Wotancraft Ryker Review
The Wotancraft Ryker is stylish, versatile and beautifully crafted. But is it the ideal messenger bag for your camera gear? Read our review to find out...
By Tommy Williams
Your camera bag should be the least of your concerns while out in the field.
You want something uncomplicated, yet functional enough that it won’t fail you. You might also want something that doesn’t stand out as an obvious camera bag – maybe you want to avoid security risks or avoid drawing attention to yourself.
This is where a brand like Wotancraft succeeds.
For the last 10 years, they’ve been creating stylish leather and Cordura products that maintain a high level of precision and craftsmanship – from watch bands to backpacks and, of course, the beautiful Ryker messenger bags.
These bags are perfectly suited to the discerning street photographer who wants to remain under the radar; a chameleon type that can blend into their surroundings to get the perfect candid shot, or get right in among the street scene they’re capturing.
Designed with the style-conscious in mind, the Wotancraft Ryker is a true multipurpose bag. You can easily carry your camera gear one day, take it to the office the next, and even use it for a casual day out with friends on the weekend.
Wotancraft Ryker Specs
- The build quality and materials
- The subtle yet classy style
- The fact that it doesn’t look like the typical camera bag
- 3-year warranty on repairs if the bag is used as intended
- Quite expensive
- Lacking internal pockets to store or arrange smaller items
24 x 8.5 x 14 cm (9.4″ x 3.3″ x 5.5″ in)
Able to fit 2 Leica M Bodies + 2 Lenses
Front Zipper Pocket
24 x 3 x 12 cm (9.4″ x 1″ x 4.7″ in)
Able to fit wallets, keys, passports, boarding passes, etc.
Zipperless Front Pocket
24 x 12 cm (9.4″ x 4.7″ in)
Able to fit a FIELD NOTES ® memo
± 1.2 kg (2.6lb)
27 x 10 x 19 cm (10.6″ x 3.9″ x 7.5″ in)
Able to hold 2 Leica M Bodies + 3 Lenses or 1 Leica SL Body + 1 Lens
Front iPad Pocket
27 x 18.5 cm (10.6″ x 7.3″ in)
Able to fit an iPad (link to iPad dimension comparison)
Front Zipper Pocket
27 x 3 x 14 cm (10.6″ x 1″ x 5.5″ in)
Able to fit wallets, keys, passports, boarding passes, etc.
27 x 13 cm (10.6″ x 5.1″ in)
Able to fit a FIELD NOTES ® memo
Luggage Handle Slot Width
23 cm (9″ in)
Able to be used as a pocket (23 x 13 cm)/(9″ x 5.1″ in)
± 1.6 kg (3.5lb)
2-Tone Brown Leather with Subtle Surface Sheen
Reinforced Bonding Nylon 66 Stitching
Medical Grade Durable Micro Fiber Fabric, Velcro Compatible, No torn frizzy surfaces like common Velcro loop fabrics
Distressed, High Integrity Zink Alloy & Brass Metal Accessories
High Density EVA Shock Absorbent Foam Padding (Bag & Dividers)
Latex padding (for shoulder pad)
YKK METALUXE ® Fin type zippers, lightweight, smooth operation, with a metallic shine
1x Detachable shoulder strap (with shoulder pad)
S: 3x Small dividers
M: 2x Large dividers + 2x Small dividers
1x Cotton dustproof bag
Build & Appearance
From the very get-go, the quality of the craftsmanship is hard to miss. This is no ordinary camera bag.
The precision, texture and high-quality leather are immediately noticeable. The Ryker is clearly the result of a long and laboured build.
The stitching is precise, straight and strong. These bags are built to last, much like the WWII era Swiss army equipment that inspired Wotancraft’s line of leather goods.
The Wotancraft Ryker is available in two sizes and two main colour options: a small and a medium size, and a beautiful caramel brown or a classic black, each combined with coffee brown details.
Both of them look and feel wonderful. The soft, smooth leather exudes elegance and class. They feel expensive (because they are) and high quality (also because they are).
