Over the years I’ve made the long trek to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas with a simple backpack for my camera gear and laptops. When Tenba offered to send over one of their specialty camera backpacks I was game for it. My Sony camera kit has grown over the past year with several Sony e-mount lenses and some classic glass. I’ve also added other essentials like headphones, audio equipment, and monopods and tripods. The Tenba Roadie HDSLR 22″ backpack looked to be just what I might need to carry this ever growing expanse of a kit. Read on and find out why the Tenba Roadie HDSLR 22″ wins a Techaeris Top Pick Award for 2016!
Tenba Roadie HDSLR 22″ Specifications
- 10 x 13.5 x 22 inches
- Black nylon
- 5.6 pounds
- Top-Access Audio Gear Compartment
- Expedition-Grade Harness
- Monopod/Shotgun Mic Pockets – Pockets on both sides of the bag hold a monopod and shotgun mic.
- SD card wallet
- Rain cover
- Rubber straps for holding gear together
- Padded dividers
- Chest harness
- Waist harness
To just glance at the Tenba Roadie you would think you just saw a backpack that swallowed a horse. It’s big… really big, but for good reason. This thing has pockets, compartments, and storage up the ying-yang. Made from a super high-quality durable nylon and top notch YKK zippers galore the Tenba Roadie doesn’t have a cheap component on it. Tenba takes pride in maintaining an inconspicuous design so as not to attract would-be thieves so this backpack looks… like a backpack.
The Roadie has two very nice side slots that allow you to store monopods and tripods. Larger tripods will have to hang out a bit but sliding two legs in and zipping around them keeps it secure. Alternatively you can use the two included rubber straps to secure even larger tripods to the front of the bag. The top portion of the Tenba Roadie is intended for your sound gear like headphones, recorders, small mics, or whatever else. I found my Master & Dynamic headphones fit nicely inside folded up. There are also storage pouches on the top to keep cables for your sound gear so they’re neatly tucked away and not just strewn all on top.
Moving around to the front you have a nice padded inner front pouch for laptops up to 17″. I found my 15″ MacBook Pro to fit just fine. At the bottom of that pouch is a lined edge that provides shock absorption when you set your bag down so as not to damage the laptop. There are more inner zipper pouches where you can store more cables and accessories for your laptop within that main pouch. In front of the inner pouch is another zipped outer pouch where you might toss a tablet or other smaller electronics. Again, more zippered pouch storage inside this pouch to organize any cables instead of just throwing them in with the device.
Back along the sides there are a couple of wider Velcro pouches where you can store power supply adapters that might be too bulky to go inside the inner pouches. You could also use them as water bottle holders or basically for wider bulkier goods. The padding on all of the compartments and pouches is substantial and offers a high degree of protection. This is part of the reason this backpack is so large, Tenba has taken protecting your gear seriously here.
Moving on into the large interior compartment where all the important bits and pieces will be stored. Things like your camera bodies and very fragile lenses, flashes and accessories. Tenba says you can fit two DSLR bodies and around 6-8 lenses depending on size. Since I use a Sony A6000 it is much smaller than a Canon or Nikon body and I found I could store pretty much my whole setup with room to spare. The interior compartment is accessed through the back portion of the backpack which should help confuse would be thieves that might unzip the front to snag something.
The padded dividers in the back compartment are of high quality and they are easily rearranged to suit your setup. The combination of the padded dividers and the top of the padded back keep your goods in their little nooks nice and safe. There are also more zippered pouches in this compartment for more cable management and storage. There is also an SD card wallet that is nifty and you can clip it to the interior clips of any of your compartments so it doesn’t go missing. The main compartment is just designed really well and I feel like Tenba took extra care and time to consider what photographers really need from a compartment like this.
As I stated before, Tenba tried to make this bag look more like a backpack and less like a camera bag. Obviously people may get wise if you’re toting a full size tripod on the front of this thing but it does well to look like a basic backpack. Where the Tenba Roadie excels is in the amount of storage it offers inside and the variety of useful compartments and organizational tools included. The backpack is also approved as a carry on item in aircraft and has a strap on the back allowing it to be slipped over rolling luggage handles. Overall the design is attractive, the build quality is phenomenal, and the functionality is stellar.
The protection Tenba offers here is heads above anything I’ve used for my camera gear. The protection offered through the amount of padding and padded dividers is nothing short of amazing. Tenba even includes a rain cover so you can keep water from getting inside should you need to walk through the rain for some reason. The bottom of the bag is also waterproof should you set the bag down on a moist surface. Tenba really thought this one out and is offering probably some of the best protection on the market for your camera gear.
$350 seems like a lot for a backpack but I would say for the amount of protection, build quality, and design… this is well worth every penny of that price.
The Tenba Roadie HDSLR 22″ backpack isn’t a small backpack by any means. Matter of fact, if you fill this thing up with every bit of gear you can , it’s going to be heavy. The included chest harness and waist harness help with carrying that load on your body though. If you’re looking for ultra portability I would say look at some of Tenba’s other smaller offerings. That being said, this bag is going to offer you amazing protection for a fair amount of gear and it is totally worth the price to protect even more expensive camera gear.