Clik Elite Obscura Photo Backpack review
I have been looking for a bag that has room for DSLR camera with couple of big lenses as well as hydration pack and still has room to bring your food, clothing and other necessities on a long hike. Right now it seems that Clik Elite is the only company that makes backpacks with these features. There were not reviews when I bought it, and B&H store didn’t have one for me to try so I took a risk and ordered one online from them ($175).
I actually didn’t have a chance to take it with me on a trip yet, so review is purely based on my first impressions with it at home. Once I take it on an upcoming trip to Big Band National park, I’ll update this review. See video review, details and more pictures after the break.
Obscura backpack looks very attractive, it’s dark blue with white and red accents. It’s a right size 22.8 x 11 x 9.5″ (58 x 28 x 24cm) ) for taking it as a carry-on an airplane, which is very important when you go on vacation, so it will fit right under the seat or in the overhead bin.
Front mesh pocket
Front stretch-mesh pocket has a vertical zipper on it and contains some attachment cords to hold a light tripod. You can also use it as a storage for a map, light rain jacket or any other flat object.
Inside of the top small section there are some smaller pockets with zippers for holding small accessories such as batteries, memory cards (it looks like you can fit 4), section for passport or other documents, maybe a filter, etc. There’s even a thingy for hanging your keys.
Camera Storage Side Portal
Before we look in the main compartment I’d like to show you the most important part of the backpack, camera storage side portal. I was really disappointed and at the same time happy about this compartment.
Disappointment came from the entry size of the pocket. My Canon 5D Mk II camera is hard to get inside and even harder to get out. This really defies the purpose of this section to be able to get camera out without putting backpack on the ground. If only made it 1/2 inch wider, I would have no issues. So if you have a battery grip or a larger camera, you won’t be able to get it inside at all.
However biggest plus of this compartment that you can store camera with a really large zoom lens attached! I have 100-400mm lens and I would return this bag if it didn’t fit in attached to the camera body. Fortunately it does. I decided to keep the back despite this inconvenience of the tight opening.
I should mention that this portal has a plastic shell around it which will provide some support and protection to your camera and lens, however I would not advise to put something heavy on top of it or inside the main compartment.
On the opposite side of the bag there’s a mesh packet where you can store a tripod or a water bottle.
Bag has compression straps on both sides.
Now let’s look inside the main compartment.
First thing we seeing here is internal marsupial lens pouch. It has room for pretty much any size 2 lenses and a flash. Yes I could actually fit my 100-400mm monster in here, although it’s sticking out Velcro fastener should keep it in place. There’s a ridgid backing sewn inside of the back side of this compartment.
Looking past the pouch you’ll see a really huge are (30 liter or 1800 c.i.) for keeping your stuff like a jacket, food, socks, etc. From here you see a camera portal which has some firmness, but once again don’t put anything super heavy on top of it.
Hydration System Pocket
Looking at the back you’ll see another very important compartment, pocket for holding your water bladder. Although backpack doesn’t come with any hydration system you can put any 3 litter bladder into it. It has a drain on the bottom in case it leaks so water should not get into your equipment. Little loop on top will hold your bladder. I found it a little tight to put an empty water pack inside, but maybe it will stretch. Also I couldn’t find any guides for the water tube on the shoulder straps, there are some loops there, but I think they are for optional accessories sold by Clik Elite.
Straps themselves look pretty rugged although I wish they were a little wider, they just don’t feel as comfortable as the those that I have on my Camel backpack. There’s a deep mesh padding here, hopefully it will keep you comfortable and cool. There’s a also nice waist-belt and a chest strap for heavier loads.
Overall impression was a positive once. I got upset by the size of the Side Portal, however I think I could live with that considering there are no other backpacks right now that will fit my needs as well as Obscura. I’m hoping that manufacturer will listen to the complains and make opening a tad larger, it’s a no-brainer. On a plus side, I was absolutely amazed that 5D MkII with a 100-400mm lens attached fits nicely inside.
Update: I just realized (after 3+ months) that it also has a rain cover. It wasn’t supposed to have it, so I never checked, but it does, on the bottom compartment 🙂