My Real World Review of the PGYTECH OneMo Backpack
First things first, I seldom do blog reviews which is dedicated to one specific product. I guess, I am extremely impressed with this backpack from PGYTECH that I thought of writing my perspectives from a real-world point of view. I would not be sharing much of its specs but more of what I feel as a working photographer using it. This is not a sponsored post. Getting all disclaimer out of the way, let us begin.
I first came across this bag while watching a comparison to Peter McKinnon’s normadic backpack. They talked about how this bag was on par with that backpack, but its price point was at almost half. Then I initiate my own research and began to compare a few other backpacks in its range. Before going on, let me give you a background of why I thought of getting a new backpack. For now, I am still using the previous backpack (Timbuk2 Sleuth) but that is for different purposes now. I have been using Timbuk2 Sleuth for more than 5 years, had gone through many assignments with it and have served its purpose well but yet it was lacking in some areas. As I was researching for the past few months prior, there were a few criteria lacking in the Sleuth.
Here is why:
1. For assignments where I needed to use more than 1xCam body + more Lenses + Flash and for redundancy purpose, I was stretching it.
2. Pandemic has pretty much subsided, and I will be facing the same issues of not able to carry everything in one backpack. (Including travel kits)
3. The padding did not seem to give me that assurance that my gears were well protected as it was made to look like a normal backpack, with that they took away a lot of the padding for a good camera bag (Prior to Sleuth I was using a Vanguard Backpack so I could feel the difference)
4. There wasn’t an easy access to my camera gear when I needed it during media assignments where I need to have quick access to my gear.
5. Lastly, If I needed to bring my laptop along for assignments – The laptop compartment is just a thin slot and my laptop seemed to be pressed against the rest of my gear without much padding.
However, I do not consider this backpack an upgrade even though it is much more expensive. The price point for the PGYTECH OneMo is a bit of a stretch actually at around SGD$280 but I did a lot of research and it was safe to say that this would meet all the issues I was facing with TimBuk2 Sleuth. So, what are my criteria for the next backpack? Meeting all five points above and the below few more.
- A sleek looking backpack that does not look like a camera backpack (As much as possible)
- Able to fit nicely as a carry-on with space extensions when needed (Especially when travelling overseas for assignments)
- Any other interesting feature out of the norm would give bonus points in my consideration
PGYTECH OneMo is backpack made by a Chinese company specializing in third-party accessories for drones. They are known to have superior quality and innovative products. Personally, I have friends in the industry using their other products and they have given positive feedback. Now onto the backpack proper. The overall look and feel is sleek and modern, I almost wanted to use the word ‘futuristic’ but I might not be a good judge of what is futuristic. It gives a generous amount of padding both on the shoulder straps and also in the interior, the comfort level of carrying it feels good and they were able to design the backpack in such a way that the weight of the heavier items would be as close to your body as possible allowing its user to get a balanced weight distribution. There were two variations of colors (Camo or Black), I chose the sleeker stealth black color for myself. Inside, they used a ‘dull’ turquoise that offered a nice techy/modern look which to me gave a good distinction with my array of mostly black colored gears. I like how they made used of all sides of the backpack for different purposes, two openings on the right customizable to accessing your gear and for the left -accessories pocket and tripod/bottle holder fully utilizing the sides. There is an extendable 5L compartment at the center where you can put a lot of items, I use this for all my bulky/weird shaped items such as jacket, led panel or even a whole toiletries bag during my travels. (This extension was designed for a gimbal in their website)
Next, the interior is fully customisable according to your needs. You can compartmentalize it into bottom/top sections (both sections allowed easy access from the outside) or have one large compartment by pressing down the divider. They come with a lot of useful dividers which I was able to customise and change ever so quickly when I needed to configure my range of gears for various assignment. I realised that sanpping a picture after putting in all my gear to remember the setup works well when I do change my configuration in future. The ability to keep changing the configuration so easily really helped me especially when I needed to bring various lenses for different assignments. When I say customisable, it really fit exactly to the length/breadth of any specific lens by changing the dividers. – Really utilizing every inch of the backpack, I am loving this flexibility! The material and the fabric used feels premium and I could really see that there was excellent quality control in their stitching at every part of the bag. And did I mentioned that they have so many mini-compartments which I am a sucker for! Overall, the interior design and quality is impressive, and you should be able to configure the internal dividers to suit nearly every configuration. To top it off, it is fully water-resistance – I have encountered rain a few times while using it. (Tried and tested)
There are too many additional ‘surprises’ or ‘functions’ of this bag, I will list down a few rather than deep-diving into them.
