Meet WANDRD FERNWEH Backpack: Travel Photography Meets Backcountry Backpacking

WANDRD, best known for supremely designed, rugged photography backpacks, has launched its new 50-liter backpack on Kickstarter. The WANDRD FERHWEH — pronounced “wandered feirn-veyh” — is a beast of a backpack, boasting outstanding versatility, heavy-duty materials, and more pockets, openings, and features than almost any backpack we’ve seen.

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The new WANDRD FERNWEH, built for backpacking, photography, and international travel.

As with all of WANDRD’s gear, the FERNWEH is built first for photographers who travel. If you want to hop on plane with your DSLR, a few lenses, and a week’s worth of clothes, you are the target audience. The FERNWEH was designed to work with all of WANDRD’s photography cubes — there are eight sizes you can buy as add-ons — to create a backpack that stores your delicate gear safely while giving immediate access.

That said, WANDRD decided to take a bigger bite out of the outdoor scene with the FERNWEH. Its 50-liter size allows photographers to pack for extended trips, and you can remove all cubes (or use a much smaller cube) to pack other types of gear, whether you’re backpacking miles into the backcountry or bumming around Southeast Asia for months.

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Choose your adventure. Essential Camera Cube pictured on the right, no cube on the left.

The FERNWEH is not cheap, but getting it while on Kickstarter offers a serious discount. You can grab just the pack, or choose one of WANDRD’s bundles to score discounted cubes, accessories, and the all-new Route Pack, which is built to work with the FERNWEH as a front-facing camera pack.

Get the WANDRD FERNWEH in Black or Gobi Tan while you can on Kickstarter.

See the WANDRD FERNWEH

Unique Features of the WANDRD FERNWEH

WANDRD has a knack for creating what gear-heads love: features. On the FERNWEH, include pockets, straps, openings, materials, and connection points that are unique in their design.

First, the access points. Too many travel backpacks are lacking easy access points to all your gear — your clothes are stuck at the bottom, your water bottle isn’t accessible, your hydration bladder is shoved out of sight.

The FERNWEH has four full zippered access points to the main compartment of the pack. This area holds the bulk of the 50 liters, and is typically where gear disappears. You can unzip the top of the chute with a bucket opening, fully unzip the front main chute with a U-Zip, and open the entire back panel with a similar U-Zip. Finally, there’s a square quickdraw zipper that gives you immediate access to your camera (if you’re using a cube), or some other piece of gear you store there. You won’t lose your gear in the FERNWEH.

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The back panel access is impressive.

Beyond that, WANDRD includes a removable bucket liner, which separates that main compartment into two areas. It’s great for storing one type of gear — like clothing — in a separate area from photography or hard goods.

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Left: Exterior zip pocket with hydration bladder compartment. Right: Main compartment U-Zip to access gear, including Bucket Zip bag.

Second, WANDRD has built an external storage area on the back of the pack. This is where a traditional backpacking pack might have a mesh pocket — on the FERNWEH it’s a durable, zippered pouch with room for a jacket and other accessories, and there’s a hydration bladder sleeve built in. This allows easy access to your bladder, and keeps your water separate from the main pack in case of leakage.

Third, straps on straps on straps. There are enough straps, buckles, loops, daisychains, and cinches to keep just about anything you want hanging off the FERNWEH. For the person who loves to get creative with external storage, you will be dreaming of where to place accessories. (Note that some of these accessory straps are add-on purchases.)

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Left: adjustable torso with sturdy clips. Right: unique sternum strap that clips in easily.

Finally, there’s a fold-out sleeping bag flap at the bottom of the FERNWEH. This is simple design easily allows an extra 10-15 liters of space (or more), and works to store just about anything that’s shaped like a cylinder. The flap can also be secured over the waist belt and shoulder straps when storing the FERNWEH on an airplane — yes, you can carry it on (for most larger airplanes).

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The FERNWEH can carry a sleeping bag if necessary, and the sleeve folds over the back panel for protection during flights (while also rolling into a zippered compartment).

Travel Backpack, Photography Backpack, or Backpacking Backpack?

In a word: yes.

Typically a backpack that tries to do it all doesn’t do any specific thing excellently. Somehow, WANDRD crafted the FERNWEH to perform as a legitimate photography backpack, travel backpack, and backpacking pack.

These three activities have a lot of crossover. There are professional wilderness photographers that hike deep into the backcountry with serious camera gear, and plenty of people travel internationally with the goal of visiting cities and remote wilderness areas in the same trip.

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If photography is your goal, WANDRD’s camera cubes fit perfectly in the FERNWEH, and the quick access to your camera, complete with memory card storage, is ideal. Plus, a hip belt pocket large enough for any phone.

If you can fit your setup in 50-liters (plus the sleeping bag flap and tie ons), the FERNWEH will probably do all of this for you. You don’t have to store camera gear (and will need a cube to do it), and you can swap between an electronic setup and full outdoor setup rather easily. Mix and match to combine the right setup for you.

The four heavy-duty handles allow for use as a duffel, too, and it stores easily on a wheeled bag handle if needed. The extra-large zippered water bottle pocket can store just about any size bottle you have — but doubles as a secure storage for any long, wide object, and the zippers allow you to have a tripod or set of tent poles to stick out, too.

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A duffel backpack.

Finally, a true backpacking pack needs to be comfortable. The FERNWEH weighs five pounds empty (which is heavy but not exorbitant), and can haul about 40 pounds before the aluminum square-shaped frame begins to feel heavy.. The foam along the shoulder straps and back panel is heavy-duty, and a mesh-and-air-filled top layer allows excellent ventilation.

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The back and front of the WANDRD FERNWEH.

The shoulder straps, hip belt, and harness come in two independent sizes (which you can mix and match), and there are load adjustments at the shoulders and at the hip belt as well. Finally, the torso has three adjustable points to dial in the right fit for you. You can carry a lot in the FERNWEH, whether you are trekking through a city or miles into the backcountry, and you can do it comfortably.

See the WANDRD FERNWEH

Who is WANDRD?

WANDRD is best known as a premium photography backpack and accessory brand. Their iconic PRVKE pack is smaller than the FERNWEH, but highly suited to adventure photographers. From cubes to journals to organizers, WANDRD designs everything with function and form in mind.

The FERNWEH is their new 50-liter adventure backpack, and you can find it on Kickstarter for a limited time.

See the FERNWEH, and learn more about WANDRD.


This article is sponsored by WANDRD.

Backpackers.com Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.

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