Langly is a company founded on the idea that form can meet function in camera bag design. While the early Alpha and Delta models were certainly great looking bags, in my opinion, they leaned a little too hard on form and had some functional problems that kept them out of my consideration. The Multi Camera Pack tilts the scale back towards an almost seamless balance of form and function. It’s a workhorse bag that is aimed at professional and serious amateur photographers that need to carry a hefty amount of gear in a bag that scores highly on access to gear and convenience in use.
Finding the right bag for my needs (and wants)
Looking for a camera bag can be a daunting process, at least it is for me. There are just so many options available, and simply put, there is no perfect bag that can do everything for everyone. At the very least, the bag one selects should be able to accommodate the required gear and the individual’s work style.
My primary requirement for this bag is something that I can arrange to carry either my photo kit or my video kit for weddings, documentary work, or for travel. For the past 5 years, I’ve been using a Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 350 AW for this purpose, but my gear needs expanded to the point where I’d been overloading that bag. The Video Fastpack 350 is actually similar (in terms of storage arrangement) to the Langly Alpha Pro, with a small gear compartment on the bottom of the bag and a multi-purpose compartment on the top of the bag. While I’ve always liked the aesthetic of the Alpha Pro, I knew it wasn’t what I needed in terms of functionality. After pouring over a seemingly endless sea of camera bags, including the Tenba Shootout 32L, Manfrotto Pro Backpack 50, Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW, and Lowepro Pro Runner BP 450 AW II, Langly’s savvy marketing and the combination of aesthetic, capacity, and storage arrangement of the Multi Pack got the best of me. With just a few clicks, I would venture from the well-heeled world of the black bulge and enter into the hipster camera backpack club, hashtags required. #letsgosomewhere
Compartment Logic and Versatility
The Multi Pack is a relatively straightforward bag, offering a large customizable main compartment, two side pockets, and a large pocket on the back of the main flap.
The main camera compartment is essentially divided into a top section for a camera + lens and three customizable columns for storing lenses and accessories. This provides a good degree of space and versatility with two large vertical dividers and nine horizontal dividers included with the bag. Even large telephoto lenses or larger video cameras can be accommodated. For my purposes, this allows me to easily configure the bag for either my photo kit (with off camera flashes and accessories) or my video kit, which includes an audio recorder, video monitor/recorder, and a small DSLR cage. This bag accommodates both of my gear setups very nicely.
The pockets on the inside flap are sufficient for storing filters, memory cards, batteries, and other small accessories. The narrow, see-through, central pocket is perfect for a memory card case and few LP-E6 batteries. It would be nice to see some additional organization, like pen holders or an attachment for keys.
The external pockets (with the exception of the laptop compartment) are secured with brass snaps. I find these to be a nice alternative to clips or traditional buckles in that they are reasonably secure and can be manipulated with one hand. The side pockets provide some additional storage for small items. These pockets are just large enough to hold a single Canon 430ex II each. I wish they were just a little bit taller so that they could accommodate larger speedlights, but this certainly isn’t a deal breaker as this bag offers plenty of storage options. The large back pocket provides room for a few other accessories, possibly a light jacket, and has an additional zippered pocket that is the perfect place to store documents and contracts. The laptop compartment is on the strap side of the bag and is accessed from the side. Some reviewers have complained about this being difficult to access, but I find this arrangement quite reasonable. A laptop isn’t something I’m going to reach for in the heat of the moment, so convenience isn’t the top priority here. The compartment is large enough to fit a Macbook Pro 15” or smaller laptop.
One additional feature worth mentioning is the tripod attachment straps at the bottom of the bag. These straps seem like a bit of an afterthought, but they’re sufficient for carrying a travel tripod (or possibly a blanket or sleeping pad if need be). It’s there, but it is something that I would only recommend using for very lightweight gear.
Ease of Access
The Multi Pack features a top access flap that allows the user access to the top section of the main compartment. This is handy for keeping a camera and a lens at the ready. While it is still necessary to put the bag down to access the top flap, it is nice to be able to quickly grab a camera without exposing the entire main compartment. A potential issue for some is that the top flap may be a bit small for accessing a gripped DSLR.
Additionally, some may miss being to access a camera without putting the bag down, which would be possible with bags that offer side access or Lowepro Flipside style designs. However, I’ve found that when carrying the amount of gear this bag can carry, I’m most comfortable setting the bag down and working out of it. In essence, using it as a mobile gear crate (that’s also kinda pretty).
Protection and Security
There is ample padding in the right places to protect the main camera compartment. The padding feels a little more compressed than on some other bags, which allows a sleek look while still providing a good amount of protection.
