Wandrd DUO Daypack Review
The Wandrd DUO Daypack serves a particular crowd…
Which crowd? Well, there’s a large proportion of photographers that will never take on a full-time career in photography.
Some of us would love to take it on as a career, but the photography market isn’t lucrative enough. As a result, we do our non-photography work during the week and take on our photographer alter egos on weekends.
For others of us, it’s more about appreciating the creative freedom to choose when and how we do our photography.
If someone wants us to take of photo of them naked on a horse holding a dog, we can say no.
Whatever your reason for eschewing a full-time photography career, you probably don’t need to be lugging around tons of gear.
Maybe you’re a laptop user that commutes with a bag every day and only likes to take your camera with you occasionally, or only takes a small body and lens. In cases such as those, this may just be the camera and lens backpack you’ve been waiting for.
The Wandrd DUO Daypack is a laptop bag that allows for occasional camera storage but doesn’t waste the space dedicated for camera storage like many of the bags on the market.
I know what you’re thinking… companies have done that before.
Not like this they haven’t…
Wandrd DUO Daypack Specs
- An everyday laptop bag done well
- Flexible camera/non-camera options
- Quality and construction
- Tripod straps/waist straps/rain cover are an optional extra
- Zips are difficult to unzip one-handed
- Accessing photo area requires moving zips to bottom
- Materials: 840D Jr. Ballistic Nylon with 5pm coating and 1680D Ballistic Nylon. Weather Resistant YKK Zippers.
- Bag Dimensions: 19.5″H X 11.5″W X 6.5″D
- Volume: 20 L
- Weight: 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs)
- Laptop Sleeve Dimensions: 15.5″H X 10.5″W X 1″
- Tablet Sleeve Dimensions: 11″H X 9.5″W X .5″D
- Quick side camera access
- Pop Camera Cube
- 2 padded expansion pockets
- Weather-resistant YKK zippers
- Expandable water bottle/tripod pocket
- Hidden passport/cash pocket
- Cord organizers
Build & Appearance
If you’ve seen a Wandrd bag before, the DUO Daypack is typically Wandrd. It’s made from a rubber-like material similar to what you would see in an inflatable boat.
It has a modern look and feel. It’s not as timeless as leather or canvas, but it won’t date.
In fairness to Wandrd, a daily bag like this is likely to have a five year or less lifespan due to the daily use it would experience, so the longevity of styling is less of an issue.
From a durability perspective, I have had the Wandrd Prvke (which uses the same material) as my daily carry for about nine months. It’s a hard-wearing material that is showing no signs of failing – check out our Wandrd Prvke review for a closer look.
The material does show wear and tear, but it weathers better than most nylon style bags where the material becomes frayed and tattered.
We took a trip to Europe recently, and with a regular supply of review bags available to me, my wife asked to use one of my bags. I gave her the Wandrd DUO Daypack as I thought it would be a good durability test while I took a dedicated camera bag.
If I were going to be polite, I would say my wife has an inability to pack “light”.
She loaded the Wandrd DUO Daypack like it was a hiking backpack three times the size.
I examined the bag on my return, curious to see what level of permanent damage had been bestowed on this unsuspecting victim of my wife’s brutal packing deficiencies.
The bag survived unscathed.
How it did so will remain one of the unsolved mysteries of the world, and is a testament to the durability and hardy construction of the bag.
On the exterior of the bag, you’ll find the usual backpack features like a set of shoulder straps, along with a handle on the top and the side.
Both handles are nice and sturdy, and I can’t see them tearing or failing.
Wandrd has included a luggage pass-through with the Wandrd DUO Daypack which was missing on the Prvke. It’s nicely integrated into the back padding and doesn’t affect the aesthetics of the bag.
This is a welcome addition for those of us who travel. It’s one of my biggest frustrations with many of the backpacks on the market. Camera gear and laptops are heavy, so if there is an opportunity to offset weight while you’re in airports, do it.
Like the Prvke, the DUO Daypack has the felt-lined glasses pocket at the top of your bag. The pocket on this bag does seem much larger than on the Prvke.
The DUO allows for unzipping the sides completely. This opens it right up and gives full access to the interior. It reminds me a little of the way a suit carrier opens up.
In conjunction with this, there is a good-sized front pocket and a hidden passport/wallet pocket behind the luggage pass-through slot.
