Back in January at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I got to spend some time with the good folks at Moshi, the west coast maker of premium backpacks, shoulder bags, headphones, protective cases, and more. As with any brand at CES, I got to see a sample of their upcoming products. To my delight, they were about to introduce the Arcus backpack, an all-around, versatile backpack which doubles as a professional photography bag. My first impression was very positive, and I looked forward to reviewing this in the coming months. So without any further delay, let’s take a closer look in this Moshi Arcus camera backpack review.
• Modern look, lightweight design
• Beautiful color schemes
• Durable fabrics and materials
• Crush-resistant top section
• Zippers can be a little tricky getting around corners
• Shoulder straps could use a bit more padding
• Price may be deemed high by some
Moshi Arcus Camera Backpack Review
When you’ve got a lot of great things to say about a backpack, you almost don’t know where to begin.
Allow me to provide you with some background. I’ve got about a dozen shoulder bags and backpacks, give or take a couple. And they’ve all been accumulated over the past few years. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve become somewhat of a backpack/shoulder bag collector, maybe even an expert.
In doing research for this post, it became somewhat of a challenge to compare the Moshi Arcus backpack only against others from much larger brands. I make this statement coming from a lot of angles. For one, the Arcus is is a multipurpose backpack which for all intense purposes is a stylish camera backpack. If I were to compare it against camera backpacks from such brands as Peak Design, Tenba, or Think Tank Photo, then it’s on par with features, quality, and price. I feel this speaks highly of the Arcus.But I also have to look at this comparison through a fashion lens. As Moshi is a premium product brand, I need to compare their product(s) against those from Kelly Moore, ONA Bags, and VINTA, just to name a few. So not only am I reviewing a camera backpack against those from (what I refer to as) mass-produced, non-stylish brands, but also those from the smaller, more fashionable brands.
Open up one of those large photography product catalogs, or visit any of the above-stated brands’ websites, and you’ll see that the Arcus stands against them. It turns out that this backpack is well-priced against its competition.
On a side note, I took some pleasure comparing Moshi’s Arcus versus the VINTA S-Series.
A Solid Backpack Design
When I mean this backpack has a solid design, it’s beyond the literal.
Starting from the top, the Arcus backpack comes with a crush-resistant compartment. As someone who travels around with more than one pair of glasses, I often worry about the condition of those that aren’t being worn. Now you can worry less about your phone, (sun)glasses, or in-ear headphones.
Taking this up a notch, you should know that this compartment’s surface has been treated to be weather-resistant. Not only will you worry less about items being crushed, but you’ll also worry less about these items getting wet.
Note: This is not the first Moshi product with a crush-resistant feature. Their Avanti headphones come with a crush-resistant case. The sound the compartment (or case) makes is like knocking on a door. It’s some mighty fine protection. How cool is this?Entry into this compartment is through a hidden zipper above the main strap. Tucked away inside is a tan-colored vegan leather strap. All four vegan leather straps are accented with brown zippers. The Arcus backpack has four more brown zippers and one hidden tan zipper, but these surround metal straps.
Why all nine zippers don’t have straps of the same color or material is a question I can’t answer. What I can say is that the choices Moshi made here work very well. You can’t help but notice how the front and top rear zippered areas stand out. The front metal handle is unique in that it’s the only one that’s rounded. Plus, it contains a stamped or engraved ‘moshi’ logo. This rounded handle complements the square metal ‘moshi’ logo located on the lower right front of the bag.
The color combination of this titanium-gray backpack is gorgeous. The zippers and straps are of high quality, and the stitching is put together well. The charcoal black version is equally attractive.
Working our way down from the crush-resistant top there’s a zipper which wraps around three-quarters of the bag. This zipper opens the main compartment, and what a spacious compartment it is. You can fit an entire change set of clothes, plus a pair of shoes, and have room to spare. On the underside of the top compartment, there’s even a netted storage space for smaller items. This time, closure is handled via velcro instead of a zipper.
The Arcus multi-function backpack weighs 44 oz and has dimensions of 9.25″ x 5.91″ x 18.9″.There’s one other way into the main compartment, and it’s through a side-zipper. It’s what you typically see on today’s photography backpacks. More on this below.
