Naneu U220 – a 365 test
Naneu’s Communications Manager, Matty Graham, gives his thoughts on a whole year spent testing the U220 roller bag…
When picking a camera bag, photographers can often feel like they are making a compromise. On one hand, some roller bags offer large capacities and comfort features such as pull handles and wheels to make cutting through a departure lounge in a hurry an absolute breeze. Alternatively, those heading out on a hike up a mountain treasure a comfortable pair of shoulder straps to distribute the weight of photo kit. But Naneu’s U220 does away with this compromise and offers photographers of all genres a tempting proposition – two great bags in one!
Over the last 12 months I’ve pulled my U220 through conference halls, carried it up mountains in the Arctic Circle and challenged it to the rigours of everyday professional use. Here’s the five best features that have impressed me the most over the last 365 days…
As I already mentioned, the inclusion of a set of shoulder straps is a good enough reason alone to purchase this bag. When you don’t need them, the straps are zipped away at the rear of the bag. The compartment is so discreet you could be forgiven for completely forgetting the straps are even there. Padded for comfort, the shoulder straps, used in conjunction with the waist belt, do a great job of spreading the weight from your cameras and lenses evenly over the shoulders. When I was on a photography trip in Lofoten in the Norwegian Arctic Circle, I took on a tough hike up and down the mountain of Ryten. The U220 came with me and was comfortable over the 8-hour trek.
The journey to Lofoten was one of my more intensive travels this year. In the space of 24 hours, I had wheeled the U220 through four airports, two train journeys and a couple of taxi rides too! A traditional backpack would have been hard work, but the wheels and pull-handle made travelling easy. What’s more, the bag fitted perfectly into overhead storage bins and even made for a great footstool when waiting to board.
The U220 can take a hefty load of kit. Over the last 12 months I’ve rotated the inner bags’ divider design to suit the set-up I need for any given job, but will always include two pro-spec DSLRs, three lenses, two flashguns and plenty of accessories. Oh yes, and a laptop to edit images on post-shoot. On a number of occasions I’ve also used the U220 to hold my portable Lencarta lighting kit too, which consists of a battery pack, flash heads and a load of cables. Some roller bags I used in the past compromised on capacity, this is certainly not the case with the U220.
Removable camera pod
If the addition of shoulder straps makes the U220 two bags-in-one, the removable camera pod feature bumps the proposition up to three-in-one. When I’m facing a stayover and have the use of a car, I pack all my cameras into the inner bag and then my change of clothes/other kit into the shell of the U220. Once I arrive at the hotel, the clothes are removed (alright, spread in a messy fashion around the room) and the camera pod slips back into the U220 before I head off to a trade show or photoshoot.
If you are using a bag for everyday professional use, it needs to be built properly. It will get knocked, it will get bumped; hey, I even had a bag that was run over by a car a few years back. Importantly, the U220 is made with water resistant material, which proved useful over the wetter months over the last year. There’s a seam-sealed rain cover and the best YKK zips ensure smooth operation. All these impressive details may not seem like a big deal, but if you are using a bag day-in, day-out, little niggles soon turn into big problems.
Having spent a whole year with the U220, what really surprised me was this bag’s versatility. As a pro photographer, my office changes every day; from corporate boardrooms to snow-capped mountains. Luckily, the U220 is a bag that does it all and makes your life easier in the process.
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