Many of us want to travel with our cameras. We need a system that can carry our gear and our clothing too. The right bag will meet these requirements, without compromising on comfort or safety.
We believe that the WANDRD Hexad Access Travel Duffel Bag is one of the best bags for traveling. Along with the right accessories, there isn’t a place where it won’t look after your stuff properly.
Here’s our review.
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What Is Hexad Access?
- Materials: Waterproof Tarpaulin and 1680D Ballistic Nylon with WR Army Coating. Weather Resistant Zippers.
- Volume: 45L
- Dimensions: 9H” X 14W” X 22L
- Weight: 1.8 kg (3.9 lbs)
- Weatherproof zippers
- Padded laptop sleeve
- Side camera access
- Weather-resistant materials
- RFID secure passport pocket
Who Are WANDRD?
WANDRD is a company you should know by now. It, like many other companies, was built out of a need for something that didn’t exist.
The problem was they found ones that worked OK but looked terrible. Or the other way around.
They decided to make the best travel camera bag.
They didn’t just want to sell bags. They wanted to inspire people to get out there and see the world. Hence the company’s name – WANDRD.
After the website, they worked on the design. On October 6, 2015, they launched their first bag – the PRVKE through Kickstarter.
They released a product that put them on the map. But it wasn’t until their other brother joined them that they released the Hexad line and started something big.
This tight-knit group of 11 people now brings products to people in over 100 countries
What Is the WANDRD Hexad Access Travel Duffel Bag?
The WANDRD Hexad Access Travel Duffel bag is everything it says it is.
It is a modular bag that lets you carry it in multiple ways. One way you can hold the bag is by its shoulder straps, making it a little more like a bag for the gym.
The idea is that this is the ultimate travel bag. For any trip and any photographic venture.
What Is Included?
- 1 x 45L WANDRD Hexad Access Travel Duffel
- 8 x Extra Zipper Pulls
Main Features – Inside
There are a few ways you can access everything inside, so let’s look at the main idea. The duffel bag opens as a clamshell suitcase does, so let’s start there. You’ll find the zipper for this right in the middle of the bag. You can’t miss the bigger zipper pulls.
By pulling the zips from the top, down the right-hand side and across the bottom will bring you to the best opening.
In this position, the plastic ID area should be at the top and the WANDRD rubber embossed label should be at the bottom.
Main Compartment – Left
On the left side, will be the largest area. The right-hand side is split into two separate areas. The entire compartment is covered with a zippered mesh, allowing you to keep all your items stored away without them moving around too much.
By opening up the mesh, you’ll discover a padded laptop area on the bottom and two shiny bag areas at the top and bottom. The bottom bag is your shoe compartment, which is accessed by a curved zip from the outside.
The top bag is also accessed from the outside and is a laundry pocket. It’s a great place for those small items you don’t want to search around for. Inside you’ll find a hook carbine to house your keys.
This entire area is for your travel items. Any apparel and clothing items are best here, locked away behind the mesh separator. I would start with adding the shoes and then filling in the other items.
You might think ‘How Can I Access My Laptop If It Sits Under My Clothes?’ Well, WANDRD thought of that, and provided a solution. When the mesh separators are zipped, and the bag is back to being full, there is another way in.
The back panel is unzipped in the same manner as the clamshell. Opening this brings you to your clothing area and your laptop pocket, which is actually part of the back panel.
You’ll want to open this with the bag is fully closed and lying face down.
This is a genius idea, as it is accessible from the outside, and it separates your shoes from your clothes. They can be dirty, wet or recently polished, and they will have no effect on your other items.
I love that it is accessed from the outside, allowing a quick change if need be, without taking everything out.
If you’re not taking extra shoes with you, it can serve as a toiletry area, as it is liquid proof. Place items you are unsure about here. Face creams and hand sanitizers.
