility. Side access is a common feature and would have been good here.
The frog pocket is a great idea but should be in addition to a higher level of weather resistance for the rest of the bag.
The Valkyrie camera backpack is a great backpack and a good starting point for Morally Toxic, but more innovation and a bolder statement is needed if they truly want to stand out.