· RFID compartment for data-theft prevention.
· Well-hidden compartment on the left strap, at the back rest and at the bottom.
· Nice adjustable premium feel sternum straps.
· Additional free velcro dividers where you can slap on anywhere at the interior.
· Free rain cover. (Some brands do sell their rain covers separately)
· A few additional straps for hooking of extra items practically anywhere on the bag. (I used two of these straps to hook my tripod at the top of the bag and use the side pocket for water bottle instead)
· The bottom of the backpack is made of more rugged material for better wear and tear.
· The backpack can stand on its own without falling, a lot of photographers I know are bothered by their backpack being not able to stand on its own, OneMo has got no such issue.
· Really have good amounts of additional pockets for small accessories.
· They even have a 3-piece battery storage at the bottom side access where there is battery level indication slider for you to know if your battery is charged or used.
· Simple ‘anti-theft’ mechanism around the external pockets is innovative.
· Large capacity of 25L extendable to 30L. (In terms of size, the interior compartment measures 43 x 30 x 15cm/16.9 x 11.8 x 5.9″)
· The laptop compartment is well padded with an additional thin material neoprene slot inside for your iPad/tablet. On occasions where I do not bring my laptop, I would simply use this slot for an extra shirt as an emergency change of clothes.
Cons? I thought very hard and these are just a few nit-picks:
· Direct access to laptop compartment from the outside. (this is good when going through customs, but I hardly travel with a laptop for work nowadays)
· For the potential amount of gear it could hold, there was no waist straps or detachable waist straps.
· The zippers tabs were pretty small for my big fingers, would be good if they were bigger.
Bonus! I shall do a quick mention to the additional PGYTECH OneMo built-in pouch. This add-on was originally made for drone storage, but I was able to fit one cam body and one lens easily into it for a quick sling if I wanted to pull out a quick gear during my travels. It is a good to have but not a must have. I mean, it is good to have a matching sling quick-carry-around pouch that matches the whole OneMo excellent colours and quality material in a small package. This pouch can be converted to either a sling or waist pouch with the provided straps. You can fit this pouch comfortably at the bottom half of the main backpack and pull it out if you just need to use the content inside this pouch independently. During recent my trip to Thailand, I left my main backpack in the hotel room and pulled this pouch out whenever I wanted to explore the streets with a simple setup of one body and one lens. Technically, there is even an extension in this pouch and it was big enough to hold two lenses and a body. (Depending on what kind of lens you are looking at)
Though the price point might be a bit steep, still I sincerely thank the creators of the PGYTECH OneMo. This backpack had been well-thought of and nicely engineered to cater for how a photographer/videographer works. The overall design of the backpack is sleek and stylish, yet the build quality feels solid and intuitive to a working photographer’s needs. I love the freedom for a lot of customization in the interior of the backpack and the ample dividers it had provided. What I like most was that they have looked into minor details of various parts to give its user that extra premium vibe and the effective use of space in the system to fully utilise different parts of the backpack. They had so many ’surprises’, many of them mentioned in the pointers above. I have been using the backpack for the past three months for many assignments and even for travels, this was my go-to camera backpack for almost everything in order to share this real-world usage blog.
I had wanted to fully use this backpack for all purpose to fully make the money spent worth. For the past three months, I have grown accustomed to the OneMo system and have deliberately assessed its capabilities for my kind of work/assignment. I am glad to say it had been all worth it. Would I recommend it to everyone? Not exactly as I considered this an investment more on the high side, it might have too much functionality for a casual/normal shooter. If you do have a lot of gear that you bring about on a regular basis or if you need *redundancy in what you do, then OneMo definitely is up for the task.
*‘Redundancy’ in here is to have that backup in case if your gear fails during an assignment, this is critical for all working professionals as the show must go on.