Another great idea is the outside-accessible laundry pocket. This is the zipper at the top of the bag, closest to the padded back area. Many a time I had no idea how to separate my dirty laundry from the rest of my clothes.
Resorting to a plastic carrier bag just looks unsightly, and improper for wet or overly dirty items. The design team took this into account and created this pouch area.
It has many uses, so if you are taking only camera equipment, it will hold cables and devices easily.
The laptop pocket is stored at the bottom of the bag when in its clamshell form. When you have the bag fully closed, you access it via the back panel. This is a great idea for safety, as you’ll find it difficult to damage if its at the straight part of the bag.
With other bags, such as the NYA-EVO FJORD 36 Action, the laptop area is at the front. I thought this was a great idea, until I damaged my portable monitor while it sat inside. It turns out, it wasn’t the flattest part of the bag.
This padded area will hold a 15″ laptop and closes with a Velcro tab.
Main Compartment – Right
The right side is where all the fun happens. You’ll first notice two separate compartments underneath two zippered mesh separators.
One of these, or even both, is for your camera cubes (we will look more at the camera cubes later).
If you only need/have/want one camera cube, then the other area is for toiletries and other devices that have no business next to your clothes. You could fit an iron in here.
Judging by the size of the perfectly sized camera cube, the area of these compartments is 32 cm (L) x 25 cm (W) x14 cm (D). In other words, 0.0112 cubic meters.
These two areas look independent with the two mesh separators, but they are modular. In between the two compartments is a wall that can stand up, making the bag fully pop out. It also adds rigidity to it, making the bag sturdier on this side.
This wall stays in place with a Velcro tab. By placing it down, you have one large compartment, the same size as the large one on the left.
This means versatility, as you don’t have to use this duffel bag for camera gear. It is just one of the many possibilities.
From these two compartments, you’ll see there are zips that open to the side of the bag. These zips are used on the outside, and allow access to your gear. Whether you are wearing it, or it’s placed on the ground, these give you side access to your camera and lenses.
If you decided that one of the areas was for toiletries, it means you can stick your hand in and dig it out without having to go through the entire side. It’s a great advantage for security too, as you get what you need, without showing the world all your wonderful toys.
In the flap of these two external access areas are two pockets. These are perfect for memory card holders, or cables, or even a change in currency if you decide to travel through a few zones. Personally, smaller devices are perfect here.
The camera cubes are designed to fit here, and they do nicely. You can secure them with included Velcro tabs, which stops them from moving around too much.
In the top compartment, you’ll find more pockets. That’s right, I’m starting to get confused and lost. On the north and west walls are two further mesh pockets, close-able with zips.
They are big enough to hold cables and small devices, and big enough to keep them all together.
Fabric and Zippers
The fabric inside is Nylon, counting the sides, the mesh and pocket faces. This makes it easy to clean and keeps the bag stain free.
Some bags use fabric on the inside to protect your gear. However, they get damaged and dirty far quicker than the nylon alternative.
In the Hexad Access Duffel, the nylon is strong and durable. The compartments will stay separate for a long time of use.
Main Features – Outside
Carrying the Bag
There has never been more versatility in carrying a bag than there is in the WANDRD Hexad Access Duffel bag. There are a total of four handles outside, one on each side.
The two side handles are attached to back of the pack, and the others on the front.
This makes grabbing your kit possible from every way. I was unsure why you would want to carry your bag from the bottom, but there really is no bottom. All your stuff is safely tucked away, so it wouldn’t matter. It isn’t easy knowing which way is up with this bag.
Next to the handles are a series of loops. The bottom and top have four each (two parallel on each side) and the sides have two each (one perpendicular on each side).
I’m not exactly sure what I would use them for, or even if they have a purpose. They could strengthen the handles.
If the side access pockets aren’t big enough, or you need quick access to other items, you can use the compression straps. These are perfect for a jacket or jumper. They will also hold a tripod, even if it will shift the balance of your bag to the right side.
