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McKinnon Camera Pack by Nomatic Review (Backpack)


The Nomatic x McKinnon Camera Pack is the result of a dream collaboration between a talented photographer and a successful high-end bag company – a combination like that can only breed success.

How many of us out there would like to design a photography backpack to perfectly suit our needs from the ground up? I know I would!

Highly Recommended

McKinnon Camera Pack 35L

A bomb-proof travel camera backpack with unique looks and well designed features and accessories. Built to last a lifetime with a price tag and weight to match.

Check Current Price

Designed for photographers, built for travel, and with an array of additional accessories developed to integrate seamlessly with it, the McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is a force to be reckoned with!

I’ve been keen to experience this wonder since it first appeared on Kickstarter, and I’m stoked to bring you this review. So let’s dive in!

McKinnon Camera Pack 35L Specs

 

Pros

  • Built like a tank!
  • Heavily customisable
  • Super comfortable and supportive
  • High-end materials with weather-sealed construction
  • Well thought out functional details
  • Will make you want to travel more!
Cons

  • Heavy esepcially with bundled inclusions
  • Susceptible to dirt and marking (but does clean off easily)
McKinnon Camera Pack 35L Specs:

Capacity: 35L (Expandable to 42L)
External Dimensions: 55.88 x 34 x 22.8cm (22″ x 13.5″ x 9″)
Interior Dimensions: 53.3 x 31.75 x 13.3cm (21″ x 12.5″ x 5.25″)
Weight (Shell): 2.6kg (5.75 lbs)
Weight + Waist Strap: 3kg (6.6lbs)
Weight + Waist Strap + Dividers: 3.5kg (7.7lbs)
Weight + Full Camera Bundle Extras: 5kg (11lbs)
Laptop/Tablet: Fits 16″ Laptop + Tablet

McKinnon Cube Pack 21L Specs:

Collapsed Capacity: 7L
Collapsed Dimensions: 12.7 x 33.6 x 18.4cm (5″ x 13.25″ x 7.25″)
Expanded Capacity: 21L
Expanded Dimensions: 44.45 x 33.6 x 18.4cm (17.5″ x 13.25″ x 7.25″)
Weight: 0.6kg (1.36lbs)
Sold separately – but is also included in both bundles!

Camera Pack Inclusions:

– McKinnon Camera Pack 35L
– Waist Strap
– 2x Cargo Straps
– 9x Customizable Dividers

Camera Pack + Cube Pack Bundle Inclusions:

– McKinnon Camera Pack 35L
– McKinnon Cube Pack 21L
– Waist Strap
– 2x Cargo Straps
– 9x Customizable Dividers

The Camera Bundle Inclusions:

– McKinnon Camera Pack 35L
– McKinnon Cube Pack 21L
– Waist Strap
– 2x Cargo Straps
– Memory Card Case
– Battery Case
– Filter Case
– 9x Customizable Dividers

  • Expandable by a further 7L (42L max)
  • Water-resistant tarpaulin exterior materials
  • Waterproof zippers
  • Heavily padded shell for durable travel
  • Adjustable shoulder straps with thick padding
  • Magnetic closing bottle/tripod pocket
  • Multiple internal and external accessory pockets
  • Large padded laptop/tablet pouch with soft lining
  • Rear access zipper for secure access
  • Side access for added convenience
  • Tie-down strap for tighter packing
  • Internal suspension system
  • Sternum and waist straps for weight distribution
  • 9 mixed size removable internal dividers
  • Trolley sleeve
  • Plus many many more features…

Build & Appearance

The McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is a beautiful and tough package.

The McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is a beautiful and tough package.

To put it simply, the Nomatic x McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is undeniably beautiful.

From the moment you remove it from its protective sleeve, the stealthy black on black design shines smoothly under the light, gracefully introducing every fine detail placed on every corner of the backpack itself.

Built like a tank and with a hefty weight to match, the McKinnon Camera Pack is constructed in a manner that can withstand any level of punishment you wish to inflict upon it.

