Rated 5 out of 5 by MartySF This is an awesome pack.
I am not a birder or a photographer and do not carry binoculars or a camera. I am a ham radio operator and regularly carry my ham radio, extra battery, extra antenna, charger, etc., extra cell-phone battery and charger, as well as some first aid equipment like gauze pads and a CPR/mouth to mouth mask. I have always had a problem with all the emergency equipment I carry getting in the way of the ordinary stuff like pens and markers.
Not any more! I have all of my radio equipment and first aid supplies in the bottom compartment. I do not have to deal with it except for emergencies in which case the bag unzips and out comes my emergency equipment pouch.
The main compartment is empty for whatever I need for the particular trip.
Also, there is a zipper barrier between the bottom of the main compartment and the "camera" or emergency supply compartment on the bottom in case you want to have a single, large compartment.
In addition to the organization help, this pack is very well made. It has what I call "rainproof" zippers on the front and a regular zipper on the side for a small, soft-lined pouch that would hold a small phone. To my surprise, this pouch with the regular zipper has a shroud over the zipper to keep rain away. I have never seen such a feature.
The hip belt is in a perfect spot for me and is wide and comfortable. It functions very well.
Lastly, the chest strap can slide up and down about 6 inches so you can adjust it for the perfect spot on your chest.
I brag about this pack whenever I have the opportunity. Before purchasing it I examined hundreds of packs from several leading retailers. This was the only one with a compartment that let me keep my emergency supplies separate from my every day supplies. And it is very well made.
August 28, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5 by Stork75 Functional
This is a very good, functional backpack. Bought it for a trip to South Africa and it was a smart buy. Excellent for short field work with cameras and binoculars. Sturdy, functional, and comfortable. Only drawback is the computer compartment is designed for an Ipad and will not receive a Surface or Dell tablet - it could easily be expanded and allow the non-Apple tablets to fit.
August 9, 2016
Rated 3 out of 5 by DAPOutdoors LL Bean quality but too limited in size
I really liked the idea of LL Bean offering a backpack with camera storage. I liked the color choice and quality features like metal receiver buckles, comfortable shoulder straps and wide hip belt with large buckle but the size of the camera storage area and main upper pack compartment were too small for my needs. An additional 2"-3" of expansion in depth including the camera section would make all the difference.
April 28, 2016
Rated 3 out of 5 by DAPOutdoors Quality materials but too limited for space
I tbought this wildlife back pack was a great idea until I tried to use it. I found the removable padded camera bag too small and kind,of a pain to remove and unzip to get to my camera, I ended up rotating the camera bag with opening facing out and unzipped so I could get to my camera more easily. The upper compartment proved to be very limited in space as well, found myself fighting for every inch of space as I could fit little more than a sweatshirt. 2" of additional depth in the upper area as well as the camera section may have made all the difference. Maybe incorporate the camera section padding into the pack itself. The Tablet holder was no use to me and wished it was removable as it too encroached in the limited space of the pack and lastly the hard clear plastic tubing over cord makes for an uncomfortable handle over the standard nylon handles.
April 27, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5 by weaseled Almost perfect
i was looking for a backpack to carry my 35mm DSLR camera, an extra lens, batteries, binoculars, water bottle and extra clothing layers. This pack looked perfect when I saw one that my niece had just bought from LL Bean.... lots more room for non camera gear than the one I have been using. However I found the camera compartment just too small and difficult to access, since you have to remove it from the backpack to unzip it. On the trail that is much more difficult than the padded zip compartment on my present pack, so reluctantly I have sent this 'Wildlife Watcher' pack back and will make do with the one I have even though there is less room for clothes and other items. A disappointment since I really liked the look of the LL Bean pack. If the camera compartment were padded and didn't need to be removed to access, then it would be really perfect.
February 22, 2016
Rated 2 out of 5 by darngr A great idea, but...
I love the idea of a day pack designed for wildlife spotting and photography, but this pack's design leaves much to be desired. The Wildlife Watcher Pack lacks a pocket or space for a bladder, a necessity for a day out on the trail. I'm also not quite sure that a sleeve for a tablet is important for a pack designed to be used and worn outdoors. Even if it is, I don't think it's large enough for many of the most popular tablets. Finally, one must still take the pack completely off to access the camera/binocular compartment.
