In April 2016, Loveskiing got their hands on a number of specialist photography backpacks with the intention of seeing how they performed on the slopes. This review looks at one of the mid-sized ones, the Jack Wolfskin ACS Photo Pack Pro.
We’ve tried to keep the review to the point and informative, so you don’t have to waste an hour reading through it. However, if you want more detail, drop us a comment below (or on FB / Twitter) and we’ll get straight back to you. We’ll start by taking each of Jack Wolfskin’s main statements about their bag and saying whether or not we agree, followed by summarising what we really like and what we think could be better. Simples!
|59 x 35 x 30 cm|
What they say
“ACS: Classic suspension system with spacers for effective back ventilation and specially shaped, ergonomic shoulder straps”
- We were very impressed with how the bag felt when skiing. In fact, we barely knew it was on! The suspension system not only allowed for excellent back ventilation, but also lead to a comfortable fit which, in our opinion, made the bag feel lighter than it was. We can also imagine the bag really excelling in warmer months…
“Adjustable chest strap with signal whistle”
- What more can we say? It’s a chest strap and does exactly what it says on the tin!
“Main compartment with separate sections, padded camera section (removable) and 2 access options”
- Great, roomy camera section with space for a number of lenses (exact number depends on the specific lenses you want to carry – comment below if you have specific queries around this), plus compartments for accessories like memory cards and cleaning equipment. In terms of padding, the bag really excelled – we (deliberately, of course) fell a number of times while skiing, with no damage to any of the kit.
“Base compartment, lid pocket with inner compartment, front pocket with small pouches and slots for small items (ORGANIZER), key clip and mobile phone pouch, inner pocket with zip and transparent compartments, side pouch, waist belt pocket.”
- We managed to fit a great amount of kit into the bag, including a camera with a lens attached, two extra lenses, a charger and cleaning equipment. There was also plenty of room in the other sections for items such as a jumper, book, food, wallet etc. You might imagine that with all this room the bag would protrude and look ungainly on the back, however this really wasn’t the case. We found it fitted the profile of the back perfectly and didn’t stand out too much.
“Removable, padded laptop compartment (14?)”
- A useful addition, although we do think improvements could be made: overall, this felt like the cheapest part of the bag. Whilst we understand that making the compartment removable makes the bag more versatile, we also think it confuses the interior of the bag slightly. We believe the space could be better used to integrate a Hydration Pack compartment, as we’ve seen in other backpacks, or a permanent, separate and more protective laptop compartment.
- Consider this an extra layer of waterproofing, essential for protecting your expensive gear. A good addition, and easy to use!
What we like
- Perfect size for a day bag with plenty of room for both gear and miscellaneous bits and bobs, yet surprisingly good-looking and inconspicuous on the back!
- The number of different pockets make organising very easy
- Carry handle on the front is useful for removing the bag from luggage compartments with ease
- Great padding that survived a number of hefty ski falls!
- Very, very comfortable – we hardly realised we were wearing it!
What we think could be better
- The straps (especially shoulder ones) were a little hard to adjust, especially whilst on the move
- The silver buckles on the front have a plastic feel to them and are too small to hang anything significant on. We’d be reluctant to attach a carabina to them…
- Water bottle holder is on the small side, with an unfortunate tendency to spit water bottles out. In addition, it’s hard to access the pocket beneath this section while carrying a bottle, which gets a bit annoying
- We’d like to see a special compartment for a hydration pack in future editions!
Is it worth the cost? Without a doubt! This bag oozes quality and whilst there may be a few tiny niggles, these should by no means put you off considering buying this tremendous camera backpack.
If you want a backpack that is comfortable (and feels almost weightless), that protects your gear and has enough space to fit your camera and a couple of lenses, as well as a decent amount of miscellaneous bits and bobs, the ACS Photo Pack Pro should definitely be towards the top of your wish list.
Based on this experience, we look forward to reviewing lots more Jack Wolfskin gear in the near future.