WANDRD Prvke 21 Backpack Review
How does the former Kickstarter darling hold up in practice? A travel backpack review from Always Wander.
Introduction to the WANDRD Prvke 21 Backpack
If we go back a few years, this thing we call Kick Starter was really in its infancy in terms of the common lexicon. It was pretty novel, believe it or not. Well around that time, there were all sorts of products popping up on there. Some pretty dubious, some pretty innovative. What we're going to cover here is one of the latter. It was one of the stars of the group of "new" backpacks that were coming out (and that are really popular now) all over the platform. These bags and companies decided to break from tradition and bring a new style of design (more urban), functionality (they made a point to tell you about the brand of zippers and plastic buckles), and clearly were targeting the under 45 travel/commuter crowd in many ways with their slick videos. That's not to say these bags are restricted to age groups, not in the slightest. Just that you could tell who they were targeting. A company called WANDRD came out and while pretty keen on subtracting the vowels, they added a bag to the fray - and called it the Prvke. It was wildly successful on Kick Starter, and they've gone on to make quite a few more bags. I picked one up about 2 years ago.
It's designed as a camera bag as it's primary function, but a much sleeker, urban style bag. Oddly enough, beyond a lot of the press and few well known bag people like Chase Reeves on YouTube, I've not seen a TON of reviews on this. So, I'm hoping this helps those people searching for a real world use case.
As usual, in the essence of transparency, I purchased this bag on my own after hours of personal research into it and many other "new" bags. I've not been in contact with the company in any way about this review (though I'm happy to review any new bags they might have out!).
This is my WANDRD Prvke 21 review.
Wandrd Prvke 21 Product Overview
As I mentioned, this bag is generally speaking a camera bag first, and that's how it was designed. There's all sorts of little features I'll highlight later in detail. In fact, the vast majority of this review will be covering the different interesting features - and because there's so many packed in, there's a lot to cover. I'll do my best to not be too wordy but keep it detailed on the important stuff.
I've first got to talk about the build quality on this thing. It's a tank. And that's mostly a good thing. Our ultra-light friends are not going to warm up to it too much, I don't think. But those of us who are travel conscious but not ounce counters, should typically love it. We're talking heavy duty tarpaulin (pretty much hydrophobic), water resistant zippers, and 1680D ballistic nylon. This bag is not going to fall apart on you, in my experience. It's shape is slightly rectangle-ish, but this is a good thing. I've found it slides very nicely into the space under the seat in front of you on airplanes - so long as they don't have those hard drive/computer boxes under there (PS airlines: Get out of here with those things, the space is small enough as it is for us). I don't think it's technically water PROOF, but it's pretty close and that's been good enough for me over my time owning it.
Here it is compared to my 45L Patagonia Black Hole MLC backpack.
As you can see from the back of it, it's well built here too. It's a fairly dense foam that while might feel stiff to the touch, it's a great support on your back. Remember, you might have this stuffed with camera gear. Coupled with the nice and thick straps, I found it quite good for walking around while en route to places. I like these straps vs. the thinner, weight saving ones. Those can dig into your shoulders once you start loading the bag up.
It's got a perfect amount of pockets, some with great uses, little bits and bobs all over (like tons of lash points for tying things to, or putting carabiners on). It comes in 3 different colors, mine is the blue, which I really dig. Adds an almost Arc'Teryx minimalist flair. Mine is also the 21 liter size, in case I didn't give this away earlier.
At the end of the day, even though this is packed with useful stuff, I'd still say it comes off as minimalist. It looks really slick.
Let's try and do those features justice, shall we? (Quick note, the "gallery style" photos are all expandable, so feel free to click if you want a bigger view)
The Wandrd Prvke 21 Backpack Features List
Opening and Closure - This is a top loading bag (mostly, stay tuned) that uses a roll top design and a cool industrial style hook closure. This closure, and some hook and loop, keep it shut. The roll top style, in my opinion, makes it more effective at keeping water out. Last thing to highlight here are the two magnets in the top handles. They pull them together for easier grabbing. I think they could be stronger, but I like the line of thinking here. These features in practice, below. What?! Some split screen action? Watch out guys: Website INN-O-VATION in process.
The Many Pockets of Prvke - You get a pocket! And you get a pocket! And you get a pocket! Ok I'm done. Sorry about that outburst. But, there are so many cool pockets! One thing I love on bags, is segmentation and organization. I love it. I don't always need it, but I pine after it when I see it. Main compartment has all the space, plus a laptop sleeve and tablet sleeve, with a lay-flat design great for airport security. A top quick-access pocket is fleece lined so your phone, glasses, or what-have-you are safe in there and close. A little side pocket holds a key loop, which I LOVE. Losing keys when traveling or having them fall to the bottom of your bag for when you get home is a buzz kill. There's a huge front space with a bag-length zipper. Not for bulky stuff, but I use this for anything flat to relatively flat (documents, my ziplock toiletries bag for quick access at security, travel face wipes, etc.). A pocket on the camera opening flap used for (shock! awe!) - camera accessories. Think extra lens caps, SD cards, a cloth, etc. Flat items (Pictured after the camera section). A zippered/collapsible water bottle or tripod pocket. And last but not least, a clever "hidden" flat-pocket on the back that's great for passports or money (I also keep a USB-C cord in there just in case). This means that if an enterprising pickpocket manages to trick you and gets into your visible pockets, there's no shot of him getting what really matters: your cheddar (that's money, I think the kids are saying this) and ticket to your home country. Smart!