Langly doesn’t include a rain cover for its packs, but asserts that it’s “military-grade” waxed canvas will seal out the elements. Outside pockets fold downward when closed, providing a sufficient weather seal for any gear or documents stored in them.
Arguably, the best security feature of the Multi Pack is that the design doesn’t necessarily advertise to the world that it’s a camera backpack. Other than the relatively discreet appearance, the security features are pretty minimal. Access to the main camera compartment is on the back of the bag, which is less secure than something like a Lowepro Flipside type design where gear access is through the strap side of the bag. Security locking tabs on the main compartment zippers might have been a nice addition. These zippers could be zip tied together during transit for a little additional security if necessary.
Materials and Workmanship
The Multi Pack features the aforementioned waxed canvas, leather, and rustproof brass hardware. While the Multi Pack is relatively new to the market (it’s been available for a little less than a year), Langly’s products have a solid reputation for workmanship and durability. I can tell you that the workmanship certainly looks high quality. Oversized zippers on the main compartment and reinforced stitching in the right places give the impression that Langly has put in the right effort to produce a durable product.
Thankfully, Langly has kept the empty weight to about 4.8 lbs. (on the low side of average for a bag in this class). They’ve used lightweight material where it makes sense and left the external pockets without unnecessary bulky padding while maintaining a reasonably well protected main gear compartment.
A little bit of a side rant: I don’t really consider workmanship and durability a huge selling point here. It’s actually a requirement to even enter into consideration as the competition certainly has these things covered. My Lowepro essentially looks new after 5 years of use, and I have a Domke with over 10 years of use that is every bit as functional as the day I bought it (with considerable break in). These are bags that cost me less than $100 each. A $250 bag damn well better be durable and well made. Period.
Comfort and Fit
Langly seems to promote this bag as a hiking/backpacking bag, and while that may align with their brand image, I don’t really think that is the most practical use for the Multi Pack. The capacity of gear this bag is designed to carry and the lack or a waist belt or adjustable chest strap don’t really lend them to backcountry hiking. A removable waist belt is probably the biggest omission from this bag. The capacity of the Multi Pack certainly allows for some heavy loads, and a waist strap would help move some of that load from the shoulders and back. The chest strap provides adequate relief for most uses that don't involve long treks with heavy loads. On that note, I tend to load the bag with the weight high as that minimizes stress on the shoulders and back.
That said, the Multi Pack is perfectly suited for romping through wedding venues, air terminals, and downtowns. The straps have adequate thickness and padding that they are comfortable without getting in the way. My typical photography loadout is around 24 lbs, which feels very manageable with this bag. As the load gets closer to 30 lbs, there is a bit more strain on the shoulders and back, but it’s still manageable. Day hikes are not a problem as long as you don’t get too ambitious or if you go with a lighter load. Ventilation is an issue, but that is true of any photo backpack I’ve used. If you’re traversing with this bag in hot or grueling conditions, be prepared to sweat.
One feature that really sold me on this bag is the 8” depth. This is a relatively low profile for a camera backpack of this capacity, and that low profile is quite welcome when navigating tight spaces like hotel rooms, elevators, and airplanes. By comparison, The Manfrotto Pro Backpack 50 has a depth of 11”. That 3” difference can really be felt in a packed elevator...and bumping into bridesmaids is just never a good look. Well, perhaps only on the dance floor and late into the night.
The Langly Multi Camera Pack lacks some of the bells and whistles from the run of the mill (and excellent) competition, but it makes up for it by nailing the fundamentals and challenging the status quo of aesthetics. For instance, the Lowepro Pro Runner BP 450 AW II erases every item on my “reservations” list for the Multi Pack. The Multi Pack has some nice things that the Pro Runner does not, like the top camera access and external document pocket, but what clearly sets the Multi Pack apart are aesthetics and style. For day to day use, my “reservations” with the Multi Pack are either minor or aren’t really applicable. Perhaps as a decade-long Domke user, I just have a thing for no-nonsense, green colored canvas camera bags. The Multi Pack seems to be just that: No-nonsense, durable, functional without being fussy, and damn good looking.
The combination of form and function is simply a huge win
Low profile for capacity
Top access to camera
Versatile and sturdy main compartment
Easy to access document storage
Lack of removable/optional waist belt (has a functional effect)
Additional internal organization features would be nice (minor)
Not the most secure arrangement for traveling (worth noting)
Slightly larger (width dimension) than typical airplane carry-on size (worth noting)
Empty Weight: 4.8 lbs
External Dimensions: 20” x 18” x 8”
Colors: Forrest (reviewed), Natural, Black, Coyote
Materials: Waxed canvas, leather, brass hardware
Product Link: https://www.langly.co/products/multi-pack