Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack Review (25L) Travel Backpack


Following the success of the Nomatic x McKinnon partnership is the new McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L.

Part of the new Everyday Camera Line, it has been built and designed with the same (if not higher) level of consideration as the original McKinnon Camera Pack 35L, which I reviewed earlier this year..

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

mckinnon-camera-backpack

McKinnon Camera Pack (25L)

Built to last with plenty of customisation options – a stylish head-turner of a camera backpack with great features and surprisingly large capacity.

But be assured, just because it’s a smaller 25L version of the original, it isn’t simply a scaled-down version of the 35L Camera Pack. It stands impressively well on its own.

Take a look at my McKinnon Camera Pack review to see if it’s worth your money.

McKinnon Camera Pack 25L Review | Specs

 

Pros

  • Built to last and very durable
  • Very comfortable
  • Oh, the customisation!
  • Water resistance is excellent
  • Super modern and stylish design
  • Suited to travel as well as everyday
Cons

  • It has some chunk to it
  • On the higher end of the pricing spectrum
  • Can get a bit heavy when loaded up
  • Could do with a small quick access pocket
  • External cargo straps sold separately
  • Fully customisable
  • Magnetic side bottle/tripod pockets
  • Full top and back access
  • Designed for camera, every day, or hybrid use
  • Dedicated 16″ padded laptop/tablet sleeve
  • Durable materials and water resistant build
  • Chunky comfortable grab handles
  • Luggage pass-through
  • Included Sternum strap
  • Molle strap system (gear straps sold separate)
  • EVA foam formed back panel
  • Lifetime Warranty
McKinnon Everyday Backpack 25L Specs:

Capacity: 25L
External Dimensions: 19 x 33 x 48.26 cm (7.5″ x 13″ x 19″)
Interior Dimensions: 53.3 x 31.75 x 13.3 cm (21″ x 12.5″ x 5.25″)
Weight (Shell): 1.42kg (3.14lbs)
Weight + Ladder: 1.55kg (3.42lbs)
Weight + Ladder + 1x Small Cube: 1.98kg (4.36lbs)
Weight + Ladder + 2x Small Cubes: 2.41kg (5.31lbs)
Weight + Ladder + 1x Large Cube: 2.35kg (5.18lbs)
Laptop/Tablet: Fits 16″ Laptop

McKinnon Cubes Specs:

Small Cube:
Internal Dimensions: 26.67 x 13.3 x 12.7 cm(10.5″ x 5.25″ x 5″)
Weight: 0.43kg (0.95lbs)
Dividers: 2x 5″ Dividers / 1x 3″ Dividers

Large Cube:
Internal Dimensions: 26.67 x 26.67 x 13.3 cm (10.5″ x 10.5″ x 5.25″)
Weight: 0.8kg (1.77lbs)
Dividers: 1x Left Bend Divider / 1x Right Bend Divider / 4x 3″ Dividers

Build & Appearance

Stylish, modern, and utilitarian - definitely part of the Nomatic X McKinnon partnership!

Stylish, modern, and utilitarian – definitely part of the Nomatic X McKinnon partnership!

As with the larger version, the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L is a beautiful piece of modern utilitarian design.

Unquestionably part of the same series of bags, it features the same stealthy black-on-black design language along with the elegant smooth shine.

Aesthetically you could say it’s a shrunken-down version of the McKinnon 35L Camera Pack, but still with its own unique flair and set of features.

Nomatic has built it to withstand your everyday needs of strolling through the mall, while still capable being more than capable of punishing exploration through treacherous terrains.

The outer tarpaulin and waterproof Zoom Zippers protect the contents from the elements, while the tough and thick shell secures gear from impacts and falls.

The McKinnon Camera Backpack is equipped with Nomatics standard issue top end materials

The McKinnon Camera Backpack is equipped with Nomatic’s standard-issue top-end materials

With more than sufficient padding along all touchpoints, the McKinnon Camera Backpack is quite comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

However, as with anything padded, it can tend to start to feel a bit warm after a while.

Functional, practical, comfortable, and stylish… while being long-lasting and dependable – the McKinnon Camera Backpack has been crafted with a lot of care and attention to photographers.

I felt the 35L version of the Camera Pack was built like a tank with the weight to match… Well, this is a smaller tank – with less weight – that can still take any level of punishment you wish to inflict upon it.

Exterior Features

The McKinnon Camera Backpack is pretty well balanced when it comes to features and size, but also stands up straight by itself!

The McKinnon Camera Backpack is pretty well balanced when it comes to features and size, but it also stands up straight by itself!

This may seem like an odd thing to mention as an “exterior feature,” but I’m sure many of you will appreciate this. It has a wide flat base.

What does this mean? Well, regardless of how it’s loaded up, it always seemed to stay planted on the ground and has never tipped over for me.

