There’s a new name in camera bags. ‘Morally Toxic’ is a spin-off of the highly acclaimed and long-standing British tripod manufacturer, 3 Legged Thing. It follows suit by aspiring to the same lofty levels of innovative design flair, ‘morally’ ethical manufacturing procedures and eco-friendly use of materials, coupled with ‘toxic’ rebellion against all things dull and dreary.
Morally Toxic has big plans to create bags for all walks of life, whether you’re trotting to work, nipping off to the gym, or just out for a stroll. With its rich photographic heritage, it kicks off with two camera bags, each of which is available in medium and large sizes, and in a choice of onyx, emerald and sapphire colour schemes. One is the Valkyrie camera backpack, the other is the Wraith which, thanks to two sets of carrying strap attachment loops at the sides and rear, wears well both as a messenger bag and a sling bag.
Additional lenses/accs: 4
Laptop/tablet compartment: 13-inch
Tripod attachment: No
Additional compartments: 3
External dimensions: 37x24x19cm
If you think that plain black bags are plain boring, the Wraith’s colour options should add some excitement. Each of the three colour schemes is based on a custom designed jacquard fabric with an alluring patterned design, combining a vintage map of Morally Toxic’s home town of Stagsden with a reptilian skin effect. The same finish is applied to the cushioned carry handle sleeve and shoulder pad of the carrying strap, the latter being zippered for quick and easy attachment or removal, to suit your preference.
More than just a fashion accessory, the Wraith is a properly practical camera bag with a wealth of hidden talents, or rather pockets. The main compartment comes with three vertical dividers of varying heights, which are moveable and attach in time-honoured Velcro tradition. An additional folding divider enables one sub-section to be split into lower and upper decks, so that you can stack smaller lenses, flashguns or other accessories one on top of the other.
It’s certainly not a new trick but works well as a space-saver. The only slight niggle is that removing the end of the horizontal ‘shelf’ to get at the lower section is arguably a bit fiddly, as it’s held tightly in place by a full-width strip of Velcro.
The opposite could be said of the bag’s front flap, which covers two additional external pockets. The flap fastens shut with two press studs but they have little staying power, so if the flap catches on something as you put the bag down, it’s likely to be flipped up.
Even so, both underlying pockets have high-quality, weather-resistant zips, so it’s not really a problem. And the flipside is that at least the flap is easy to open single-handed.
One of the underlying pockets has a neatly laid-out organizer section and the other has two internal dividers. Adding further to the storage potential, a third zip gives access to an extra pocket secreted inside of the front flap, making it well-suited to stashing a passport and travel documents, or other paperwork and fairly flat objects. Just above the main front flap, there’s another external pocket with a weather-resistant zip, ideal for stowing a tablet.
There’s yet another weather-resistant zip that runs the full length of the bag, along its rear edge. This opens to reveal a separate laptop compartment. The medium-sized bag that we tested can accommodate a 13-inch laptop, whereas an upsized 15-inch laptop can fit in the larger bag.
There’s also a smaller pocket around the back, perfect for cash and valuables. A drinks bottle holder is positioned at one end of the bag and, at the other, there’s something more interesting. Here, a weather-resistant zip opens a ‘frog’ pocket, which is expandable to extend into the main compartment of the bag. You could stow a camera with an attached lens here, for easy access without opening the main top zipper.
The water-resistant lining of the frog pocket also enables separate wet/dry regions of the bag, so it’s equally adept at storing damp gear while ensuring that the rest of your camera kit remains dry.
Build and handling
Tough yet lightweight, the Wraith is created from showerproof materials but also includes a storm cover, which folds away neatly in its own pocket in the base of the bag, complete with Velcro fastener. Size-wise, the medium edition measures 37x24x19cm and weighs 1.3kg, while the larger edition is 41x29x19cm and 1.45kg. The internal dimensions of the main compartments are 32x22x15cm and 37x27x15cm for the medium and large bags, respectively.
From the internal surfaces to the external covering, and throughout all of the protective padding and additional pockets in between, build quality is excellent.
The Wraith strikes a great balance, keeping your camera kit safe and secure without weighing you down or being cumbersome.
With the exception of the slightly awkward twin-deck divider, which you don’t have to use anyway, the bag succeeds in providing plentiful separate spaces to stow camera kit and everyday bits and bobs, while making everything readily accessible with the minimum of fuss and bother. In terms of performance, it’s all you could ask for in a bag.
There’s certainly no shortage of camera bags on the market. They come in a wide range of shapes and an even wider range of sizes, so it’s difficult to find something that breaks the mold.
Sure enough, there’s plenty about the Wraith that’s conventional and doesn’t come as any surprise. However, Morally Toxic has succeeded in adding a new twist. This messenger/sling bag is beautifully made and a thing of beauty in its own right. It has crafty design flourishes aplenty and additional pockets galore.
All in all, it’s a superbly versatile and well-crafted camera bag that’s easy to live with and a joy to use.