If you’re in the market for one of the best camera backpacks for your DSLR and accessories then this rugged and durable backpack from Tenba should meet your needs. Tenba has been designing and manufacturing camera bags and backpacks since 1977 so they know that as a photographer you’ll require a kit bag or backpack that can accommodate multiple devices of different shapes and sizes.
This is a bag that gives you easy access to your equipment while keeping it safe from thieves (and extreme weather conditions). Like the best camera bags, it should also be comfortable to carry. The Tenba Axis V2 Multicam Black backpack ticks all these boxes (and more) as we discovered.
Tenba Axis V2 20L: Specifications
Weight: 4lb / 1.8kg
Outside Dimensions: 12W x 19.5H x 8.5D in
Inside Dimensions: 11W x 17.5H x 5.5D in
Laptop Compartment Dimensions (in): 9W x 14.5H x .75D cm
Capacity: 1-2 Mirrorless or DSLR cameras with 5-7 lenses (up to attached 300mm 2.8), plus a laptop up to 14 inches (35 cm). Also fits DJI Mavic and other compact drones
Laptop/Tablet: Fits a laptop up to 14 inches (35 cm)
Tenba Axis V2 20L: Key features
The Tenba Axis V2 Multicam Black backpack comes in a range of sizes. We got hold of a V2 with a 20L storage capacity which meant we could comfortably fill most of the main compartment with a Canon EOS camera body, three lenses, a Canon Speedlite flash, and infrared trigger unit, and a SmallRig VB99 mini V mount battery (to charge various accessories on a long shoot).
The main compartment is separated into storage sections by thick padded bands that have velcro attachments. You can easily re-arrange the layout of these storage sections to accommodate your kit. Several velcro bands have a circular blue shape that is perfect for securely storing a lens.
The main storage compartment is accessed from the rear of the backpack via a sturdy zip. This means that your body is a barrier between would-be thieves and your precious photography equipment.
As with all good backpacks the Axis V2 possesses other sections dedicated to storing different devices, such as a compartment that can accommodate a 14” laptop. We found that this section was perfect for our iPad.
As a bonus, the computer compartment’s zip has a protective waterproof covering to stop your gadget from getting wet. There’s also a zip-accessible side pocket that enables you to grab a gadget (such as a DSLR) while you’re still wearing the backpack.
One particularly welcome feature is revealed once you unzip the front compartment. Here you’ll find a Neoprene pouch designed to discreetly store a Bluetooth tracking device such as a Tile or AirTag.
This pouch isn’t easily noticeable so it should provide you with the reassurance that you can locate your backpack even if it does get lost or pinched. Your nearest and dearest can also use the tag to keep track of you and the backpack! The front compartment also contains extra pouches for documentation such as camera manuals etc. As well as shooting with a DSLR I also find that I’m regularly using my iPhone and gadgets such as a gimbal to capture clips and stills.
The Tenba Axis V2 has yet another compartment at the top of the backpack that is perfect for storing my mobile photography peripherals such as a JOBY mini tripod, a SmallRig Forevala W60 mic kit, and a Shiftcam ProGrip that enables me to make my iPhone behave more like a conventional camera thanks to its Bluetooth shutter button.
There’s also a side pocket that comfortably contains my Vimble 3 smartphone gimbal (though you can use this pocket to store a water bottle instead).
Tenba Axis V2 20L: Build and handling
The Tenba Axis V2 backpack comes with a guarantee of 5 years, but it feels so well constructed that we imagine it'll be with you for much longer. The reflective MOLLE webbing on the rear of the backpack enables you to attach other Tenba accessories such as Tenba Tools Lens Capsules, Battery Pouches, and Memory Card Wallets.
The Axis V2 is called Multicam Black due to the subtle black and green camouflage pattern decorating the backpack. According to Tenba the Multicam Black camouflage texture is designed to complement the equipment used by law enforcement officers and 'present a sharp professional image'.
This subtle and distinctive camouflage look will also suit photographers who don’t want to draw too much attention to their kit. Check out our supporting video to get a detailed look at the Tenba Axis V2 Multicam Black backpack’ features.
Tenba Axis V2 20L: Performance
Once we’d filled the Tenba Axis V2 with traditional DSLR and placed mobile photography devices such as a Vimble 3 gimbal in other compartments the combined weight of our backpack and kit was a hefty 7 KG. As you know, a heavy kit bag gets ‘heavier’ the longer you carry it but the Tenba V2’s combination of thick padded shoulder straps and pads on the rear of the backpack kept the load bearable and comfortable.
The rear pads are also designed to be ‘breathable’ so there’s less danger of getting a sweaty back while carrying your kit to a shoot. The backpack has additional dual sternum straps which help balance the load across your chest. If you need a lighter Tenba Axis V2 backpack there’s a 16L version, but we’d recommend getting a larger backpack so that you have extra storage space to grow into when you acquire a new kit (such as a compact drone like the DJI Mavic Mini for example.)
We found that long lenses such as our Canon 70-210 Zoom lens were slightly taller than the main compartments supporting velcro pads, so if you do have large telephoto lenses you might consider a bigger backpack (or you could reconfigure the velcro storage compartments to store a long lens horizontally instead of vertically).
If you do need extra space the Tenba Axis V2 Multicam Black range also includes backpacks with a 24L and 32L capacity.
Tenba Axis V2 20L: Verdict
The Tenba Axis V2’s multiple compartments, pouches, and pockets offer you plenty of choices when it comes to organizing your kit. Its padded straps make it more comfortable to convey your equipment to a shoot and extra touches such as reflective webbing and a discrete Bluetooth tracker compartment help you feel safer and more confident in any location.
There’s also a size to suit every photographer’s needs, from 16L to 32L.