Manfrotto Off Road Hiker Camera Bag Review
The new Off road Hiker 30L has been specifically designed for hiking and photography with quick side- access to your camera.
Thanks to the Manfrotto Protection System, the removable camera case is highly protective.
It holds a Pro DSLR, 70-200mm lens and an additional lens. The backpack converts into a total hiking backpack by unzipping the internal divider and removing the camera bag.
The innovative camera strap featured on the front of the backpack allows the camera to be kept secure on the chest when it is carried, avoiding neck strain.
The bag has been designed with high-quality premium materials and careful attention to ergonomics and comfort.
The OFF ROAD Hiker Camera Bag is available in both 20L and 30L versions; the 30L being the one of test here, which is available in three colours: red, blue and grey to perfectly match the latest trends in outdoor products
- Interchangeable Dividers
- Water Repellent
- External Tripod Mounting Points
- Rain Guard
- Cabin Luggage
- Flexi Dividers
- Coverts to a full-on hiking back-pack
Checkout the Manfrotto HomePage for more details of this and all their great products
So before we get into this, here’s a little detail about just who Manfrotto are:
Based in Northern Italy at Cassola, Manfrotto designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of camera and lighting support equipment for the professional photographic, film, theater, live entertainment and video markets. The product line includes an extensive range of camera tripods and heads, lighting stands and accessories.
Manfrotto products are sold by its own distribution companies, Manfrotto Distribution, in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus independent distributors in over 65 countries around the world! The unrivalled strength of the international distribution network and the team efforts between the company and the distributors is a key element in the success of the lines. The group owned distribution companies provide direct access to the market, trends and requirements which is essential in keeping the company at the forefront of development and innovation.
It has become a tradition of Manfrotto to continually invest in the latest technology together with constant assessment of the product range, production needs and consumer trends. This policy maintains the highest standard of quality at all stages and set the standards others follow.
Manfrotto Products are manufactured by the Manfrotto Supports and Manfrotto Bags units.
At the end of the ’60s Lino Manfrotto was a photo reporter in Bassano del Grappa for Il Gazzettino and Il Giornale di Vicenza. He was also engaged in industrial and advertising photography. The photographer’s studio equipment was cumbersome, heavy and did not facilitate the work of professionals. The market offered a wide range of studio flash-units and quartz illuminators, but completely neglected basic accessories such as stands, booms and clamps.
Thus, with the help of a collaborator, Lino Manfrotto made his first products, including a light and sturdy lamp stand, that was finally high enough. For a couple of years he produced just a few pieces to meet the needs of his photographer friends. Later he decided to present them on an international level, obtaining his first significant order from a Swiss distributor.
The garage became a production workshop. It was there that the first Manfrotto booms, telescopic rods and other stands were manufactured. He soon realized that the production capacity was insufficient to address all the orders from customers.
In 1972 Lino Manfrotto met Gilberto Battocchio, a technician working for a Bassano mechanical firm. The commercial and product soul had meet his technical counterpart. It was an all-important moment. Battocchio’s arrival turned Lino’s product into three-dimensional solutions. The two made a great team, and within just a few short years they had created a leading enterprise on a world level.
In 1974 the first Manfrotto tripod was launched. Innovative, light and versatile, Manfrotto tripods and stands achieved success in many markets. Articles such as the Superboom, Autopole®, and Superclamp® became an important part of every photographic studios all over the world. And the competition? They followed and copied, but were unable to match Manfrotto innovation, quality, performance and service.
The Group grew, and in 1986, Manfrotto already had 6 production sites in Bassano, he then expanded to Feltre, establishing another 5 plants in the space of two years.
In 1987/88 the Avenger brand was established and started production, responding to the needs of photo and cine markets. Product quality became the hallmark of this range, which could withstand extreme use, rough atmospheric conditions with high load capacities.
Innovative, quality products with worldwide brand recognition and a vast distribution network encompassing 140 countries with top-level personnel, attracted the interest of international investors. In 1989 the entire Lino Manfrotto shareholding was sold to the British Vitec Group plc, a multinational company listed on the London Stock Exchange. At the time it was operating in the broadcasting sector with American, German, English and French subsidiaries.
1992 saw the purchase of the French company Gitzo, a leader in the sector of tripods and heads for top end amateurs and professional photography.
In 2004 the distribution company Bogen Imaging GmbH was launched in Germany.
In 2005 Kata, an Israeli company leader in the videocamera bags sector, was acquired. In the same year the group was also given licence to distribute National Geographic photographic bags.
In 2006 two new groups to the Bogen Imaging distribution network were added, one in Japan and the other the United Kingdom.
In 2010, Bogen Imaging changed its name to become Manfrotto Distribution in all of its territories which at the time were: Germany, France, Italy, UK, Japan and the USA. In the same year two new Manfrotto Distribution companies were created, based in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
In 2011 the company acquired the Lastolite brand, leading manufacturer of backgrounds and light stopping equipment for the photographic and video industries. Lastolite also became the distributor of paper backgrounds with the Colorama brand.