If you weren’t already aware that they were camera bags, you wouldn’t know.
They’re a durable, vintage military-style product, ready to take on the world.
If you’re out in the gritty streets the Ryker is a great companion for lugging your things around, and you can trust it to withstand the challenges you put it through. Just be aware that it’s not completely waterproof, so you’ll need to follow basic leather maintenance routines to ensure it lasts as long as intended.
Over time, the vegetable-tanned pebble-grained leather will go through a natural progression of wear and tear, with fading and marks that mean it’s forever changing as you use it. This just adds to the charm as it will transform into your own unique bag, never exactly the same as the next Ryker!
The leather is thick and weighty, and in no way does it feel cheap like many budget options out there. There is a level of rawness and ruggedness to it – it feels authentic and genuine.
Wotancraft are continually staying true to the reputation that they’ve developed over the years.
The Wotancraft Ryker series of bags are simple and tasteful in their design. They’re equipped with a dual lid system: one larger lid covers the top and front of the bag, and a smaller inner lid beneath with a zipper helps to protect what’s inside.
The larger outer lid also contains magnets to keep it closed while on the move. When the inner lid is open, the inner lining will also stand between the zipper teeth and interior contents to help prevent items being scuffed. It’s the little details that count!
The main strap is a long, adjustable leather strap containing classic-looking high-integrity zinc alloy and brass metal buckles and a latex foam shoulder pad to help spread and support the weight of the bag.
Both size variations contain a front thin pocket that runs the full width of the bag for easy access to smaller items such as field notes, a phone, lens filters, etc. Also included is a zipper front pocket for securely storing other items separate from the main compartment.
The Wotancraft Ryker M also has another pouch in between the front and main compartment which is large enough to fit a tablet device such as an iPad, Galaxy Tab, or a 10” Surface Go Tablet. I haven’t tested these products in the bag myself, but based on the advertised size of the iPad range, it should fit upwards of an iPad Air, but not an iPad Pro.
On the back of the Ryker M you’ll also find a dual zipper luggage handle sleeve that can double as another discreet back pocket if the lower zip remains closed.
You can equip the bag with an optional Ryker Grab Handle (as pictured) that is easily attachable using their included clips. I highly recommend it as it allows you to hand-carry the bag, and whenever the bag is placed down this is a much easier way to pick it up.
There are no other handles other than the main strap.
The interior of the bag is a velveteen-covered high-density EVA padded lining in a rich maroon that contrasts beautifully with the outer colouring. It’s a medical grade durable microfibre that is velcro compatible without fraying or frizzing as you use it.
The bags come bundled with a number of interior dividers in two different sizes which you can arrange in any number of ways that you require.
As an optional extra, you can purchase a pair of smaller dividers which can be used as a lens pillow. This is great for supporting longer lenses on an offset body, and it’s what I use to support my longer lens on my Sony A7 III.
Wotancraft have also created a small round lens stacking divider as well, which can double as a protective cover when you don’t have a lens cap.
Unfortunately, neither of the bags comes with small pockets designed into the bag for things such as pens or memory cards, but you can modify your order with Wotancraft’s “Velcro Interior Modules”. These can be attached to the walls of the main pocket.
I found that these can be applied to one side of each removable divider, and even inside the smaller front pocket. However, Wotancraft suggest otherwise – perhaps because the velveteen material might get damaged from continual application and removal of these modules.
The Velcro Interior Modules come in an array of sizes and types (also available in leather):
- Battery and SD Card Fastener Module which I’ve fitted with a battery, DJI Osmo Pocket, and 3 x SD cards including one in a case to show that it’ll all fit.
- Hidden Zipper Pocket Module which can hold a variety of items such as sunglasses, car keys, batteries, cables, phones, or anything else you want to keep contained in one place.
- Lens Cap Holder / Utility Fastener Module (S) which, as you can gather from the name, is a handy spot to hold your lens cap, or hold anything else in place.
- Zipperless Pocket Module which is handy for keeping cables, memory cards, propellers, or anything else in place.
