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Manfrotto Off Road 30L Review

We take a look at Manfrotto's Off Road 30L backpack designed for active outdoor photographers.


|  Manfrotto Off Road Hiker 30L in Bags, Cases and Straps
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Features
Handling & Performance
Verdict
Specification

The Manfrotto Off Road 30L is a hiking style rucksack designed for those that want to carry DSLR kit as well as personal effects. Manfrotto say the bags are ideal for outdoor activities and are compact and lightweight for outdoor photography. There is space for a DSLR with 70-200mm lens attached and an additional lens. Kit is accessed from the side of the bag and it's water repellant. The Off Road 30L is the bigger brother to the Off Road 20L. The 30L is available in blue, red, grey and green. Here, we took a look at the blue version.

Manfrotto Off Road 30L Features

The Manfrotto Off Road 30L is made from water repellant material and also comes with a rain cover which can be found zipped away inside the top flap of the bag. 

There is a robust carry handle on top of the bag along with two adjustable straps which can help with the weight load on the straps. Unclip the top flap and you'll find the zip for the rain cover on the underneath. The drawstring close compartment takes up more than half of the bag and gives you plenty of space for your personal things. 

Underneath this is the padded camera compartment, which can be accessed from the side of the bag. It's designed so you can swing the bag round your shoulder and access your kit without taking it off. Opening the compartment reveals padded dividers and space for a DSLR with attached 70-200mm lens and a spare lens. The padded camera compartment is fastened into the bag with velcro and can be removed, allowing you to keep your kit protected while you use the bag for other things. The divider between the top compartment and the camera compartment can be unzipped, giving you the full bag space to use. 

   
 

On the other side of the bag there is a deep zipped side pocket with an elasticated mesh pocket on the outside. On the front there is a vertical zipped pocket ideal for maps. On either side of this there are two elasticated fasteners which have an adjustable stopper for attaching tripods or walking sticks to the bag. 

On the bottom there are two more adjustable straps, allowing you to carry a picnic blanket or small tent without it taking up space in the bag or impeding your access.

The back of the bag has trampoline mesh making it super breathable as well as extra padding at the base. The straps are thin but are flexible and comfy. There is a clipping strap for your midriff as well as a clipping elasticated strap designed to stop the camera swinging around when it's worn around your neck. There's also a well padded adjustable waist strap that has a zipped mesh pocket on the left side and a zipped fabric pocket with headphone access on the right. 

Key Features

  • Removable padded camera compartment
  • Holds a DSLR with attached 70-200mm lens and additional lens
  • Converts into a total hiking backpack
  • Elasticated tripod holders on front 
  • Elasticated strap to stop camera swinging when worn around the neck

Manfrotto Off Road 30L Handling & Performance

The bag is comfortable when worn and the meshing at the back really helps to keep you cool. Accessing kit when the bag is worn is fine when you're right handed but if you're left handed you may struggle as the camera kit can only be accessed from the one side.

We managed to fit an Olympus E-30 with attached 50-200mm lens and additional 70-300mm lens. The E-30 is quite chunky and it was a snug fit. With the kit in the bag we found it tricky to remove the padded camera compartment as it kept re-sticking itself to the velcro as you tried to pull it out. It is an innovative system though, with the lid of the compartment sliding into a slot on the bag's flap, and then velcro folding over to secure to the inner lining of the compartment as well as a velcro strip running along the back of the bag.

The top compartment is really spacious and handy for those going out on a long day trip. We put a jumper and a small lunchbox in, and there was plenty of space for more things.  

It's also easy to attach a tripod or walking poles to the front of the bag, simply slide one of the legs / the pole through both of the elasticated straps on one side and tighten them up. The side pocket is ideal for your cables and other small accessories and there is also the front vertically zipped pocket which will be great for things that need to be kept flat like maps, notebooks or even a small kindle or tablet. 


 

Value For Money

The Manfrotto Off Road Hiker 30L is available for £169 from Amazon. This is a fairly reasonable price for the size of the bag and the quality of materials used however it would have been nice to have the option to store more camera kit and more spaces for memory cards and smaller accessories without them being buried in the large pockets. 

Bags of a similar design include the Lowepro Rover Pro 35L AW which uses the pull-out camera compartment system too and also has space for a flash. This bag opens from the front, which means you can't really access your kit while wearing it. It's available for £114.96 from Amazon

Manfrotto Off Road 30L Verdict

The Manfrotto Off Road 30L is a comfy bag with ample pocket space for a day trip out. There is lots of space for your personal things, something that a lot of camera bags lack. If you know what you're going to photograph and don't need to take a lot of different lenses with you on your trip then this bag will be ideal, especially if you are walking long distances as it's really comfy and breathable. 

It would have been nice to have the option to store more camera kit if needed, and it can be quite tricky to remove the camera storage compartment from the bag if your gear is a little snug, but overall this is a bag that will prove ideal for the active outdoors photographer.

Manfrotto Off Road 30L Pros

Lots of space for personal accessories
Comfortable, breathable back panel
Tough, weather-resistant material
Rain cover included

Manfrotto Off Road 30L Cons

No feet on bottom to prevent wear
Limited space for kit
Can be awkward for left-handers to access kit when bag is worn

Top grab handle not padded

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

 

 

 

 

 

Manfrotto Off Road Hiker 30L Specifications

ManufacturerManfrotto
Bag type
StyleBackpack
MaterialUnknown
Dimensions
Weight1900g
Width240mm
Height550mm
Depth300mm

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Comments


mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2015 9:37AM
At last - a series of camera bags designed around a proper rucsack. And I like he way the waist belt has been used to create small pockets.

I am very sceptical about those straps being used to carry a tripod - those cords are often elasticated and being on a corner like that unsupported the 'pod will bounce around when walking even over very flat ground. And the cords will not last long if the are asked to carry the weight of a tripod - if they strengthened one of the mesh pockets on the side, then the tripod could go in there and be supported by the sidestraps.

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emmaK22 Plus
8 149 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2015 10:25AM
Hi Mike,

Agreed that if a large tripod was used the elasticated straps would struggle. But with the lightweight mini tripod used for testing, they didn't seem overloaded.

Manfrotto have launched a range of tripods and monopods alongside these bags designed to be used with them which are said to be lighter than ever before: http://www.manfrotto.co.uk/off-road
themak 6 1.0k Scotland
23 Jul 2015 10:35AM
I'd agree about the tripod fitting, although there seem to be webbing loops at the base which would be more secure to take the weight if in usable positions. Possibly Osprey design which should ensure the ergonomics are good.

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