Firstly, I love the look of this compact backpack; second, the USB thing is a bit of a gimmick, but I hate to say it is quite useful. When it comes to holding kit, this camera backpack is something of a tardis, holding a Sony A7 III with 70-200mm f/4 fitted, 35mm, 100mm and ProFoto A1X. I also threw in an old PNY battery pack, iPhone and Sony A7 charging cable and then left it at that. Laden with a kit, the R48 Adapter proved comfortable, and in use, it became apparent that this is a true photography backpack and not one that tried to cover all bases. Saying that, the VEO R48 Adapter has plenty of flexibility over the way you use it, and ultimately it’s a camera backpack that’s hard to fault.
Rear access is not as easy as some
What is the Vanguard VEO R48 Adapter?
The Vanguard VEO R48 Adapter is a camera backpack designed for everyday photo use. When it arrives, the inner dividers are styled for use as a purebred camera backpack with back and top access to your kit.
But then, with a name like Adapter, there is more to it. The inner dividers can be revealed to adapt to your style of shooting or use; simply block off the top, and you have a cavity for your personal effects, and the rest of the backpack is there to hold your kit securely.
But that’s not why this bag is called the Adapter; that name is all due to the USB cable that sits inside the bag and feeds through a slot to the exterior. The idea is to connect a battery pack inside and then have access to USB power outside the bag to charge your phone, camera or any other USB chargeable device. It’s a neat idea and one that we’re starting to see more often.
I opted for a forest walk to see if I could capture a few images of deer in the morning mist. As it happened, I didn’t, but the weather was good, and despite overloading the backpack with the kit, it remained comfortable for the three-hour hike with the dog.
Loaded in first was the Sony A7 III with 70-200mm fitted, then a 100mm macro and 35mm f/1.4 for good measure. Alongside this, I popped in a few other accessories and slipped in a filter and kindle into the front slip pocket, Chilli water bottle and travel mug into the other side. If you want to carry a tripod, this can be strapped to the front with a strap at the top and a tripod pocket at the base to hold it securely.
When it comes to the initial layout of the internal dividers, Vanguard has positioned these for carrying camera kit rather than camera kit and personal effects.
Over the three hours, access to the kit through the top of the bag was quick, and there was plenty of adjustment through the shoulder and waist straps to ensure comfort throughout the trip.
Used as a straight camera backpack, there is little to fault; the bag worked well, held the kit and provided easy access when I needed it.
The next test used the bag as a more general-purpose day backpack with a camera kit and a few personal effects.
Here the bag was easy to adapt. The two side pockets are superb at holding additional items and personal effects, but if you need the extra capacity, then you do need to use some of the main bag internal space.
Dividing off the top of the bag is easy enough; just remove one of the velcros divides and pop it across where the lens usually slots in from the top. Then adjust the other dividers inside to make room for the camera and lens choice, no 70-200mm this time, just the 35mm and flash, and it’s set, and there’s still plenty of space for additional equipment if needed.
The newly created cavity at the top is ideal for my lightweight jacket, notepad, and a few other bits.
There was also plenty of room in the bag’s main section for the camera kit, and everything fitted in very neatly and again, there’s plenty of room for a surprising amount of stuff.
There is a laptop/tablet slot on the back, and I managed to fit a 16-inch MacBook into this, but it didn’t feel comfortable. A large tablet, on the other hand-fitted, in perfectly, but it wasn’t mine, and the owner was reluctant to part company with it for any length of time.
Zipping up the back and again, the backpack performed well; the only slight niggle is with no side access; it is a bit of a pain setting the bag down to get to your camera. The shoulder straps’ design also means it’s a little more fiddly to unzip than some, but it’s not a major issue.
The other feature that should be pointed out, one of the main sales features, is the USB port and pocket. Incorporated into the back is a cable and pocket that enables you to slot in a charge pack inside the bag, giving you an external USB socket. It feels like a gimmick but is annoyingly useful.
Overall the VEO R48 Adapter is a very refined camera backpack, and it excels when used out in the field as a true camera backpack. The USB feature is also incredibly useful, especially for charging phones; someone is always bound to be running low. This backpack now lets you offer that phone charging service in remote locations.
I love the look of this bag, and the fact that Vanguard hasn’t tried to adapt this to suit multiple different uses means that it excels at what it’s designed to do. It is a camera backpack, and while a bit of fiddling with the inner divides does enable you to create a day pack with the top cavity being used for personal effects, that is not the point of this bag.
It’s designed to support you when you’re out trekking, the exterior provides plenty of weather protection without a cover, and if the heavens do open, then there’s a waterproof cover inside.
The shoulder straps are all well-padded, as is the back, making it incredibly comfortable. This is a true camera backpack, not one that tried to be fashionable and adaptive to town and country.
This is one of the best camera backpacks out there and would be a good first purchase to start 2022.
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