Toxic Valkyrie Camera Backpack Review
Built for the rigours of professional photography and made from premium Jacquard fabrics, the Valkyrie is a luxurious camera backpack with a rebellious edge.
After having mastered the world of products that only contain 3 legs, the team over at 3 Legged Thing decided to venture into the world of camera bags, forming Toxic.
A relatively new brand with a creatively minded team hailing from a tiny little village on a small remote island known as England, famous for cups of tea, fish and chips and bad weather!
Diving headfirst into the expansive world of carry solutions, Toxic are giving the Photography world the shakeup that’s needed – but in a way that is still very practical.
Not just simply splashing some colourful pattern on a committee designed camera bag, they’ve set out to innovate and move things forwards at the same time.
Durable, comfortable and well-designed - a radically different camera backpack that looks and functions like no other.
Being very well aware of expectations and needs, but also being masters of innovation, Toxic have developed a bag range that takes a firm stance against the run of the mill corporate designed bags that flood the market.
It seems they’re all about doing something different, having some fun, but still fulfilling the specific needs of professional and hobbyist photographers alike.
The Toxic Valkyrie Camera Backpack is currently available in 2 sizes; a Medium 20L and a Large 25L option.
Within this article I’ll be exploring the Large (25L) variant, so continue on through to see more detail!
Toxic Valkyrie Camera Backpack Specs
- Lots of clever pockets and pouches
- Very solid and durable construction
- Looks rad and has heaps of customisation
- Rigid and sturdy dividers with additional pockets
- Very comfortable for long term use
- Weather-resistant construction
- Confusing zipper placements on the outer body
- Outside pockets get very tight with two layers of bulky items
- Would be good if the main compartment had YKK Aquaguard zippers too
External Dimensions: 44 x 33 x 19cm (17.3″ x 13″ x 7.5 “)
Internal Dimensions: 42 x 28 x 12cm (16.5″ x 11″ x 4.7 “)
Weight: 1.6kg (3.5 lbs)
External Dimensions: 48 x 33 x 21cm (18.9″ x 13″ x 8.3“)
Internal Dimensions: 45 x 29 x 12cm (17.7″ x 11.4″ x 4.7“)
Weight: 1.8kg (3.97lbs)
– Detachable Memory Card Wallet
– Built-in Stow-away Rainfly
– Built-in Stow-away Tripod Carry Straps
– Detachable Padded Waist Straps
– Detachable Sternum Strap
– Full Divider (with pockets!) Set
- Available in 3 Colours: Emerald, Onyx and Sapphire
- Large enough for DSLRs
- Water-Resistant build with Unique Jacquard Fabric and YKK Zippers
- Removable Dividers with Pockets Attached
- External Stowable Cargo Straps
- Contoured Padded Shoulder Straps
- Removeable Sternum Strap and Padded Waist Belt
- Heaps of Organization Pockets (Internal, External & Hidden)
- Detachable Memory Card Wallet
- Mesh Bottle Pocket with Elastic Cord Panel
- Separate Laptop & Tablet Pocket
- Easy Access Separate Dry Pocket for Wet Clothes (Frog Pocket)
- Built in Removable Rain Cover
Build & Appearance
This is a camera backpack that makes a statement right from the very moment you see it. Standing out from the crowd with the unique patterning and suede, the Valkyrie Backpack is definitely not what you’d expect a camera bag to look like.
Designed from the ground up by a team that is definitely from a different world, the Valkyrie is jam-packed with creative packing solutions and built from strong, durable, and high-end materials.
It even features a unique water-resistant Jacquard made with a tri-weave pattern that displays a 1929 ordinance map of the town in which the Toxic hail from – Stagsden (England).
Available in 3 colours (Onyx, Emerald, and Sapphire), constructed with water-resistant materials (and a storm cover in the base), and fitted with two types of YKK Zippers (including Aquaguard for weather protection) and Duralock hardware, the Valkryie is built for punishment and designed to last.
Take it on tough adventures or trot through the crowds on your commute, the Valkryie is built to be moulded to your lifestyle.
Featuring padding in all the important places and a strong structure to handle your gear, professionals and hobbyists can appreciate and make the most of the Valkyrie.
The pockets can be maximised and utilised in any way you need without the worry of them failing you in the field.
The clan over at Toxic have set out to take a stand against conformity, but are experienced and grounded enough to understand what is needed by both professionals and casual photographers alike.
The end result is a product that will not only withstand the beast within but will handle whatever battle is waiting for it out there.