Whether you’re launching it into the rusty bed of a pickup truck in the desert, or jamming it into the tight overhead compartments on an aircraft, the McKinnon Camera Pack will look after your gear while taking the hits in stride.

The exterior material is very durable, but it does get dirty easily from simply putting it on the ground face down. However, rest assured that it’s not permanent, as it cleans up very easily!

Built with high end materials and designed to be a work horse or travel companion.

Built with high-end materials and designed to be a workhorse or travel companion.

Stylish, considered, and comfortable – the McKinnon Camera Pack has been carefully designed with longevity and functionality in mind.

It’s constructed from Nomatic’s standard-issue high-end materials. A smooth water-resistant tarpaulin, waterproof Zoom zippers, and Duraflex for the buckles and adjusters.

Plus, just like my own body, there’s more than sufficient padding provided in all the right places!

Nomatic's finest quality details and strength in the construction can be found in the McKinnon Camera Pack.

Nomatic’s finest quality details and strength in the construction can be found in the McKinnon Camera Pack.

The shoulder straps feel strong, sturdy, and reliably built; providing the confidence you need when lugging expensive gear around.

The McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is large, beautiful, and definitely built to purpose. With travel and large loads in mind, its intent was not for everyday carry, but more a purposeful mission or adventure. One that may potentially last more than a day or two, maybe even three if you pack well enough.

Exterior Features

The McKinnon Camera Pack is both stylish and utilitarian at the same time!

The McKinnon Camera Pack is both stylish and utilitarian at the same time!

The McKinnon Camera Pack gives off utilitarian and heavy-duty vibes which I love. It’s definitely a head-turner.

From the large thick and padded top side grab handle and adjustable shoulder straps, to the many cargo strap hook up points and chunky zippers, this bag is heavy-duty – no question about it!

Placed around four sides of the backpack are good-sized grab handles for ease of use when stowing.

From multiple grab handles, pockets, and straps - the McKinnon Camera Pack has plenty of them!

From multiple grab handles, pockets, and straps – the McKinnon Camera Pack has plenty of them!

On the body side of the McKinnon Camera Pack, you’ll find a hanging loop in between the shoulder straps, a removable sternum strap, a removable padded waist strap, and a luggage pass-through.

Accessible from the back panel is the padded laptop pouch large enough for a 16″ laptop or tablet.

On the front of the is a deep quick access pocket with a magnetic divider, and on the face of the backpack, you’ll notice the wide array of cargo strap points running top to bottom.

Cargo straps can be attached on both vertical sides and across the front of the McKinnon Camera Pack.

Cargo straps can be attached on both vertical sides and across the front of the McKinnon Nomatic Camera Pack.

At first glance, the cargo strap points look like aesthetic design elements, but they are actually very functional! Utilising the two included detachable cargo straps you can equip large bulky items to the front (and sides) of the backpack.

Attach them vertically for wider items or horizontally for slimmer travel tripods – external carry is made easy with these!

Found on the left side is a magnetic bottle pocket that opens up large enough to fit a tripod, and again utilise one of the cargo straps for extra stability if you so choose. Then on the right side, you’ll find the quick access side access point.

Interior Features

Plenty of space and pockets available for filling the McKinnon Camera Pack up with your gear and clothing!

Plenty of space and pockets are available for filling the McKinnon Camera Pack up with your gear and clothing!

Access to the large cavernous beautiful golden/sandy coloured main compartment is through the back panel of the McKinnon Camera Pack.

Included are 4 Long Dividers, 2 of which have bendable ends that can shape tightly around a camera body.

You also find 5 Smaller Dividers that can also be folded in half, which can easily be combined to create shelves, folded as lids to secure smaller items, or just to simply section off the longer dividers as usual.

Set up the McKinnon Camera Pack the way you need and configure it to suit your preferences.

Set up the McKinnon Camera Pack the way you need and configure it to suit your preferences.

The inside area of the back panel contains two large zipper pouches for loose accessories, inside which the Filter Case, Memory Card Case, and Battery Case can also fit nicely inside.

