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Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 Messenger Bag

We take a look at this professional photo messenger bag from Vanguard.

|  Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 in Bags, Cases and Straps
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Handling & Performance

The Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 is a messenger style bag that can accommodate a pro DSLR with up to a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, 3 or 4 extra lenses, flash unit, accessories and a laptop up to 15 inches. There are several sizes and styles available in the series, this being one of the largest on offer. The bag has the ability to expand in size, adapting to gear needs. It is available in black with orange inner. 

Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 Messenger Bag Features

The UP-Rise II 38 is made from polyester. It features a fully adjustable shoulder strap along with a carry handle on the top. On the front of the bag is a vertical zip, giving access to a pocket ideal for travel documents or other small accessories. Above this there is a horizontal zip, giving alternative access to the main compartment. This is secured by a magnetic strip, stopping you from pulling it when you don't mean to. 


The main flap is secured by a clip and two strong panels of velcro. Lifting this, you'll find two handy memory card slots secured by a velcro flap. Lift this and you'll find two expanding pockets, one of which is soft lined. Behind this is a large stationery pocket where you'll find the rain cover stowed. There's also a half size zipping pocket and a padded one on the other side. 

In the main compartment, there is a laptop pocket which fits up to a 15 inch laptop or tablet. There's a velcro secured front padded pocket, too. In the main compartment there are several divided which can be placed in a position to suit your kit. There is also a sling divider, allowing you to safely place a lens over another accessory.  

The padded camera compartment is removable, allowing you to take out your camera equipment and use the bag for everyday use, however this model doesn't include a drawstring top for your removed kit. 


The bag's flap has elasticated wings, helping to keep rain and dust out of the main compartment. The UP-Rise II has a luggage tag, and on the back there is a full length zipped pocket and a padded trolley slip, allowing you to slide the bag onto the handle of a wheeled suitcase for travel.  

The bag is also quite unique in being able to expand by an extra inch or so width ways if necessary. There is a zip running around the perimeter allowing you to do this.  It can also be transformed into a rucksack, with the purchase of a separate strap. On the bottom are 4 large feet, and a tough waterproof material to help prevent wear. 

Key Features

  • Expandable
  • Removable padded equipment area 
  • Multiple carrying solutions
  • Holds pro DSLR with up to a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, 3 or 4 extra lenses, flash unit, accessories, laptop up to 15 inches
  • Water resistant bottom
  • Rain cover included 


Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 Messenger Bag Handling & Performance

The bag feels well made, and the memory card pockets on the front are especially useful. There is lots of pocket space on the front and back of the bag for small personal belongings too. It's a good idea to have a zip on the top for quick access to kit, too. The magnetic strip stopping the zip being accidentally pulled works surprisingly well in preventing the bag from being opened. 

Expanding the bag is really easy too, with the expanded bottom also having waterproof material, which is good. 

There is ample room in the bag to accommodate a 300mm lens in the middle, and a DSLR with a 70-200mm lens can also fit in with a couple of smaller lenses to boot. The bag features a well designed sling style divider, allowing you to safely rest one lens on top of another. There is also lots of room for notebooks, stationery and of course a laptop or tablet, making this bag ideal for the photographer with meetings. 

The removable camera equipment compartment is well padded and shock resistant, and can be removed by simply undoing the velcro and lifting it out, handy for if you want to use the bag as a normal everyday shoulder bag although the compartment doesn't have its own lid as with other models, meaning you wouldn't want to leave kit out for a long time as it will gather dust.  

If you need extra space, you'll need to use the zip around the side to create an extra inch or so of room, which could make the difference as to whether your kit fits in the bag or not. 

The strap feels well padded, and the bag is fairly comfortable to wear thanks to foam padding on the back. There are two adjustment buckles on the strap, allowing you to tailor it to your body and needs, and the strap is made of a tough seat belt like material. Four large oval feet and a tough waterproof bottom mean you needn't worry too much if you place the bag on wet or rough ground. 


Value For Money

The Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 is available for £86.66 on Amazon. This is a good price for a bag of this size with so many features. Other similar bags include the Tamrac Apache 6, available for £90.85, although this bag doesn't have a quick access zip or built in rain cover. 

Another alternative is the Lowepro Nova 200 AW, available for £84.25, which is capable of holding 2 DSLRs with attached lenses plus 5 or 6 extra lenses. 

Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 Messenger Bag Verdict

Overall, the Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 messenger bag will be ideal for those who are pro or semi pro photographers and want to carry a lot of kit around with them in a smart bag, suitable for the city and is practical for getting to their gear quickly. 

With an expanding middle, there is even more scope for making the bag fit to your needs if you use a large DSLR and several lenses. The quick access zip is an idea that works well and comes in hands for grabbing your camera on a whim. There is also very good stationery and memory card holding capabilities, making the bag great for the business photographer who may be in and out of meetings. 

There are a great range of carrying solutions too, the bag being able to slip over wheeled case handles, be carried on your shoulder and also transformed into a rucksack with purchase of an additional strap. 

Vanguard UP-Rise 38 Messenger Bag Pros

Lots of space for personal accessories
Feet and tough waterproof material on bottom
Easy access zip

Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 Messenger Bag Cons

Removable padded camera pouch doesn't have any form of lid


The Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 is an ideal bag for the busy photographer in the city.



Vanguard UP-Rise II 38 Specifications

Bag type
StyleShoulder Bag

View Full Product Details

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DavidLaverty 8 814 Northern Ireland
2 Oct 2014 11:12AM
Why no pictures of the bag with some kit in it?

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