Having received a pre-production Veo Active 46 to trial from Vanguard in early December, it was exciting to get my hands on this camera backpack at this early stage, to be able to test and get an idea what to expect from vanguard in the coming year.
Upon receiving and opening I felt the bag material was interesting, a bit different to the usual Vanguard style, possibly a bit more neutral & reserved than what we normally expect from the company, but this is not to say that this is a bad thing, just different.
On a personal level I think this works well, especially with the little accents of ‘Vanguard Yellow’ dotted about. It seems to be a burgeoning trend within the industry to move towards this more neutral stance on design in an effort to combat theft, a methodology that I wholly support.
Moving around the bag you immediately know from the quality this is a Vanguard bag, well thought out placement of pockets and features, with elements borrowed from previous bags that continue to work well here, like the webbing on the front from their popular ‘Tactical’ bag, which is one of the backpacks I currently use and love.
The innovative lumber support and waist strap returns but must say that this feels a little different than usual, believe me this is seriously comfortable to wear even when fully loaded with kit.
Rounding out the outer features are some additions that really help this bag elevate from just another re-designed camera bag, to straddling the line with a full hiking pack, features like an integrated pocket for a water pouch with an outlet for a drinking tube, a ‘Power’ pocket to place a power bank with a passthrough space to charge your mobile but retain easy accessibility, furthermore there are some really conveniently placed pockets on the waist strap. As with all Vanguard bags there are a wealth of other pockets that let you intuitively stash items for good, fast access.
Moving to the interior there are changes to the established Vanguard style, opting for an internal zip top bag that can be lifted out for convenience in some scenario’s, personally I like this type of format and is a feature that was used on their ‘Wanderlust’ bag, a bag that is kind of a kindred spirit of adventure to the Active, though in a larger form factor!
There have also been some changes in the protection department, the bag itself has a much sturdier framework than most, with what can only be described as an almost suitcase frame but without the additional weight, a very positive change overall. The strengthening does not stop there, with new sturdier bag inserts order of the day here, a feature I have been quietly wishing for…..Thank You.
Rounding out the interior we have a top storage compartment that has a slight roll top to extend it a little further, as someone whole is not a huge fan of this type of feature from an aesthetic point of view, here it works well, folding up neatly whilst maintaining the overall look. If I had one complaint about this section it would be that this compartment has a soft bottom, I much prefer the normal rigid base to this storage space and feels a little out of place in the context of the strides they have made in other areas of kit support / protection.
To sum up, the Vanguard VEO Active 46 is a capable and impressive camera backpack, an evolution for Vanguard, confidently taking on elements from other parts of their range and wrapping them in a versatile package. This bag is also a bit of a Tardis, moving my main kit over from my Vanguard Wanderlust which has a considerably larger external footprint to this was a total breeze, with plenty of room to spare! Quite how they managed this is beyond me.
When this finally hits the market later in 2022 it will certainly be one to look out for, with its rugged build quality that is synonymous with Vanguard equipment, the little features that give it hiking pack leanings, which is really great for us who like to spend plenty time outside.
Any photographer will tell you it is near on impossible to get the perfect bag, vocal about the tweaks they would make etc… it’s very difficult for manufacturers to please everyone, but Vanguard have managed to put together a great package, well for this photographer anyway.