The water bottle pocket is a nice size and will fit larger bottles.
The stand out feature of the Wandrd DUO Daypack is the fold-away camera cube.
It’s a well-designed cube that allows you to create and remove the space, quickly and easily. It’s the type of concept that you wonder why someone hadn’t thought of it before now.
Wandrd provides velcro dividers so if you need to add a small lens into the bottom compartment, you can. This depends on the size of the lens attached to the camera.
It’s worth noting that the compartment is small and will not fit larger full-frame DSLRs. The Sony A7/A9 series fits snugly, but anything more significant is going to be challenging.
Opening the case up completely gives you access to a large number of pockets and cable organisers. Wandrd has tried to provide users with enough storage that they don’t have to dump their gear in indiscriminately.
While the Wandrd DUO Daypack is more everyday and less camera, Wandrd made the internal pockets large enough to handle lenses so you can load up with extra camera gear on the occasions that you need it.
It’s not going to work with a sizeable full-frame lens, but it will accommodate some of the smaller sizes like 85mm f/1.8.
I really like this idea as I feel this will allow users the opportunity to use it more as a camera bag on the odd occasion where they need it.
That said, if you intend to load it up with a lot of camera gear regularly, I think the Prvke is a better option.
As a part-time camera bag, you’ll find the storage of the DUO dedicated to more everyday, less camera.
This bag is designed with photography as an occasional activity rather than a primary purpose, and the storage reflects this.
This is not a negative. There are hundreds of other bags that work the other way around, and it’s a welcome change to see someone designing for different users.
Set up correctly, you would not know this was a camera bag. You’ll find plenty of room for everyday work items, including a laptop, iPad, cables, chargers, battery pack, and headphones.
In the Wandrd DUO Daypack I could fit:
- MacBook Pro 15
- iPad Pro 12
- Tech bag (external hard drive, adapters etc.)
- Airpod Pro
- A7 III with 24GM attached
- Zeiss Batis 85 f/1.8
- Sony Zeiss 55 f/1.8
- Sony XH1000 headphones
- Waterbottle (not shown)
This isn’t fully loaded, so I’ve left this at what I would consider reasonable packing levels for an everyday bag.
I’m a big fan of having a separate laptop and iPad compartment and Wandrd is one of the few brands I know who do this.
They’re also one of the few brands I know who can accommodate both a 15” MacBook Pro and a 12” iPad.
Ease of Use/Comfort
Ease of use is where the Wandrd DUO excels.
My wife asked me to remove the cube on one of my backpacks previously for a holiday and, ten minutes later, I was wondering whether it was Apple’s non-user replaceable battery team that had designed the removal mechanism.
With the DUO, removing the cube is quick and easy. Just invert the camera cube and remove the divider. Simple.
If I was to pick on anything, it’s a small item that’s about compromises. The zippers are a little stiff, and that means you often need two hands to open it.
Unfortunately, I think it’s a compromise for the waterproofing on the bag.
The straps are wide and well-padded. Wandrd has also provided sternum straps for days you are carrying a little more than normal, but waist straps are an optional extra.
Value for Money
The Wandrd DUO Daypack retails for just over US$200. I think it’s pretty reasonable considering the quality of the bag.
It’s worth noting; if you want to add tripod straps, rainfly cover or waist straps, you’ll have to buy those as add ons.
The tripod straps add $15, the rainfly cover adds $20 and the waist straps add another $20 – so if you buy all three, you will find yourself out of pocket for another $55 bringing the price up to over $250.
Part of me wants them to be included by default, but given the type of bag, not everyone is going to use them.
It also allows those who buy more than one bag to limit their investment, so it’s not a bad strategy.
Wandrd Duo Review | Conclusion
If you’re a part-time photographer that likes to take their camera out and about occasionally, the Wandrd DUO Daypack is probably as good as it gets right now.
This is a bag that fills a gap in the market and one that I think many people have been waiting for.
There are a lot of part-time photographers and amateurs that like taking their camera along occasionally, but don’t want to use a camera bag for daily commuting to work. This fits that use case but also provides some versatility with it.
There are other bags that can be configured for photography and non-photography use cases, but most of them make it more difficult than it needs to be where the Wandrd DUO Daypack doesn’t.
From my perspective, this bag will replace my Wandrd Prvke 21 for daily commuting.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.