Toxic made a conscious effort to develop the Valkyrie to be both practical and comfortable. We’re provided with an array of external options for stowing and attaching gear, and the backpack is comfortable enough to be worn by anyone, no matter your shape or size.
The Valkyrie’s padded and contoured shoulder straps contain D-rings and webbing along the surface for attaching accessories, wings at the bottom for added comfort, and a detachable sternum strap for improved stability.
You’ll also receive a padded adjustable waist strap to assist with the weight distribution of heavy loads over a prolonged period of time.
Found also on the main back panel are three thick padded panels providing plenty of comfort and airflow, as well as a hidden stash pocket for small valuables such as your passport, cash, or other important documents, and on the lower side is your wet/dry frog pocket tucked within the largest padded panel.
Placed on one side of the Valkyrie are two zipper pouches which both contain a mesh pocket and a protected zipper pocket – great for use with a USB battery pack, hard drive, earbuds, spare batteries, memory cards, or anything else small you may want to be able to quickly access.
On the opposite side, you’ll find a generously tall bottle pocket and an elastic cord panel for stabilising taller items or attaching extra quick access tools and accessories. While on the top you’ll find the generously sized padded grab handle.
Placed on the front of the Valkyrie below the large front pocket is a pair of built-in exterior cargo straps for external tripod carry with a retaining strap to bind the legs together.
These straps conveniently stow away when not in use through small discrete pouches along the base of the backpack.
Storage! Storage! Storage! This backpack has plenty of storage. My goodness, once you open any external zipper on this backpack you’re faced with plenty of storage options. A pocket here, a pouch there, 7 pockets inside a velcro wallet, a pocket on a divider, and a plethora of pockets inside another pocket!
No need for additional pouches here – you’ll find all the compartments you need dotted around the Valkyrie.
Contained within the front panel are two large zipper pouches, both of which are large enough to fit small tablets or eBooks, and a few other sleeves and pockets for stationery and small devices.
Zip open the next layer of YKK Aquaguard Zippers and you’ll find yourself in the laptop/tablet storage compartment. Containing a mid-layer of padding you can stow two large devices in here together – such as a Macbook or Surface Pro along with an iPad or similar.
I have to admit I couldn’t zip the bag up with both my gaming laptop and iPad together. However, it did fit my 15.6″ Gaming Laptop alone in that pocket, so where they’ve advertised 15″ I was stoked to find that my laptop could still just fit!
Upon opening the large main compartment of the Toxic Valkyrie Backpack, you’ll find a vast assortment of strong and rigid removable dividers, many of which have additional pockets attached to them. This is a wonderful innovation on an already standard inclusion of any camera bag.
I have previously encountered other camera bags which use pockets on dividers, but most only provide the option of storing a lens cap or a filter. The pockets on the Valkyrie’s dividers expand much larger, giving you enough space to jam in bulkier accessories like a USB Battery pack with multiple cables, or even a pair of chunky DJI Mavic Pro batteries.
The main panel contains a few large zipper pockets and a detachable memory card wallet (which is a fantastic idea).
The memory card wallet has 7 slots for cards, and the other zipper pockets are large enough to hold memory card readers, tablets, phones, lens filters, and an array of other items.
The Frog Pocket is only accessible from the outside of the back and gives you a safe area to store wet items away from everything else. It’s multi-purpose, completely weather protected, nicely padded, and very easy to access.
In adverse weather conditions, the Frog Pocket can be an extra-safe spot to keep your camera and valuables too – a nice touch not normally seen on camera backpacks.
Keep in mind though, that whatever you place in here takes away from the main internal compartment. So if you’ve already fully loaded up the inside, you may only be able to fit a pair of muddy socks.
I found I was able to store a lot more than I expected in my 25L Valkyrie! I started by loading in my usual set-up, followed by combining it with my Drone set-up… and then I started searching for more things to add, just because I could!
Being able to store a lot of gear is one thing, but being able to organise the little things is a whole other great addition. Packing cables and small items into the divider pouches or one of the many zipper pockets littered around the Valkyrie certainly helps.
The only problem is that you might forget what is where, but fortunately, the pockets are see-through!
