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WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Review

Convenient main compartment access is a priority for the WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack, but it also emphasizes how sticky the zippers are.

Our Verdict

7.4 /10
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  • Well-organized, yet primarily open main compartment
  • Water-resistant tarpaulin exterior is easy to clean of smudges
  • Plenty of ways to access the main compartment


  • It can look really lumpy unless you fully pack it
  • We wish the zippers were smoother
  • Takes a while to fully master the ins and outs of all the zippers and openings

Technical Details

69 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 100/145 Airlines

36 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


    45-liter version also available

  • Weight (lb)

    4.1 lb (1.9 kg)

  • Dimensions

    19.5 in x 11.5 in x 8.5 in (49.5 x 29.2 x 21.6 cm)

    10.5 in depth when expanded

  • Notable Materials

    Tarpaulin, ROBIC®, Ballistic Nylon, YKK Zippers, Nifco Hardware

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Warranty Information

    Wander More Worry Less Warranty

Full Review

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Our experience with WANDRD’s PRVKE series of backpacks ties the brand to photography-focused gear. Think well-structured, highly organized rolltops with sleek tarpaulin material—the kind we’d trust with very expensive cameras and lenses. With that in mind, the more travel-focused TRANSIT Travel Backpack piqued our collective interests. With its many zippers and compartments, WANDRD’s approach mirrors what they’ve done with the PRVKE backpacks.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Back
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | The tarp reminds us of the PRVKE backpacks.

Try not to get lost, though, like we did exploring the bag’s many features in the first few days of testing. An unforeseen consequence of having this many compartments to access is getting very acquainted with the zippers, which are pretty stiff on this bag. We were also hoping for a more robust structure, but it’s actually saggier than its composed looks suggest.

External Components

Like a lot of their bags, including the PRVKE series, WANDRD went with tarpaulin for the TRANSIT’s exterior. And why not? It looks sleek out of the box and is very water-resistant if you’re caught in a sudden downpour. Granted, a bag made out of tarp doesn’t exactly evoke feelings of luxury and decadence, but there’s a satisfying utilitarianism to it—the same vibe we get with FREITAG’s gear. That said, the standard disclaimer for tarpaulin-based bags applies here: tarp gets scratched relatively easily. For reference, the sample we’re reviewing already has a few scratches after a little over two weeks of testing.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Brand
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | The tarp can get scratched easily.

Fortunately, the Wasatch Green colorway we’ve picked does a fairly decent job hiding small scratches like these. Furthermore, these scratches are not at all catastrophic. They’re not tears that compromise the bag’s functionality; they’re more like patina. At the time of writing, the TRANSIT is also available in Black, and it comes in two sizes: 35 (the one we’re reviewing) and 45 liters. Now, with the materials and options out of the way, where to begin explaining this behemoth…

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Zipper Pull
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | The zippers can be locked together.

There are a lot of zippers on this bag, courtesy of how many ins and outs there are to navigate. What you’ll notice is most of them have a fancy-looking ring pull. Those aren’t just aesthetic design choices; they’re shaped that way so they can interlock. In other words, they have a built-in security feature to deter would-be thieves. To be clear, this isn’t as secure as a combination lock, but having to undo the interlocking mechanism will take some fiddling. In fact, it’s so fiddly that we didn’t bother using it for most of our testing. But it’s a worthwhile feature for a photographer who may leave this bag on a nearby park bench to shoot a subject a dozen feet away.

On that note, the zippers are a mix of reverse coil and AquaGuard-style ones, all courtesy of YKK. Our general experience with YKK zippers is good, but we can’t escape just how sticky some of the TRANSIT’s zippers are. We boil it down to two reasons: the thickness of AquaGuard-style zippers and the relatively sharp curves around the bag’s corners. To be clear, the zippers don’t outright jam; they simply feel very resistive at times.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Bottom
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | Sling your full-sized tripod here.