These compression straps can tighten and loosen a great deal. There are even elastic bands to keep the straps in a tidy fashion. Pulling them tight will squash the bag in a compression fashion, but not enough to pack it away tightly.
Apart from the loops, the bag is rather sleek. It is the design that I like, and as I an not a mountaineering or adventure photographer, I don’t need extra straps.
One of the downsides about this bag is there are no open or extendable pockets. One or two of these would have been great for water bottles. It might not have matched the sleek design of the bag though, as any extra pockets are all placed inside the bag.
Either compression straps got in the way, or the design team saw them as unnecessary. I’m not sure. The right-hand side would hold the tripod, leaving only the left for such a pocket. But, the left-hand side is where the side-access areas are.
The pockets that ARE found on the exterior of the bag are very handy. There are two, small pockets that are built into the side of the duffel bag. You’ll find one at the top and one at the bottom, both on the right-hand side of the bag.
The top one is perfect for a phone, as it has a fleeced lined pocket. The bottom one is great for a wallet and/or passport. It allows easy, quick access and stays hidden.
Personally, the bottom segment is where I would keep a power-bank, allowing me to charge the phone while I use it.
Zips & Zippers
There are lots and lots of zippers. It does make it a little hard to navigate from the get-go. Some of the zippers are small, with little nodules to hold and pull them with.
Other zippers are much larger with bigger zip pulls.
If they had made the zipper pulls a different color than jet black, you would have an easier time locating the area you needed. Luckily, with the pack came 8 x orange zip ties, which are replacements is the others disappear.
You can swap these for the black ones to make the zips easier to find. After a while, you’ll get used to what is where and how to find your items. All zips and zippers are made of high quality, and are water-resistant, meaning your items stay dry.
Belts and Straps
Apart from the compression straps on the right, there is another strap on the left which is used for compression, but it is removable. I’m not exactly why, or what it makes way for.
There is a sternum strap that follows the rail design. This allows you to move the connecting strap up or down, depending on where it is most comfortable on your body.
Sternum straps are great for when you have a lot of equipment and feel like your shoulder straps are pulling away. That extra connector makes a difference in bringing and keeping the back closer to your center of gravity.
All connectors on the straps, from the connecting carbines to the strap pulls are plastic but well made. This helps to keep the weight down while providing a stable and durable system. There are some metal parts where they are needed, which helps with its longevity.
What I really like are the back straps. Out of all travel camera bags, in fact, any camera bag I have tried before, this has the best ones. They rank number one for shape, design, and the resulting comfort. They are also removable for when you don’t need them.
Why these feel great is down to a simple idea of ergonomics. The strap goes from a thick area to a curved, thinner area where your arms connect. When worn, the straps fit around your arms, making them hardly noticeable.
The other benefit is with the back straps connected, they act as another way to carry your bag. By using the sternum strap to keep them together, the thin part of the shoulder straps is much easier to grab and hold than thicker ones you often find on other backpacks.
Good Job WANDRD.
The WANDRD camera cubes are what you need to turn your travel bag into a photography travel bag. Without them, your gear will just jump around inside.
There are two sizes; small and medium. If you have a compact camera or mirrorless, you can get away with the smaller version.
If you are using a DSLR, or a smaller camera with a lot of lenses, you really need the medium-sized cube.
The perfect thing about these is that if you own other bags by WANDRD, such as the PRVKE 21 and 31L versions, these camera cubes will fit. This means you might already have them if you own the other models.
Small Camera Cube – Dimensions: 9″H X 11″W X 5″D (22.9 cm H x 27.9 cm W x 12.7 cm D)
Medium Camera Cube – Dimensions: 10″H X 12.5″W X 5.5″D (25.4 cm H x 31.8 cm W x 14 cm D)
There isn’t much between the two bags, just 1″ in the height, 1.5″ in the width and 0.5″ in the depth. This small difference could make all the difference in the gear you can take with you.