From Today forward
In recent years, the advent of digital technology has profoundly changed the photography and video sectors and is creating millions of new photo enthusiasts. Manfrotto has anticipated this trend and is capitalizing on its own experience in order to promote new solutions for photographers and videographers worldwide.
In 2010 Manfrotto underwent a brand evolution, expanding from its core among hobbyists and professional to the new photographic enthusiasts population of the “social recorders” – consumers who approach imaging through smartphone and smaller cameras, and for whom photo and videos are a key social currency to share in the rising virtual meeting place of social networks. With the help of a renown advertising agency the brand moved from its core of “Proven professional” to the more inspiring and exclusive promise of “Imagine More” – Manfrotto thus started its journey to become a Power Brand.
“Manfrotto Imagine More” spells out the mission to serve the imaging creative community in expressing and exploring their imagination more fully, whatever the level of technical competence. This mission is guiding the company into new products like LED lights devices, accessories for iPhone® photography, new video shooting solutions, new bags and gear equipping solutions that will serve many more imaging enthusiasts and professionals around the world – whatever their level of skills and gear, and whatever their imaging missions take them.
Having always been interested in Photography from the early 80’s, Manfrotto was, to me, a name synonymous with quality, desirability and of course cost! I diligently saved my pennies and finally bought my Holy Grail, the Manfrotto 055C with a two-way tilt-n-pan head. A beast if ever there was one…
These days Manfrotto continue to produce excellent mounting systems but also a whole host of other accessories. Being a stout outdoorsy types, the Off Road Hiker Camera Bag appeals hugely, as there’s little on the market that combines a true backpack with camera carrying credentials.
So how does the OffRoad Hiker Camera Bag differ?
I have to say when the wonderful people at Manfrotto sent us the 30L OffRoad Hiker Camera Bag I was a little underwhelmed. At first sight it looks a feels a little boxy, which is obviously due to the internal storage and protective case:
This is the engine of the camera protection system, providing enough capacity to house a Pro DSLR and medium Zoom lens.
As I own a mirrorless camera system, there’s more than enough space for a body+lens and probably two spare lenses. The internal protective case is fully removable, leaving you with a full-on 30L backpack. Nice!
Getting out into the great outdoors allayed any fears and we were hugely impressed with the backpack; not just it’s camera carrying capabilities but also it’s genuine versatility, quality and comfort. Now… I would admit that it’s not quite as refined as a dedicated backpack but damn is it close. Really, really close…
All of the materials are of high quality and functional superbly, from webbing, straps, zippers, closures, you name it:
The hipbelt is excellent with two additional pockets. It’s adjustable and very comfortable. Also, the sprung back ensures you don’t get too sweaty.
If you’re wearing your camera around your neck, there’s an additional “sling” on the shoulder straps to support the weight and prevent movement and fatigue:
Additional straps allow for poles or indeed a tripod system to be securely stored whilst you’re on the move.
Manfrotto even provide a rain cover which packs away neatly into the lid-closure when not in use:
So what’s it like in the field? A bit like this:
There are lots of little touches which not only provide a wealth of flexibility but which makes this pack not just great, but superb. It’ll hold more than enough of your essentials AND house a good selection of your precious camera hardware.
|Types of Gear||DSLR, Mirrorless|
|Number of Lenses||3|
|Storage for personal items||Yes|
|External Height||55 cm|
|External Length||30 cm|
|External Width||24 cm|
|Internal main compartment height(H)||53 cm|
|Internal main compartment length(L)||29 cm|
|Internal main compartment width(W)||17 cm|
|Type of Bag||Backpack|
|Camera Insert Height||23 cm|
|Camera Insert Length||27 cm|
|Camersa Insert Width||12.5 cm|
First things first, it ain’t cheap. At £169.95 it’s a substantial investment and considerable more than any similar sized backpack I own. Is it worth those extra pennies, including the 0.95p?
In short yes, yes it is. I was really impressed with the OffRoad Hiker Pack, really really impressed. First impressions when it dropped on the desk weren’t great, however I was instantly won over by it’s quality, ease of use and ergonomic design. A fantastic bit of kit.
It’s yet to be put through it’s paces in the pouring rain and indeed I’m not certain it would be ideal for winter due to the carrying capacity with the protective camera case inserted. But as a 3-season pack, for me, it’s brilliant. Having gone from mounting a camera pouch on my hip-belt to a dedicated piece of kit, the difference is huge. It’s obviously been designed by someone who not only loves photography, but loves being outdoors.
I even managed to happily store my walking poles without any fuss; something I wasn’t sure would work… Great work Manfrotto, we doff our hats to you yet again!
Checkout the Manfrotto HomePage for more details of this and all their great products