On the left side is what appears to be a water bottle pocket. Indeed, that’s what we use it for, but photographers may also use it to stow their favorite travel tripod (you all have one, right?). For that reason, there’s a buckle strap directly above to help you secure such lengthy items. The pocket itself stays flat until you unzip to expand it. We can fit an 18 to 21-ounce travel water bottle but have trouble fitting anything larger.

There’s also a handle here to carry the bag like a suitcase. It’s partly recessed into the water bottle pocket, making it a bit awkward to hold. This handle, the water bottle pocket, and the accompanying buckled strap are all built on top of a quick-access hatch that leads into the main compartment, as you can probably tell from the curiously sloping zipper track.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Tripod
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | This pocket can fit a travel-sized tripod.

The opposite side of the bag has a fully zipper-enclosed pocket, but one that’s still quite lengthy. You can also store a water bottle here if you’re using the opposite pocket for your tripod. And like that pocket, this one also sits atop a quick-access hatch to the main compartment.

Other small details include top corner loops where you can hang small accessories, like keychains and carabiners. The top and bottom sides have handles, though the right side doesn’t. There’s also a bottom pocket for a rainfly, but it’s not included—not a huge deal since the tarp and zippers are already quite weather-resistant. Lastly, there are the loops at the bottom of the bag where you can use accessory straps to sling bulky gear, like a full-size tripod or a yoga mat, underneath.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Water Bottle
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | Your water bottle goes here.

The harness system also has a few tricks up its metaphorical sleeves, but the basics are well-covered. Surprisingly, the shoulder straps are not that thickly padded considering the bag’s overall portly size, but there’s enough to deem it comfortable. That said, you do get a healthy complement of supporting straps and a beefy-looking back panel.

At the top of the shoulder straps are load lifters so you can shift the bag’s weight individually. Below are loops where you can attach a hip belt. However, that’s not included; it’s a separate purchase. Lastly, the sternum strap mounts on a rail, but not in the typical fashion that lets it slide. Instead of a central buckle, each end has a clip you can mount on any point along the rails.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Harness System
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | The shoulder straps have sets of loops for attaching accessories, too.

The back panel features significant foam channels, though its party trick proves more noteworthy. Each side features half of a hook-and-loop closure, which allows you to pull back the panels, stow the shoulder straps underneath, and reattach the hook-and-loop closure to keep them locked in place. Why? So they won’t dangle around and snag on other people’s luggage in the overhead bin, of course.

Opening the back panel also reveals a hidden zippered compartment where you can store important travel documents and personal effects. It’s features like this one that truly separates travel backpacks from daypacks, and we’re glad the TRANSIT has it as well.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Back Pocket
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | The back panel opens up so it can hold the shoulder straps down.

Lastly, the entire back panel also acts as a luggage pass-through in case you want to slot the bag on your rolling carry on luggage. Again, this is a feature many travel-focused bags have, and the TRANSIT should rightly have it as well.

Fit Notes

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Side By Side
Left: Lauren Maternowski, Height: 5’6” (168 cm), Torso: 16.5” (42 cm) | Right: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm)

Despite the shoulder strap’s so-so level of padding, the cushioning is enough to blunt a weekend’s worth of clothing and extra gear. Our biggest concern was the TRANSIT’s somewhat baggy structure. We prepared to compensate using the load lifters and sternum straps, and both do an excellent job of pulling the bag’s weight forward.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Strap
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | The sternum strap design doesn’t use a central buckle.

We like the sternum strap design primarily because it doesn’t have a central buckle that could be distracting or uncomfortable when fastened across the center of your chest. That said, though the rail design makes it seem like you can slide the strap to make minute adjustments, you can’t. You have to unclip it to adjust the strap’s height, which isn’t as convenient as more typical rail-mounted sternum straps.

