Tenba’s new range of Solstice backpacks are designed for both travel and everyday photography. This 20L version can house one to two mirrorless cameras, DSLRs or a small drone such as the DJI Mavic Pro.
In addition to the camera bodies it can fit four to six lenses up to 70-200mm f/2.8, as well as an iPad Air or tablet measuring up to 10 inches.
The Tenba Solstice 20L version’s external dimensions are 28cm x 48cm x 23cm, and the interior measures 24cm x 47cm x 17cm. It weighs just 1.2kg/2.75lb.
The interior is also completely adjustable, meaning you can use the Velcro dividers to reshape the main compartment to better house your camera and assortment of gear, if needed.
You’ll also find a side pocket and compression strap, which allows you to carry a tripod or monopod on the side of the Solstice.
Finally, the Tenba Solstice offers rear access so you can access your gear quicker without having to put the bag down. Plus, because access to the main compartment is placed against your back, it helps prevent theft.
The Tenba Solstice 20L backpack is priced at £150 and comes with a five-year guarantee. It’s available in blue and black.
Build & Handling
The Tenba Solstice bags are made of robust water-resistant material, and the bottom panel is completely waterproof. All of the zippers and clips feel solid and well made.
Sometimes the zippers on photo backpacks get stuck and you have to force them along, but the Solstice glides open and closed very easily. I could hook my finger through the handy pull attached to the zipper and open the bag in seconds.
Along with the two shoulder straps there is also waist strap that you can adjust and clip in place to centre the weight on your back. The shoulder straps can also be clipped to help centre the weight. All the straps are adequately padded and are comfortable to wear, even when the Solstice is weighed down.
I used the Solstice backpack in a range of conditions, including the rain and mud and its material held up nicely – and is wipeable when dirty.
Another handy addition to the build design is a top compartment where you can stash some of your most frequently used items, or even just a bottle of water. A separate zipper gives you access to this area for quick access, but you can also access this compartment via the opening on your back.
Overall, the design of the Solstice backpack is very well thought through, and the build quality is robust.
I took the Tenba Solstice as my main bag on a business trip to the United States, and it accommodated all of my needs in the time I was away. I was able to store an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, Fuji X-Pro1, GoPro Hero5 Black, GoPro Fusion, Garmin VIRB 360, a couple lenses, a couple small lighting accessories and various cables.
And I still had room. Had I rearranged the dividers differently I could have probably squeezed my Karma Grip into the mix as well, but I suspected I would also be coming home with some new gear as well! The point being: Tenba gives you a lot of flexibility to customise the interior compartment to suit your needs as a photographer.
What’s more, I was also able to squeeze my 13-inch MacBook Air into that iPad pocket on the outside of the bag. There isn’t any padding on this outside pocket, so I was very careful not to let my bag fall over… but then this pocket isn’t designed for MacBooks. However, if you need to squeeze it in, I found that I could.
Also, I found I didn’t need to worry about the Solstice tipping over. Very impressively Tenba has given it a superb centre of gravity with a weighted bottom, and no matter how much gear I loaded it with, the Solstice sits perfectly upright like an obedient dog awaiting a treat.
The tripod pocket is also a nice touch. Many travel backpacks don’t accommodate this – or do it well – but it comfortably held my tripod when I took it on a shoot in Bath, England. You’ll want to use a smaller travel tripod, though. I used the carbon fibre Benro Slim, and hardly noticed it was there. The Solstice really can’t accommodate a large, chunky landscape tripod… but then this is a bag for travel photographers and I wouldn’t expect it to.
Accessing my gear was also a breeze. Mainly what I did is put my go-to gear in the top compartment, which I can reach while the Solstice is on my back. Lenses and other accessories I kept in the main compartment which I could still access without putting the bag down by just sliding it around my body.
The Tenba Solstice is a high-quality bag that you can depend on in a range of situations and conditions. It can store a large amount of gear in its compact body, and a clever design keeps your gear comfortable and safe.
There are a number of travel backpacks for photographers on the market these days, but the Tenba Solstice is one of the best I’ve used. It’s pricey, but it’s quality.