I know. It’s another one of those dang camera bag reviews. It’s a bag and it holds a camera, why does there need to be a full on review? Well in this case, because Wotancraft is not a well-known name in the industry and there is not a ton of information out there about their products in comparison to other brands. Their Ranger bag is also really good looking. It’s fashioned after World War II military bags and is completely handmade. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good bag review.
The Wotancraft Ranger is a $499 camera bag. That puts it up in the price range of the expensive leather ONA bags that everyone loves, but always hates the price of. This bag is not all leather though, but is instead a combination of sheep skin leather, cowhide leather, and waxed canvas. Where this bag stands out is the unique WWII styling that I have not seen in any other camera bag. It’s also completely handmade in a small workshop located in Taipei City, Taiwan and has an average of three times the amount of parts compared to an average camera bag.
The bag is specified to hold two pro DSLR bodies and three-four lenses plus accessories. Something to keep in mind though is that two of those lenses will need to be attached to your two camera bodies. I was able to fit a Nikon D750 attached to a 35mm Sigma ART, another Nikon D750 attached to an 85mm Sigma f1.4, Nikon 105mm macro, my beloved Nikon 20mm f1.8, and a multitude of accessories. It’s a tight fit, but it fits.
Inside the bag there are 2 pockets. The first is a small zippered pocket that works well for smaller loose items and the second is a padded pocket that will hold a 13” laptop or a 15” MacBook Air. I don’t normally carry around a laptop when I shoot so this pocket it generally allocated to an assortment of accessories, but I know this is important to a lot of people.
Outside the bag there are two front pockets, and zippered front pocket, and two side pockets for accessories. In addition to this there are adjustable leather “utility straps” that can be used to carry tripods or loose garments.
The entire bag closes up with a zippered lid, followed by a leather flap that’s made of sheepskin. The zippered lid has four magnets sewn into it that allow the lid to be fastened into a folded position in order to give the bag easier access when in use.
What I Like
- I think everyone can already tell that I like the looks. The WWII style is eye catching and unique. It stands out as being different, but also doesn’t stand out to would be thieves as being a camera bag. It’s also built like a tank. Not one piece of the bag feels flimsy or breakable.
- I really like the removable insert. Having such a nice bag quarantined off as only being usable as a camera bag can be frustrating. But with the insert being removable, I can just take the entire thing out without unloading my cameras and lenses and use the bag for whatever I want. I also like that the insert has a door flaps that protects the top of my gear. This makes it so I can store my Moneymaker strap on top of everything without worrying about the buckles and hooks banging into my things.
- I like that I can fit things between the removable insert and the bag. It’s not a designated storage compartment, but I can easily fit a few flashlights, a video light and my flash into the space between the bag and insert.
What I don’t like
- Some of the pockets are too small and border on being useless. The front pockets are not big enough to hold a flash or video light so I have to stick them between the removable insert and bag. I had it as a plus because it’s nice to be able to do, but because some of the pockets don’t hold much in terms of bigger items, I'm forced to use this feature. The pockets on the sides are so small that I struggled finding a use for them. If you try and make something too large fit, then the pocket would be too tight and the button would pop open.
- The buttons on the flap lid. They work fine, but when moving fast it can be a pain to get them snapped shut, especially when the bag is full. So most of the time when I’m running around, the flap just stays loose. This is fine for me, but it would still be nice to be able to quickly lock down the flap.
- The strap padding is stuck to one place. It’s nice and comfortable padding, but when wearing the bag certain ways, it doesn’t lay over my shoulder in the most comfortable spot. It would be nice if I was able to move the padding up or down the strap to accommodate different wearing positions.
- The grab handle is really not usable when the camera bag is open. Since the handle is placed toward the back of the bag, when you pick it up by the handle, the entire bag tilts forward. I can deal with it when I’m being careful, but if done too fast, it could possibly cause some gear to spill out.
Overall this a very solid bag. I have no doubt that it will last as long as I need it too and that it will continue to look better and better with age. The few drawbacks that I find with the bag are minimal in my eyes and nothing that cannot be worked around. You could argue that if you pay $499 for a bag then you shouldn't have to work around anything and it should be perfect. But what it comes down to is that the drawbacks are so minimal for me, that if a new version came out, I wouldn't be jumping for an upgrade.
What camera bag do you use right now? Are you looking to upgrade? What do you have your eyes on?