WANDRD PRVKE 21 Review 2019

  • Urban Hiker

WANDRD PRVKE

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Last updated: 2019-09-13 18:04:07

WANDRD PRVKE 21 Overview

WANDRD (pronounced “wandered’) is a new brand to the outdoor industry, founded by the Cope brothers in their parent’s kitchen while trying to find the perfect photo bag for a variety of trips. They wanted something that would withstand their adventures while also being practical and, let’s face it, not ugly. They crafted the PRVKE model and have since released a variety of other packs, all in the urban photography vein.

PRVKE (pronounced “provoke”) is a roll-top backpack with water-tight features that comes in two sizes (21L and 31L), three color options, and three package options: No Bundle (just the backpack), Travel Bundle (additional straps + hip belt), and Photography Bundle (straps and a camera cube). I tested the 21L version in Aegean Blue with the Photography Bundle, as the size is more practical for daily commuters and I haul my camera just about everywhere.

After months of use, I’ve found that the materials are top notch, the aesthetic is quite pleasing to the eye, and the functionality for daily commutes, short photography treks, and all-day wanderings are outstanding. It’s provoking, to say the least. (It had to be done!)

A carefully crafted utilitarian machine of a backpack, we have named the PRVKE our Premium Pick for Urban Hikers, specifically for those who like to carry a camera 

WANDRD PRVKE 21 Star Rating
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Packability
  • Fit and Adjustability
  • Style
4.5

Summary

From foot to pedal to air, the WANDRD PRVKE backpack is designed for those that tend to wander. With the ability to carry a wide assortment of items and weight, this backpack was clearly designed by travelers and photographers.

Our previous Premium Pick for the Urban Hiker was the Mission Workshop Sanction, which is still an outstanding backpack. However, the PRVKE line is less expensive, has better storage and packability, and has exterior water bottle pockets! (Hugely important, we’ve found). In terms of style they are probably equal. If you lean towards photography, go for the PRVKE. If you want utmost style and a sleek, well-padded backpack, look at the Sanction.

Read the full WANDRD PRVKE 21 review below, and discover how it transcends the confines of Urban Hiker life.

WANDRD PRVKE 21 Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg) Fairly heavy for an urban backpack, but it’s built to carry a load and survive most things. For the quality you won’t notice the weight, especially with a camera inside.
Capacity 21L A decent amount for most commutes and adventures, especially with the roll top that increases capacity to 25 liters. That said, if you want the larger version for longer treks, consider the 31L. Learn more about backpack capacity in our Guide.
Frame Material Not Listed WANDRD doesn’t list what the back panel is made out of, and if there’s a hard frame. We wish they would!
Fabric Materials Waterproof Tarpaulin, Robic 1680D Ballistic Nylon Incredibly burly materials that fend off water and wear like nobody’s business. The materials add to overall pack weight, but make this thing hard to dent.
Hip Belt? Yes (with Bundle) Large, full hip belt with the Travel or Photography bundle. We recommend this for those who want to carry heavier loads and take the bag internationally. Disconnects and stores easily in the pack, too. Learn more about backpack hip belts and how to measure in our Guide.
Adjustable Torso? No The torso is not adjustable on most urban hiker packs. The general fit of the PRVKE will have to work for you. To learn more about backpack torso measurement and adjustable torsos see our Guide.
Number of Exterior Pockets 4 One large, expandable water bottle/tripod pocket, a large external zip that has main pack access, a small pocket to store essential-carry goods, and a fleece-lined pocket near the top. Functional and simple.
Laptop Sleeve? Yes PRVKE has a large in-charge laptop sleeve that can be opened from the back panel for easy carry.
Hydration Sleeve? No You could put a hydration bladder in the back panel, but there’s no specific hole for the tube.
Main Pack Access Roll Top The PRVKE features a roll-top, which allows extra storage and waterproof security from above. We love roll-tops, and wish more packs had them.
Sternum Strap? Yes, Adjustable An adjustable (though slim) sternum strap provides support.
Load Range 10-25 lbs The backpack is built to haul camera equipment, so it’s pretty robust. Still, it’s a 21L pack and doesn’t have a full harness system like a backpacking pack. Keep that in mind and you should be fine.
Warranty Limited Lifetime WANDRD offers a limited lifetime warranty on this product. There are a few things that could fail, like zippers or straps, so be sure to get in touch if something breaks.
Retail Price $184-$264 An expensive backpack. You’re paying for high quality materials, incredibly thoughtful and innovative design, and extra items like a camera cube.

Gear Review of the WANDRD PRVKE 21

“Let me guess, you got another backpack?”, snarked my boyfriend with a raised eyebrow after I told him about this cool brand that makes functional photography backpacks. I recently invested in a sweet camera and it needed its own mode of transportation, so I got the PRVKE 21L backpack from WANDRD. While I didn’t want to  justify my new piece gear — my back, my pack, my choice — I still felt the need (like most gearheads) to explain the cross functionality and durability, not to mention the smooth zipper-action.

