I review a lot of camera bags and backpacks. Since the inception of The Brotographer, I’ve reviewed backpacks, shoulder bags, messenger bags, and there will also be roller bags to come. I believe that I know my way around a camera bag, and can adequately recommend certain bags for certain types of photographers. I seem to stress this time and time again, but I truly believe that certain photographers should look stylish while shooting. In fact, I believe that all photographers should look the part. If you’re skiing, you’re going to want a winterized bag made for skiers. If you’re hiking, you may want a bag that can handle an extreme load. If you’re a portrait photographer, I believe that you’re bag should not only fulfill your need as a photographer, but also your need to look good while shooting. Just as a fitness trainer should not be out of shape, a portrait photographer needs to look like he knows how to make himself presentable and stylish.
Don’t want to read the full review? Check out the video review!
There are a lot of choices out there for camera bags, and a lot of brands to choose from. Most brands that I like to review are based in the United States, but there are a few that reside elsewhere. One of those brands is called Wotancraft. If you’re someone who has not yet heard of Wotancraft, let me introduce you to them.Wotancraft is a brand based out of Taipei, Taiwan who specializes camera bags, watch straps, and accessories.Wotancraft is a little bit elusive, but if you are a photographer who is into handmade, ridiculously high quality bags, you know them very well. In my opinion, they’re the Rolex of camera bags, and the brand that anyone who appreciates products with great design and function should aspire to. Their camera bags represent the highest quality craftsmanship. I’m a huge fan of vintage products, and leather particularly. Many ofWotancraft’s bags are WWII inspired, and I was immediately drawn to them.
I’m a huge fan of bringing a ton of gear on a shoot, but sometimes I enjoying a more minimalistic design as well. This brought me to the Scout. The Wotancraft Scout is a medium sized, handmade shoulder bag, derived from the same WWII inspired designs as many of Wotancraft’s other bags. When I opened the package, I was greeted with an outer bag, with the Wotancraft Scout placed inside. That immediately set the bar for quality. Anyone who takes the time to package a product in another fine quality bag obviously cares about quality, and this is definitely the case with Wotancraft.
Outer Materials and Features
The outer portion of the bag is made from waxed canvas and vegetable tanned leather. I absolutely love outside of the bag. The waxed canvas has a nice grey color to it, and in my opinion, it looks good with any outfit. The waxed canvas of the Wotancraft Scout is very light, but has been very durable in the multiple photo shoots it has been on. Unlike some other premium camera bags, the outer material feels like it has been “worked in”, which makes it really nice right out of the bag. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to have to work in a product for months after it is purchased. The Wotancraft Scout is not one of those products. It felt like I had owned it for months with first time I used it.
Wotancraft’s exclusively developed W.A.L waxed canvas is designed to have the aesthetics of traditional waxed canvas, but also packing all the protective features of tech fabric. Based on the high strength fabric material Cordura, W.A.L is the abbreviation of the three fabric characteristics: Water-repellant, Abrasion-resistant, Lightweight. The water-resistant capabilities of the canvas is also enhanced by having the underside PU coated, preventing water from seeping through, which is an added bonus if you happen to be caught in wet conditions and still need to put the bag down.
The surface of W.A.L canvas is processed to remove the gloss of synthetic materials, which made the canvas look and feel like traditional cotton fabric, which I love. The “gloss removal” makes the bag look worn in, which I previously discussed. Color depth on canvas has a very subtle falloff, which creates a faded vintage look. The wax treatment allows the canvas to develop personalized scuff marks like traditional waxed canvas, but the protective nature lives on with years of use and abuse.
The front of the bag features two decent sized pickets. These two pockets can be closed with two sturdy buttons each. Inside these pockets I am able to store multiple batteries, filters, or even my Fuji X100S without its lens hood.
