Home Accessories Review: Billingham 35 photographer’s rucksack

Review: Billingham 35 photographer’s rucksack

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 Double brass zips
Double brass zips

I’m a bit of a Billingham fan and for the past couple of years I’ve had a Hadley Small draped across my shoulder most of the time. I also have the Hadley Pro which, although larger and more a “special occasion” bag rather than day bag, does have the useful addition of a carrying handle.

However, for heavy loads and to provide a bit of extra storage space, a backpack does make a lot of sense. For one thing, the weight is more evenly distributed and the bag is less obtrusive. The downside is that you need to demount the bag in order to ferret around inside.

With these provisos, the Bellingham Rucksack is a natural alternative for keen photographers. Billingham sent me the smaller Rucksack 35 for review. There’s also a larger Rucksack 25 which offers more space and a built-in waterproof cover.

 Gear insert
Gear insert

The Rucksack 35 is as sturdily built as all Billingham bags, featuring a three-layer waterproof fabric to protect in heavy rain and real leather reinforcement at vulnerable points. It comes in a variety of fabric colours — the traditional Billingham khaki, black, sage green, red and grey.

This smaller version is ideal for me. Inside is a removable “bucket” to store your camera and lenses with a small amount of space above (or below if you pack underneath the insert) for a sweater or other small items. I judge it is about the same size as the insert in the Hadley Small bag. 

The main compartment and front pocket feature double zips to improve accessibility. The front pocket offers a single compartment devoid of organiser capabilities, something that I find rather disappointing. It would be nice to have a pen holder and, perhaps, an internal pocket for a notebook.

 The rear pocket features a protective flap and a zip closure. There are no organiser pockets inside, just one big area. Below the pocket are two brass rings for accessories. Photographs in this article taken with the Olympus PEN-F and the new 25mm f/1.2 PRO lens
The rear pocket features a protective flap and a zip closure. There are no organiser pockets inside, just one big area. Below the pocket are two brass rings for accessories. Photographs in this article taken with the Olympus PEN-F and the new 25mm f/1.2 PRO lens

Below the front pocket are two brass loops to attach an optional water bottle holder or a set of tripod straps.

There are many backpacks on the market, both general in nature or specially designed for photographic equipment, but the Billingham offers a touch of traditional British quality and a familiarity that is appreciated by keen photographers. I find it comfortable to wear and perfect for carrying a mirrorless system and general odds and ends.

The Rucksack 35 has a manufacturer recommended price of £280 while the larger Rucksack 25 is £350.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I have looked long and hard at camera bags but I am always fearful that that is precisely what street robbers do…

    So I bought one of the Billingham inserts that you picture above and I put it into a generic ‘sports’ rucksack.

    Admittedly there are better quality rucksacks around and I really like the quality of this Billingham but the penchant that manufacturers have for plastering their business name all over their products, is definitely a detraction for me.

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