The bag will hold four of these medium cubes, but that won’t leave much space for your clothes. On the left-hand side of the clamshell are two specific areas for these medium camera cubes to sit.
You’ll notice there are two loops located on the camera cubes. To find out what these are for, look at the waist belt section below.
The Waist Belt is another accessory that you can add to your Hexad Access Duffel bag. This allows you to transfer some of the weight to your waist, and off your back.
These straps are easily unclipped and slotted into two rings, located on the back panel. They will allow a maximum length of 50″ (127 cm) and a minimum length of 28″ (71 cm).
They connect with a large clip that makes tightening and loosening the strap easily. On each side there are large pads, keeping your hips comfortable, and stopping any strap chafing.
On the right side strap, there is a small pocket, which will hold a few memory cards or some loose change.
What is great about this, is it can attach to your camera cube. The two loops located on the camera cubes let you attach the waist belt straps.
The benefit of this is, no matter how much stuff you fit in your bag, you don’t need to take it all. Take the cube and waist straps, and off you go.
A minimal amount of carrying equipment at your disposal.
The Rainfly is a custom fitting waterproof cover, designed to protect your bag throughout torrential rain, sleet and snow.
It comes inside a small pocket, which is easily pulled over your entire duffel bag. It connects to your bag in three different places, ensuring it doesn’t come off.
One of the things I like and appreciate about this back is the possibility for storage. With the exception of a few, every camera bag I own can not be made smaller. This is a headache and drives my wife nuts.
Of course, I have different bags for different photography jobs. So they stack up. The Hexad Access Duffel bag can flatten easily.
By removing the camera cube, and ensuring the separator between the two compartments on the left-hand side is down, you can squash it down.
And I don’t mean squash beyond all recognition. It was designed to flatten, so when you do so, it keeps its general shape and design.
It will come like this when you order it, inside a cloth bag with a drawstring. This can be used to store the bag, stopping it from getting dusty. The camera cube has its own storage bag.
As it folds flat, it is easier to store. Hats off to WANDRD for this ingenuity. This is one of the reasons you’ll find most of the bag isn’t as rigid as it could have been.
There is a compromise, but I’m glad they chose this route. The zippers are a little more difficult to use smoothly when the bag is flat, so you’ll need to pop it back into shape before expert use.
The biggest problem with travel camera bags isn’t the space, amount of pockets or even comfortability. It is ‘Can I Take It On The Plane’
Low-cost airplanes are constantly reviewing their restrictions on cabin luggage. So it is the main concern for those who travel with their camera equipment.
If the bag is too large for their requirements, then a fee needs to be paid. Or the bag needs to go into checked-luggage.
And no one wants thousands of dollars of their equipment to be handled by ‘baggage throwers’. Especially if you’re flying to a destination wedding where you are the photographer.
The dimensions of the bag are 22″ x 14″ x 9″. These squeak past the 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm restrictions for the larger, international airlines.
When it comes to Ryanair, EasyJet or Wizzair, they tend to be smaller.
- Ryanair – 40cm x 20cm x 25cm and the bag needs to fit under the seat in front of you
- EasyJet – 56 x 45 x 25 cm
- Wizzair – 55 x 40 x 23 cm
Unless you pack it to the max, attach extra items on the sides and push it to its limits, you should be fine.
If for any reason it isn’t allowed in the cabin. Or your card doesn’t work, there is a possibility that will keep your camera gear safe and protected.
Remove your camera cube, and use the waist strap to turn it into a carry on waist pack. Then you can rest in peace that you know where your camera gear is.
Wandrd Hexad Access Travel Duffel Bag: Review
After receiving the bag, I noticed how thin it was. It was flat packed and housed in a branded, protection bag. This is thought was a really nice touch.
Taking the bag out revealed how nicely designed the duffel bag is. It’s completely black, and the style was very sleek. I was excited.
