WANDRD PRVKE 21L Review
The WANDRD PRVKE 21L's versatile accessibility and features make it a great backpack for photographers, but a camera cube is necessary to store equipment properly.
- Photography-focused features
- Plenty of pockets inside and out
- Three ways to access main compartment
- No built-in camera cube
- Some pockets can be tricky to access when bag is full
- Tarpaulin scratches easily
26L with rolltop fully extended
2.8 lb (1.3 kg)
19 in x 11 in x 6.5 in (48.3 x 27.9 x 16.5 cm)
Tarpaulin, ROBIC®, YKK Zippers
Laptop Compartment Size
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By now, we’ve grown familiar with WANDRD’s PRVKE lineup. We praised the original PRVKE for its convenience of having versatile accessibility and photography-focused features. Fast-forward a bit, and the same can be said for the subject of this review: the PRVKE 21L. It’s a tad smaller than the original—10 liters smaller, to be exact—but it still packs the essentials.
The PRVKE series does have WANDRD’s Essential Camera Cubes in charge for the bulk of its camera gear-storing duties, which we’ll go into detail about later. There’s a lot of features to be unpacked here, most of which will be familiar to those who’ve been following the PRVKE series for a while now. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Materials & Aesthetic
As with the rest of the PRVKE backpacks, the PRVKE 21L doesn’t stray from the existing design aesthetic. From the signature rolltop down to the logo’s positioning, the look is distinctly PRVKE. If you put all of the PRVKE backpack versions side-by-side, you can probably pull off a neat Matryoshka doll effect.
We’ve had little to no problems with PRVKE backpacks so far. The tarpaulin beads off accidental splashes with ease, the Robic Nylon is as sturdy as its heavy denier suggests, and the YKK zippers are as reliable as a Swiss wristwatch. The weakest link among the materials is the tarpaulin, which picks up marks and scratches relatively easily in our experience. A bit concerning, especially since opening the PRVKE 21L’s clamshell puts the front in contact with whatever surface you put the bag on. If you like shooting outdoors, be careful not to scrape it on the pavement.
The sample we have here is the black version, but two other colorways are also available at the time of writing: Wasatch Green and Aegean Blue. We typically have favorites when it comes to colorways, but we feel you can’t go wrong with any of them. Whichever you choose, the same pros and cons with the materials apply.
The harness system on the PRVKE 21L looks as busy as the rest of the backpack. Along the shoulder straps is an array of loops, eight on each, with the last ones partly obscured by horizontal loops. In all honesty, even if those last ones are obscured, the sheer amount will probably satisfy even the heaviest loop user.
The lower half of the shoulder straps is dedicated to rails for the sliding sternum strap—our favorite kind because of how granular the adjustment is. It’s a shame our sample didn’t come with one, though the 21-liter daypack volume of this version doesn’t necessitate one. There are also loops for attaching a waist strap, but again, they’re really not a must-have at this capacity. The shoulder straps themselves are more than capable of providing a comfortable carrying experience. They have a wide surface area that distributes loads well, and the padding makes long days of taking photos a breeze.
The thickness of the shoulder padding is simply dwarfed by what’s on the back panel. The amount of padding here is enough to make some bus seats blush; thus, a good amount of the credit for the carrying comfort of the PRVKE 21L is owed to the back panel. The only downside is that because of how thick the foam panels are, the luggage pass-through is a bit tight to use, especially when the backpack’s fully packed.
At the top of the PRVKE 21L are the signature tote-style handles found across the PRVKE lineup. These snap together magnetically so that they don’t flap about when you’re hauling the bag around. Written on the inner side of these handles are the words “Wander more, worry less.” That’s the name for WANDRD’s warranty policy, by the way.
In front are six nylon loops for attaching accessories like carabiners, keychains, or bike lights. There are also compression straps at the sides to keep things nice and tight, though the right side strap is directly above the water bottle pocket, so you can use it to secure a compact tripod.
The aforementioned water bottle pocket is pretty slick too, since it folds down and zips completely flat if you don’t need it. When the time comes to use it, there’s a stretchy mesh gusset that helps it expand. Our 16-ounce EcoVessel The ASPEN fits in without a problem, and so did our large 32-ounce Hydro Flask.
Inside The Backpack
In total, the PRVKE 21L has five secondary pockets scattered around the bag: a front pocket, a top pocket, a key pocket, a rear security pocket, and a bottom pocket—that’s a lot for a 21-liter daypack.
The front pocket’s opening runs almost completely top to bottom. In our review of the PRVKE Lite, we noted how its front pocket has very little in terms of depth, and it’s a similar case here with the PRVKE 21L. It gets tight, especially once you have a camera cube in the main compartment’s lower half. As such, flat items like cables, IDs, and notebooks are most suitable here.
