There's a sort of running joke between the Fstoppers writers about the number of bag reviews we've published in the last couple months, and we've certainly caught our share of flack for it in the comments as a result. Despite all that, having had a chance to sit down for a brief interview with the people at WANDRD, I think we may have a new industry standard on our hands. If there's ever been a bag worth getting excited about, this is it.
For anyone who's unfamiliar, back in October WANDRD created a Kickstarter for their first product ever, the PRVKE backpack. The project was fully funded in just over two weeks.
As WANDRD continues to make preparations before their expected ship date, co-founders Ryan and Spencer Cope were kind enough to sit down for a quick interview to talk about the WANDRD PRVKE backpack and why they believe it'll be the last backpack you ever need.*
* OK, those are my words, not theirs.
We are the ultimate cliché, brothers who couldn't find the perfect photography bag so we decided to design and produce it.
The Cope brothers first set out to make the ultimate camera bag in November of 2014. They describe the biggest gap in the camera bag market as the constant feeling of sacrifice, whether it's sacrificing style for functionality or vice-versa. Ryan also points out, "Another 'broken' aspect of the camera bag market is that most camera bags look like camera bags and are therefore targets for theft. I know when I am carrying all my gear I have about $10,000 in my bag and having my bag stolen would devastate me." Balancing style and functionality turned out to be a tall order, taking a year of research, development, mistakes, and innovation.
The process has been rad, bumpy, long, stressful, and informative. Designing and creating a new product is a bit like creating a photograph, we went through the same ups and downs. This is awesome. This is tricky. This is shit. I am shit. This might be OK. This is awesome.
When asked to identify the one feature that sets the PRVKE pack apart from the competition, Ryan replies, "The PRVKE Pack doesn't have just one feature that sets it apart from all other camera bags but it's more the mix of features and how they interact that create a bag that is indispensable."
The modularity of our bag means that you can use it for photography, school, work, travel, etc.
He continues, "The included camera sling and quick side access give the wandering photographer the key functionality they need. When you remove the camera cube — the minimal design and mix of Tarpaulin and Nylon Dobby create a bag professional enough for any business situation. I wish we had the time to discuss every single feature and diverse situations the bag shines in but I'll spare the uninterested and the interested can go check out our website."
Of course, one of, if not the biggest concern for making an investment in a bag like this is durability. When asked how the bag would hold up Spencer replies, "When working with the factory on the design and materials of the bag, quality was our highest concern."
Rather than ask, 'Where can we cut costs?' we asked, 'If we spent an extra $10 per bag, what could we improve?'
It's this ethos that permeates the entirety of the company. The Cope brothers eventually elected for a Tarpaulin/Nylon Dobby design based on looks and extreme long-term durability despite the increased manufacturing costs. Additionally, they offer a lifetime guarantee against defects in material or workmanship.
This bag is for the adventurous — whether in the city or the backcountry, across the globe or in your own backyard. It’s for those who need a bag that can adapt to their ever-changing activities: the commute to work, domestic or international travel, going to the beach, hiking a mountain, walking around campus, etc.
Currently the company is running an Indiegogo campaign to facilitate even more pre-orders (as requested by popular demand) for the discounted price of $215 (down from the retail price of $270). Indiegogo pre-orders will likely arrive by the end of April 2016.
WANDRD expects to get a few review units out in the wild in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for a full beat-the-shit-out-of-it review.