So here’s an exhaustive list of what I’ve jammed into the Valkyrie:
- Sony a7 III
- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (see my review)
- Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE
- A Godox External Flash
- A Godox Transmitter
- 2x HOYA Filters
- A Manfrotto Tripod
- DJI Mavic Pro and two sets of props
- DJI Mavic Pro controller
- 2x DJI Mavic Pro batteries
- DJI Mavic Pro battery charger and cables
- Polar Pro Lens Filters
- DJI Osmo Pocket
- Apple Airpods
- 9″ Samsung Tablet (in the front pocket)
- 15.6″ Slim Gaming Laptop (or 13″ Surface Pro + 10.2″ Apple iPad)
- USB Charger and cables
- SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD
- Plus numerous other small bits and pieces
The Valkyrie also fits DSLR cameras as well, so my Canon 5D MkIII with Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 attached definitely fits without issue, along with additional long lenses, chargers, and even a Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite Flash wouldn’t be a problem.
In short, the Valkyrie can swallow up whatever gear item you throw at it, with everything well organised so you can find and remove things easily.
Ease of Use/Comfort
Toxic made a good effort to develop the Valkyrie to fit and feel comfortable on any person, regardless of their shape and size. Constructing ergonomic and contoured shoulder straps was just one part of this process.
Furthering their goal of providing comfort, Toxic designed a three-way back support system that provides breezy airflow between three large and heavily padded panels and added air mesh for improved heat displacement.
Electing to use YKK zippers is not only a safe idea for longevity, but for ease of use as well. The YKK zippers slide effortlessly along the rails every single time.
Perhaps the only issue I dare say would be the placement of the zippers, as sometimes I find myself opening the laptop compartment instead of the main compartment!
The bag itself isn’t particularly heavy (albeit I’m used to the 2kg Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2), and even loaded up, the Valkyrie feels good upon my back. The weight feels well distributed, and the additional sternum and optional waist strap helps spread the load over extended periods of time.
The large grab handle at the top is easy to find and supports the weight well, without feeling as though it’ll fail. The cargo straps are easy to attach or stow, and the internal dividers are very easy to reconfigure as you need – some might complain of the rigid nature of them, but I appreciate the structured feel.
Depending on what you’re searching for in a camera bag, there are an array of alternative options out there for you.
If you’re looking along the lines of this price range and after something with a premium feel, take a look at brands such as Peak Design, WANDRD, Langly, and Boundary Supply.
Just like Toxic, I consider these brands more along the lines of “small batch/boutique” type brands that produce, unique, high quality and durable products, with a decent range of capacity, features, and options within their ranges.
Where these may differ from Toxic with their aesthetic style, they seem to have a similar mission at heart.
If it’s this particular style of backpack (ie: clamshell and flat access), but you want something a little less expensive, also have a look at the MindShift FirstLight series by ThinkTankPhoto, or any of their other bags for that matter.
If you wish to lower your budget even more so, take a look at Lowepro’s range. They’re one of the most popular consumer brands with a range of backpacks to fit all budgets and needs.
All said, while some other brands may be able to match the Valkyrie in comfort and functionality, none go against the grain so well with their styling. It’s a rebellious luxury backpack that’s completely unique, housing more storage options than anything else I’ve come across.
Value for Money
Toxic have priced the Valkyrie on the higher end of the camera bag range sitting at around the US$300 mark for both the 20 and 25L models, which means that many photographers may be priced out from the very get-go.
However, for that money you do get one hell of a bag! It’s hard to say whether something is truly worth the asking price – that is something that only you and your financial advisor/wife can answer! Photography is not a cheap hobby to begin with, and as with most cases, you have to pay for quality. In this case, you definitely get what you pay for.
Premium high-end and unique, durable materials, heaps of clever storage for all of your items, awesome dividers with the added convenience of built-in pockets – all packaged in to a strong, sturdy, weather-proof and comfortable build. The Valkyrie is an incredible package that will last for years to come and turn heads everywhere you take it.
Travel friendly, adventure friendly, commute friendly, and dog friendly – what more do you need? Feed the beast and step out of normality.
Toxic Valkyrie Camera Backpack Review | Conclusion
The Valkyrie Camera Bag is genuinely a fantastic product and lives up to the standards I would expect from such a dynamic team. Part of Toxic’s mission was to develop a range of products open to all people from every background, culture, size, and shape. I find this absolutely wonderful!
At first glance, I have to admit that I wasn’t keen on the pattern and style of it, but I guess that’s part of the charm – it’s definitely a polarising look.
However, over time I’ve grown more and more fond of the design and now when I look at many of the other bags in my collection, they’re starting to look much blander!
I appreciate the design and style more with each passing day, and now I can honestly say that I love the Valkyrie. I look forward to seeing the next set of carry solutions to come from the creative minds over at Toxic!
Durable, comfortable and well-designed - a radically different camera backpack that looks and functions like no other.