Some backpacks fall forwards or backward once loaded up with heavy gear. This one seems to stay rather planted and balanced! Hooray!

The 25L McKinnon Camera Backpack features large, chunky, and over-engineered grab handles and shoulder straps. It’s been constructed to deal with heavy camera gear while remaing durable.

Placed down either side of the front face is a series of Molle straps for external attachments, including the use of the Gear Straps (which sadly weren’t included).

The side pockets are quite large and tall, but smaller water bottles tend to wiggle quite a bit within them.

The side pockets are quite large and tall, but smaller water bottles tend to wiggle quite a bit within them.

You’ll find the side pockets have a magnet to keep them flat and out of the way when not in use but open up nice and wide to gobble up any bottles or tripods you need to stash in there.

They’re rather tall, which ensures further stability when stowing items.

This, however means there’s no easy side access point for your camera gear; it’s back panel or top access only. A deal breaker for some? Not for me.

It would also be great to have an external small quick access pocket on the front, too, not just on the inside of the lid. Something simple to drop in car keys or anything else you may need on the go without accessing the interior – I liked that with the larger version of this backpack. 

Interior Features

The Ladder is incredibly helpful and a standard inclusion with the McKinnon Camera Backpack.

The Ladder is incredibly helpful and a standard inclusion with the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L.

A key feature of the inside of the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L is a separate element in itself. The Ladder.

This clever contraption converts the top section of the Backpack into a separate pocket that can be expanded or contracted as you require, all without actually removing parts of it.

With the ladder contracted, you’ll fit a Large Cube or 2x Small Cubes. With it expanded, you’ll fit a single Small Cube, or with the ladder removed, the backpack becomes an open shell.

Pairing both cubes and the Ladder within the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L allows for easy compartmentalization of gear.

I used the bottom for Camera and Drone gear and the easy-access top for general riff-raff.

Your gear is always within easy access while stored inside the McKinnon Camera Backpack

Your gear is always within easy access while stored inside the McKinnon Camera Backpack

Even loaded up with Camera Cubes, utilising the zipper pockets doesn’t seem to impede your carry capacity too badly. But just be mindful that the Cubes don’t have lids so items may touch once the bag is closed.

There is a very minimal loss of space by using the Cubes, but in circumstances that require that little bit extra, the dividers included with the cubes can be utilised in the main compartment.

If you don’t plan on purchasing Cubes at all, just note that the bag doesn’t come with dividers. But you can purchase a Divider Pack instead, which gives you a good variety.

Contained within the back panel is a Laptop/Tablet sleeve capable of fitting a 16″ MacBook laptop. On the same back panel are two full-width zipper pockets to fit loose gear.

Lastly, there are a couple of small pouches in the top section of the backpack, along with a small item pouch contained within the top lid.

Storage Capacity

Different set ups made easy with the McKinnon Camera Backpack and Cubes combo

Different setups made easy with the McKinnon Camera Backpack and Cubes combo

The shape of the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L allows you to fully utilise the storage capacity on offer. Regardless of your intended purpose of use, you can always reconfigure the backpack to your liking.

Having been designed with a boxy shape greatly helps with utilising all the space. Whereas some similar capacity backpacks may feature a slender or sleek profile, which can result in a bit more restriction of usable space.

I have two small Cubes which are super helpful in organising and packing the bag. One for my camera and one for the drone. It also means I can easily just lift either of them out and store them for later when not needed.

You can fit plenty of gear inside the McKinnon Camera Backpack and very easily access it all!

You can fit plenty of gear inside the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L and very easily access it all!

For a fully loaded day out, this should give you an idea of what you can fit within the backpack.

  • Sony a7 III with Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
  • GODOX TT350S TTL Flash
  • Canon 50mm f/1.8 (I know it’s not Sony!)
  • McKinnon Battery Case
  • McKinnon Memory Card Case
  • DJI Mini 3 Pro
  • DJI RC Controller
  • DJI Mini 3 Pro Fly More Kit (2x batteries, multi-charger, etc)
  • Lens Filter for the Sony
  • Manfrotto Tripod
  • 14″ Dell Laptop (can fit up to 16″)
  • Laptop Charger and Cables
  • Logitech Anywhere 3 Mouse
  • SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD
  • USB Battery Charger
  • Various other small bits and pieces…

If the above represents your usual weekend load-out and you use the backpack for work during the week, simply remove the Cubes and leave them on the shelf, pop down the Ladder, and drop your lunch in the base.

By leaving the small Cubes stored with your gear pre-loaded inside, you can just quickly drop them back in on Friday night! Takes the hassle out of re-packing your gear each time.

Ease of Use/Comfort

Plenty of padding and comfort can be found on the McKinnon Camera Backpack.

Plenty of padding and comfort can be found on the McKinnon Camera Backpack.