For more fragile items like sunglasses or smartphones, the top pocket has a soft interior fabric that prevents scratches. Frequently accessed tech items like dongles and small adapters will find a good home here too. Be warned, though, the interior fabric is black, so finding small items may prove to be a challenge.
At the top left side of the PRVKE 21L is a dedicated pocket for keys. There’s a built-in key clip with a short leash, but there’s not a ton of space for much else if you have a lot of keys. For equally or more valuable items like travel documents or a wallet, there’s a security pocket located near the luggage pass-through and behind the bottom padding of the back panel. Despite the thickness of our wallet, the extra bulge is only a little noticeable once the PRVKE 21L is on our back.
Lastly, there’s also a bottom pocket for extra items you want to be hidden away and don’t necessarily need quick access to. Things such as a pair of slim shoes or flip-flops fit inside with a bit of effort, and it also works as a separate compartment for dirty clothes—though be sure to take them out as soon as you can because there are no ventilation holes in this pocket.
One of the main features of the PRVKE 21L is the side quick-access hatch for cameras. The flap has a rather neat built-in compartment for SD cards. We dig that extra feature WANDRD has thrown in; that’s maximizing every bit of available space where you can find it.
We tested the PRVKE 21L alongside WANDRD’s Essential Deep Camera Cube. Despite being designed to integrate with the larger PRVKE 41L, the Essential Deep also fits inside the 21-liter version. There’s a designated spot to tuck the cube’s flap into the main backpack’s, making it one fluid motion to open the quick-access pocket rather than fumbling with two zippers. Despite the difference in sizing, it’s nice to know that the larger cube can get the job done if you prefer the Deep but have the 21L backpack.
There are two ways to access the main compartment; via the rolltop or through the clamshell opening. As a rolltop, the PRVKE 21L’s volume is expandable; thus, the beefy G-hook is length-adjustable, and there are two sets of hook-side velcros on the front side where the strips of loop-side velcros at the back can attach to. This is fine for quick but partial access to the main compartment. For full access, though, clamshell access is the way to go.
Pull away the zips to the sides, and the PRVKE 21L opens fully clamshell. WANDRD even provides loops at the side for accessory straps so that you can have the bag open at a 90-degree angle.
The main compartment is divided into two sections: an upper portion, accessible via the rolltop or through the peel-away zippered flap, and the lower portion, where there’s space for a camera cube. You can combine both portions by folding down the middle divider and attaching the velcro if you need the full space.
The top portion is meant for items not necessarily photography-related, though it can certainly hold a number of tech pouches. Packing cubes of clothes and Dopp kits can go in here, and the expandable rolltop means you can pack a lot of them too. The peel-away flap is a nice inclusion as well since it’s handy to have the option to keep the compartment sealed. Oh, and WANDRD calls it a peel-away compartment because you can peel the flap like a fruit—sweet!
The lower portion is hollowed out for a camera cube. To be more specific, WANDRD designed this for their Essential lineup of camera cubes. It’s worth noting that the PRVKE 21L kind of collapses around this area if it’s left unoccupied. Plus, there’s little in the way of organization for cameras and lenses without a camera cube to go inside. Unless you already have a camera cube that fits and are already satisfied with, bundling or outright purchasing a cube is almost a must.
On the rear side of the main compartment is a panel of pockets for all your tech goodies. There are twin pockets at the topmost and a wide one below them. They have a good amount of depth for the adapters and dongles cameras use. However, the bottommost area isn’t a pocket—it’s just a bit of padding for extra protection.
Behind these pockets are the tablet and laptop sleeves, closed off by a velcro tab. In addition to the copious amount of padding on the back panel, the sleeves themselves are padded for extra protection. So much so that once every pocket is filled here, things can feel a bit tight, and pulling stuff out can get tricky.
WANDRD stuffed a ton of features on the PRVKE 21L and pretty much across all of the PRVKE backpacks. Whichever PRVKE it is, they all share the following traits: signature styling, versatile access, functional accessories, and a focus on photography-centric features.
- Magnetic top handles have a satisfying snap
- Exterior tarpaulin fends off water easily
- Back panel has deep air channels that keep things nice and cool
- Full interior pockets make it hard to pull tablet or laptop out of sleeve
- Weatherproof material held up in heavy rain, leaving inside dry
- WANDRD Essential Deep Camera Cube designed for compatibility with the bag worked great for camera storage, fitting into the main compartment of the bag with ease
- Rolltop feature adds a lot of additional storage to the interior of the bag when needed