By Newsshooter contributor Simon Glass:
Sachtler, part of the Vitec group, recently acquired the well-known brand Petrol bags. As we reported previously on Newsshooter, it has re-designed and re-branded the range, which includes bags for camera and audio equipment.
Sachtler recently provided me the SC303 bag, also known as the Campack Plus, for review. At first glance it seems very robust and well manufactured. The traditional Petrol colours of orange and blue have been changed to the Sachtler signature colours of black and red. The fabrics both inside and out seem high quality and durable – although time will tell as the rigours of filming take their toll.
The Campack Plus has plenty of external storage. On one side there are two mesh pockets. On the other there is a large zipped pocket. There are straps on both sides to attach a small tripod. The front flap has two zipped pockets, with two much smaller zipped pockets on the waist strap. On the rear of the bag there is another zipped compartment that can hold a laptop of up to 17”.
The front flap is unzipped and folded down allowing access to the contents inside. I did find, however, that it doesn’t zip right down to the bottom of the backpack and depending on the configuration of the inner compartments it can be a little difficult to access all of the contents if you are in a hurry. The zips when closed are sealed and seem waterproofed and can be locked together with a padlock for extra security.
The inner compartment is composed of individually padded dividers. These are rigid but removable and can be individually set in numerous combinations allowing versatility to carry a wide range of equipment whilst providing a lot of protection.
If, like me, you work on a variety of projects using lots of different types of equipment, then this backpack could be for you. It can carry camera bodies like the C300, F5, FS7, or a selection of lenses, or be used as a general location kit bag, carrying filters and batteries etc. An included waterproof cover can be placed across the whole backpack when shooting in inclement weather, and there is an internal strap where an internal LED light, which is sold separately, can be attached. This is a nice touch.
The campack plus is large with an external size of L 58 x W 32 x h 39 and weighing around 3kg empty. Some may find it cumbersome but if you are looking for a backpack that gives you the versatility to carry a wide range of equipment then this is the trade off.
A fully loaded Compact plus is heavy but the padded shoulder and waist straps and the external padding on the rear of the backpack make it surprisingly comfortable and balanced to wear. Would I want to wear it all day long? Probably not – but that is more to do with the weight of the contents than the design. If I was a one man band I would probably look to a smaller model like the SC300.
Overall, this is a robust, flexible backpack, which gives great protection for whatever kit you need to carry.