Maureen G. Nowak has over 35 years of photography experience covering portrait, commercial, interior design, event and sports photography. For over a decade and a half she has worked in Washington’s foreign policy scene, including years analyzing satellite imagery and traveling the globe with camera in hand.
Below is her insight for optimal packing set-ups for different scenarios with the Fjord 36.
There’s no doubt that NYA-EVO packs shine when carrying camera gear for outdoor adventure photography, but I would contend that the same traits that make these bags ideal in rough conditions make them excel for use in commercial, sports and portrait photography, too. Even with smaller mirrorless systems entering the market, professional photographers must carry a variety of larger, heavy gear to every type of shoot. NYA-EVO bags offer unparalleled protection, convenience and flexibility that make them a first-rate choice for all on-location photographers.
I was impressed with NYA-EVO’s Fjord bag the moment that I unpacked it – top quality padding and materials coupled with so many options to customize the bag signaled to me that this was a fabulous addition to my workflow. My test run with the new bag was for an interior design photoshoot, in a home that I had to walk a block to in pouring rain. I easily loaded two large pro bodies with L- brackets, four bulky L-lenses with hoods attached, and a slew of accessories (batteries, memory cards, remote switches, etc.) into the large-size insert. A Holdfast strap and two compact lights fit into the top compartment, providing direct access as needed. Other lighting accessories, my wallet and phone fit smoothly into the front pockets, while my required Yeti bottle of tea slid conveniently into the side pocket.
I could have lashed on my heavy-duty Gitzo/RRS tripod set, but found it was easy to carry them separately with all the camera gear neatly packed on my back. Especially remarkable to me was how easy this heavy load was to carry. The bag adjusted quickly to my slim 5’6”frame using six adjustment points, but also transformed to fit larger men in my studio. The weight felt balanced and secure, allowing me to move my gear deftly in one trip – something I’ve never been able to accomplish with multiple shoulder bags dangling. The gear inside was perfectly dry (even though I didn’t use the provided rain cover), and the bag sat open in a corner during the shoot providing me unobstructed access to all the gear.
I purchased the large, medium, and small Removable Camera Inserts (RCIs) to pair with my 36-liter bag. While I am likely to use the large most often, the others provide great flexibility in how I can use the bag, and allow me to set up dividers in each RCI for different types of photo shoots and have them ready to quickly pack. I’ve even left the other RCI’s packed with gear so that it’s super-fast to pack the NYA-EVO bag and dash to a different type of shoot. The small and medium fit the same space as the large insert, so can be used together or separately—albeit when together there is slightly less room in the top zip compartment due to the additional layer of padding. Packing only the medium or small inserts will be ideal for when I want to include non-photo items, such as clothing or food, in the top compartment. The RCIs are easy to swap, and conveniently can even be used inside other bags, especially with the included padded top zipped on.
Over the last couple of weeks, I also have tested the pack on a sports photoshoot, a commercial assignment, and portrait sessions. I was able to change out the gear I needed to bring easily, and in each situation the bag was comfortable to carry and work out of. For the sports assignment, the Fjord 36 easily carried long, hefty lenses and a monopod strapped in the side pocket. I was able to include extra lenses for unexpected shots and back-up gear all together for the portrait work. The netting on the front—designed to hold a helmet or jacket—is ideal for carrying pop-up product photography boxes, while diffusers and reflectors simply clip to the straps across the front of the bag. Side pockets hold water bottles, monopod, tripod or light stands. When I did need to bring backdrops and studio lighting to the commercial shoot, it fit easily on a rolling cart since all my photo gear was on my back.
What a treat to carry everything I needed to every session painlessly in just one trip from the car! The NYA-EVO backpacks deserve special kudos for their ability to carry both my 16” Macbook Pro and the largest iPad Pro securely in different compartments along with a full pack of gear. This is a game-changer because it also makes the bag a fabulous carry-on travel bag that will hold up to a week of clothes along with all my computer gear for remote editing work.
I will leave the details of the NYA-EVO bags to the many great video reviews online which outline all the features. Suffice to say that I am thrilled with the Fjord 36. It’s the first bag that I’ve found that is deep enough (more than 6.5”) to securely fit pro-caliber gear, is outfitted with the level of padding that I expect to protect expensive equipment, can carry the quantity of equipment that I need to bring, fits a large laptop, is comfortable to carry, has two water bottle holders (seemingly minor, but key for me on a long shoot), offers plenty of ways to organize for different needs, and looks sleek and professional. The responsive NYA-EVO customer service team and speedy shipping was an added treat – I ordered the bag on Friday and it arrived on my doorstep in New Jersey from Hong Kong on Monday morning! I’m convinced that this is a bag that I can count on for many years to come.
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