In this review we take a look at Moment’s Travel Wear backpack and accessories.
In recent years, Moment has evolved, and now have an important lineup of products under their own brand name. One of the newest such product line is called the Moment Travel Wear (MTW). It is centered around a backpack and a tote bag, supported by several accessories.1This gear was provided by Moment for review, at no cost to us, but we NEVER write positive reviews in exchange for compensation, and this review is as honest and unbiased as possible.
The bags come in three colors: black, olive and clay (a kind of orange).
All the bags, and their accessories, use the same kind of recycled Kodra fabric. It strikes a good balance between stiffness and flexibility, and feels durable.
The MTW Backback
The backpack comes in two sizes, 17 and 21 liters. We are looking at the larger option. Both are quite light, the larger being just shy of a kilo (980g, or 2.2 pounds).
The backpack has a minimalist look, with few apparent features on the outside.
The front appears featureless, but actually hides a wide, deep and thin pocket. The zipper is protected by a flap. The inside of that pocket shows a lot of organization possibilities, with numerous pockets or varying sizes. The pale fabric makes it easy to locate items.
The front panel sports discrete branding at the bottom right, with the “MTW” label. The front continues towards the right size, wrapping around the water bottle pocket. This simple design choice looks very good. This pocket is held closed by an elastic band and can expand to accept large bottles. It can in theory hold a tripod, but it lacks a stabilizing strap at the top.
The pack is simple, but well executed. The straps are well shaped with a decent amount of padding. This isn’t the kind of backpack to be worn on a full day hike, but to get to the office or school, it’s great.
The chest harness is well executed. Instead of a big center clasps, it features a small clip at each end, which attach to rails hidden underneath a flap. The height can easily be adjusted on the rail, the harness can be stored on one side, or removed completely. It’s easy to attach it with only one hand.
The back panel is stiff enough to offer good support, and features a luggage pass-through. The padding is perforated for ventilation.
At the top, beneath a water-resistant zipper, is the laptop compartment. It can accept a laptop up to 16 inches, and a tablet up to 13 inches. The two sleeves are suspended so that the laptop/tablet won’t hit the bottom. This compartment also provides some smaller pockets for pens, a mouse and even a power brick.
The main pocket is accessed by an asymmetrical zipper. On the right side, it stops where the side pocket begins, helping to prevent spills. On the left side, it opens all the way to the bottom. This lets the user reach more easily towards the bottom and allows access to the optional camera insert. There is one last pocket at the top of the front panel.
The camera insert is a standard affair, well executed. It is rigid, with handles on each side. An X pattern decorates the long sides. It is only available in black.
The insert fits inside the bag on its side, and is held in place via two hooks that slip into loops on the bag’s edge. Those hooks have a tendency to detach, but the insert still remains mostly in place.
The insert can be used stand-alone, but when inserted in the backpack, quick access requires the top flap to be out of the way. To do this, the rigid padding of this flap can slide out, and the flap becomes easy to bend or roll. That’s an ok solution but it feels a bit like an afterthought. Also, while removing the padding is easy, putting it back requires a bit of fumbling. It would have been better to let the flap fold around the insert.
Inside, the insert repeats the bright red-orange colorway of Moment’s Rugged Sling. It looks good and makes it easy to spot items. The insert is organized thanks to two straight dividers. These appear pretty basic, but each include a thin mesh pocket on one side. That’s a cool feature; it creates nice little storage compartments for lens caps, filters, memory cards, etc.
Organization inside the insert is otherwise minimal. The insert is wide, and smaller lenses will tend to move inside. Using third-party extra dividers will mitigate this, but in truth the insert is indented as an add-on for a limited number of photo items, not a way to carry a lot of equipment.
The insert, while designed to fit inside the company’s backpack and tote, can be used inside other bags, as its shape fits common bag sizes. One thing to note is that, when placed vertically for quick side access, it takes up an important chunk of the internal volume. There is still room at the bottom right and top, but bulky items will be harder to fit.
Reaching inside the insert via the side mostly works well, except for the part near the bottom. It’s probably a good idea to place the camera closer to the top, and items less frequently needed at the bottom. The edge of the bag will help prevent accidental spills.
