Review of the Aqua Backpack and Sling Bag from Miggo

Miggo is an interesting company that I have written about twice before on Improve Photography.  I first learned about them when I saw a Kickstarter for their Agua Storm-Proof Holster.   I was immediately intrigued, got my hands on one, and reviewed it in this article from last year.  During that process, I got to know some people at the company and was treated to an inside look at some of their products in development.  That led to me testing out the iPhone attachment, Pictar, that I reviewed earlier this year in this article.

Miggo is another of the new, innovative companies in the photographic world that is making new products that change the mold of what we normally expect in photography gear.  Miggo was formed in 2014 from employees that left Manfrotto and Kata Bags.  They started in Italy and launched a successful Kickstarter product.  Since then, they moved to Israel and have launched several new products utilizing Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

I have spent the last couple months testing their new line of storm-proof bags.  These bags are currently being funded on Indiegogo and include a backpack, sling bag and drone bag.  Each of the bags is rated IPX3 Storm Proof.  This means they are protected against spraying water up to sixty degrees from vertical at 10 liters per minute for 5 minutes.  This protection is great for a rain storm, carrying in the snow or just in the dirt and sand.

miggo agua 2017 Trailer_2 from mymiggo on Vimeo.

Unfortunately, I don't have a drone to test the drone bag, but I have got plenty of testing into the backpack and sling bag in locations throughout Nevada, Idaho, California and Utah.

Two locations where I have gotten the most benefit out of the storm-proof design of the bags was off road travel in the Idaho mountains and the California beaches.  I spent a week in Idaho during the solar eclipse and had a ton of fun driving my brother's Yamaha off road racer all over the mountains.  I was worried more than once having my camera next to me as I was often going 30-60 miles per hour down dirt trails, over lots of bumps and kicking dirt up everywhere.  Everything in the Yamaha was covered in dirt, but everything inside my bag was completely clean and the outside of the bag was easily wiped clean.

I was even more thankful to have one of these bags during my recent trip to Huntington Beach.  I always hate taking my camera to the beach with my family.  I love taking photographs of my kids playing, but I hate my camera bag being in the sand and sand getting in my gear.  I lost a fixed lens camera a number of years ago when sand got inside at the beach and the lens would no longer open.  Since then, beach trips have terrified me, but I had no concern on this trip because no sand got in my camera bag at all as long as I was careful to shield the opening when taking the camera in and out.  It was also great when I was shooting at sunset under the pier  because I had no issues throwing the bag on the wet sand, even when a wave came in and splashed it.

THE VERSA BACKPACK

The Versa Backpack is the largest bag.  It looks like a classic backpack (with storm-proof material), but opens more like a messenger bag, with the main zipper going along the side.  The outside of the bag has a small front pocket that can fit fit something flat like your passport or memory cards, a larger side pocket that can fit some smaller gear like filters, remotes and extra batteries, and a smaller cell-phone pocket.  The main compartment looks almost like a briefcase with a pocket for a fourteen-inch laptop and several smaller organization pockets on the outside of that.  Honestly, it looks a lot like a work briefcase where you would put pens and cards in the pockets rather than camera gear.  I found those pockets useful for memory cards, batteries, trigger releases, but not much more.  The laptop pocket wasn't very much use to me as I have a fifteen-inch laptop so the compartment was mainly used for some spare clothes, food or a book.

Also inside the big pocket is a removable internal compartment specifically designed for camera gear with two modular dividers.  Camera gear fits great in here, but the space is very limited.  I can fit my camera body, a spare lens and a speed light.  This compartment does not fill the entire backpack when inserted so there is some additional open space where you can stuff some additional gear.  I keep a couple lenses in my Peak Design Range Pouch, reviewed here, and keep that in the extra space so I have more room in the removable compartment.

Other than being storm-proof, the shoulder straps are probably my favorite part of this bag.  The adjustable shoulder straps  have nice thick padding that make the bag very comfortable to carry.  There is also a nice pad that hugs your waist, adding to the comfort.  I do wish there was a waist strap that came off those pads, but that would cut back on some of the versatility of the straps as they are designed to go from regular wear to sling style to an x carry method.  Personally, I would go without the different carry options to have the waist strap for better traditional carrying. There is a chest strap that helps for the comfort of carrying more weight.  Finally, the waist pad can also act as a trolley insert so you can slide it over your luggage handle to get the bag off your back while travelling.

