Announced last August, through an Indiegogo campaign, the Agua Stormproof Versa Backpack is an intelligent choice if you spend a lot of time on coastal areas or around water and want to keep your gear safe.
One of three bags introduced during the Indiegogo campaign launched by Miggo, the others being the Agua Drone Lander and the Agua Sling, the Agua Stormproof Versa Backpack immediately caught my attention, because of its size. Being the largest of the three bags, although not as large as some backpacks, it looked like something I could use. Miggo, the company behind the product, suggests it is a good solution for anyone carrying photo or video gear in challenging weather, and while I agree, there is another point they mention that interested me: this is a bag for any adventure.
Able to withstand water spraying up to 60 degrees from vertical at 10 liters/min. at a pressure of 80-100kN/m2 for 5 minutes, what makes it rain-proof according to the IPX3 standard, what means, in plain English, that it will, according to Miggo, “keep your expensive gear safe from pouring rain, snow, dust, and sand”, the Agua Stormproof Versa backpack looked like the ideal solution for some of my adventures outside.
Last Summer Miggo sent me a sample of the product, not yet finished – the external dual USB port charging connector for Power Bank was not present yet – for me to try. I did take the bag out to try its ergonomics and ease of access, but had no chance to try it under rain, so I waited, and waited. I am still waiting, because we’ve not had much rain in recent months – Winter came and is almost gone -, and it does not seem it is going to change, as we move towards Spring.
Although I did not use the bag under the extreme conditions it is designed for, I found it is a good solution to protect your gear if you, like me, wander along the seaside. The durable tarpaulin and the water repellent zippers, along with a thermo-forming reinforced bottom, for impact protection, make the backpack a good choice for the days I explore the coastal Atlantic areas. The tarpaulin not only makes it easy to clean the salt spray from the bag as it effectively protects the contents from both spray and sand. The reinforced bottom, which allows the backpack to stand on its own, makes it easier to drop the bag on wet sand or rocks, something you’ll probably avoid with other backpacks.
Another situation where this type of bag makes sense is while hiking in forest or mountain areas close to water, be it a small creek or a waterfall you visit searching for photo or video opportunities. In fact, you don’t have to be faced with extreme weather conditions to choose this bag, and you don’t have to leave the city to pick it up as a protective solution for your gear. While it may not be, as I wrote previously, a bag for long trips carrying lots of equipment, it is adequate to move fast with just enough gear, through rainy days, with full protection for your equipment. The Agua Stormproof Versa justifies, after all, its name, as “agua” means… water.
The main compartment of the backpack includes a padded detachable bag with two modular dividers, where I’ve managed to fit two lenses, EF 17-40 and EF 100-400mm, a DSLR, and a Speedlite 580EX II flash, despite the size of the long lens. It does not leave much more space left, but there is still enough room to take a few things: a pair of radio triggers for the flash, a small flash stand, extra batteries a microphone (if I want to capture video), filters and a few other things I like to have around. There are also some external pockets that can take some of the accessories, and that may be a good alternative. In fact, I’ve opted to keep the 100-400mm out of the padded bag, inside the main compartment, as it makes it easier to draw the camera. The detachable bag has a zipper, meaning you can keep your gear protected, even if you remove it from inside the backpack.
In the internal space there is an organizer with a dedicated computer compartment, an additional compartment for an iPad and above them a place for pens and small office equipment. As I don’t carry a computer, a large Rogue FlashBender reflector and or diffuser can be carried there. In fact, if I don’t want to use the bag as a camera bag, I can take the padded inner compartment completely and I’ll have a regular backpack for day-to-day use.
The backpack also offers two stormproof outer pockets for personal items, and a small one, hidden, on the side, to keep your smartphone, besides a mesh pocket on the main compartment lid. These will give users enough space to carry essential items with them, anywhere they go.
Designed to be carried in three different ways – backpack, sling and X-position – the Versa backpack works best, for me, on its backpack option, as I feel it distributes the weight better. The X-position allows users to customize the shoulder straps in a cross pattern, to better secure the bag for some activities. While I understand why some users like the sling option, I do not feel comfortable with it – tried it in different bags – except when carrying very little weight. Which is not the case when you’ve two lenses, a camera, flash and some more gear. The fact that the bag can adapt to different user’s styles, though, is a positive note in terms of design.
The padded inserts on the back make the bag comfortable enough for a day out walking and the back padding is also used as a sleeve for attaching the bag to a trolley. With its rectangular shape that does not scream “this is a camera bag”, the Agua Stormproof Versa Backpack is, because of its unique characteristics, a special bag that may not be adequate for everyone. But if you like to go out when it rains or your activity as a photographer or videographer takes you close to water, this may be a solution to protect your gear. It will cost you $199.99, but it will probably be your best investment if you like… “agua”.