Another component of the Moment Travel Wear is the Tech Organizer. Made of the same fabric as the backpack, it is essentially a rectangle, with low stiffness. It has no handles and subtle branding, just like the bag. It stands upright when opened.
The interior is interesting, in part because it includes a second, smaller pocket. This unpadded mini organizer can be used stand-alone, or as an extra compartment within the main organizer. The latter is separated in the center by a stiff panel.
There are numerous pockets and straps in the Tech Organizer. On one side is a thicker sub-compartment close by a mesh panel and containing further smaller pockets. It is easy to imagine filling the organizer with cables, lens cleaning equipment, a power bank, mouse, earbuds, etc. The size is just right, and the limited padding means the pouch can be compressed to take up less space. The inclusion of the mini organizer is very clever, it can act as a minimalist grab bag for true essentials, with the larger pouch for larger or optional items.
It would have been nice to include handles at the bottom to grab and manipulate more easily the tech organizer. This is my only true criticism of this pouch.
Moment released yet another pouch in the Travel Wear line. This one is called the Battery Organizer and supplements the Tech Organizer.
This pouch can be used for a few cables but is truly intended as a camera power solution. On one side are deep pockets for a charger and wall plug, plus some smaller ones for memory cards. On the other side is a color-coded dual pocket. The idea is to use the green side for full batteries, empty memory cards, etc, while the red side is for depleted batteries and full memory cards. This dual pocket is made of mesh fabric, and the green/red sides expand one over the other.
This pouch is smaller and more rigid than the tech organizer. It really shines as a sidekick to a camera. It CAN be used as a general tech pouch, but is not intended to carry a large number of cables, and is a bit thin for a power brick. For a single traveler looking for basic organization, it will do well.
There are a lot of good things to say about the Moment Travel Wear line. However, the branding is a bit misleading. The bag and accessories are more accurately geared towards everyday use (commuting, going to school or to the office) than towards travel. The backpack can certainly serve as a carry-on personal item, but not really as a full carry-on bag for several days’ worth of clothes.
In the context of everyday carry, the MTW backpack proves comfortable and versatile. It appears unassuming, and that’s probably a good thing. It doesn’t look like a bag full of expensive equipment even though it is surprisingly full-featured. The look is understated, but the care and thoughtfulness of the design become quickly apparent when handling it.
The quality of the materials and assembly is excellent. Instead of a stiff shell, the backpack is softer, easier to adapt to its content. It is truly great to see an effort to keep the weight of the backpack as low as possible.
The number of pockets, sleeves and compartments is a testament to the intended use as an everyday backpack. This bag will be well-suited for students, something rarely true with camera/everyday backpacks. Full or near-empty, comfort is high thanks to generous padding on the straps and back. The chest harness is really good, but the lack of hip straps make this bag poorly suited for biking or active uses.
Given the concept of the MTW as a system, it is surprising that the camera insert and the various cases/organizers don’t easily fit side-by-side. That would have been a good way to take advantage of the narrow space behind the camera insert.
Another perplexing element is that the bag is tilted towards the front; it doesn’t easily stand uptight except if bottom-heavy. Not a big deal but maybe not ideal.
One simple but useful characteristic is that the bag tends to naturally compress when empty. Some bags are stiff and take up their maximum volume even when empty, not so here. The MTW backpack could even be stored in a larger suitcase, for use when arriving to one’s destination.
There are a few options for an everyday/light travel photo backpacks. One of the most obvious is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. Tuned more directly towards photographers, it has more features and is also more expensive at $259.95 for the 20L. The Prvke from Wandrd has a larger camera compartment, top expandability, and more characteristics, but also carries a higher price ($274 for the 31L photography bundle). These two bags are not as well adapted as the Moment backpack for students. The minimalist approach brings the benefit of a lower price tag and lower weight. For a similarly flexible pack, photographers might want to try ThinkTank’s Naked Shapeshifter.
The MTW backpack is more expensive than basic schoolbags ($99 plus $49 for the camera insert, or $209 for the full system including all the pouches), but offers much more in terms of organization, features, comfort and options. As a system, the Moment Travel Wear line is compelling, thanks to interesting accessories, well designed and each with a specific purpose.