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When Vanguard, purveyors of award-winning carbon fibre tripods (amongst lots of other gear), agreed to loan us the all-new Vanguard VEO 3+ 303CBS Carbon Fibre Tripod to review for some landscape photography, we politely asked for a Vanguard Alta Sky 68 Backpack in order to lug all of our gear around.
First announced in May 2022, this particular Vanguard backpack is one of the largest in the range, offering cavernous space for virtually every possible camera and lens combination, plus a laptop, tripod and much more to boot.
Our real-world field review will help you decide whether this heavy-duty expedition sized bag is the one you’ve been looking for. Why not grab a cuppa and discover everything you need to know about the Vanguard Alta Sky 68 Backpack here amongst our many Park Cameras gear reviews.
Vanguard camera bags have been made since the company formed in the 1980’s, after deciding to create high quality feature-rich products for photographers. The range now includes everything from rain covers and battery cases to professional camera bags like the award winning Vanguard Alta Sky Backpack series.
Photographers benefit from Vanguard’s 10 year warranty extension program, which demonstrates their commitment to manufacturing durable equipment, which is precisely what you want to hear when investing in a bag, that is capable of holding such a lot of weight.
Much like tripods, there simply isn’t one camera bag for every occasion and the Vanguard Alta Sky Series are designed for photographers who hike longer distances with lots of equipment. The range has picked up awards from TIPA and Red Dot, which highlights the many well thought out features they offer photographers.
Although the Vanguard Alta Sky 68 Backpack has been specifically made for transporting longer telephoto lenses, with a whopping 36 litre capacity there are plenty of other appealing features for hauling big loads, such as:
The only drawback to having so many useful attributes is that the pack weighs around 3kg before you add anything, which is comparable to similar sized camera backpacks, but worth bearing in mind.
The longest hike I managed during my time with the bag was a 2 mile walk in the South Downs National Park to try some long exposure photography, where it was loaded with a relatively modest amount of gear including:
During the time I used the Alta Sky 68 it did its job of hauling gear incredibly effectively, without any problem and was impressively comfortable.
There were several pros, which I really liked about the Alta Sky pack and very few cons. As a bag nerd I’ve been through literally dozens over the years and essentially look for simplicity, with a bag which does what it’s supposed to. Here's what I found with Vanguard's premium pack:
The Alta Sky 68 is a big, burly backpack, which weighs just under 3kg. It does its job effectively without any real niggles and perhaps the only suggestion would be to wrap a bit of foam around the top handle to make it a hair more comfortable. Aside from that you have to find room to fit your personal items as there isn’t dedicated space for coats and whatnot, but really this is barely worth mentioning, as the bag is plenty large enough.
With a 10 year warranty you have incredible protection if anything does go wrong with the backpack, and it feels suitably rugged for carrying big loads and heavy equipment. There’s a lot to like, including gear access, padding, comfort and more - I have bceome a fan!
Head over to browse all of our Vanguard camera backpacks to find the perfect one for your needs. If you regularly haul long lenses and pro-sized equipment the Vanguard Alta Sky 68 Backpack demands serious consideration, and Vanguard offers plenty of other options for smaller / shorter loads.
By Nick Dautlich on 21/04/2023
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