If you haven’t noticed by now, the lining on this Arcus backpack is luxurious. It’s what you would expect to see on similar, stylish bags and backpacks 2-3x the price, for example, from the likes of Tumi. Other bags in Moshi’s 2017 lineup also contain this lining. You even get a large storage bag for the Arcus. If you’re not using the backpack for an extended period, store it, and prevent it from getting accidentally damaged around your home. It’s these little things that set the premium brands apart from the lesser rivals.
To prevent the Arcus’ high-resilience polyester material from getting dirty, scuffed, or worse, the backpack’s underside has two rubber feet.
I’ve already taken you through the front and top so let’s now head over to the rear.
The Arcus backpack comes with a padded air-mesh lined adjustable shoulder straps with a similarly lined vented back. There’s even an adjustable, detachable sternum strap (which I always use.) The bag also has eight attachment points on the shoulder straps. If you’ve got something needing to be attached, these are the places to do it.
The backside incorporates as Moshi puts it “two discrete zippered pockets.” If you want to hide those items that’ll make you most upset if lost or stolen (identification cards, wallet, passport, etc.), then I suggest one of these two pockets to hide them in. My preference would be the top pocket.
The electronics device compartment is a beautifully, well-organized one. In addition to the lining mentioned above, this full-length (zippered) compartment has individually padded spaces for a 15″ laptop, a full-size tablet, a phablet, and two smartphones. I know they fit because I tested all five pockets with my mobile devices.Like any other backpack, there are two sides. One side contains two adjustable straps, the lower of which has a pocket for the holding the largest of water bottles. Better yet, you can slide something like an umbrella or tripod through and have your drink container snug.
As mentioned above, the second way into the main compartment is through a side zipper. If you can’t reach the item you’re looking for through the top; maybe the side will do. If you’re using this backpack for photography, you have the option of using the camera insert.
There’s also another zippered pocket here, best used for easy access to a small notepad.
Arcus Camera Insert Bag
As typically seen in many of today’s best camera backpacks, Arcus has the ability to protect a DSLR or Micro 4/3 camera, 2-3 lenses, and more with the Arcus Camera Insert (sold separately.) Slide the padded insert into the main compartment with its opening lined up to the backpack’s side entry and now you have easy access to your camera and its accessories. The insert is microfiber-lined in addition to having three customizable dividers.
If this camera case is something you desire, my advice would be to purchase it directly from Moshi. When you buy both the backpack and camera insert, the latter is only $5. If purchased separately, the camera insert will set you back $30. And for some reason, it’s $50 on Amazon.
The Arcus camera insert weighs 11.64 oz and has dimensions of 10.63″ x 4.33″ x 10.04″.
For what it offers, this “lightweight, full-sized backpack that carries all of your gear in a stylish and modern design” delivers on its promises. If you break it down to all its high-end features, I think you can justify its $230 price tag.
Now I’m sure many of you are trying to wrap your head around the price tag. Full disclosure–so was I at first, but that moment passed. I can thank researching this post for that.
Let’s say you’re an urban professional, male or female, it doesn’t matter, who likes to look good at whatever you do, or maybe you’re a professional photographer. Ask yourselves this question. What would you pay for a stylish, fashionable, practical, and versatile backpack that will last you many years? Now add this value to one that doubles as a camera backpack. I have a number in mind. What’s yours?
Based on everything I’ve witnessed over the years and stated above, Moshi’s Arcus is pound-for-pound, the best all-around backpack I’ve had the pleasure to review. You’re going to love it.Moshi's Arcus is pound-for-pound, the best all-around #backpack I've had the pleasure to review Click To Tweet
Both colors of the Arcus backpack, as well as the Arcus camera insert, are available for purchase on Amazon (see link below) as well as on the Moshi website.
What do you think of this Moshi Arcus camera backpack review? Do you agree or disagree that this is one of the best camera backpacks of 2017? Let us know in the comment section below or via social media. We’re eager to hear your thoughts.
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Don’t hesitate to head over to the Moshi press page to see their latest product announcements. To learn more about service and support, click here for their Support page. There’s a one-year limited warranty on all Moshi products. There’s also an extended warranty via product registration. We highly advise you take advantage of this.
FTC Disclosure: Moshi provided Beantown LLC with one (1) Arcus camera backpack sample for review purposes. This writer’s opinion is 100% his own and not a paid product ambassador.
All photographs are the copyrighted property of Moshi or Beantown LLC © 2017.