As photographers and video makers, we need the best camera backpack or best camera sling bag to carry our kit safely to a shoot. However, if we’re traveling a long distance we may also want a storage solution that enables us to transport other items such as spare clothes and computer gear. The Dux (Australian slang for ‘best-in-class) could be the solution to your traveling storage needs. Although it’s not a dedicated camera kit bag it will let you compromise between carrying cameras, clothing, and computers.
If you do need to travel with your kit then the Dux should make airport navigation a smoother experience. You can hook the Dux onto a wheeled suitcase by passing the luggage handle through the Dux’s lumbar support. This will make the Dux easier to transport. When you need to provide your passport the Dux has a dedicated pocket at the top, so you can whip out your passport with ease. When wearing the backpack the passport pocket is safely snuggled between the bulk of the Dux and your back for extra safety and security.
Dimensions: 50.8 x 33.0 x 24.1 cm / 20 x 13 x 9.5 in
Weight: 3.92 lbs / 1.78 kg
Capacity: 30 L | 1830.7 in
Materials: Black camo, Black night, Blue sea, Grey storm
The main compartment of the 30-liter Dux can be accessed via zipped panels from either side and you can store items on various adjustable shelves. You can also access the backpack from the top and use this smaller compartment to store items such as smartphones or compact cameras. Here you’ll also find an extra webbed pockets that start off folded and clipped but can cascade out to give you access to smaller items such as cables, chargers etc. This is a well-designed storage solution for all the small fiddly accessories that we need to carry with us. There’s a separate zipped section dedicated to storing a laptop and tablet.
There are other well-designed features such as the two side pockets that can be extended via unzipping them so that you have extra space to pop a mini tripod or water bottle inside them. There’s even a removable portable pouch (which resembles a shiny black cosmetic washing bag) at the base of the main compartment for you to access specific items. The entire surface is pleasingly padded which helps give you peace of mind that your valuable kit is protected.
Build & Handling
We tested the Black Camo Dux model which blended nicely into our urban test location (though you can buy the Dux in more eye-catching colors such as Blue Sea). The camouflage pattern on the main body of the backpack is pleasingly subtle and the black shiny surface reflects rain to keep the backpack’s contents safe and dry.
What we particularly liked about the Dux was the various ways it enabled us to access its contents. The large unzippable panels on opposing sides give you two ways to access the backpack’s main storage compartment, where you can keep your camera kit separated and organized using adjustable velcro hook and loop shelves. You can also use these shelves to separate clothing items or remove the shelves completely to make one large storage space.
The backpack doesn’t appear to be as targeted toward photographers as other backpacks, the adjustable hook and loop velcro shelves in the main compartment aren’t shaped specifically to hold lenses or camera bodies (like in the Shimoda Explore V2). There is a separate rear section that’s designed to hold a laptop or an iPad, with a 16” MacBook Pro fitting comfortably. These areas are luxuriously padded so your devices will easily slide in and out.
The bottom of the laptop storage area stops a few inches before the base of the backpack so if you drop the Dux the suspended laptop won’t bash against the backpack’s base. As a bonus, the base is made of a harder material than the rest of the backpack which helps stop wear and tear as you rest the backpack on the ground. When you zip up the laptop compartment theory an extra layer of protection as this zip has a shiny water-repelling seal to keep your electronic devices dry.
The Dux was very comfortable to carry thanks to its padded dual-foam shoulder straps which were thick enough to spread the weight of the backpack’s contents. There’s no danger of these straps digging into your shoulders. The Dux was was also comfortable to carry due to its molded foam back panel which looks a bit like a bodybuilder’s six-pack. The thick gaps between the chunky foam panels allow air to circulate which reduces the chance of you getting a sweaty back while wearing the backpack.
The 30-liter capacity gives you enough space to store a mix of clothing and kit such as a camera and laptop without making it too heavy (unlike the more capacious Shimoda Explore V2 we tested recently which had a 35-liter capacity and was, therefore, heavier to carry when fully packed).
The clip that joins the supporting chest straps together took a bit of getting used to due to my being unfamiliar with its design. Initially, I tried to pull it open and spent quite a while fiddling with it. Once you work out that you need to push down instead of pull up it unlatches nicely.
We found that the Dux was comfortable to carry and very capacious when it came to storing kit and clothing. Although it’s not dedicated to meeting the specific needs of photographers the adjustable velcro (hook and loop) shelves can be re-positioned to separate various devices. The Dux is especially suitable when it comes to safely storing devices such as a laptop or tablet in separate padded sections. A plethora of pockets and pouches let you store useful accessories such as a passport and water bottle.