The Backloader Pro Light camera bag from Manfrotto offers a good level of protection while offering plenty of space for small and medium-sized cameras and accessories. If you're a photographer with plenty of gear and plenty of ideas, this bag could be well suited to your needs. In this review we've got our hands on the medium-sized model of this bag.
Weight: 1.89 kg
Internal dimensions: 10.6 x 6.2 x 16.9-in (27 x 16 x 43cm)
External dimensions: 12.5 x 10.2 x 20.4-in (32 x 26 x 52cm)
Laptop compartment dimensions: 15-in laptop/tablet
Number of lenses that can be stored: Eight maximum
Compatibility: DSLR/Mirrorless Cameras
Overall, we were impressed with the Backloader Pro Light camera bag because of the space that it offers and the level of protection it gives to the contents inside. You can also check out our guide to the best camera backpacks on the market.
If you're looking for more guidance on camera gear in general then it's also worth having a look at our guides for the best tripods, the best cameras for astrophotography or best cameras for photos and videos and the best zoom lenses. However, to read our hands-on review of the Manfrotto Backloader Pro Light camera bag, all you have to do is read on.
Manfrotto Backloader Pro Light: Design
- Smart and lightweight design with well-built zips and fasteners
- Water-resistant material
- Internal dividers are padded, adjustable and removable
On first impressions, it looks like a handy bag to have. Plenty of space to offer, a smart look and reliable support and protection for your load inside. Unloaded, it's lightweight, the straps are easy to adjust and it's comfortable both on the shoulders and the back. So far, so good.
The bag we tested is a dark gray color with the Manfrotto logo displayed on the front in black, to partner the black zips around the bag. Each side has a pouch that is elasticated at one end, allowing you to fit larger objects such as tripod parts in there and not just a standard water bottle. At the back, two symmetrical foam pads run the length of the bag, which are covered by netting, for comfort and breathability, while the straps also have a soft but slightly firmer material running along the inside.
The inside of this bag is its biggest plus side. It has a three-zip design so you can access a front section, the top of the bag where a camera would be best placed, for quick and easy access and the back of the bag opens up completely, so you have total access to every compartment in your bag. There's plenty of space inside for camera(s) and accessories and the structure that keeps everything in place as well as protects it is removable and adjustable, so more room can be made if and when it's required.
It also features numerous pockets/pouches on the inside (one is zipped) which is ideal if you want to carry keys, a wallet/purse, a phone or any small-sized extras you might want to take with you. All in all, from a design point-of-view, this bag is practical, well made and worth having if you're in possession of a small or medium-sized camera and looking to take it with you along with accessories or lenses.
Manfrotto Backloader Pro Light: Features
- Easy-access front camera compartment
- Back opens up completely to offer total access
- Fabric dividers have padding and are removable
This bag features three zips, which open up two different compartments of the bag: The front section and the main section, where your camera and extras will be. Inside the front section of the bag are two pouches which are elastically sealed for easy access, ideal for small extras you want to carry. Inside the main section of the bag are two more pouches which the material of the interior covers. There is also a zipped compartment below those pouches and a deep pocket right at the back of the bag.
The standout feature of this bag is undoubtedly the fabric dividers in the main section of the bag. They are attached to the padded interior and to each other with Velcro. At a glance, the fabric and Velcro combination as a divider looks a little cheap but given the protection and support that the padding inside the fabric dividers offers, as well as the Velcro helping to allow the dividers to be adjustable and removable, that really isn't an issue.
Further features of this bag include side pouches/pockets which will hold a tripod or tripod parts and there's a strap to hold it in place. They are elasticated which allows a range of items to fit in there too. You can also fasten the straps of the bag easily to suit your comfort needs too.
Manfrotto Backloader Pro Light: Performance
- Dividers hold everything in place over long commutes
- Straps don't dig in or rub against shoulders
- Main section offers plenty of room
A smart design and useful features are all welcome, but does the Manfrotto Backloader Pro Light camera bag perform well? Well, in short, yes. We found no issues with commuting with the bag, whether it be with just a camera inside or when removing the dividers to fit day-to-day items like groceries in there. Fastening the straps on the bag to find the right fit was also easy and the straps remained in place during commutes.
The dividers allow for a maximum of nine compartments which means you can get plenty of accessories and lenses to fit along with your camera. Removing and adjusting them is also easy enough due to the fabric and Velcro combination. The EVA foam used inside the fabric dividers offer maximum protection against impact and there's structural reinforcement at the base of the bag. This is part of Manfrotto's 'M-Guard Protection System' which means the bag has excellent shock-absorbing qualities. Furthermore, The bag features water-repellent nylon/polyester fabric so it has waterproof qualities, protecting your valuables inside. It's made more impressive as we didn't find any damage caused by snags on low-hanging branches, for example.
We also found that the space inside works excellently for what you need. We only had one camera available when testing and that fit within the walls of every section of the dividers. But we also found that you could fit groceries around the camera and walk around with the same level of comfort with everything staying exactly where it was initially placed. The side pouches, designed to hold tripod parts, held a water bottle perfectly without it moving around or falling out. The back pocket in the main section of the bag will hold a 15-inch screen laptop as well as other things. The front section doesn't offer a lot of room but it does offer plenty of depth, so items like maps, books or folders could be placed in there, but not much else. Even on long commutes, the straps didn't dig or rub against the shoulders.
Should you buy the Manfrotto Backloader Pro Light backpack?
We recommend having the Manfrotto Pro Light camera bag if you're in the market for a bag to hold and protect your camera and the extras you bring along with it. We stated at the start of this review that this could be the bag for you if you're a photographer with lots of gear and lots of ideas, and indeed it's proven to be just that. It offers plenty of protection, which is paramount and the main section of the bag offers plenty of space.
The front section doesn't offer a lot of space but can fit thinner objects like books, maps and folders. The dividers look a little cheap but they do offer protection and are adjustable/removable so this is an issue you can overlook. At just under £200, it does feel a bit pricey but there are more expensive options out there and if you have a small or medium-sized mirrorless or DSLR camera and you want to carry other equipment with you, this bag is worth having.
If this product isn't for you
If this bag isn't quite for you, maybe you're looking for a cheaper option, or perhaps you're looking for a bigger bag, then check out our guide for the best camera backpacks. Otherwise, we could recommend PRO Light Flexloader Backpack which is a slightly larger option from the manufacturer or the Vanguard Veo Select a bag that is more affordable for those on stricter budgets.