About two years ago, my long search for a new camera backpack ended as I stumbled upon a company called NYA-EVO. In this article, I review their biggest backpack, the Fjord 60-C. After two years of heavy use for traveling and hiking, I feel competent enough to share why I think it's the perfect camera backpack.
As my previous camera backpack, the f-stop Satori, had begun falling apart after five years of use, my search for a replacement began. I looked at several backpacks and even ordered a few, including one of the newer f-stop packs. But none of them fit all my requirements, which I detail below. Just as I had nearly given up and started applying glue to my Satori in various places to extend its lifespan, I found the Fjord 60-C and never looked back.
Requirements for a Camera Backpack
Let's start with a list of minimum requirements I have for a camera bag:
It has to be sturdy and protect my gear against minor impacts. The material and zippers of the pack should withstand shorter rain showers. The bottom of the bag should be reinforced with thicker, waterproof material.
The carrying system should allow me to carry loads up to 18 kilograms comfortably.
Nowadays, many brands make the camera compartment in their packs accessible from the back, which is the right way to go. But to achieve this, good padding and ventilation are often sacrificed. While I don't expect a carrying system rivaling a Deuter Aircontact, I still want comfort.
It should be possible to attach a tripod to the front of the backpack for proper weight distribution.
The size of the pack should be adaptable. In its compact form, it should comply with the carry-on luggage restrictions of all major airlines. In its extended form, it should fit around 50 liters of gear, ideally with the option to strap additional equipment to the outside of the pack.
I'm a big fan of removable camera units because they bring a lot of versatility. Depending on the hike or photo tour, I can pack more or less gear and adapt the camera compartment accordingly. In addition to that, being able to remove the internal camera unit is critical for flights in smaller planes where carry-on luggage is further restricted.
Many of the newer camera backpacks lack open side pockets, which can fit water bottles. Those are a necessity for me.
In addition to those requirements, there are other things that would be nice to have. But the list above contains what I deem essential. Your list might be different, but I'm sure there will be overlap.
NYA-EVO Fjord 60-C
In the feature video, I share my first impressions of the Fjord 60-C one week after purchasing it. After now using this 60-liter backpack for more than two years, I'm still excited. I use it with a medium RCI, which is what NYA-EVO calls the internal camera units. In it, I can comfortably fit my Canon R5 with the Canon RF 15-35mm lens, a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 lens with an RF adapter, my filter pouch, the DJI Mic, and some small stuff. This configuration leaves a lot of space in the top compartment, where I can put food and clothes, for example.
What I Like
The Fjord 60-C is the most comfortable camera backpack I've used. It's a huge improvement over my Satori, and I have no problems wearing it for hours straight. There will be sweat building on my back since there's not much room for ventilation with this back-opening pack. But it's a compromise I can live with.
The back and the adaptable shoulder straps are very well padded. I'm 6'1", and with the shoulder straps in their upper setting, the pack fits great. If you're smaller, you can switch to one of the two lower attachment points.
As mentioned above, I bought the Fjord with a medium RCI. It can be easily added to and removed from the pack through the back opening — no need to slide it in from the top. The opening is large, and all gear is accessible without problems.
A great feature is a removable fabric dividing the top compartment from the bottom. With my Satori, I often had small things falling out when opening it at the back. It doesn't happen with the Fjord.
An important feature of the pack are the strong, adjustable straps that go all around. They allow me to attach my tripod to both of its sides and to its front. This flexibility is great. For hikes, I have the tripod sit in the center, and if I carry my laptop, I put it on one side.
It brings me to another feature: My Dell XPS 15'' fits neatly into the large front pocket, even with the padded Inateck case I use. It means a 16'' MacBook should also fit.
The front pocket can be extended. It enables a little travel hack, which I share in the following video.
It's also worth mentioning that I've now had this pack on several flights, and there never was an issue fitting it into the overhead compartment. With its length of 56 centimeters in compressed form, there is usually some room to spare.
In the photo above, you also see the thick rubberized material, which comprises the lower part of the Fjord. It extends around its sides for a few centimeters and allows me to put the pack down on wet surfaces without worrying about my gear getting wet. It also prevents the bag from falling over.
Side pockets are also present. Although they are a little restricted, I can fit up to 1.5-liter bottles.
A game-changer is the roll-up pocket at the top. It is large enough to fit a sleeping bag and comes with a water-resistant coating. That's why I often use it at the coast to store wet clothes or my water shoes. Those will not soak through to the main compartment.
There's even more hidden storage available with this pack. It comes with a net that can be attached to its bottom, front, or top to hold even more gear. I have a dedicated video in which I show how I make use of all this storage capacity for multi-day hikes.
What Could Be Improved
One of my requirements was open side pockets. While I can fit up to 1.5-liter bottles into these pockets on the Fjord 60-C, it wouldn't hurt for them to be a bit more flexible. As it is, bottles with a large diameter don't sit very firm.
Since I started using the one-liter bottles from Vapour, that's no problem anymore. They are the perfect fit for the Fjord 60-C. Once they are empty, I can roll them up, and they take up no additional space until I refill. That's great for traveling.
A second improvement would be making the waist belt removable. It would make traveling even more comfortable, and it seems that NYA-EVO have been thinking the same. They added this feature to an updated version of the pack, which they just announced.
The NYA-EVO Fjord 60-C is a feature-packed camera backpack, perfect for traveling and hiking. It protects the camera gear while keeping it easily accessible. It is small enough to fit into carry-on, while its extension features turn it into a proper adventure pack holding up to 60 liters of equipment. With a weight of 2,400 grams, it's not lightweight. But considering the high-quality materials and the padded back, this is nothing out of the ordinary and similar to other backpacks in this league.
So, back to the initial question: is this the perfect camera backpack for hiking and travel? For me, it's very close.