Inside The Backpack

At the top of the TRANSIT is a yoke pocket where you can store frequently used items like earphones, lens wipes, batteries, or even a power bank. The space inside is large enough for relatively bulky accessories. Consequently, this is also a good spot to quickly stash all the stuff in your pockets before going through airport security. It’s way more dignified than having to dump them in a separate bin and scoop them up afterward, and it’s faster for the travelers behind you. If you need even more space, there’s a secondary yoke pocket on the back panel just above the load lifters. This is where you’ll find the key clip—we like that it’s hidden away because we don’t often need access to our keys on a trip, and in this case, they’re not taking up valuable real estate in another pocket.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Easy Access
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | This top pocket is an easy dump spot for all your personal items just before you go through airport security.

At the front are two overlapping compartments. The left compartment is segmented into four spaces, making it feel a bit claustrophobic, while the right compartment has a ton of open space. In other words, they’re complete opposites, and we wish they were more balanced in terms of space and organization. They’re overlapping compartments, so the imbalance is exacerbated once you start packing them.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Side Pocket
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | The pocket on the right, on the other hand, has none of this organization.

The laptop compartment opens from the side of the back panel. It can fit up to a 16-inch MacBook Pro in the dedicated sleeve that has a slight false bottom for device protection, and the rest of the pocket is open space in case you also want to put some documents alongside your device. There’s not much to note here except that even without using the dedicated sleeve, there’s enough padding for protection on all sides, including the bottom.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Main Access 2
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | Quickly access the main compartment from the sides.

As for the main compartment, there are three ways to access the interior. You can get inside from either side through the quick-access hatches that house the side pockets. These access points cater to the photography crowd since they’re the ones who’ll need convenient access to bulky gear on the go. Otherwise, you’ll want to fully open the clamshell front to make packing easier.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Laptop
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | Fits up to a 16-inch laptop.

We’d typically put packing cubes and pouches in the open space inside. You can totally do that, but WANDRD’s intent here is to pack this space with all your photography gear, including a camera cube if you’re using one. This way, your kit is accessible via those side hatches from earlier. Additionally, there are loops where you can attach accessory straps to tie gear down and prevent them from rolling around loosely.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Mesh Pocket
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | The twin mesh pockets are hiding more space underneath them.

There are also side pockets where you can store additional accessories. Based on our experience, you can never have enough extra pockets whenever you’re out for a shoot. Keep in mind that they’re located on the side hatches, so you may want to store oft-used accessories instead of your least-used ones.

A feature WANDRD’s keen to show off is the TRANSIT’s hidden AirTag pocket, located on the top side of the main compartment. It’s good to have a dedicated slot for smart trackers so they don’t get mixed in with your other gear, where they risk getting taken out by mistake.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Stuffed
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | Your photography gear is meant to take up most of the space here.

Okay, now that we know where your camera gear is supposed to get, what about your clothing? That all lives in the front side of the main compartment, right underneath the twin zippered mesh pockets. “Rip” the two pull-tabs apart, and you’ll reveal an entirely separate space—yep, it’s a Harry Potter-style cupboard-under-the-stairs setup going on here.

To be fair, there is a decent amount of room to store packing cubes and other clothing here. Otherwise, you can still open the expansion zipper on the outside to grant you more space. Alternatively, if you’re not traveling with camera gear, you can use this to store dirty clothing.

WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack Flap Compartment
WANDRD TRANSIT Travel Backpack | This is where your clothing goes.

Something to note is that no matter how we pack the TRANSIT, the bag always looks lumpy unless we stuff it full. Structure seems lacking in a lot of areas to keep the entire bag looking composed. While this is more of an aesthetic thing, it was vaguely frustrating that we couldn’t get the bag to have a super sleek look unless we packed our gear out just right. However, if the rest of the features are going to tickle your fancy, this is a capable travel backpack for photographers, digital nomads, and vacationers alike.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Materials seem durable, though it has a bit of a saggy aesthetic when unloaded—interested to see if this improves when the bag is full!
  • This thing is absolutely packed with features
  • Digging the unique locking zipper pulls
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Easy to get lost in all the features—not necessarily a bad thing, though!
  • Roomy pockets all around, though filling them out doesn’t really improve the saggy look
  • Reasonably comfortable harness system for the bag’s size
By Lauren Maternowski
Created March 12, 2024 • Updated March 12, 2024
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