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The WANDRD PRVKE 21. Super sweet zipper-action.

My affection carried me so far that I claimed, boldly, that the bag “enhanced my lifestyle” — to be quite honest, after months of use, it really does. The PRVKE 21 has smart features, confidence-inspiring construction, and thoughtful functionality. While I will never say one bag can make you ditch all other bags, this one is pretty damn close.

The PRVKE and I wandered from city to farm to backcountry to business meeting to bike lane to — you get the point! In a given day, I carry about 20 pounds of stuff: laptop, spare shoes, wallet, glass containers (like Tupperware), a water bottle, a bike lock, and whatever else seems essential. While I do work from home, I enjoy working from new locations, which requires me to be creative in transportation since I am car-free.

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Fitting everything in the PRVKE is a lot easier than this big pile looks! Bag in upper left with camera cube next to it.

This lifestyle requires a bag that can hold, be held, and stay organized. The PRVKE gets all three points right in my book, so I stand by my claim — it really does enhance my life.

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

The moment I knew the PRVKE 21 was an amazing bag was even before it arrived on my doorstep. My wise friend told me to get the bag because he already owned it — and loved it. And he is a tough sell. However, after several adventures of my own with the PRVKE, I can tell you that WANDRD has a knack for reducing pain-points for those who are constantly on the go.

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The PRVKE in a field while wandering.

Let me paint a familiar scenario for you: It’s 6 a.m. on a Tuesday in SeaTac Airport, the security lines are inexplicably long, and your flight is about to board. Your pack is perfectly packed.  As you slam down your coffee (no more than 3.4 liquid ounces, people!) your eyes roll back because you remember you have to remove your laptop, which is strategically packed in the laptop sleeve, inconveniently buried by toiletries, socks, and undies.

I immediately feel the collective anxiety from surrounding travelers, imaging the next steps: dissect the backpack, hope those undies don’t hop out, remove the laptop, and destroy the integrity of your pack job.

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How does one remove all the stuff easily in a pinch?

Enter the PRVKE. It’s the entirely same scenario, however the laptop sleeve is strategically placed at the back of the pack and no matter how much you pack, the device can be removed easily without dismantling your packing efforts. If you have a camera in the cube, the back of the bag unzips completely, making it easy to remove, and reducing the overall TSA-induced stress, buying you more time to actually board flight (with a chance to get a new coffee!).

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At the airport, on the street, after a farmer’s market haul, the PRVKE holds the goods. The laptop can be removed via the back zipper super easily.

Any gear that reduces airport-line stress is worth something.

Pro-tip: Wear easy-to-remove shoes (like sandals) and your travel game is immediately boss-level.

Digging Deeper

With an expandable roll top and accommodating external pockets and straps, the PRVKE 21 can carry up to 25 liters and weighs in at 2.8 pounds, which in use becomes fairly bulky for an empty pack. That said, the backpack is rarely empty. The weight is justified through solid construction of the Waterproof Tarpaulin and Robin 1680D Ballistic nylon and weather-resistant zippers, which are all quite burly.

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A fully packed PRVKE next to an empty shopping bag, for a bit of size comparison.

The PRVKE kept my goods dry during gray Seattle days with intermittent drizzle. For days with heavier rain there is a rainfly stored in a designated spot at the bottom of the bag, which worked well and packed away easily.

The PRVKE has magnetic tote handles, compartmentalized interiors, and an exterior pocket for water bottles or tripods (or cell phones, flowers, pretty rocks, binoculars, etc…). In addition, the PRVKE has removable waist straps, and straps that accommodate equipment if you want to clip on more. All of this makes carrying stuff, and getting stuff in and out, surprisingly fluid.

 

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Magnetic handles, big clips, a roll top, and lots of straps!

The shoulder straps and back pad are constructed of a cushioned material akin to wetsuits or cushy bicycle seats. This is especially beneficial on hot days when you are moving fast and carrying groceries.

The rolltop feature is multi-functional in a day pack: I am able to strap down my yoga mat, store blankets, and even large jackets. When completely full, the rolltop can be a bit too large for a carry-on item with some airlines (I am looking at you United). But if they make you check the bag, remove your electronics and request a plastic bag to tie it up in.

When commuting by bike, I found the PRVKE to be a touch bulky, but when you compress the rolltop down enough, you can still maintain over-the-shoulder visibility, especially when riding upright commuter bicycles. The external pocket is easily accessible for cell phones–though I really don’t encourage phone-usage while riding.

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When the roll-top is compressed, it’s a fairly compact bag. When it’s expanded, you can store a ton.

So far I have clocked almost 200 miles of walking with this backpackin the past three months, having spent most of my commuting time by foot. The PRVKE easily transitions to single track hikes, although I would not choose it as an overnight pack, unless I could split the gear up with a friend.

Comfort – 4 Stars

The PRVKE is equipped with padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap, and an ergonomic padded back panel, making it immediately comfortable. Attach the removable waist belt and you have yourself a load-bearing, functional backpack.

