Review | Evoc CB12L Camera Block & Park Backpack
October 20th, 2013
Evoc have been producing luggage for the action sports world for many years now, cementing themselves as not only a brand synonymous with style, but one that could be argued as introducing colour into the MTB accessories market. Boasting a wide range of gear for bike, snow, city, travel, and indeed the photographer on the move – from a day-to-day packs to their stunning bike bags, Evoc have your back and quite literally too. In this review we’ll take a look at what could be the ideal companion for those who like to shoot the action as much as they like being apart of it…
With a few options available from the Evoc range, I studied my needs and opted for the CB 12L camera block and the Park pack. At the time Evoc offered the big CP 35L, the big, all singing, all dancing camera pack and the smaller CB 12L. Wanting to travel light with an inconspicuous pack, the combination of the ‘City’ Park pack and the CB 12L perfectly fitted my requirements and the kind of payload of kit I normally take to the hills when shooting for FJ. Being able to use the pack with or without the camera block along with a quoted space for a laptop 17” or less, is good in my books and the more utilitarian these are to my needs, the better.
Out and about – CB 12L camera block
Suitable for packs 20L and above the CB 12L boasts an ample volume of 12L – as the name suggests and while appearing quite small, the block is actually quite roomy. The kit pictured in the block includes; Canon 5D MkII, Canon 70-200L 2.8, Canon 24-105L 4.0, Canon 50mm 1.8, 2 x flash guns, radio flash triggers, camera charger and lead, USB lead, card reader and some other small items such as CF cards, filters and lens caps. After a little jiggling around with the unlimited options the Velcro dividers offer, it all fits in snuggly without compromising on protection – carrying enough to shoot in most locations without too much trouble.
You may think opening the block up to access your kit might be a bit laborious; after all, it is essentially a bag in a bag. You’d be wrong though. Evoc have thought this through to allow quick access to your camera by having a ‘hinge’ just above half way allowing access to your camera and the top internal pocket. The front does also completely zip down for full access which admittedly is easier with the block out of the pack.
And while there isn’t an abundance of pockets, the block does have a slim front pocket and two internal pockets, which are ideal for smaller items such as filters. We did find that if the block is to capacity though these pockets may become a touch too tight for any bulkier items and may add unwanted pressure to your kit if you’re not careful…
Firstly, this isn’t a dedicated riding pack, more of a ‘city’ pack for day-to-day use and exactly why we chose it. Evoc’s wide ranges of riding packs do however offer suitable options for the CB 12L should you need, albeit without laptop compartments – not that you’d take a laptop riding… The Park pack is a relatively rudimentary rucksack, with a volume of 25L and your usual pockets for large and small items. Constructed of Ripstop nylon – offering a small level of waterproofness but not a lot. However, it has that Evoc magic.
Offering the comfort you’d expect from a brand like Evoc, the Park pack is an ‘urban daypack for day-to-day city life’. Out of place you may think in the woods, but wrong you would be. The two main compartments are split in ‘office’ and ‘leisure’. Naturally the ‘office’ section houses a laptop, mains adapter and any other items you may want. Safely housing a 15” MacBook Pro there was still space for some other items, a 17” might be a stretch, but we had no issues with the protection offered. The ‘leisure’ compartment easily homes a weekend’s worth of clothing or the CB 12L in this instance – perfectly might we add, along with your usual slots for pens, business cards, etc. The front compartment has a soft gadget pocket and enough room for a notebook, magazine etc. Finally two small side pockets easily house smaller items, in our case batteries and smaller miscellaneous camera kit.
Using the combination of the CB 12L and the Park pack as a full time camera bag was a dubious decision, but after a few months in action both in the woods and in an urban environment, we have nothing but praise. This setup has spent many an hour upon the back with little discomfort, even with a camera and laptop, which weighs in heftily. Although as comfy as it is, the Park pack may benefit from a chest strap/buckle, but then you would choose another pack from Evoc’s range for that or purchase an after-market one from an outdoor store for minimal cost. For the everyday photographer that’s not travelling the world chasing cyclists, this setup is perfect for handheld snapping (you can’t attached tripod) and yes it may be more of a faff undoing two lots of zips to get your kit, but it does offer the ‘I’m not carrying a camera’ look and perfectly suited in particular to urban settings…
The quality is top notch on the CB 12L as well, keeping its shape and protection as you’d expect. The Park pack, taking the brunt of it all, has developed a few loose threads on the shoulder straps from heavy weight, but it has by no means affected the performance. The padding is still as plump as the day it arrived and the zips are still strong. All in then, a great solution that allows you to customise your individual setup if you’re carrying a single body, couple of lenses and few accessories. Buy the CB 12L then pick a suitable pack, or two, to suit your requirements – perfect for the cycling photographer.
Prices are, as you would expect for good quality gear; the CB 12L camera block comes in at £59.95 and the Park pack comes in at £59.95. Evoc products are exclusively distributed in the UK by Silverfish.
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