For laptop and tablet users, there are two designated padded pouches available to you. The internal pouch is sized for large tablets and the external pouch for larger laptops (up to 16″).

Now zip it up, and flip the McKinnon Camera Pack over onto the straps. There are two zipper rails you will find, one is the expansion, and the other provides access to the front compartment.

Equipped with 4 gear pouches, multiple zipper pockets, and a tie down strap, the McKinnon Camera Pack can have more clothing or gear stowed in the expandable front compartment.

Equipped with 4 gear pouches, multiple zipper pockets, and a tie-down strap, the McKinnon Camera Pack can have more clothing or gear stowed in the expandable front compartment.

This is the area which has been designed for your clothing – however since this is your bag and you’re (probably) capable of making your own decisions – then yeah sure, I guess you can also use it for gear too if you so choose!

Within the front compartment, you’ll find numerous pouches for items, a tie-down strap to aid with compressing your soft items, and on the lid another selection of larger zipper pockets.

These aforementioned zipper pockets come in two layers – q large compartment that runs the full size of the lid, and two other mid-size pockets.

Storage Capacity

You'll be surprised just how much can fit in the McKinnon Camera Pack - and loading it smarter than me will mean potentially more!

You’ll be surprised just how much can fit in the McKinnon Camera Pack – and loading it smarter than I did will mean potentially more!

Peter McKinnon stated that this pack was built to take on adventures for one- to three days long. It has been designed with plenty of space for both your gear and your clothing – maybe even toiletries if you’re one of those weird people who shower.

The McKinnon Camera Pack is large enough for long zoom lenses, full-frame camera bodies, and multiple camera setups. The added expandability helps push this bag even further!

To provide an example of just how much stuff can fit in this bag, I started planning out a combination of both camera gear and clothing. Minus any toiletries and underwear, because really.. who needs those in 2022?!

This is everything I managed to squeeze in to the McKinnon Camera Pack!

This is everything I managed to squeeze into the McKinnon Camera Pack!

So here’s a long list of what I’ve added, separated into sections as it’s quite an extensive list.

Camera Gear:

  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Canon 50mm f/1.8
  • Canon 600EX RT Speedlite
  • Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE (for a Sony, but still!)
  • 3 Spare batteries (McKinnon Battery Case)
  • 3 Filters (McKinnon Filter Case – actually fits 6 plus lens caps)
  • Manfrotto Tripod (strapped to the front)
  • DJI Osmo Pocket

Drone gear:

  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • DJI Mavic Pro controller
  • 2x DJI Mavic Pro spare batteries
  • DJI Mavic Pro battery charger and cables
  • Polar Pro Lens Filters

Computers and other goodies:

  • 15.6″ Slim Gaming Laptop and power cables
  • Logitech mouse
  • 10.2″ Apple iPad
  • Spare iPhone
  • Apple Airpods 3
  • USB Charger and 3 cables
  • SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD
  • McKinnon Rain Fly
  • Torch
  • Large water bottle
  • Plus other bits and pieces as pictured

Clothing:

  • 4 t-shirts
  • A pair of shorts, jeans, boardies, and boxers
  • A light jacket
  • 4 pairs of socks

As you can see, you can fit a LOT of stuff in this backpack, paired with the extra accessories that Nomatic and McKinnon have developed makes packing them far neater and more convenient.

However, bear in mind, this load that I put together felt a little too much and it was a very tight fit – but it did close! So maybe drop the shorts or the jeans… and also wear that jacket instead of packing it. Or maybe I could have just packed it smarter?

I utilised the Cube Pack 21 for the DJI Mavic Pro gear as it made for a simpler arrangement. I figured I could just simply ‘grab and go’ and leave the heavier Camera Pack behind when I didn’t need the rest.

Peter McKinnon Camera Line Accessories

Peter McKinnon and Nomatic developed some handy packing accessories that integrate seamlessly with the McKinnon Camera Pack.

Peter McKinnon and Nomatic developed some handy packing accessories that integrate seamlessly with the McKinnon Camera Pack.

