In this Hex Brand review, I’ll be focusing on one of Hex’s most popular DSLR camera bags, the Back Loader DSLR Backpack. This review covers the Hex Back Loader’s key features, and my experience using this DSLR bag for day-hikes, and general everyday photography use.
Towards the end of the review, I’ve also included a hands-on video, plenty of photos showing the details of the bag, and a summary of the bag’s pros and cons.
From seeing and handling the bag first-hand, it’s clear that the Hex Back Loader Backpack is very well constructed, thoughtfully designed (with real outdoor photographers in mind), and is designed to be sufficiently durable to last the test of time.
Read on for more about what I think about this backpack and why I choose to use it to store my camera gear and accompany me on all my photography adventures.
Table of Contents | Hex Brand Review
- Design and style
- Key features worth knowing about
- Is it waterproof?
- Size, capacity, storage pockets
- Ranger Camera Wrist Strap Review
- Where to buy the Hex Back Loader
- Review Summary
- Hands-on video review
- Image Gallery
Hex Brand DSLR Camera Bag | Design & Style
The Hex backpack has military vibes written all over it; even if I do personally like to style it out in a fashion more akin to ‘One Man and His Dog’ from a Welsh fairytale, lol. Kepler is a pretty awesome trail buddy to have with me on adventures.
If you love seeing dogs on adventures, definitely follow our Instagram to see Kepler do what he does best – be an adventure dog!
When it comes to colorways, there are two different camo prints available for the Back Loader backpack, and also a plain black version. Although that’s not a ton of different styles, I’m very happy with the camo pattern I chose for my camera bag pictured in this review. My second choice would have been the Glacier camo pattern.
These 3 colorways seem to be a prominent theme that runs across all Hex Brand products. I think this gives Hex Brand a strong and recognizable brand image, that’s fairly unique within the camera backpack space.
The design itself has been very thoughtfully conceptualized, with impressive durability, plenty of storage compartments (mostly in the right places), and an ergonomic and comfortable fit – more on all that below!
There were 3 high-priority features that were most important to me when choosing my DSLR camera bag
There are so many different DSLR backpacks out there, that it can be really difficult to know which one to buy without setting out some features that are most important to you and ensuring you stick to a search that has those important filters applied.
Hopefully, this shortlist of camera backpack features that are important to me may resonate with you too – and if that’s the case, then you’ll start to understand why I ultimately (after a long search) chose this Hexbrand camera backpack to protect, and carry my camera gear on my adventures.
The features that matter most to me, in order of importance are:
The first feature is that it had to have enough storage for all my camera gear (even when it’s sitting at home not being used).
The second feature was that it had to be a small mirrorless camera bag, as most of the time I only take my camera on day trips, rather than camping out on location – and I don’t want to be carrying needless weight around with me, especially as I like to move fast and light through the mountains.
The third feature that I wanted was for my DSLR camera bag to not look like a camera bag. What do I mean by that? Well, I don’t like being a target of theft when traveling, so having a discreet bag that looks like a normal backpack to carry my camera gear is a win for me.
Hex Back Loader features that I really appreciate
This Hex camera bag has plenty of great features worth mentioning so I’ll put them in order of what I consider to be the most important for real-world adventure photographers.
I have a whole section on this DSLR bag’s storage capabilities below, so I won’t go into much detail here but this pack has tons of pockets and storage solutions for a wide variety of camera equipment.
This includes a place to carry your tripod, a drone, extra lenses, camera body, microphone, charging cables, a laptop, water bottle, pens, pad, keys, and more. How does it manage to store so much stuff? Well, it has to do with the pack’s customizable features; you’ll have to keep reading to learn more about that. 🙂
Comfort and adjustability
Because this is a relatively small mirrorless camera bag with a capacity/volume of 20L and only weighs 3.25lbs, it is very comfortable to wear all day long.
This level of comfort, and additional storage for things like a water bottle, and hiking essentials, also makes the Hex Back Loader a great daypack for hiking with.
The pack also has an air mesh back that allows for breathability where the bag contacts your back – and this does its job very well in my experience. I like the adjustable shoulder straps too.
Although there are no waist straps to help support the weight of a fully-loaded pack, that doesn’t bother me because the pack isn’t so huge that it ever gets that heavy.
It doesn’t look like a professional camera bag (to the untrained eye)
The title says it all here, but for those who don’t know what makes this a good thing… a camera bag that looks like an ordinary backpack gives you extra protection from those pesky little scampy thieves.
This is because you don’t automatically put a target on your back, because most won’t recognize these packs as DSLR camera bags that contain valuable camera gear.
This is especially important if you travel a lot, and enjoy urban photography – something to think about!
Is this Hex Backpack waterproof?
