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The most wonderful thing about the Sunny 16 Voyager is that it ends up being incredibly comfortable. Your gear inside can be a hot mess, pulling out a camera from the side will be confusing, the hardware is weirdly constructed, and the waist straps can end up falling off by accident. But despite all of that, the Sunny 16 Voyager is like an awkward hug filled with love and comfort if you’re open to it. Think about a teenager who is close to you in your life before he was too cool to kiss his adult peers. It’s embarassing. It’s strange. But the Sunny 16 Voyager is also the new kid on the block. And they haven’t grown into their own skin yet. It’s still adorable.
Too long, I haven’t read
The Sunny 16 Voyager Backpack attempts to address many concerns about the modern camera bag. But he only addresses them partially, without full commitment. In the end, it feels like it was designed with too many cooks in the kitchen. I really hope the second version will do a better job. The biggest problem we have is the weak separation system which cannot hold your cameras and lenses in place effectively.
The Sunny 16 Voyager does nothing special or different for the genre of camera bags. It is highly editable and has some cool features like charging USB devices, solid hardware, and various entry points. But he’s not doing anything different or new.
Advantages and disadvantages
I legitimately don’t feel big enough for these belts
Configuring the inside of the bag to their product photos is a pain
Dividers are not solid
The configuration of multiple straps and flaps is nice, but impractical
Dividers and Velcro are very weak
The organization is missing
Waist straps can come off too easily
We tested the Sunny 16 Voyager with the Leica SL2, various L mount lenses, Fujifilm X Pro 3, various Fujifilm lenses, Canon EOS R, various Canon RF lenses, and the Sony a7r III with various FE mount lenses. Sometimes we threw a flash in there. Sometimes there was a 2015 Macbook Pro.
From the official Sunny 16 list.
Durable oilcloth and waterproof tarp version that can withstand harsh weather conditions
This quick side access camera backpack lets you never miss another photo
Trolley passage for easier travel when you are at the airport
Hidden zip pocket for your most important items
Anti-theft camera backpack opens at the back, so it’s easy to open while keeping your gear safe
Laptop and tablet sleeve fits a 16-inch Macbook Pro and is checkpoint compatible
Superior storage for personal items and clothing (with customizable dividers)
Highly breathable mesh padding for total comfort
The Sunny 16 Voyager is nothing like a camera bag. It actually looks a bit like a bag Kenneth Cole would have made in the early 2000s. And it’s pretty cool if you like the retro look! This version does not appear to be in oilcloth. It’s a strange material that I can’t quite put my finger on.
The front of the bag is really characterized by this area. It is a thin pocket area. I put a book here with hand sanitizer, eye drops, beard oil, passport, wallet, and that’s about it. It can’t take too long. Pack it up and it will start to open.
To access the upper part, you have to undo the leather belt and then open the bag. I still don’t know how I feel about this.
After undoing the flap you have another zipped panel. It works great, although it’s a nuisance. However, I see why it is necessary.
Here are some of the front pockets again with a book inside. Again, you’re not going to use it for much.
The Sunny 16 Voyager has many straps. There are straps and pockets on the side of the bag. It has a tripod strap area on the bottom (although not that good). The waist straps are connected using a hook system. And there is a chest strap. Like I said, the Sunny 16 Voyager gives you an awkward and very comfortable hug.
Despite some quirk about the Sunny 16 Voyager, it is quite sturdy on the outside. The backpack straps are surprisingly comfortable. The zippers are of very high quality. And the loops are even well constructed. I can see this bag lasting me a few years for sure. However, I don’t really think this is a camera bag for a photographer who works with a lot of gear. The more material I stored in this bag, the weaker the dividers became. I even tried working with Sunny 16 on different setups.
All in all, the Sunny 16 Voyager remains one of the most frustrating bags I’ve ever had to configure. Either way, I felt like I was failing. This is because the dividers are constructed awfully. This is one of the most unfortunate things because, on the outside, the Sunny 16 Voyager is very well built.
For what it’s worth, the Sunny 16 Voyager withstood the rain without any problems.
Due to the build quality, I think this is a camera bag for a photographer who makes the best use of a camera and a small lens. The rest of your bag will be filled with things like clothes, essentials, etc. This, in truth, should not be used as the primary camera bag.
Ease of use
Here is the weird thing about the layout. This screenshot is from Sunny 16’s website and listing. They’ve set it up so that the camera comes out of the top of the bag. If you do this, the weight can weigh on the contents inside and mess up the dividers. In the photo above, the drone is in the zippered side access pocket. During our tests, we tried to put a camera there. Bringing various cameras in and out of this place was systematically awkward. And when the camera was pulled from there, everything seemed to fall apart because of the separation system.
The best way to use the Sunny 16 Voyager is to ignore the fact that you have side access. And that’s sad because it’s a great feature of any camera bag. But they didn’t understand it here. If you ignore the side access, you can place the dividers to take up more space and reduce the camera section. Then all the space at the top can be used for whatever you want.
Despite my qualms on the inside, the Sunny 16 Voyager’s exterior is well constructed. Buckles, zippers, and straps work just as they should.
The Sunny 16 Voyager has two waist straps. You can put them on yourself using a hook system. And believe it or not, they’re super comfy, even big. I never thought that I, at 5’6 ″ and 175lbs, would be too thin for this bag. But yes, the belts have to be tightened a lot. Because the straps can be removed quite easily, it’s difficult to rotate the bag to access your gear. You will need to undo the chest strap, tighten the waist straps, roll it up and open the bag. It’s nowhere near as comfortable or useful as Lowepro’s options. In fact, it’s just plain boring.
One thing some of you might like is the USB charging. If you connect a battery on one end, you can charge your devices on the other end. Personally, I didn’t care much.
Do not like
To be frank, the Sunny 16 Voyager seems incomplete. They have to go back to the drawing board and fix a lot of big problems. Your waist straps should not fall off. It shouldn’t be that difficult to pull your camera out of a side access panel. And the dividers shouldn’t just come apart. Maybe they should use WANDRD’s system with cubes. Alternatively, they could use the TENBA system with fully divided areas.
Anyway, I cannot recommend the Sunny 16 Voyager to photographers. To jump.
The Sunny 16 Voyager receives two out of five stars.