- 2pcs Card Holder Module, which, as the name states, will hold your cards if you don’t have a wallet.
Surprisingly, these bags hold much more than I initially expected. Whether you’re headed out to roam the streets, covering a wedding, or hitting up the skies with your drone, you’ll manage well with either of the bags.
Which size you choose is up to the amount of gear you need to carry! There’s a fair amount of difference in capacity between the two.
The Wotancraft Ryker is traditionally aimed towards the Leica shooter, however they’re not exclusively for use with those systems. They also work wonderfully with anything else.
The Ryker S fits the light day packer – its small size is rather unassuming and you’ll be surprised how much can actually fit in it.
For street photography, you’ll fit your smaller mirrorless cameras into it with ease, along with whatever other light inventory you may require.
It was also very well suited for my DJI Mavic Pro kit, including two spare batteries, the controller, lens filters, and a phone.
If you shoot with a Sony A7 series, Canon RP, Fuji XT-3, or Leica M series, you’ll find that the Ryker S is perfectly suited to those.
Depending on the lens size, you can keep them attached too. As an example, my Sony A7 III with Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 fills up the bag without being detached, but I won’t fit much else in.
The Ryker M is perfectly capable of fitting a full-size Canon 5D MK III and Speedlite, batteries, lens filters, tablet, and a few other extra goodies spread throughout the pockets.
If I pack the drone into the Wotancraft Ryker M I can easily fit a wide array of extra accessories and goodies to support a top day out wandering the streets and shooting from the air!
It’s a fantastic companion to my Sony A7 III as well: everything I own for that system, including a spare lens, fits in this bag. Not to mention that I can also throw my phone, wallet, cables, and more into the other pockets.
It’s great for everyday use too, as you can fit a large number of items inside it – like headphones, battery packs, a small umbrella, sunglasses, and whatever else you may need for the day.
Pairing the Wotancraft Ryker with the optional Velcro Interior Modules helps to arrange all the extra little accessories we’re bound to require. This also boosts the capacity of what you can carry without you having to worry about things going for a walkabout in the bag!
That said, they can get in the way at times depending on what they’re used for and the gear you’re packing.
Ease of Use/Comfort
This bag is simplistic and beautiful, easy to use and rather comfortable to carry. There is nothing complicated about it, nothing fiddly and nothing to put you off. The Wotancraft Ryker is a purposeful and straightforward bag.
The latex foam shoulder pad is comfortable to wear and long enough to carry cross-body or on one shoulder. The strap is placed well and holds quite sturdy against your side – you won’t have any worries about it tipping or spilling while you’re wearing it.
The zippers come fitted with a small leather grab to allow for easy seamless use, and they don’t tend to snag either. Paired with the soft touch materials, it’s quite a pleasant bag to use.
Value for Money
The Wotancraft Ryker series of bags are by no means cheap.
No doubt many will not be able to justify the price. But for those who can, I’m sure they’ll be very pleased with the quality and high-end craftsmanship that they’ll find in these bags.
They’re built to last and built to withstand heavy constant use.
Wotancraft also offer a 3-year guarantee which provides you with free repairs or replacement if the bag fails in any way during normal intended use. That is valuable in itself!
Wotancraft Ryker Review | Final Words
There are many situations where having an obvious camera bag can draw negative attention. Screaming to the world “I contain thousands of dollars’ worth of camera gear” can be a security risk.
When you want to focus on capturing that perfect moment, you don’t want to have to worry about your bag.
Another benefit is that you can reuse it for other purposes, since its so stylish and unassuming.
The Wotancraft Ryker is very simple in its design, yet there has been a lot of time taken to perfect its every detail. Conditions can change rapidly in the field or on the street, and you will want to have a bag which can withstand whatever it’s put through.
The Wotancraft Ryker series of bags are beautiful examples of what a company can produce when they stick to their mission and continue to improve upon a successful product.
When a brand doesn’t settle on a “we’ve done well, let’s not touch it again” mentality, great things happen. Is this the best camera messenger bag of the year? What do you think?
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