Most photographers have invested in several camera bags over their career. Often, you need something that can hold everything including the kitchen sink, but other times, you might want something a bit more stylish and compact. Today, I check out one of the most compact yet stylish bags I've ever reviewed: the Wotancraft Sniper Backpack.
If you follow Fstoppers at all, you probably know that Lee and I often have to travel with a whole host of gear. Whether it be 2-3 camera bodies, a handful of lenses, backup batteries, microphones, LED lights for video or strobes for photos, tripods, or a whole laundry list of other heavy and clunky gear, our main camera bag is usually pretty bulky and anything but stylish. That's okay when you are hitting the road for days and need to guarantee you have every piece of gear you might need. But what if you are just shooting a small local job and want your bag to be as stylish as you? Sometimes, it is nice to have a few different bags to fit the occasion.
As described in the video above, I often like to pack a much smaller bag that I can use for both photo and video projects I book in my local town. Many photographers might think that shooting video and photos would require a lot more gear, but now that small mirrorless cameras can produce professional content in both mediums, it's easier than ever to offer you clients the assets they need with minimal gear.
Wotancraft is a boutique camera bag company that offers something few other bags offer: rugged functionality with a stylish design. Recently, they sent me their soon to be released Sniper bag to test out, and I have to say, it is unlike any of the other bags I've ever used or owned.
The first thing that stood out to me when I first saw the Sniper bag was that it is half the size of most other camera backpacks. Most other bags are rather bulky and completely cover your entire back, but the Sniper bag feels more like a hiking bag that rests comfortably on your shoulders. Because this bag is so narrow, it makes it a lot more sleek and casual to carry where other bags often feel like you are schlepping a small studio worth of gear. Of course, there is a time and place for a larger backpack, but I was pleasantly surprised how light and small the bag felt the first time I picked it up.
The second most notable element of the Wotancraft Sniper backpack is its fashion-forward styling. Unlike other bags that are either pretty bland or extravagant with their styling, the Sniper has a rustic military surplus look. The entire bag is made of waxed nylon that not only gives it a durable feel, but it also makes the entire bag very resistant to water. The straps and bottom of the bag are crafted with rustic distressed leather, which gives the bag a tough, masculine feel that many photographers are sure to love.
There are other unique design elements of the bag, such as magnetic flaps that keep the overall bag nice and tidy. The zippers all seem very well built, and I've been told that the leather and waxed nylon will age nicely, much like an expensive leather couch or jacket. The inside of the bag is lined with medical grade Velcro so you can easily build out different chambered cavities for every specific piece of gear you want to pack. Overall, this bag feels like a camera bag, yet doesn't scream "camera bag" to everyone around you.
The Modular System
Most bags these days are designed to work within a brand's entire ecosystem, and the Wotancraft Sniper backpack is no different. Wotancraft has a whole host of accessories you can use with their bags, but probably the most expansive set of add-ons can be found in their modular system. If you want to organize everything from your spare batteries, memory cards, cables, lens caps, and other accessories, Wotancraft has you covered. Each of their modular accessories mount directly to the inside of the bag with Velcro, which allows you to not only customize the bag as it fits your needs, but they also keep every piece of gear organized and separated. If having flexibility is important to you, this is definitely something you will want to check out.
My goal for packing this bag was to include gear that can be used for both photography and videography. Because the Sniper backpack is about half the size of some of the larger bags I own, it was perfect for my Panasonic GH5 camera and 14-140mm zoom lens. The bag can be arranged so that your mirrorless camera is packed directly under the main flap on the top of the bag. This gives you quick access to your camera without having to open the entire bag.
Unlike other bags, the Sniper backpack has a side opening that gives you easy access to everything deep inside the bag. Unlike bags that open from the front or the back, this side compartment design allows you to quickly grab contents without having to set the bag down. Inside this main chamber, I was able to fit a Profoto B10 led/strobe light, the Profoto TTL Air Remote, a set of Sennheiser G4 microphones, a Nikkor prime lens with micro 4/3rds adapter, my Olympus wide angle lens, and a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones. I was pretty shocked at how much fit in the bag considering the Sniper's slim design, and I had most of the necessary tools I'd need to film a short video project or take a simple flash portrait.
Like many of Wotancraft's hand made bags, the Sniper backpack also has a side pouch that fits a small-to-medium tripod. When packing light, my favorite travel tripod is the Benro TSL08AN00, which easily attached to the side of the bag.
I rounded out the rest of my video/photo kit with an Fstoppers Flash Disc light modifier, a few neutral density filters, some spare memory cards and GH5 batteries, and an external hard drive in the event that I needed to send or receive files. All of these final pieces of kit fit easily in two of the external pockets found on the top and front of the bag.
The Wotancraft Sniper is definitely a great backpack to consider if having a small yet robust bag is needed for your gear. However, this stylish handmade bag comes at a cost, and a hefty cost at that. The soon-to-be released Sniper backpack retails for $429 and is one of the most expensive bags I have ever used. That's not to say this bag isn't worth the price, but it is definitely going to cater towards a specific market at this price point. I must say, while doing some research on YouTube to see what other people thought of Wotancraft's other bag offerings, the overwhelming majority of photographers thought their Wotancraft bag was the best bag they had ever used or reviewed, which says a lot in terms of quality and satisfaction at this high price point.
Wotancraft also offers free shipping worldwide as well as a seven-day return policy. Since these luxury bags aren't carried in most camera stores, it's nice to know that you can try one out and get a full refund if you find that a specific bag doesn't fit your needs.
Here at Fstoppers, we have tested and used a massive amount of camera bags over the years. Finding the perfect camera bag for your specific needs can be a daunting task, and the truth of the matter is, more than likely, you will probably find that it's incredibly helpful having a few different types of bags for different applications. The hunt for the perfect bag can be a never-ending pursuit, but if having a fashionable camera bag that is both compact and extremely durable is important to you, you may want to consider the Sniper bag from Wotancraft. It's definitely not going to hold everything you own, but if you are looking for something to carry a smaller kit while still looking stylish, this might be the prefect bag for you!