Each side of the Wotancraft Scout features a utility side ring and loop for attaching gadgets, keys, or other accessories. It’s not only a nice added touch in terms of utility, but also style. The utility loop is made of the vegetable tanned leather, which adds a nice balance to the look of the bag. The bottom of the bag is accented on the corners by the same vegetable tanned leather, which adds more durability to the bag as you set it down wherever you happen to be using it. The outer flap is also made of waxed canvas, with two leather y-straps that can be secure to two studs on the bottom of the front pockets. These straps are by far the thickest leather on the bag, and when closed, are reliably secure. I typically only secure these y-straps to the studs when I know I do not have to open the bag for a while. Otherwise, I just loop them through the leather rings just above the studs, which makes it a little easier to open and close the front flap. When you flip up the front flap, the owner of the Wotancraft Scout is greeted by another added layer of security. Bronze YKK zippers secure the opening. These zippers also have a rustproof coating. With most camera bags, the YKK zippers are made of plastic, but the Wotancraft Scout features zippers that are made of metal. Metal zippers usually catch more than plastic, but I have not had one issue with these zippers catching. Another added touch to the outside of the bag is the “REMOVE BEFORE ADVENTURE” keychain clipped to the size d-ring. It reminds me of a parachute pull cord. I like it so much that I kept it on the bag while shooting. The back of the bag features a branded leather flap, which can be flipped in front of a back pocket. This back pocket is big enough to fit a phone and a notebook in my experience. The final aspect of the outside of the Wotancraft Scout is the strap. Basically half waxed canvas, half leather, the strap feels light and strong at the same time. The strap also features d-rings on the leather portion, but I haven’t figured out how to use them quite yet. What can I say about the strap? It lives up to the rest of the exterior of the Wotancraft Scout, and it just works. The handle on top of the bag is made of waxed canvas, and I have found that it is the perfect size for my hands. Seeing as the Wotancraft Scout is a medium sized bag, this handle doesn’t need to be hug. It is just big enough to do what it needs to do.
The interior of the Wotancraft Scout is lined with a padded microfiber cloth material in the rear and bottom portions of the bag, and just the microfiber material in the front of the bag. The microfiber is very soft, and my hand glides across the material when reaching inside the bag. The back of the interior features a padded compartment, suitable for a 10” tablet. The front of the interior features a zippered pocket, suitable for a few small items.
I’m a dad. Being a dad, you quickly realize that when you want to go somewhere with your kids, you’re going to need to carry extra items for them. I typically like to carry my Fuji with me when I’m on an excursion with my little son, so that leaves the interior of the Wotancraft Scout for items that we need to bring. The interior can carry diapers, wipes, pacifiers, waters, and other dad related items. Before my wife and I had my son, we went shopping a couple times for her future diaper bag. While I could bite the bullet and use her bag, I feel way more comfortable using this bag on those excursions. I don’t use it every day in this fashion, but when I need to, I feel comfortable in doing so.
The Camera Insert
Let’s get back to the real reason for the Wotancraft Scout. Included with the bag is its camera insert. While I spoke about the “dad” aspect of the bag, it really shines as a camera bag. When the insert is in the bag, it doesn’t feel like an insert. The insert feels like it was meant to be there the whole time. It is made of the same microfiber lining as the rest of the bag. The insert is also padded on all sides. I have found that most inserts are either made of a plastic material or a wool material, and each one of those materials makes me feel a different way. The microfiber material that the Wotancraft Scout utilizes is soft, smooth, and allows the camera equipment that is put into the insert to be removed and inserted with ease. The insert also features dividers that are seamed, which allows them be used in a way that allows for maximum space. As well as great seaming, the insert also features door flaps on the top portion of the bag. These door flaps allow me to keep one or two lenses inside the bag without any lens caps on them. Other bags, not having this feature, force the user to put the rear caps on. Speaking of that feature, the dividers are just as nice as the rest of the insert. They feature the same great material, and also feature a flap, which can be closed over an extra lens, providing one more layer of protection.
Here are several configurations that I like to use on a daily basic with this bag, depending on where I am going and what I am shooting.
Canon 5D Mark III with 50mm f/1.2L attached
Canon 135L f/2L
Fuji X100S without lens hood
iPhone 6 Plus
Fuji X-T1 Graphite Edition with any lens attached
Tons of accessories
iPhone 6 Plus
Snacks and water for my son
Configuration #3 (Day Bag/Dad Mode)
Insert is removed
Food and water
Fuji X100S or X-T1
iPhone 6 Plus
Unless I’m going on a major shoot, the Wotancraft Scout is just enough bag for me.
The most luxurious bag I’ve used to date
Very durable materials
Waxed canvas looks great and is durable
Great shoulder strap
Silent access to your gear
Best camera insert I’ve used
Perfect size for my shooting needs
Price, but you get what you pay for.
The Wotancraft Scout is a camera bag on par with designer bags. The more I used the bag on photo shoots, the more I enjoyed it for its simplicity, design, and durability. Coming into the review, I knew that I liked the good looks of the Wotancraft Scout, but this bag is way more than that. I cannot recommend this bag enough to photographers looking to shoot with a DSLR and an extra lens, or a mirrorless setup with multiple lenses. Also, if you’re a dad who likes bags, and is sick of feminine diaper bags, this will quickly become a favorite. My wife even loves the Wotancraft Scout, and she is not even into bags.
I’m happy to announce that the Wotancraft Scout receives the Brotographer’s Choice for mid-sized shoulder bags.
Get the Wotancraft Scout at there website HERE.
They’ve also launched a light-green version (the “2015 Christmas Special Edition”) with the exact same specs. Check it out HERE.