What do you get when you cross a solo event photographer’s working bag with your favorite business travel backpack that you can also take on a day hike through the Adirondacks to photograph your favorite waterfall? How close are we to having the perfect photographer’s camera bag that ticks each and every box?
Photographers and camera bags; after several years building our kits for our hobby or profession we may have a closet full of padded dividers, and half empty bags that are missing their rain covers left accidentally in the parking lot of Death Valley’s Mesquite Sand Dunes. We’ve found that a bomb proof bag for an afternoon city architecture shoot for our personal enjoyment is simply overboard, and screams photographer to everyone around us while we carry a couple thousand dollars worth of gear. The joy of photographing our surroundings is overshadowed by our lower back pain from carrying our gear through the blocks of towering buildings.
The best bag for everyone simply doesn’t exist, but the options we have are getting us closer than ever before with companies truly listening to our needs and wants, because that company’s direct line to their current and future customers has no filter in the social media age of today. The expansion of crowd funding efforts to bring equipment direct to you has empowered companies that would have never existed a few years ago to be able to aid you in your work and travels at incredible cost savings compared to a camera bag that still misses the mark. Let’s check out, possibly, the next piece of gear in your kit: the OneMo Backpack by PGYTECH.
We’ll start on the outside and move to the interior as we go. First off, I am a function over form type of person when it comes to my equipment and gear. I just want it to work and if it looks good while doing it, then color me impressed, but it’s never my concern when purchasing a piece for my kit. For the PGYTECH OneMo Backpack, that isn’t an issue at all. It has a great contemporary look that’s sleek, and a choice of two color schemes that should appeal to anyone looking for an inconspicuous bag that other photographers or your friends will comment on. I like to blend in when traveling and the OneMo Backpack is what many would expect to see for that laid back traveler that likes a good looking carry-on for his or her clothing and essentials.
The OneMo Backpack is also a medium sized bag that ventures into the larger category at 25 liters in size that has a large expansion compartment on the front of the bag that will increase the total volume to 30 liters. This section is large but minimal with a thick elastic strap to help hold a gimbal or any other items you can stuff in there. The OneMo Backpack also has a separate removable sling bag that has its own expanding storage on top to put your total capacity between both up to 35 liters. When you think that you can’t find more room in the bag you’ve probably forgotten about one of the expansion pouches to put more gear into. When you don’t need the extra room you can just zipper closed the expansion points and keep each of the bags super sleek.
The best way to describe the outer finish of the exterior of the bag would be a “rubberized” water-resistant polyester that deflects water very well. The zippers are reinforced with well designed pulls for easy access, while also being a reverse design to keep any unexpected rain from entering the bag and sealing off the elements from the interior. Little attentions to detail like this are always welcome, but it makes me wonder why other companies don’t think about these issues when creating bags for photographers and their thousands of dollars in equipment.
The OneMo Backpack has three carry handles that are double thick and reinforced for flipping and lifting out of airplane overhead storage or when picking up off the desert floor. If you travel with a rolling bag, PGYTECH includes a strap in the center of the back that is recessed enough to not notice, but perfect to slip over the handle of your second roller bag. The contoured shoulder straps stay relatively wide to the bottom and are ventilated with a medium-thin foam mesh. This same material is used along the back of the backpack to keep you cool, but is ever so slightly thicker creating a semi-rigid backing to the bag that helps to keep your equipment evenly distributed across your entire back. When hiking or walking a lengthier distance with a camera kit, I truly start to dislike a bag that is flimsy when it’s filled with gear. The OneMo has kept me quite happy when walking several hours in the summer heat even when filled to the brim.
One of the biggest features that sticks out to me is one of the smallest, and that’s the zipper security loops designed at the end of each of the zipper pulls for the three secondary outside access compartments. It’s a simple design that should make it more difficult for any would-be thief with sticky fingers if they attempt to access your bag while you’re traveling through train stations or walking in large metropolitan areas. The outside of the bag has multiple options for storing one or more tripods with included interchangeable straps that hook on the top or the front of the backpack to keep your professional sized equipment or drone secure yet easily accessible. Additionally, there’s a magnetic pocket along the bottom front of the bag to store those straps and four additional top opening compartments along the back padding for small, thin items that you may want quick access to or to store the OneMo shoulder straps.
Rounding out the features on the outside of the OneMo Backpack is the rubberized flat bottom of the backpack so it stands upright when placed on the ground, and hidden in a compartment on the bottom of the bag is a water proof cover for the outside of the backpack. There is a similar material for the open top pockets just under the shoulder straps that can be pulled over the top of the backside pockets to avoid water running into the pockets if in a downpour. I personally find these types of rain covers lacking as any water running down your back will just saturate a camera bag, but from the padded back side instead. Unless the rain cover essentially seals the bag, you can just toss any of these types of rain covers and purchase a poncho. When it begins raining, put the backpack on and then pull the poncho over you and your backpack. You won’t sweat as bad as wearing a rain jacket and you and your camera bag stays completely out of the rain.