Camera Features - Since we already described this as being designed as a camera bag first, I should cover these features, right? So, there's an available camera cube that you can get (extra $$) that acts as you'd expect. It slides into the bottom portion of the bag nicely and has the hook and loop dividers so you can customize it as you need. There's a quick-grab door on the side so you can slide your bag in front of you, open the door, and pull your camera out without ever taking the bag off. These are slick, I had a hiking camera bag with this once. This door also has the small pocket for SD cards I mentioned. The side zippered pocket was designed for a tripod. The accessory straps and side straps allow you to tie a trip securely. It's all really well thought out and made.
Final Highlights - Just a few extra bits to cover here. We've mentioned the camera cube. There's also some accessory straps (extra $$), hip belt straps (good that these are modular, but also extra $$) and a rainfly that lives in a pocket on the very bottom of the bag and stays hidden away (extra $$). I was lucky enough to have some major ordering issues due to their address database and had to speak with them a few times to even buy the bag, so they threw these into my order. Or, it was a mistake. Regardless, I have them. I don't use them though. Lastly, on the main backpack straps there are these two little elastic straps - designed to hold your lens caps. Wicked cool idea.
Short and sweet since I've covered all those above features. It's super well made, tons of features provide the flexibility to make it your own, and they've got a pretty much "anything you need" warranty. They will do their best to make it right. For a pricey bag, that's great to have. I also like that this is a small company that is trying to innovate in the space. Wishing them luck.
Considering all the research I did on these bags and I ultimately chose the WANDRD Prvke - I think it's probably clear I like it. This section isn't going to have all sorts of damning information in it. But, honesty prevails right? For one, the bag is expensive, especially if you start adding accessories. No way around that. It's heavy...ish. It's not really. But it is if you're an ultra-light style ounce counter on your travel bags. This won't be the bag for you. All the aforementioned accessories are pay to play items. The camera cube, when in, means it's much harder to use this as a one-bag travel solution for a couple nights. For that reason, I don't really even use it when taking this bag. One final annoying thing, would be the zippers on the main bottom pocket. If the cube is not it, they are a pain in the butt to close. I think Youtubers have mentioned this. By no means does this ruin the experience of the bag - just something to note that makes you roll your eyes when dealing with it.
The Improvement Requests for the Wandrd Prvke 21 Backpack
I don't have a lot of asks of the company here. For one, I'd rework the zipper design on the internal compartment. Low hanging fruit that would really improve the experience. Maybe add YKK zippers since that's what the backpack gurus love (though this is not a real consideration for me as long as the zippers last and work nicely). And stop charging for the straps and hip belts. Camera cube I get - but those items, come on. I don't mind the overall price tag though due this being a small company working on quality materials and design. This isn't mass production like Borth Face. (Because it's Boring. Get it? I'm definitely going to go viral for that, I can feel it)
With such a long list of features and well thought out organizational and structural bits - I can really recommend this bag for those looking for a camera bag that doesn't look like your typical, bulky, tourist camera bag. Also, for people that want a more urban-designed backpack with high quality materials. Maybe you're also making a statement and supporting a small company's products. For a brand that got it's start on Kick Starter and still uses the platform (might be more Indiegogo now) to launch new products, they've really done well for themselves and made a great name for the company in the backpack-nerd and design conscious traveler circles. It's well earned in my opinion.
So who is this bag really for? I'd say this is for the design/image conscious photographer that needs a great day-pack for their gear and needs a bit of extra space for a quick change of clothes or jacket, snacks, etc. Or, the person who wants a cool, functional and again - well designed - pack for one or two-day trips. I pack this guy out with packing cubes (of course I do) and have plenty of room for 2 days worth of clothes plus accessories like ANC headphones case, tech pack, etc. The price might make some people shy away and that's fine. But remember something - you should be willing to pay more for quality and well designed stuff. With a fantastic guarantee behind it - your cost of lifetime ownership is probably going to be cheaper than buying a cheap bag 3 times that fails on you after limited use/abuse. Think about it like farmer's market fruit and veg. Might cost you more, but there's a benefit (both measured and perceived) to paying a little bit more. Something to consider.
At the end of the day, Always Wander is a very big fan of this bag, and not just because they've got good taste in naming. This bag can stand up to some beatings, looks great (someone always compliments me on it), and has the functionality and flexibility a smart wanderer needs. Click the Amazon link below to grab yours if you'd like to help support the site (always appreciated!). Or, I've put the link to the company's website, too. Don't forget to subscribe to get future updates first, and follow us on Instagram for travel pics, news, and and article announcements.
Here’s the link if you want to grab one:
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