Betteridge's law of headlines
"Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."
It should be a backpack for hiking... Where is the space for 2 liters of water plus space for food? No space for essential stuff makes a clear decision...
Maybe you should check the Video in the article where I show how to pack for multi day hikes. You can even add a large water bladder If you wanted.
I need a lot more than 2 liters of water for a day-long hike. Typically, for a 10-12 hour outing in the summer, I take 3 one quart bottles and one 20 ounce bottle. And that is minimal. I actually go thirsty drinking only 116 ounces of water in a 10 or 12 hour span, but I make do because the pack I use simply doesn't have enough space for more water bottles.
It helps to drink about 20 ounces of water at the car, right before you start your hike. That means 20 more ounces inside you that doesn't have to be fit into the pack.
2 liters just isn't going to be sufficient if you are hiking in the summertime where temperatures are 100 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, especially if you are gaining a lot of elevation in steep mountainous terrain like most of us do for landscape and wildlife photography.
It's really, really hard to find a pack that is made specifically to accommodate almost a gallon's worth of water bottles. They all underestimate just how much water someone needs to drink in extreme heat when climbing steep grades for many hours.
This is your pack and you clearly like it a lot - fair enough if it works for you that is all that matters ... to you. However to be clear this is no more a hiking pack than F-Stop, Shimoda or Atlas. And at ca. US$500 it is ridiculously expensive for what it is (you can buy the very best hiking packs, with far more technology involved, for half that) but that is my personal issue with all camera bag manufacturers - they price their products for what photographers can afford (and let's face it US$500 is nothing compared to what we spend on cameras and lenses) rather than what they are worth. Maybe that's just common sense but it affronts my sense of fair play !
For serious hiking instant access to my camera equipment isn't an imperative, even camera packs have to be put down, so opening a standard hiking pack (top access, L or J back access) is actually just 30 secs longer at most, and as primarily a travel and landscape photographer those extra 30 secs have never been an issue.
The Fjord 60C may be just fine for an overnighter but if we're talking serious hiking then, as per all other camera packs, it's a non-starter because the ICU/RCI just takes up far too much space and all other aspects of the bag are designed primarily for photography not hiking.
For example I use the bags listed below, using the lightest ICU or lens cases I can find, and wrap other gear in a plastic bag and inside my spare clothes - they are well protected inside the bag and easily accessible via the L or J zip. The ICU/RCI is easily accessible from the back of the pack.
Super stretchy pockets and large top lids such as those on the packs I've used all over Asia/Europe such as the Gregory Baltoro (J zip back access), Lowe Alpine Cerro Torre (L zip back access) or my current 60L pack the Gossamer Gear Mariposa (no L or J zip and no lid but under 1 kg with huge stretchy pockets) enable me to keep a camera, with even a large lens, in them. Pockets attached to the shoulder straps allow for access in seconds to another 2 lenses without even needing to access the pack interior. Pack weight 18 - 22 kgs with 2L water.
So for serious hiking this bag is a non-starter I'm afraid, the lack of pack spine adjustments and front adjustment straps (yes, i saw the load lifters - that's not enough for serious hiking) plus I also don't particularly like strapping gear to the outside as you have done with your tent and sleeping bag (I would never keep my sleeping bag where yours was unless in an Event dry bag (or similar), your cinching in the video didn't close the opening and left it open to the elements (maybe that was just for this video) and rain will run down the bag onto and into the sleeping bag).
Sorry Michael but to me it's just another in a long line of camera packs they market as camera/hiking packs but focus too strongly on camera gear at the expense of long distance hiking comfort. I strongly advise anyone who needs a hiking/camera pack to go for a high quality hiking pack (preferably with L or J zip access and large stretchy pockets) your comfort on long overnight or multiday hikes is more important than supposedly quick access or gear protection (4 x Nepal trips, many in China where I now live plus Kyrgyzstan, Dolomites, Iceland. Malaysian rainforests etc and I've never ever had any damage to my camera or lenses utilising a hiking pack). Obviously YMMV. Now I'll go enjoy your photography based videos !
I'm happy to see more choices for camera bags that are suited for both photography and backpacking. When out taking landscape photos, it's nice to be able to stay overnight in a location and not have to travel back to the car or truck. I also like the ability to just pulling out the camera gear compartment and toss it on your back for flights. While the rest of the bag can be carried on like a large purse or put in checked baggage.
For me personally, I'm planning on purchasing the MindShift BackLight Elite 45L as it has many options for attaching gear like snow shoes, skis, ropes, ice axes, etc. Though I do like the NYA-EVO Fjord 60-C has more capacity internally. Since the prices are nearly the same, it would be a decision of do you plan on taking on extra gear that has to be attached outside, or do you just need more internal space?
I'm really impressed how camping gear has become much lighter and compacted from the days of the past. I've had backpacks larger than my body on my back. Yeah, bags big enough that I could climb inside and zip it closed. They are a pain in the butt to pass through brush and top parts get snagged on low-hanging branches. Nowadays, I could pack for a week in a 50 to 60L bag and have my camera gear.
My only pain point is having to carry a lot of water so I don't have to go down to a creek every day. I feel like I'm on a tether like a dog. Maybe someday Amazon will get their drone service going and I can order water to refill my bottles on route. 🤣
As I prepare to make my comment, I am offered several related articles identifying the best/perfect/only camera bag I'll ever need.
Wouldn't be great if headlines like this were simply rewritten to something like: "The Perfect/Best Bag/Camera/Tripod, etc. for My Specific Needs". What we need is a truth in headlining law that would hold editors responsible for misleading titles like this.
Note, I am not dissing the photographer. He seems to be a very good photographer and I have no doubt the bag is perfect for him. My point is that the article headline should include the words "for me/my".