Backpack Designed for the Rigors of Professional Photography
Review by Dave Williams
Morally Toxic is a new brand on the scene, reinventing the relatively boring image that has traditionally been camera bags. The Valkyrie is a backpack from their line of bags that has been broken down and redesigned, keeping the things that work and redesigning those that don’t. A lot of companies try to do this and fail, but Morally Toxic has actually done a decent job.
On the inside there’s a lot going on. The main storage compartment is segmented by customizable dividers that are rigid and affixed with Velcro. These hard dividers have built-in storage pockets, giving photographers somewhere
to cram cables, batteries, lens cloths, and other such small items. The outside of the main storage area is padded for extra strength, and the external materials are hard-wearing and treated to repel liquid. At the lower end of the main storage area, there’s also a “frog” pocket. This section is waterproof where you can protect items from external water sources, or store wet items. The frog pocket is accessible from the outside of the bag, so it’s completely separate from any electronics, and it’s collapsible when not in use.
In the front pocket there’s space to store a laptop or tablet, and smaller pockets for all the other little bits-and-pieces that photographers love to carry around, as well as a built-in, detachable, memory card wallet. The side pockets afford extra storage for smaller items, perhaps a compact camera, or something similarly sized. In addition, the Valkyrie has a secret pocket to keep valuable items out of sight, such as passports or cash.
On the outside of the backpack is a water bottle pouch—very important for a long day of shooting. On the face of the bag is a tripod holder, consisting of a secure pair of straps that are easy to attach and detach. They can be tucked into their own little pockets if you don’t have a tripod attached.
In terms of comfort, the straps are padded and contoured, including a chest strap for extra security and removable waist straps. You can use the webbing on the straps to attach any additional accessories, and the whole system allows air flow to keep you cool on those hot days shooting in the sun.
Valkyrie, which comes in two sizes, 20L and 25L, has a five-year global warranty. Available in three colors (blue, green, black), the backpacks are all unique with a combination of printed patterns of snakeskin and a map of Stagsden, UK. The patterns used to cut the materials for the bags are very clever, minimizing any waste, and the plastic used is recycled ocean plastic so, along with good factory and working conditions, it’s clear Morally Toxic is working the right way in terms of ethics and the environment.
I’ve been using a green Valkyrie 25L for about a month and I’m very happy with it. I’ve added it to my arsenal of gear, and it’s become my day-bag of choice when I’m out shooting. ■
FYI – my review on Amazon: TWO STARS – SHOULD HAVE BEEN 4. The pack is a great pack. Comfortable even when fully loaded. Didn’t even need the hip strap support but I was glad to know it was there (hidden in a compartment) if needed. Lots of great, well organized storage. Carried my iPad Pro and kept it well protected. The downsides: the dividers have no cushioning and the exterior, except for the iPad compartment, needs more. I swapped in the well cushioned dividers from a previous Lowe Pro bag to better protect my gear. The BIG problem though is how it held up. I bought this for a 2 week trip to Greece to carry my heavy DSLR FX equipment and 3 extra lenses including 70/200 plus a flash from airplane to hotel to ferry etc. I did not use it for daily shooting, instead used a smaller front loading Altura sling pack for that. Near the end of the trip, the Valkyrie developed a tear in one of the shoulder straps where it meets the bag. I sling the pack over my shoulder on the right side as I put it on so that strap got most of the stress. But it should last more than 2 weeks of limited use – especially at this price. I have Lowe Pro bags that have lasted 10 years. I returned the Valkyrie for a refund when I got back. Many great features, looks great, but not durable.