Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader at a glance:
- $250 / £185
- Pro-quality backpack
- Holds 2 cameras and 8 lenses
- 15-in laptop compartment
- 35.5 x 26 x 54 cm (external)
Manfrotto’s Pro Light range is designed for professional and serious enthusiast photographers. It includes four similarly sized backpacks, which differ in how they provide access to your kit. Of these, the Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader is the most versatile, as it has openings at the top, front and either side.
Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader key features:
- Tripod: A tripod, monopod, or walking poles etc can be fixed onto the front or sides, via straps that tuck away when not in use
- Harness: The richly padded shoulder straps and belt tuck away neatly for stowing the bag in overhead lockers
- Cover: The waterproof cover is easy to fit and protects all the zip openings. It’s silvered on the reverse to protect your kit from heat on sunny days
- TSA lock: A combination lock is sewn onto the bag, tucking into its own pocket. It secures the zip pulls for the top, main and laptop compartments
Measuring 35.5 x 26 x 54 cm, this is a capacious bag that’ll hold a considerable quantity of kit while still meeting carry-on regulations, at least for the more generous airlines. As supplied, it’s split into two separate compartments, but if you prefer, it can be opened up to a single large space. It’s supplied with plenty of Manfrotto’s M-Guard internal dividers, which provide good protection while minimising bulk. This means you should be able to configure it exactly how you need.
In the top section, I was able to fit a full-frame Sony A7-series body fitted with a 24-105mm f/4 zoom, plus 16-35mm f/4 and 45mm f/2.8 lenses alongside. The main compartment is large enough to hold another body with a vertical grip and telephoto zoom attached, such as a 70-200mm f/2.8 or 100-400mm. Four smaller lenses can then be arranged around it.
Mesh pockets inside the various openings provide space for small accessories, and there’s a document pocket on the front. Expanding pockets on either side will hold a water bottle or tripod. The quality of materials and construction is excellent, with smoothly running zips and generous padding throughout.
Where this bag really stands out, though, is the level of flexibility it provides for accessing your kit. A single zip meanders around the outside, allowing the side panels and the entire front to open up, depending on how you arrange the four zip pulls. In principle, you can even reconfigure the carrying straps to use it like a shoulder or sling bag for shooting on the go. But given how heavy it can get when full, I’m not convinced this is a practical idea.
Crucially, given the size of the bag, the harness is top-notch, with the foldaway waistbelt helping to distribute the load onto your hips without being too bulky. Meanwhile the mesh-covered, padded back has air channels to help keep you cool. Fully laden with a tripod strapped on, the weight can easily exceed 14kg, but I still found it quite comfortable to carry.
Manfrotto’s other Pro Light backpacks
Alongside the Multiloader, Manfrotto offers three other Pro Light backpacks. The Frontloader and Backloader are simpler, more affordable designs, offering front and back access. Meanwhile the front-loading Flexloader boasts a full-height pocket for carrying a DSLR gimbal.
Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader: Our Verdict
The Manfrotto Pro Light Multiloader is a great choice for serious photographers who need to carry a large amount of kit and keep it well protected, while maintaining rapid access.