I took the liberty of explaining the optional additional accessories to help you make a more informed decision as to whether you’d find them worthwhile or not.

Some of these accessories will now travel with me everywhere I go, as they’re simple to drop into any other bag that I use from now on! I’m already using the Memory Card Case and Battery Case in my everyday bag.

Have a read through these brief descriptions of each, and come to your own conclusions. I can no longer live without some of these, but the others will still be a ‘when in need, I’m glad I have them’ thing.

McKinnon Cube Pack 21

Use it as cube storage within the McKinnon Camera Pack and then expand it to a handy day pack!

Use it as cube storage within the McKinnon Camera Pack and then expand it to a handy day pack!

This is an interesting one! Usable on its own, or integrating nicely within the Camera Pack; the McKinnon Cube Pack is an expandable and stowable backpack that you can either purchase separately or claim it bundled with the McKinnon Camera Pack.

Sized specifically to be easily loaded up into the Camera Pack, and ready for your arrival at your destination. Just simply remove it, expand it, and throw in only what you need for the day.

Weighing in at only 0.6kg (1.36lbs), now you’re ready to roam with a simpler and far lighter day pack, while the bulkier Camera Pack sits securely within your accommodation.

Sold Individually, or included in the ‘Camera Pack + Cube Pack Bundle’ and ‘The Camera Bundle’

Accessory Case

Helpful for moving your smaller items from bag to desk, or keeping things packed and tidy together within the backpack.

Helpful for moving your smaller items from bag to desk, or keeping things packed and tidy together within the backpack.

Basically a smaller version of the Cube Pack, the Accessory Case is a hardened EVA foam case that comes with internal dividers for storing all those pesky little bits and pieces that often get strewn throughout your backpacks.

Great for action cams and all the accessories that come with them, or for the hotel office situation by keeping your charger cables, pens, and hard drives together.

Go from bag-to-table and don’t leave anything behind as you drop it straight into the McKinnon Camera Pack or throw it onto a table to keep things in order.

Intentionally sized to sit upright for easy access, or on its side for a smaller profile within the Camera Pack.

Sold Individually.

Filter Case

Protect those fragile and expensive bits of glass with this packable hard pouch.

Protect those fragile and expensive bits of glass with this packable hard pouch.

Much like the Accessory Case, the Filter Case is also constructed from a hardened EVA foam to protect the contents within it. Rather than going for a soft pouch style, Peter McKinnon and Nomatic opted to give it a solid structure to better protect the (up to) 6 fragile glass filters (like the Polar Pro x McKinnon ND filter).

Included in ‘The Camera Bundle’.

Memory Card Case

Integrate the Memory Card Case with any bag system you may also use, such as your everyday bag or partners pocket.

Integrate the Memory Card Case with any bag system you may also use, such as your everyday bag or partners pocket.

Are you one to always misplace your memory cards? I know I had to go out and buy a specific case for mine years ago… Well, Peter McKinnon has designed one for those of you who may not already have one, or want a better one!

Coming with multiple slots for SD and CF cards, and a nice little zipper pocket for those tiny Micro SD cards as well (or USB sticks!). Never lose a card again! .. Unless you forget to reload it into the Memory Card Case…

Included in ‘The Camera Bundle’.

Battery Case

Store up to three batteries in the Battery Case and drop it in to any bag you own, or slot it nicely in to a pocket in the McKinnon Camera Pack!

Store up to three batteries in the Battery Case and drop it into any bag you own or slot it nicely into a pocket in the McKinnon Camera Pack!

The Battery Case is a great solution to your loose battery woes, helping keep those unruly batteries from going missing in one of the many potential pockets and pouches adorning the Camera Pack.

It also comes with neat little reusable marker stickers, conveniently reminding you of which are still going strong, and which soldiers have fallen – there’s no mistaking between them in the field.

Included in ‘The Camera Bundle’.

Rain Fly

Add an extra layer of protection to the McKinnon Camera Pack and survive any level of downpour (note: not tsunami or flood proof).

Add an extra layer of protection to the McKinnon Camera Pack and survive any level of downpour (note: not tsunami or flood-proof).