While this Hex mirrorless camera bag is not fully waterproof, it is water-resistant. This means that the pack is not designed to be left out in the soaking rain, or submerged. I personally wouldn’t be using it in the pouring rain either because my camera gear is worth too much to me to risk that kind of adverse exposure.
If you absolutely require your pack to have the capability of staying protected from heavy rain, there is a solution. Hex Brand now offers a Back Loader V2 which brings 3 major updates over the pack I am reviewing here, at a small additional cost:
- A Hideaway rain fly with safety reflective logo print – which you can pull out and totally encapsulate your Back Loader camera backpack with
- Increased padding laptop compartment fits up to a 15″ – I personally don’t have any issues with the amount of padding in the laptop sleeve on the original pack, and I feel it provides plenty of protection for my 16″ Apple MacBook Pro – and yes it does fit in the 15″ sleeve, with ample space.
- Lay-flat water bottle pocket.
Size, capacity, and storage features
The Hex Back Loader is 18.5″ tall, 12.0″ wide, and 5.5″ deep, which makes it a good size for day use. I don’t like having to lug large bags around unless I’m backpacking or ski touring – so I’m loving the relatively small size of this camera backpack.
It has a capacity of 20 liters which is plenty for my needs, and I shoot adventure content for a living. I think if my camera pack was any larger, then I’d just fill it with unnecessary gear.
Personally, I’d rather make more conscious decisions on how I plan to shoot for the day, which means choosing specific lenses beforehand (and maybe leaving my drone at home), and packing my camera bag accordingly. There’s nothing worse than getting a bad back after a day of adventures.
On a side note, but still relevant, if you do suffer from a bad back, you totally need to check out the Chirp Wheel – We absolutely love using them in our household to stretch our backs. Having strong, pain-free backs enables us to adventure more often, for longer periods of time.
I mean adventures should be fun, and if you don’t have comfortable gear then you’re not going to have a great time. And if you’re not having fun out there, then it will probably show in your photography – that’s my two cents anyway.
I love all the customizable compartments in this DSLR camera bag. It has a padded and fleece-lined multi-use main compartment with configurable and removable partitions to store most of your camera gear, in the layout that suits you, and your workflow best.
As you can see from the image above, there’s also storage on the part of the bag that opens, that’s where I tend to store my GoPro and Insta360 action camera gear. Whilst I’m talking about the photo above, it’s also a great image to explain why this camera bag is called a Back Loader.
If you didn’t know already, Back Loader refers to how you load the pack, which is from the back! This is great because it means your camera gear can be stolen from your back by someone unzipping the bag. The downside is that you have to lay the pack on the ground or a tabletop in order to fully access everything inside it.
You’ll want to store your camera body at the top of the bag so that you can make good use of the top-loading feature, which provides quick-grab easy access to your camera when you need it. See the image below to see what I mean.
The storage doesn’t end at the main compartment, there are tons of pockets on the front of the pack too (see image below). This includes a notepad section, netted section, pen holders, a key holder, plus a ton more! See my video below (or image gallery), for a full rundown of all the storage.
There’s also a padded and faux-fur lined laptop sleeve that holds my 16 inch MacBook Pro very nicely – even though Hex Brands states on their site that it’s for a 15″ laptop.
Other pockets include a padded iPad pocket on the front, a bottle holder on the side, side straps for a tripod, and an ID card pocket, in case you lose your backpack.
Ranger Camera Wrist Strap Review
The Hex Ranger Camera Wrist Strap is a great addition to your camera gear if you don’t already own a similar product. This camera wrist strap works a little differently from other straps, in that it’s more of a fail-safe strap, designed to make your camera undroppable.
Having a safety net like this is actually quite comforting when you’re carrying around such an expensive piece of camera equipment. Other camera wrist straps work differently, in that they help support the weight of your camera, as well as help, stop you from dropping it.
Those wrist straps can be more expensive as there’s more padding included, and they tend to be more ergonomic to help you support the weight of the camera in comfort.
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler (and cheaper), and something to ensure you don’t drop your camera by accident, definitely check out the Hex Wrist Camera Strap for $29.95 at hexbrand.com. More images are available in the gallery below.
Where to Buy the Hex Back Loader DSLR Backpack, and other Hex camera accessories
For the best stock availability and a good selection of colorways, I’d recommend buying the Hex Back Loader DSLR camera backpack from hexbrand.com for $189.95.
Congratulations to Hex Brand for receiving our coveted Editor’s Choice Award. Such an award is only given to the gear we choose to use ourselves in our daily life.
Also available at the stores below:
Hex Brand Review Summary
Hex Back Loader DSLR Backpack Video Review
Photos of the Hex Back Loader camera backpack, and Ranger Camera Wrist Strap
I hope you enjoyed this Hex Brand review, more specifically my thoughts on their Back Loader DSLR camera bag – and that it answered any pre-purchase questions you may have had but if not, please ask me anything in the comments below.