One of the more unique offerings of this bag is the dual-usb charging ports that allow you to store a usb charger on the inside of your bag and connect to it from the outside of your bag to charge your devices, such as a cell phone, while you still have easy access to use them.

While this bag certainly has a place out there for some photographers, it is not one I will keep in my normal rotation.  While there was a lot to like, I was not a fan of the organization as I felt there wasn't a good way to get all my photography gear inside.  It also isn't large enough for my laptop and doesn't have a convenient way to carry a tripod.  For those reasons, this will stay in my closet except for the rare occasion where I need extra space on a beach trip or if I am going on a day hike and there is a good chance of rain.  For the most part, it is the Sling Bag, below, that I will be using more regularly.

THE SLING BAG

Unlike the Backpack, the storage and dividers in the Sling Bag are built in.  Surprisingly, you can probably fit more camera gear inside the Sling Bag as it is designed for a large body and 3 lenses plus a flash.  You just don't have quite as much room for other non-camera gear compared to the Backpack.  There is also a dedicated pocket on the inside to fit a thirteen-inch laptop or tablet. The Sling only offers one flat pocket on the outside, but where the Backpack had a side pocket, the Sling has a very nice tripod attachment.  I really liked the tripod attachment and it worked perfectly for my travel tripod.

Although I am typically not a big fan of carrying sling bags, this one does a good job of distributing the weight by having a small strap connect under your arm.  This also ensures the bag does not slide around on its own.  The comfort is also increased because the one strap is a big padded one.  While you definitely lose some comfort carrying a sling bag, it is much quicker to access your gear as it easily slides to the front.  The easy access in this bag makes it ideal for street photography or travel.  In fact, I love this bag as a second bag for traveling.  If you are carrying a lot of camera gear and need two bags or if you are limiting your camera gear to travel with more personal items, this is the perfect second bag.  I have enjoyed using it as a personal item on the airplane.  That way I had easy access to my camera at all times and there was still a surprising amount of space to fit other items in the bag.  I carried a book and bit of snack food to help with flights.  The front pocket was also nice for carrying smaller items and paperwork such as boarding passes and passports.

Like the Backpack, the Sling also has the externally-accessible charging hookups for your battery pack to charge your phone or other devices.  This is another benefit that makes this bag great as a personal item for plane travel.  Also great for travel is the trolley insert so you can attach it easily to your luggage handles.  This is ideal as a second bag.  When I travel with my family, I usually have a backpack and suitcase.  I used to skip a personal item whenever possible because I didn't have extra hands, but this solves that problem and packs a ton of space for a small personal item on the plane.  This reason alone really makes me love the bag for travel.

I loved taking this bag with me to Idaho.  As this was a dedicated photography trip, I took a lot of gear with me and brought the Sling Bag as my personal item to complement my carry-on large Lowepro bag, reviewed here.  Not only was it great for travel, it was perfect for my time flying through the mountain on the Yamaha, pictured above. This bike will get frequent use from me for travel and for trips to the beach, lake, rivers, and any other wet or sandy areas.  This really solves a big hole in my stock of camera bags as this is the one that will keep my gear safe in harsh conditions that often accompany the most fun photography outings.

THE DRONE LANDER

The Drone Lander is specifically designed for the DJI Mavic Pro or Spark. Unfortunately, I don't have a Mavic Pro or Spark so I was unable to test this bag out, but it looks very intriguing to me.  Having an easy way to pack and carry a drone that keeps it protected from the elements and physical damage would be very appealing to me.  In addition to carrying and protecting your drone, this bag has a roll-out landing pad.

4 thoughts on “Review of the Aqua Backpack and Sling Bag from Miggo”

  1. Thanks for the review Brent. I wish I saw it before I backed the indiegogo campaign. I would probably have ordered the sling.

    1. Ah, sorry about the delay. I don’t like reviewing anything until I have had a chance to actually test it thoroughly though. Did you end up getting the backpack?

      1. No problem, I supported the campaign a while back so there is no way anybody really got it other than review units. I just got an email that the shipment is coming to the US and should be arriving sometimes in November so it will be a while yet.

  2. Thanks for the detailed and helpful review! I ordered a Sling bag yesterday and can’t wait to get it. Looking forward to many city photo walks with it. Cheers!

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