Reviews |Wandrd Fernweh backpack

Wandrd Fernweh backpack Review

As close to perfect a multi-day camera backpack as you can get

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review
Review

Price when reviewed

£341

$466
Check current price

Our Verdict

The Wandrd Fernweh is as close to perfect a bag of this size that I have so far tested. The big issue with the multi-day pack field is that all bags, aside from being big, are excellent.

There are the Vanguard AltaSky 45D and the Shimoda Explore 40, both excellent backpacks. But, the Fernweh beats both. The design, usability and comfort are above and beyond on all fronts.

The Wandrd Fernweh is a phenomenal backpack, and while there may be small personal preferences such as additional internal pockets to keep cards and batteries safe, there’s little to fault here.

If you’re looking for the ultimate multi-day or even day pack with plenty of room, then you can’t go wrong with the Wandrd Fernweh.

For

  • Super comfortable
  • Excellent build quality
  • Large capacity

Against

  • Few small pockets

What is the Wandrd Fernweh?

Multi-day backpacks have been an increasingly popular focus for camera bag manufacturers; they’re big, modular, increasing stylish and always taunted by the coolest of the photographic community.

Having watched the live press launch a few months back, the Wandrd Fernweh seemed to instantly fit the bill. I was sold, on principle at least, to this new camera backpack that was being modelled and explained by a group of individuals who oozed a relaxed and chilled disposition that I can only aspire to.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

This travel-inspired company knew their stuff and the new camera backpack was to my surprise exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t realise I needed a travel camera backpack especially during lockdown, but the Fernwah looked amazing.

At the time of the press launch, I might not have been only able to leave the house other than for a bit of exercise, but with this bag, or at least the thought of it, I could dream of the future.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

I was sold, but as is so often the way with new kit, I had to wait.

As it happened that wait was a few months, and by that time the bright, warm summer days had passed, and it was now cold and wet, although I was free to travel as I wished.

Here it was, the bag that I was so excited about, the one that had inspired dreams of travel. Despite the weather beating down, the difference between now and the bright warm summer days so different, when it came to the bag, it didn’t disappoint – this bag is stunning.

Available in two sizes small/medium and medium/large, both feature near-identical designs.

The bag that arrived with me was the Medium/Large, featuring plenty of capacity for my camera, a few lenses, waterproof groundsheet, Jetboil and enough food to keep me going for a few hours.

It’s Autumn/Winter, so I’m aiming at a long hike rather than an overnight wild camping trip, it’s far too cold and wet for that at the moment.

Specification

  • Size: 66 X 34.9 X 24.1cm
  • Volume : 50L
  • Weight : 2.27Kg
  • Access points : 4
  • Fit adjustments : 6
  • Modular design: Yes
  • Luggage pass through: Yes

Features

As with many backpacks of this type the Fernweh is modular, it arrives as the main backpack with either the small/medium or medium/large frame and a choice of inserts or cubes.

Our review sample arrived with the camera cube, but there’s a huge selection of different options to choose from, all listed on the site.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

Once you’ve selected the Cube that’s right for you, for me that’s the Camera Cube that arrived for review, they can be attached to the inside of the bag.

I have to say having taken a look at several of these bags now, the design and quality of this bag absolutely stands out. The camera cube, which is large enough for a couple of Sony A7 bodies and a selection of four or five lenses is all well-padded, rigid and does the job.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

Once the Cube is inserted and it’s lid folded over on itself the insert can then be secured by velcro straps. It’s all snug and well-fitting.

Once in place, you can then opt to have side access, as well as rear access. The Cube fills about half of the main cavity of the bag, so once the back is zipped up you can then use the side access to quickly get to your camera. Alternatively, you can go through the rear to access to get to all of your kit.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

The back access flap also has a laptop slot which fits a 15-inch MacBook Pro snuggly. There’s thankfully plenty of padding so the bag will keep everything nicely protected.

The other half of the bag is the multi-day section; this can be accessed using the top zips and flips open to reveal a large cavity that has plenty of room for the overnight kit.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

Wandrd has thought about the different ways that kit and contents can be accessed, and depending on the position of the zips, it alters the way you use and access the bag. It’s very clever, but only works due to the solid nature of the bag and that quality of design.

One feature that I like, although I won’t use it until the summer is the clamshell opening on the front. This has been designed to hold a water reservoir, and there are loops and straps to hold things in place. Handily Wandrd has included a diagram of the routing for the water pipe!

