Words: Ed Haythornthwaite
Photos: Ben Winder
Loads of mountain bikers love to photograph or video themselves and their mates while riding, so we’re sure this new multifunctional Perspektiv Daypack/camera bag from Thule will be of interest to many of you.
The Swedish company Thule is normally a name that we associate with high quality kit to help you carry stuff on your car, but the company has now decided to branch out into ‘personal carrying devices’, otherwise known as bags. The range includes courier bags, various rucksacks, and some great roller bags. However, what we’re concerned with here is the impressive Perspektiv Daypack, which can double as either a regular daypack or a camera bag.
First off I will deal with the basics, which sadly many rucksacks often get wrong. Although the shoulder and waist straps don’t look particularly substantial, when combined with the good back panel design this rucksack is incredibly comfortable, even when fully loaded. The vented straps and back also stop you getting too sweaty in the process of carrying it about, and I like the way you can tuck the waist strap out of the way if you don’t want it. Personally I only ever use it when riding to give some added stability.
The other basics that Thule have nailed are the quality of construction and the weight. So often rucksacks weigh you down before you’ve even put anything in them, but this one is super light. Despite being so light it feels incredibly well made and the quality of finish is second to none, and I reckon very classy. Thule are so confident in this product that it even comes with a 25 year warranty!
You’re unlikely to buy this bag unless you want its camera carrying capabilities, so I will cover that next. The padded camera compartment is actually a separate unit, which can be removed from the bag, and this is a clever bit of design. Firstly it means that with the unit removed your bag functions as a great regular daysack, and secondly it means that should you wish you could use the padded bit in another bag, or simply pop it into a hotel safe for security. When it is in place though it’s accessed with a single opening on the side of the rucksack. This side opening allows quick access to your camera as you can just take one strap off, slide it around like a sling, and hey presto there’s the compartment sitting neatly in front of you.
Inside the compartment you’ll find your usual adjustable dividers and it’s surprising how much kit you can fit in it. I’ve managed to cram in a large ‘prosumer’ SLR body with a 24-70mm f2.8 lens fitted, a 70-200mm f2.8 lens (just fits), a 50mm lens, a fisheye lens, and an external flashgun. You could possibly fit even more in if you really tried. One slight negative though is that the opening is quite small so getting the stuff out that’s buried in deep can be a bit fiddly, but if you were to put in another bigger access it would add to the weight of the pack. The same can be said of the protection at the bottom of the bag. Ideally I would like to see a little more as I wouldn’t really want to accidentally drop this bag what with all the expensive kit being right at the bottom, but again if you beefed it up you’d be adding weight. Definitely think of this bag as a minimalist one that’s going to see some action, and not as a bulky one with all the bells and whistles. Personally I think Thule have struck a great balance with this pack.
Of course the camera compartment isn’t the only pocket, you also get a generous sized one at the top which I’ve used to house chargers, video cameras, tools, tubes, and other more bulky items, plus you get several other smaller ones, a stretchy bottle holder and tripod carrying straps. When I first started using this bag I didn’t think there was enough storage (compared to my other camera bag), but it turns out that there is, just. The fact that there’s not loads of space is actually a good thing in my eyes as the whole idea behind the bag seems to be one of low weight and minimalism, so the last thing you then want to go and do is fill it with the kitchen sink.
A great feature of this bag that I haven’t yet mentioned is that it is about as watertight as you can get. All the seams are taped, and you’ll also find waterproof zips. As if that wasn’t enough though, there’s even a hidden full waterproof cover that can be rapidly deployed should you encounter a monsoon. Saying that, even if it’s not raining it can prove useful when riding muddy trails, it just stops the bag getting caked in crap.
Overall I think this is a brilliant bit of kit if you’re looking for a comfortable way of carrying some serious photo kit on a riding adventure. Normally I hate trying to ride while carrying camera kit, but this bag genuinely makes me hardly notice that I am carrying it, it feels very similar to just using a hydration pack. Talking of hydration packs though, if there’s one thing that I really do think is missing from this pack, it’s that it’s not compatible with a hydration bladder. I think that would have been a really good addition, and worth any small weight penalty, especially as it converts to such a good daypack when the camera section is removed. Also, the bladder compartment could then maybe also double up as a laptop compartment (obviously not at the same time as a bladder), which would make the bag even more versatile.
All that said, this bag isn’t trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, it’s a dedicated piece of kit that is very well designed for the job in hand. And yes price-wise it’s at the higher end of the spectrum, but it should last you for years, and even if it doesn’t there’s that 25 year warranty to fall back on.
More information: Thule Perspektiv Daypack