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The fully padded back panel of the PRVKE in an airport. Comfortable, and you can see the easy access zipper on the bottom.

The reason the PRVKE did not secure 5 stars is because I found that when the pack was carrying 20+ pounds, it felt like it needed additional adjustments in the waist strap and shoulders to distribute the weight more comfortably. It felt a bit “tippy” when filled.

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The waist belt (included in the two higher priced packages) makes this backpack shine when it comes to comfort. Secure the load to your hips. Side note: yes, the zipper is upside down! You can attach and remove this belt easily, upside down or right-way up.

For the size, material construction, and concept as a “photography” backpack, which typically could result in more than a 20 pound load, I think taking off a star makes sense. Keep in mind it’s still comfortable, but you can start to feel the weight at that point. If you’re a lighter traveler it’ll be perfection.

Durability – 5 Stars

From the thick stitching to the made-to-tumble materials, the PRVKE holds up to the durability WANDRD claims. The front shiny portion material of the bag scuffs when you drag it on the concrete (I did it for the review) but this bag keeps items secure. This has been much different than a few other commuter/photo backpacks I have used, which are made with cheaper materials that often feel flimsy and just seem like they are made to solely hold things.

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The fabric looks good, and is quite durable. After many adventures it only has a scuff (and that was intentional!)

WANDRD offers a lifetime warranty for manufacturers defects — but they don’t cover crazy accidents or vengeful ex lovers (they say so on their site!).

Packability – 5 Stars

The PRVKE has revolutionized my paradigm on packability. From the interior mesh shelf pocket to the fleece-lined pouch to the expandable roll-top, this bag is equipped for more than just photography adventures. It keeps me organized more than any other backpack I have used, and that is a beautiful thing.

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Packability is on another level here. The cube in the middle (with clothes) is technically for a camera, but it works well as a separate storage area in the main chute of the pack.

I spent many a’times getting ready in coffee shop bathrooms before meetings, and the PRVKE made those transitions from leggings to heels much easier.

Fit and Adjustability – 4.5 Stars

Fit is relative, and for what the PRVKE offers versus how it fits, it still deserves a high score. The shoulder straps are wide and have standard adjustment pulls, but that is compensated with the inward-cut straps and a chest strap. The waist straps are removable, also wide, and do not offer height adjustment. At 5’6’’ with a shorter torso and wider shoulders I would say it is a better fit for larger torsos.

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Sternum strap, hip belt, and large padded shoulder straps all help to make this fit well. That said, it’s still fit for longer torsos, following the “unisex but really for men” design that happens with a lot of backpacks.

Style – 5 Stars

The PRVKE is a balanced blend of fashion-forward metropolitan meets classic, utilitarian outdoorsmen, making it appealing for a wide variety of people. This pack draws eyes, compliments, and inquiries wherever I go. You know you found a good-looking pack when even the bus driver stops you on a crowded day to ask about it.

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Styled well.

Grievances

Perfection is relative, in my book. The PRVKE is pretty dang perfect in terms of photography day packs, but I do have one primary issue: the way the bag sits on my back.

When fully loaded you end up feeling top heavy. I would prefer it if the pack could be tightened against the body at the top, to help maintain agility –sometimes you have to run to catch a train!

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A wider chest strap would be more ideal.

Also, the chest strap could offer a bit more comfort. While I am not a gear designer, I think a wider strap would be appealing to those looking to avoid the “smushed chest” scenario.

Final Word

You know you like something a lot when you join a Facebook group for it. The PRVKE is functional, durable, and ultimately an adventure companion you can rely on.

Where to Buy WANDRD PRVKE 21

We tested the WANDRD PRVKE 21 backpack with the Photography Bundle in Aegean blue. WANDRD offers the same pack with “No Bundle”, which means no straps or cube and the “Travel Bundle”, which includes a rainfly, waist straps (hip belt), and accessory straps.

If you’re a photographer and can afford it, the Photography Bundle is definitely the way to go, as it allows you to haul heavier loads and secure your camera easily. The cube also doubles as a separate food storage container — or any specific item container, really, and makes it easily accessible.

That said, both other bundles work well, and the basic backpack is worth it on its own.

WANDRD also offers this pack in 31 liters, which is quite a bit larger. Everything is the same, but the length of the bag’s chute is longer. This makes it much more of a long adventure pack, and works well for long stints abroad.

We like the PRVKE 21 for more urban experiences and general use, and the PRVKE 31 for international travel. The choice is yours.

Compare WANDRD PRVKE prices below.

WANDRD PRVKE

Last updated: 2019-09-13 18:04:07
melanie macdowell bio pic

Melanie MacDowell

Melanie is a sunshine-chaser who enjoys the nomadic digital marketing life on a farm in Central California. With an enthusiasm for self-progression through pushing beyond comfort zones, she can often be found gaining elevation on bike or by foot. In addition to playing outside, she loves ice cream, gardening, and lazy Sundays. Visit her website to learn more about her work with outdoor and wellness brands.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.