McKinnon and Nomatic ensured the bag is built to last, but wow, did they also ensure it remains comfortable throughout its usage.

The thick padding around all the touchpoints ensures comfort.

The air channel carved into the back panel helps keep you cool, and the thick and chunky grab handles help ease the feeling of a heavily loaded bag while also making it easy to quickly grab and go as you need.

As with the original McKinnon Camera Pack 35L, the zipper pulls are long and easily accessible, while the Zoom zippers run seamlessly along the rails. I have not had them snag at all.

In fact, probably the only issue I find with the zippers comes from something rather silly. I get a bit OCD with the placement and always close the bag by pulling them to the very centre at the top.

By doing so, I end up with 4 zippers in the same location, of which I tend to grab the wrong ones each time!

McKinnon Camera Pack vs Peak Design Everyday Backpack

The McKinnon Camera Backpack and Peak Design Everyday Backpack are similarly priced.

The McKinnon Camera Backpack and Peak Design Everyday Backpack are similarly priced.

For everyday and adventure usage, the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L is a fantastic size. But there are days when it feels a little too much.

For instance, it is undeniably great for my work commute; but generally, 1/3 of the backpack remains empty.

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 being 20L in capacity, fits well for those days, but that backpack remains full for said commute. So I carry a packable tote, just in case. But then I am carrying two bags some days!

Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 also comes in a 30L size, but that felt too large for me when I tried it – hence ownership of the 20L variant.

Both are “everyday backpacks” and are undoubtedly great products.

For me, the main point of contention would be the way the bags are used in the context of packing and accessing gear.

You could argue that one of these are on the more "everyday" side, and the other sits more on the "camera" side of the fence.

You could argue that one of these is on the more “everyday” side, and the other sits more on the “camera” side of the fence.

The Peak Design options are top and side access only with a vertical arrangement (ie, two sling bags stacked vertically) and are designed with a slimmer profile.

Many would prefer the slimmer profile for the look and feel, along with the dual side access to grab your gear on the go.

But packing and managing items is a bit more inconvenient with the tighter space and vertical arrangement.

The McKinnon Camera Backpack is top and rear access with a flat orientation (ie, classic camera bag).

It has a thicker profile, so it might feel bulky compared to the Peak Design, but the shape makes the full capacity easier to utilise.

Many would find this far easier to pack, see, and manage items. But you do need to physically remove the backpack and place it down to access the lower section.

Take a look at my full review of the PD backpack by clicking the link below and see what you think.

Value for Money

It may be pricy, but the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L is an excellent product.

It may be pricy, but the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L is an excellent product.

If you know Nomatic, you know they’re not a cheap brand.

However, their products are always built extremely well, and the partnership with Peter McKinnon is destined for success.

A photographer designing a backpack for photographers with a small team of passionate specialists is a match made in heaven.

The McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L is, by all means, not a cheap backpack. It’s priced within the range of Peak Design Everyday Backpack V2 (20L and 30L variants), and those are not cheap either.

They’re high-end premium products, and generally, they demand a premium price tag.

There will always be a cheaper option out there, and there will always be something more expensive, whether or not those are better or worse options are a subjective matter.

If you can afford the McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L and you make the decision to purchase it – it won’t let you down. It won’t fall apart, it won’t fail your gear, and it will certainly last for many years to come while looking pretty damn stylish at the same time.

It fits a wide variety of purposes – it’s not just a camera bag, it’s an everyday bag that suits photography, adventure, shopping, and much more.

Nomatic offers a lifetime warranty on its products to cover defects in materials and workmanship.

They also offer optional 2 and 3-year extended coverage plans, which cover you for accidental damage through adventurous or casual usage.

So, you could say that everything considered, the investment is a safe one as the bag could well last a life time.

Peter McKinnon Camera Backpack Review | Conclusion

The McKinnon X Nomatic partnership has produced some proper high end products!

The McKinnon X Nomatic partnership has produced some proper high-end products!

I love this backpack! It’s everything I had hoped it would be and more.

While it can feel a bit chunky at times, especially on days when I don’t need to carry too much, I just still love how it looks and feels.

The McKinnon Camera Backpack 25L is now a staple in my collection and has risen through the ranks to now sit as my new everyday backpack.

I am unsure what else they could do, but I sure do hope that Peter McKinnon isn’t done partnering up with Nomatic. I’m sure he will dream up even more excellent gear.

Perhaps a smaller everyday backpack that could sit between the 25L pack and the 8L sling for those lighter days? Maybe a 15L version of the Camera Backpack would be nice if you’re listening, Nomatic…

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

mckinnon-camera-backpack

McKinnon Camera Pack (25L)

Built to last with plenty of customisation options – a stylish head-turner of a camera backpack with great features and surprisingly large capacity.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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