HEX has been on a tear lately, releasing plenty of functional bags with some meaningful limited editions. The HEX Back Loader DSLR Backpack V2 continues the trend with a useful and stylish package that’s just about perfect for shooters with DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
HEX’s last effort that I reviewed, the HEX x Misshattan Ranger DSLR Sling Bag, was a solid entry from the company, with quality materials and a useful interior, albeit for smaller DSLRs or mirrorless cameras.
HEX went the other way this time and sent over a Glacier Camo Back Loader V2. At $199.95, it packs a lot for what is a premium-level price, but from a much younger company (it was founded in 2010). It’s certainly reached the level of quality in that time to make it worth it. The bag looks and feels great well beyond its price.
The bag’s unique design is what gives it the name “Back Loader.” Instead of a zipper or clips that go in the front of the bag, the main compartment for your camera and lenses is at the back of the bag, which then closes all the way and rests against your back when you carry the backpack. There’s a small easy-access compartment at the top of the bag where you can grab the camera and its attached lens easily.
At first, while this was a strange feeling, the ingenuity of the design becomes apparent in daily use. When setting down my traditional backpacks with openings at the front of the bag, I’d have to lay it on the back to grab the gear. This means that any dirt or junk on the ground will get all over the back of the bag, which then gets all over my back. This design means your back remains dirt-free since it’s the front of the bag that’s taking on the ground.
An arguably smaller concern that’s solved by this design is that having the main compartment at your back, it makes it more difficult for camera gear to spill out because of an open zipper (that’s happened more times than I’d like to admit), and it’s also more difficult to steal cameras that only can be accessed in full from the back of the bag. After a few weeks of using the bag, this design became second nature.
In addition to the fully configurable main compartment, which can hold two DSLRs and two or three lenses and a flash depending on what you’ve got, there’s a padded pouch that can take up to a 15” laptop (the V2 claims extra padding here), an extra storage spot for accessories, a rain cover, a water bottle holder on the side, and straps to hold a tripod. There are two mesh compartments inside and another pouch as well. Interior volume is listed by the company as 20 L.
The materials for the bag are high-quality throughout. The outside is listed as water-resistant polyester and seemed to hold up well in the light rain and snow I took the bag out in. The padded laptop pouch is described as lined with “faux-fur.” Not quite sure what that is, but it seems soft to the touch and doesn’t seem like it will scratch a laptop or tablet, or at least it hasn’t scratched mine yet.
The back of the backpack is a bit softer material called an “air mesh back” that feels nice to the touch and comfortable on the back, and the interior is described as Pewter Grey HEX heritage lining, all of which has protected my Canon EOS 6D and assorted lenses and flashes quite well in day-to-day usage.
If the Glacier Camo color isn’t for you, the backpack also comes in standard black or woodland camo. Matching straps for your camera are also available if you are looking to color-coordinate.
In my time with the bag, I couldn’t find a bad thing to say about it. I grew to prefer the style of loading cameras through the back, appreciated the easy access at the top that let me quickly get to work without having to set the whole bag down and liked the color change from all the drab black bags I already had. It has plenty of space for DSLR or mirrorless cameras and can swallow plenty of lenses or an extra body to take with you for the day.
If you’re in the market for a backpack-style camera bag, you can do far worse than the HEX Back Loader DSLR Backpack V2.
What I Liked
- A large amount of space in smart packaging
- Fully configurable interior
- Easy access from the top of bag
- High quality, premium-feeling materials that justify the price
- Glacier Camo is a great color
What I Didn't Like
I'm nitpicking, but if I was a PC user with any sort of laptop larger than a 15” MacBook Pro, the laptop sleeve would be a very tight fit
You can purchase the HEX Back Loader DSLR Backpack V2 here.
Here is a link to the actual HEX website: https://www.hexbrand.com. While this advertisement for getting it at B&H is nice, sometimes actual product information from the manufacturer can be useful as well. Great that this site gets paid at some level or another but since this so-called "review" is little more than an advertisement some people (like me) prefer to do a little more research and get more useful information.
Looks like quite a nice backpack. Not big enough for me, but I do like that it doesn't look like a camera bag or military surplus (just military inspired).
The back opening is reminiscent of the Lowepro ProTactic series, but the padding on the rear is not as well thought out. See the ProTactic AW 450 II for what I normally use.