On one side is a zipped expandable pocket, again a really useful feature and one the designers have thought sensibly about. Unlike other bags of this tyle the position of the straps and securing loops for attaching tents, sleeping bags etc have been well-positioned.

Of course, with a bag of this size weight can be a real issue, but take a look at the pictures, and you’ll see the amount of work that has gone into the strapping.

Put this backpack on, and the comfort is instant, this is by far one of the most comfortable backpacks I have ever come across. Part of the reason for this is the multi-point adjustment system that enables you to fine-tune the fit to your body.

These adjustments included torso, chest, shoulder, waist load and size. Finishing off this comfort is a carefully thought out airflow system that will help to keep you back dry in hotter conditions. Not something that I have to worry about too much at the moment unless you count the amount of rain that seems to have soaked me on countless occasions.

Finally, as with any multi-day or for that matter any camera bag, there’s the luggage pass-through, so you can take the weight off your shoulders and slot the entire bag onto a standard luggage trolly. Definitely an essential.

Build and Handling

From the outset, the quality of materials and manufacture stand out. The mix of tough slightly rubberised and rip fast fabrics give the bag a sense of longevity and backup the outdoorsy, adventurous vibe that Wandrd likes to give their bags.

That toughness of materials means that for the first couple of weeks, the design of the bag needs to settle into itself. Materials need to ease up, and zips and fasteners need to find their way.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

For the first few trips, the zips into the upper section were fiddly to reclose when the top was fully open, but after a few battles, the material found it’s placed, and that zipping became easier and then natural.

Likewise, the bags fit takes a good couple of weeks to settle down. There’s plenty of adjustment to get the fit right, and then once you’ve positioned the back length correctly and adjusted the straps, it all starts to fit more and more snuggly.

At present, just a month into the test, and the bag is settling down. The volume of foam padding needs to compress and find it’s shaping against your body, and this does take time.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

The upshot of all this fitting and settling is that the Fernwah is a comfortable bag from the outset, but then it gets more comfortable until it fits you and probably only you, like a fountain pen if you’re that way inclined.

During this test, the weather was firstly warm and wet and then cold and wet. In either warm or cold conditions, the wet was a consistent and running theme and one that the bag weathered with ease.

The exterior fabric repelled water and the design of the flaps, covers and zips further helped to prevent water ingress.

When it comes to build and quality, this bag is well up there.

Performance

On first unpacking the Fernweh with the camera cube, setting up and packing it with kit, all took time to work out fully. Firstly the Cube has to have it’s top open and folded under the back before being fitted, likewise with the side if you want side access.

Once you’ve solved the configuration of the Cube, it’s then time to fit, and again it takes a while to figure out where everything goes. However, once done, everything is snug and positioned perfectly.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

The side access is well designed, and once inserted correctly, it enables fast access to your camera without needing to remove the pack fully.

Once loaded the backpack will also sit neatly upright when placed on the ground, no toppling over which for some reason seems to be a common issue with these larger bags.

When you want to gain rear access, you unzip and the back door opens out fully, there’s no gathering of the sides, it’s just well designed.

In use with a camera and a few extra clothes and food packed, I tested the bag out on quite a few shoots, as well as long hikes. The bag’s comfort was the stand out feature with the large waist strap helping to take the load and lighten the strain on my shoulders.

Wandrd Fernweh backpack review

Likewise, access to my camera was easy enough using a sling-like technique to access the side panel and ultimately, my camera.

As with many of these bags, my only slight quibble is that unless the day pack section is packed with kit, the bag loses its aesthetic form. This does nothing to affect the actual performance or quality of the bag; it’s just a looks thing.

Other aspects that grabbed me were the decent-sized expandable pocket on the side. This fitted smaller tripods, and I mean smaller, or a larger water container.

For the most part, the bag is phenomenal, plenty of space, comfortable and exceptionally well designed. It looks great too.

My only quibbles are that the large top access cavity section is large, and a bit of a void so stuff can get easily lost inside. But, then this is pretty much unavoidable due to the modular design that enables you to put additional cubes into the lower section.

The other point is pockets, these larger bags other than the Vanguard AltaSky 45D tend to forget small pockets. They’re essential, just small ones to place a passport, memory card wallet or spare battery, small but useful.

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