REVIEW – When you’re traveling, having a bag to carry around town for day trips is sometimes a hassle. I have at times tossed smaller bags into my checked luggage, but they were always thin, uncomfortable, and offered little protection for my “good” travel camera. WANDRD, a Utah-based company, has released a pack they call the VEER. It includes an inflatable back panel for carrying comfort, as well as an option to get an inflatable padded compartment that can hold a prosumer-sized DSLR with a pretty decent sized lens attached. The VEER is available in three colors: Black, Cobalt, and Rust. I was sent the VEER in Cobalt and the camera insert in Black.
What is it?
A packable 18-liter day bag with inserts for protection and comfort.
What’s in the box?
- Veer pack
- Inflatable back insert
- Inflatable Camera insert (additional cost)
Design and features
The VEER is a bag that fits into a fairly narrow niche – the packable daypack. In the past 3-4 years, this has become quite a packed category, as cheap bags from online retailers and higher-end ones from major outdoor provisioning companies compete for your travel accessory dollars. At 18 Liters, the VEER is on the small side of the niche, but there’s a lot here to recommend it.
All materials (fabric and zippers) are weather-resistant, which is nice in case of the late-afternoon shower when you’re running from the museum to the subway station.
The main bag unfolds from what becomes the top compartment, a 9” x 7” x 2” flap with the opening facing your neckline while you’re wearing it. There are three other pockets in this surprisingly roomy little bag. There’s a side pocket with an expandable water bottle sleeve that fits all my bike rack-sized bottles, as well as many coffee travel cups. I don’t think the 64 oz. Guzzler from your local c-store will fit, however. There’s also a center front pocket that’s a great place for a pashmina, collapsible umbrella, or rain shell.
The left side (as you wear it) has a theft-deterrent zipper that gets you into the main pocket. With the addition of the inflatable Camera Cube ($49), you can reach into the main area and pull out your dSLR while keeping the bag on your left shoulder. This is a treat for those who like to stop and fire off a few shots while bike-touring or just walking around. It’s also a great place for your nice birding glasses if you’re into that.
While there is no waist belt, the straps are wide, curved into a yoke, and have a 5-point adjustable sternum strap. I much prefer a sewn-in adjustment of the sternum strap to those sliding ones that always just slip up to choking position during use.
The straps and back panel are made from an air mesh for ventilation, but the webbing that attaches the wide part to the actual bag is very narrow. I’m sure it’s for packing and weight concerns, but it makes the strap feel a bit delicate.
A haul loop of this same narrow webbing sits atop the straps, plenty wide enough for the largest hands. There are also clip-on points on each strap where you could place things near your face, like the nozzle from a hydration bladder or your sunglasses when you step inside that dark wine cellar.
Regarding the “inflatable” feature of the insert and the camera cube: there is a twist-open valve #” in diameter that will allow these to be filled in one or two puffs. The lattice-like structure of these items provides just enough support and protection without adding a huge amount of bulk. You can inflate the back insert without taking it out of the bag, or you can pull it out of the Velcro-sealed top opening of the panel and then push it in fully inflated.
While the main use-case is billed as a packable bag for travel, I could also see this as a bag to stick into your car’s back-of-seat pouch, to take into the market you happen upon or a trip to a park when you realize you have sunglasses, hats, a blanket, thermos, and a fast-food bag with lunch. (Not that I’ve ever walked across the parking area of a local park juggling 8 things in my arms for an impromptu picnic.)
My Lovely Bride and I love to travel. We tend to go to a place and spend a good bit of time in just one or two places and do day-long excursions from this home base. During these times, not having to carry our large carry-on-sized bags slimmed down for a day bag is nice.
What I like
- Packs into its own pouch
- Back insert gives shape and comfort during long days
- Can hold full-sized water bottles
What I’d change
- Nothing, really.
When you pack for long vacations where you stay at one or just a few places, but strike out from there for a day of sightseeing or touring, having a smaller bag than your full luggage-sized bag makes sense. The VEER is a perfect size for carrying your “good” camera with the longer lens and your birding lenses or guide books, and maybe a snack and a water bottle. I am looking forward to having it on my next trip!