I tried a few zippers, not knowing where they went or what they did. It took a few minutes to understand the clamshell design and the basic idea of the bag,
Once open, I thought it was a great concept in keeping the bag a travel backpack with photography carrying possibilities.
The material felt strong, and water/weatherproof. It felt rigid enough to stay in shape, but not overbearing that it didn’t have some play.
Overall, it had a well thought out design, and the materials to boot. Even the branded logos on the bag were inconspicuous, and not over the top.
Build and Design
The material used on the bag is a military-grade plasticized ballistic nylon. This is a material that the military uses throughout campaigns all around the world.
Unsurprisingly, it is strong, durable and looks like it could handle some tough terrain. Bags look better with a little scuffing anyway.
Its all-black design helps to make its design sleek and interesting. It’s a bag that many other photographers are going to stare at.
I liked that there were not too many straps. Don’t get me wrong, there are compression straps, shoulder straps, and a sternum strap.
But, like the add-on waist strap, the shoulder straps and one of the compression straps are completely removable. Even the sternum straps will come off if need be.
Its a modular bag for all sorts of travel, from city trips to hiking. It will fit your photography needs through the camera cubes and separated compartments inside.
We like the padded back area, as it feels very comfortable. The laptop area is just behind there, making it safe for your laptop and easily accessible.
The bag weighs 1.8 kg (3.9 lb), adding 0.4 kg (0.95 lb) with one medium cube inside.
Accessibility is the name of this duffel bag, and that is the main idea behind its concept.
The idea is that when you are wearing your Hexad Access Duffel, you drop the right shoulder strap. From here, you swing around the pack so it’s in front of you.
Now, you have access to two pockets which unzip, revealing the inside compartments. If you loaded the camera cubes correctly, you now have access to your camera.
If you have two camera cubes, one could be for each camera you wish to use. Or, the second one can be constructed to hold your lenses.
There are a few zippers to get past, but once you do, you don’t need to drop your bag down. Just remember to close the zips before you place the bag on your back again.
The other way to access your camera equipment is to place the bag down, open the clamshell, then compartment, THEN the camera cube.
This is something you couldn’t do by swiveling the bag and relying on the waist straps. This is something that makes the NYA-EVO FJORD 36 Action great.
It is possible if you place your camera cube upside down need to the laptop compartment.
I used this bag on a travel trip to the Province region of France. It was a wonder to pack and separate all of my equipment and clothing in one bag.
The shoe compartment is a great addition, even if I only used them for sandals. Usually, I don’t take any extra pairs because of how they fit in my bag.
The camera cube worked perfectly, but I should have got two. The amount of gear I was taking; drone, two camera bodies and a whole slew of lenses.
What I liked were the extra pockets. The two on the outside are hidden and housed my passport and phone. The top laundry area is where I kept cables and my power bank.
Accessing the camera equipment posed no problems, but having to open two zippers got old fast. Even if I left the camera cube open, I still needed to remove the flap.
My tripod fit really well in the compression straps on the right-hand side, even if it did redistribute the weight to that side.
For comfort, I love this bag. The shoulder straps are ergonomically designed to actually fit the arms. This is one area that every other camera bag company should heed.
Too many believe that just having a strap there is comfortable. WANDRD makes it real.
The biggest benefit is the removal of the straps. This helps you carry the bag in multiple ways. And it stops them from getting jammed in any airport machine.
It is a modular system that fits in airplanes and lets you work with it in any shape or way you want.
What We Like
- Stores away easily
- Every item inside has its own area
- Well thought out pocket design
What We Don’t Like
- A little confusing due to pockets and zippers
- No external pocket for bottles
- Zippers are a little too small and don’t feel as sturdy
Where To Buy It From
You get your hands on the WANDRD Hexad Access Duffel from their website here. There is a bigger version, namely the Hexad Carryall Duffel, which comes in a 60L version.
On the same page, you’ll find all three add-ons; the Waist Strap, The RainFly and Camera Cubes.