A neat idea, but a few design flaws need to be addressed to improve it's usefulness and functionality.
December 31, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by hughejd Good quality
As the review title says, this pack is of very good quality. My only real complaint is that it doesn't hold as much as I had hoped. It's billed as having a compartment for binoculars and camera, but that all depends on how big your devices are and if you want to carry any accessories. I was able to fit in my DSLR with a telephoto zoom lens attached and also a fixed lens, but that left no room for binoculars or any other camera accessories. Also, the main compartment is fairly limited in space. I'll use this for day hikes, but not for much else.
July 22, 2015
Rated 3 out of 5 by ODNT Not quite what I was looking for.
First let me cover the positives. It is very comfortable to carry. The straps and belt are great. I like the waterproof zippers and the capacity of the bag is just right for day excursions. I could fit my D7000 with 70-300 lens and extended battery attachment in the camera area.
What I didn't like; Having to take the camera pouch out of the bag to get at my photography gear. It was a tight fit going in and out. Pad the inside of that area and put a watertight zipper on it.
I couldn't wrap my head around the value of the iPad shelf to be worn in the front. When I'm shooting I'm either in my blind or using my vehicle as a blind, not out standing with the pack on. It only fits tablet sized device. I use a Nook Color or an iPod.
I love the idea of the binoculars being attached to the shoulder straps. It takes the weight off of the shoulders. Could you add camera straps that could clip into the iPad clips to take the camera off of the neck.
The overall quality is excellent as would be expected from L L Bean, but mine is going back as it just doesn't suit my needs. I gave it a 6 month trial but just not happy. Going to go back to my old back for the camera and pick up a good camo day pack
June 3, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5
by gplayer01 Great Explorers Pack - MORE Dimensions
First off I want to say this is a great backpack for the hiker that likes to have a camera along, not just a bird watcher. That said, I was concerned about the size of the removable camera section that occupies the lower section of the bag. Customer service gave me the dimensions of 11 3/4" x 5 3/4" x 6" .
I was concerned that my Nikon D600 with a 24-85 would fit. It is slightly larger (6 1/2' roughly with the lens attached). I also wanted to include my telephoto 70-300mm that's roughly 6 3/4" in one of the compartments.
Also, customer service said the bag is 1314 cu inch (22 liters). So with this in mind...this is more of a Day pack.
When I got the bag...1st thing to try was getting my DSLR in the compartment. The photo provided by LLBean appears to show a camera with a lens attached, and 2 other lenses. Welll...they have to be very small lenses, like a 50mm.
I took out one of the dividers (velcro, which is great) and turned my Nikon D600 with the 24-85mm attached sideways and that works. It's a tight fit, but works. The zoom I put in the other remaining compartment on a slight angle. This arrangement does allow me to zip up this separate back and place back in the bottom of the bag. Once the removable bag is in place, I am able to zip up that outside zippers with no issues. Like I said, this is a very tight fit, but works. An extra inch on the measurements would have gone a long way.
The section for the iPad works great. I am able to get my iPad Air 2 with its own case and a manual in there. I don't use the iPad holder they include.
All other features of this bag are excellent and very durable. No water bladder, but the outside water pouch works just fine. The straps etc for a tripod have not been tested by me, but I see no problem.
Now...I have taken this whole setup, including extra clothing, food, supplies on a 10mile hike. My total bag weight was about 18 lbs. Gotta love that camera weight. That also include a pair of Bushnell Binoculars 10x42mm at 1.6lbs. which had to go in the top compartment. The padding on the straps and back worked well. It's a lot of weight and if you're not use to it carrying weighty backpack, you may still suffer some pain on long hikes. That just takes doing some regular workouts and exercise prep. Par for the course.
I hope this additional information will help those who are having trouble deciding on this bag.
Thanks to the prior reviewers who include great specs.
Thanks to LLBean for a great bag!!
May 3, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by Verified Reviewer Wildlife view day pack
This is a job specific pack, photo and birding as billed. No water bottle pockets. quirky tablet slot is really questionable. But protected lower camera garage and tripod carrier will prove useful. Main compartment for a lunch or jacket. Smaller side pockets for batteries, memory cards, small accessories. This can be purposed otherwise,but I wanted it specifically for hiking cameras in a protected style. Quality of pack is usual high Bean quality, have never had a bad pack from Bean.
April 29, 2015