Review: Capdase mKeeper camera backpack

Despite being a little-known newcomer to the very competitive camera bag market, Capdase seem to deliver more quality with their mKeeper DSLR camera bag than you would expect. The mKeeper turns out to be a surprisingly high quality camera backpack that competes well with some of the more expensive bags that you're likely to find at the local camera store. Here's a brief look:

From the outside, the bag doesn't look all that special. It sports a rather subdued black and gray nylon exterior with no special graphics or markings, other than a very small and discreeet logo near the bottom of the pack. We like discreet bags like this because they don't advertise to the world (and potential thieves) about their contents. Despite the low-key and almost dull exterior styling, once you open it up it's clear that this bag is solidly built and made of high-quality materials that cater to a more demanding photo crowd than the average Kmart shopper. The padding is excellent and comes with the typical adjustable inserts and 2 zippered mesh compartments of high-quality, see-thru plastic. There's also a water-proof rain cover and the sewn-in label on the inside of the bag proudly proclaims "Capdase Precision Gear is a line of products specifically engineered for sensitive equipment such as cameras and laptops, offering superb functionality with a touch of style. Enjoy!". We tend to agree that the bag is both stylish and functional.

It didn't take long to grow fond of mKeeper bag after a few days of use and it's become my standard camera bag when I need to carry a laptop at the same time as my SLR and a few lenses. The large, zippered laptop compartment makes it easy to carry your computer along, and it easily fit my 13" Macbook with room to spare. I even managed to fit a second laptop in the main compartment while still carrying an SLR camera and a few lenses. This thing is built to handle a lot of wieght and equipment despite being quite compact and unobtrusive. On top of it all there's also a chord and loop system for carrying a tripod along. Whether you've just got a camera and a few lenses, or a couple of laptops and a bunch of camera gear, this bag can handle it.

One thing I'm not sure I like is that the camara compartment can't be opened unless the bag is off of your back. This makes it impossible for anyone to unknowningly zip open your bag when you've got it on your back, but it also means you have to take it off every time you want to access most of the contents. There is a nifty side zipper which you can use to get to some of the contents like your SLR if you pack it right, but I still found myself taking the whole thing off my back whenever I needed to access the main compartment. It's a personal peeve of mine but others might prefer this fucntionality.

All in all, the mKeeper is a great backpack. It fits a ton of equipment, including a laptop (or 2), it's comfortable to carry and is made of high-quality materials that seem like it will last a long time. I have no reservations recommending it, it's a solid bag that gets the job done with minimal flash and fuss.