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Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Vanguard Adaptor 46 backpack, which can hold a DSLR, lenses, tripod and laptop as well as being able to be used as a sling bag.

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Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack

The Adaptor backpacks from Vanguard are versatile, allowing easy access your photographic gear whether you shoot left or right handed. The backpacks are also designed to offer plenty of protection to your kit and you can even use the backpack as a sling bag if you prefer. As well as the Adaptor 46 on test here priced at £95, there are also the 41, 45 and 48 models available. The 46 model is the only one which has room for a laptop.

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Features

The Adaptor 46 can hold a DSLR camera with a grip and lens attached with room for 3-4 extra lenses, a flash unit, accessories (memory cards, cables, battery and charger). There is even room for a 13 inch wide-screen size laptop or an iPad. The Adaptor 46 is well padded both inside and out and it is possible to attach a tripod securely on the outside of the bag. There are pockets on both sides of the bag allowing easy access your all your kit without having to set your bag down on the floor.

Key features:

  • Holds a laptop up to 13 inch
  • Tripod holder
  • Customisable interior
  • Converts to a sling bag
  • Zippered and buckled top compartment
  • Padded, breathable fabric on backside
  • Nylon 420D/Polyester 600D exterior fabric
  • Polyester 150D/Velvet interior fabric
The  Adaptor 41 - this will hold: One DSLR with attached lens, an additional lens or a flash unit, accessories (memory cards, cables, battery and charger) and tripod.
The  Adaptor 45 - this will hold: One DSLR with grip and attached lens, 3-4 extra lenses, a flash unit, accessories (memory cards, cables, battery and charger) and tripod.
The  Adaptor 48 - this will hold: One DSLR with lens attached (70-200mm f/4L), 5-6 extra lenses, a flash unit, accessories (memory cards, cables, battery and charger) and tripod.

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Handling

Access to the main section of the bag is via the two pockets on either side of the bag, unfortunately the front of the bag does not open to allow access to both sides at the same time. The insides of the bag are all held securely by velcro so it is possible to customise it's layout dependent on the size of your camera and lenses. On the inside of the side pockets are small mesh pockets ideal for storing memory cards or other small accessories.

On the top of the bag is another substantial storage area, which is ideal for other larger accessories, or indeed your lunch! The cover for this section zips up and is also securely held in position by two clips, so it would be ideal for any valuables. It also has a small external zip pocket for yet more smaller accessories.

The tripod is held in place by a firm, chunky strap and it rests in a small pouch which is kept in a pocket when not in use. The strap is also a useful way of picking up the bag when it is not holding a tripod. The laptop storage are is accessed via the side of the bag, with the laptop resting along the back of your back, so it is quite close to your back. If you don't carry a laptop this area would be useful to carry a magazine or travel documents as there isn't any where in the bag that is suitable for them. There is also another pouch on the back of the bag, the primary use of this is to hold the unused strap when using it as a sling bag, but it will come in useful for holding other items.

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Performance

The Adaptor range is all about versatility and accessibility, all of which are acheived by the 46 backpack. You can hold a wealth of gear thanks to the various storage compartments and having the flexibility to use the it as both a backpack or a sling bag will mean the bag will appeal to a wider audience. The bag is comfortable to wear, more so as a backpack, but Vanguard have even addressed the smaller niggles you find with some bags. When using bag straps at their shortest length you tend to get the excess flapping around, not with the Adaptor 46, there are small vercro ties to keep them out of the way.

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack

Value for money

There are plenty of bags on the market, so have a look at our complete guide to camera bags for more ideas of what's available. Priced at £95.00, the Vanguard Adaptor 46 isn't the most expensive in the range, the 48 is priced around £105.00, with the lower priced 45 and 41 backpacks coming in at £93.00 and £79.00 respectively.

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Verdict

The Adaptor 46 will suit photographers with a DSLR who like to carry a number of smaller lenses around as well as a laptop and a tripod. When fully loaded the bag is comfortable to wear and if it does become uncomfortable you can easily switch the way you are wearing it to a sling bag. Unfortunately there isn't a raincover and you can't open the bag fully from the front to access all your lenses and camera at the same time, but the side pockets do mean that you can get your camera out, change its lens, all while keeping it on one shoulder.

The Vanguard Adaptor 46 is a great all-rounder and therefore comes recommended.

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Pros

Can be used as a sling bag
Holds plenty of gear

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Cons

No raincover
Front cannot be opened for full access


Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Photos of Equipment

Vanguard Adaptor 46 Backpack Specifications

Bag type

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MRatna 5
14 May 2014 5:15AM
Just wanted to make the correction that the Vanguard Adaptor 46 does indeed come with a rain cover, making it a nearly perfect camera bag. I'm delighted with mine!

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