Pretty much explains itself really.. Protects the McKinnon Camera Pack from heavy downpours or the tears of those who envy you.

Sold Individually.

Ease of Use/Comfort

Comfortable, customisable, heavily padded and durable - the McKinnon Camera Pack is definitely a great bag to use.

Comfortable, customisable, heavily padded and durable – the McKinnon Camera Pack is definitely a great bag to use.

The quality of the materials used on the McKinnon Camera Pack 35L ensures it is a comfortable and smooth product to use.

It features Zoom zippers that are nice and chunky, with large anodized aluminium pulls that are easy to find when you need them.

The adjustable shoulder straps and the included removable waist strap feature firm and thick padding, while the stylised moulded back panel features a modern and comfortable design. Not to mention, the included removable sternum strap is a welcomed addition for those days with heavier loads.

With the optional additional accessories, plenty of storage compartments throughout, and plenty of dividers for customisation of the main compartment, the McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is an easy and comfortable backpack to use!

Alternatives

The McKinnon Camera Pack: Fine craftsmanship and a great level of detail.

The McKinnon Camera Pack: Fine craftsmanship and a great level of detail.

There is a good range of extra-large camera bags out there for you to choose from, but for simplicity, I’ll suggest only two specific options – one slightly larger and similarly priced, and one slightly smaller but cheaper.

On the premium brand end, you have the Peak Design Travel Backpack, which comes in at a slightly larger maximum capacity of 45L. Featuring Peak Design’s level of quality and reputation, it’s definitely a worthy consideration.

You can pair it with Peak Design’s packing solutions, such as the Camera Cubes and Packing Cubes, which come in at an extra cost on top.

If you’re looking to spend a lot less money and are open to a slightly smaller backpack, the PGYTECH OneMo backpack is an option worth considering.

Similar in a few ways, but different in others, and yet still a fantastic backpack which I reviewed recently. Starting at 25L and expanding to 30L (or 35L if you use the included sling bag externally), the PGYTECH OneMo is built well and a comfortable backpack to use!

Value for Money

The McKinnon Camera Pack may not be the cheapest, but there's value in the cost.

The McKinnon Camera Pack may not be the cheapest, but there’s value in the cost.

Nomatic bags are not cheap to begin with – whack on the elaborate and detailed features from the partnership with Peter McKinnon, and you have an even pricier product.

However, in this case, cost definitely constitutes quality. It is without question a high-end and high-quality product that demands a premium. If you can afford it, it’s definitely not going to let you down.

But just be mindful that it is on the heavier end when paired with all the other packing accessories included in the Camera Bundle from Nomatic. Load your gear on top, and you may need to bump up your carry-on limit with your airline!

With just the dividers the backpack comes in at a healthy at 3kgs (6.61 lbs). However, this isn’t actually too bad considering the size of the bag and the toughness of the materials. Even the similar products I recommended above come in at a similar weight as well.

McKinnon Camera Pack 35L Review | Conclusion

Definitely looking forward to future travels with the McKinnon Camera Pack!

Definitely looking forward to future travels with the McKinnon Camera Pack!

I absolutely love the McKinnon Camera Pack and the fact it’s built by Nomatic is a huge plus too. It’s one hell of a beast and makes me excited to travel once again.

The only thing that let’s it down a little is the weight, but that just means I need to either hit the gym more or plan my travel well before embarking on heavily loaded adventures!

When I have it loaded up with my usual smaller loads the weight is not an issue, so I just have to continue to pack smart if I feel it’ll be an issue!

The backpack looks fantastic and is built so incredibly well, which also makes me look forward to the Everyday Camera Line, Peter McKinnon and Nomatic’s upcoming range!

Keep following Shotkit for my review of those little beauties soon, but in the meantime, if your budget allows it, grab the Camera Pack – you won’t regret it!

Highly Recommended

McKinnon Camera Pack 35L

A bomb-proof travel camera backpack with unique looks and well designed features and accessories. Built to last a lifetime with a price tag and weight to match.

Check Current Price

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.


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