Getting into the interior of the OneMo Backpack, the main access to the interior of the bag is from the back panel, which is preferred for security when traveling or traversing areas that are known for camera theft. This main compartment access lets you see everything that’s in the main padded gear area with the customizable dividers to fit your specific kit formula. These newer style of dividers allow you to create additional division in the backpack by their “origami-type" folding and creating padded spacing above other items, which is how I cram a ton of gear into my other travel bags currently, though these newer type of dividers are much better. You’ll notice that the back is already segmented into two partitions with an upper and lower section. This very sturdy divider can have the hook and loop separated and then the divider laid flat to accommodate all your different sized equipment, lenses, and camera bodies. Keep the divider in place to have a highly personalized and internally sturdy camera backpack, fold the divider flat and out of the way to create more space for a large telephoto lens, or pull out all the dividers to use the OneMo Backpack as a general travel bag.
There's two additional main compartment access points stacked next to one another for those quick photos on the go where you can unzip the small closer to the top side compartment to pull out your camera for that fleeting photo opportunity. This is handy if you’re operating a camera that doesn’t have the additional bulk of a battery grip or the top tier DSLR camera body with a portrait vertical grip. You also have a slightly larger side access that allows you to remove the included shoulder bag that additionally has the option to be converted into a waist pouch for your lenses and camera. I like a lens pouch option as you don't have to worry about the bag slipping off your shoulder accidentally. If you prefer to use a battery gripped camera or similar professional sized camera, then using the lower compartment and omitting the OneMo sling bag will be much easier to remove your camera the instant that you need it.
You’ve now made it to your destination and you are looking to downsize on the amount of gear you are taking with you as you explore a new city or you’re out shooting a part of a wedding. The provided sling bag has multiple options for storing your gear and ways to keep the bag attached to your body. You can use the provided padded strap and use this smaller bag for your camera, maybe toss in an extra lens or two, or you can attach the padded strap around your waist as the sling bag, essentially, becomes a lens pouch so you have the option to change lenses quickly and on the go. This is a great setup for an event photographer that has to have multiple lenses on them to change out at a moments notice. The sling bag also has it’s own customizable dividers so you can make the bag fit your needs perfectly.
There’s certain aspects to a camera bag that you learn are a testament to the trials of photographers before you, and this idea is emblematic with the color of the interior. It’s not a bright yellow or medium gray, but a green that allows you to still disseminate that lost SD card at the bottom of the bag. With opening and closing the side access, you likely don’t want a lot of contrast to draw eyes to the gear you’re pulling out and the shade of green doesn’t accentuate your camera during this process. Little things like that might not be on everyone’s mind, but those of you who photograph in busy urban areas will appreciate the subtlety. Additionally, PGYTECH added three separated battery compartment holders into the larger side access door and each of these have their own slide flag. The battery compartments are then flagged green or red so you know which battery is ready to go and which one you took out of your camera last week and forgot to charge. There’s also a small mesh compartment that’s removable with hook and loop attachment so any extra memory cards or quick detach lens strap parts can easily find a home there.
The inside of the top side access door also has a RFID protected pocket for any credit cards or personal identification you might want to keep in your backpack. On the back of the main compartment is a very well padded and divided sleeve that will comfortably fit a 16 inch laptop and large tablet without any worry of either scratching the other. There’s a final compartment on the outside of the bag opposite the two exterior camera access points that provides a mesh pocket and on the open flap a small zippered compartment for a cleaning kit or any small parts or pieces you don’t need all the time, but want to have with you.
The OneMo has a lot going for it with a contemporary design that is also engineered for a plurality of different photographers and photography styles while still exceeding most people’s wants and needs in their bag of choice.
What I Liked:
- The perfect size for a day bag up to a full event photographer’s kit.
- The outer finish will deflect minor inclement weather easily.
- Just the right amount of pockets and compartments. Not too many but more than enough for everything to have its place.
- Useable expansion for when needing to carry a full kit and have a change of clothes.
- The back padding is stiff yet porous to keep you sweating less, while keeping you and your gear comfortably dry on your back.
- Well made and nicely stitched carry handles.
- The dual access makes it easy to quickly remove a mirrorless or DSLR camera body with attached lens.
- The interior color is still bright enough to find a lost piece of kit easily but not so bright to draw attention when removing or replacing a camera.
- Zipper security loops. Every travel bag should have these.
- An additional sling bag that doubles as a lens pouch. This is a great idea.
What I Didn’t Like:
- I want a waist belt. I have some degeneration in my spine and putting weight on my hips is much better than on my shoulders.
- Rain covers that don’t cover an entire bag are useless.
- I prefer a battery grip on my camera bodies and the larger side access is still a touch too small.
There’s a lot to like with the PGYTECH OneMo Backpack while ticking almost all the boxes for those serious about protecting their gear and using it in quickly changing circumstances or conditions. You get an incredible amount of options that fit street photographers, event photographers, wedding photographers, videographers, or drone pilots. The OneMo Backpack is a premium bag, which in the photography world is the word that burns credit cards, but it doesn’t have the premium price. At $199 for the Twilight Black or just twenty dollars more for the Olivine Camo, that’s an incredible amount of bag for not an incredible amount of money.
Check out the PGYTECH OneMo Backpack 25L & Shoulder Bag here.