Gomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L review: one for the road

Luxury travel camera bag with influencer tax

Gomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

Gomatic and influencer Peter McKinnon have worked together to create a high-end camera backpack designed for those on the move. The 35L version offers ample storage for camera gear plus compartments for clothes, a laptop and more. Neat design touches include magnetic-sealed enclosures, while a full load is comfortable to carry for extended periods. It isn't perfect: if you're completely gear focused for a day's shoot, rather than packing for a weekend away; or own particularly large lenses, or even require quick access to gear, then there are better alternatives. Also, even taking its quality account, the Gomatic is pricey, with useful accessories costing more still. That said, the Gomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is a superb backpack for your camera gear and comes recommended, if the price doesn't put you off.

Pros

  • +

    Superb quality

  • +

    Clever design details

  • +

    Comfortable to carry when fully loaded

Cons

  • -

    Expensive and helpful accessories are costly extras

  • -

    Not designed for large camera gear

  • -

    Access to gear is slow

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Gomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L: two-minute review

If you need a high-quality bag that can be worn comfortably and can hold lots of modern camera gear, clothes, a large laptop plus everyday essentials, then Gomatic believes it has the answer – the Gomatic McKinnon camera pack 35L. 

Combining forces with YouTube influencer Peter McKinnon, Gomatic (under the site Nomatic , in the US) has created a large camera pack that presents plenty of neat design features such as magnetic clasps and an expandable compartment, plus it's compatible with a host of accessories to further increase its versatility. 

This is a luxury camera bag designed for travel. If you're after a large day bag purely for camera gear for a long shoot and / or large telephoto lenses, offering quick access to gear, then look elsewhere. But if you need space for weekend supplies as much as you do camera gear, then this could be the bag for you – if you can afford it. 

Gomatic makes high-end camera bags – certainly, if price is anything to go by – and the McKinnon range, which also includes a 25L pack( $299 / £309), will set you back $399 / £369 for the 35L camera pack. However, to get the most out of what Gomatic calls a "travel system", you'll also want some of the optional accessories – which also cost a fair sum. 

For this review, for example, the 35L camera pack arrived with the Camera Tech Organizer ($70 / £52). While the McKinnon Cube pack 21L ($130 / £109) wasn't supplied, it looks like an excellent addition. It's a neat, collapsible day bag with lower compartment for a camera and lens that can slot inside the 35L camera pack for you to use once you're out and about on location, assuming you don't want to lug the 35L camera pack with all your gear and clothes on day trips. 

To offer an idea of how the cost of such a camera pack with accessories can stack up, although not available any more, the Gomatic McKinnon 35L Ultimate Travel Camera Bundle Pack that included numerous accessories cost twice the price of the 35L pack on review! 

I used the camera pack as my main carry-on luggage during a week-long trip overseas. It's slimline, tucking nicely into the body and I experienced no issues stowing it in the overhead compartment on a plane.

For the trip, I used the main compartment for two mirrorless cameras, three lenses –one of which was a 70-200mm – plus a ring light and all the necessary chargers and accessories, making use of the Tech Organizer, slotted in between the durable dividers.

Note that the Gomatic bag's slim form factor and interior design restricts the size of camera gear it will hold. For example, while this is unlikely an option for sports photographers with large DSLRs and monster telephoto lenses, those with compact mirrorless cameras such as the Sony A7IV, lenses and consumer drones such as the DJI Mini 4 Pro should be just fine.

The velcro fastening of the dividers is secure, and feels as though it will remain so even after prolonged use. After one month and numerous configurations, going on various shoots, commuting and travelling, they appear as strong as they were on day one. You'll need to spend a while configuring the dividers. For one trip I needed to pack an awkward-sized ring light; an unusual setup of horizontal dividers did the trick, protecting the ring light during transit.

There's a side access pocket straight to your main camera, which works fine, even if the velcro divider sticks to it – that feels like ill-fitting design. Indeed, the design leans more towards opening the camera compartment in full when the bag is off your back and lying flat on a surface. 

I've not used it, but I prefer the look of the Camera Pack 25L in the same McKinnon range. It has a separate top-loading pocket into which you can put a camera and open separately without exposing the bag's entire contents.

I don't feel like this 35L version is designed for regularly taking out and stowing away gear, or perhaps it just takes a little getting used to. Nevertheless, on more than one occasion I was caught out moving the bag with the main zip compartment open – fortunately, no camera gear was damaged falling out.

The bag is listed as accepting 16-inch laptops, but my 17-inch MacBook Pro slotted snuggly into the compartment that sits nearest to your back. On the front end is an expandable main pocket designed for clothes, with a strap to hold them in place, and once expanded the capacity increases to a generous 42L. I'd say you could cram a few days worth of clothes in there.

Then there's all the features you'd expect from a high-end camera bag: comfortable back padding and adjustable shoulder straps, a removable waist-support strap, a pouch that can hold a water bottle or tripod, that neatly stows away using a magnetic clasp – clever. There's also an internal magnetic pocket for valuables such as keys, a wallet or passport.

I particularly love the top padded handle plus additional slimline handles on the top corners of the bag's exterior, which make lifting the fully loaded bag up to your shoulders as easy as can be. And with a rigid underside, you can confidently stand the bag upright on the ground without it toppling over.

In terms of quality, I have no complaints. The pack has a slick-looking and durable weather-resistant exterior, while all zips are weather-resistant and glide easily, too. All the materials are superb and I'd expect to comfortably carry a heavy load with this bag for years to come.

It' isn't the best camera bag for gear-minded pros, nor those who want quick access to gear; but for camera enthusiasts wanting one bag for a long weekender, you'll struggle to find better, even if the price is high.

For alternatives, check out our best camera bags guide.

Should I buy the Gomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L?

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You want a camera bag system for weekends
Ample storage for mirrorless camera gear, drones, accessories, plus your laptop, clothes and other essentials –this could be the only bag you need for a long weekender with camera. 

You want a comfortable and high-quality camera bag
Durable materials inside and out, comfortable straps and ergonomic design, the McKinnon Camera Pack 35L should last you many years. 

Don't buy it if...

You're looking for a dedicated camera gear bag
Despite its generous capacity, this slimline bag is designed to hold smaller gear plus your other stuff. As such, there are better bags for those looking to pack just loads of camera gear, and wanting easy access to it. 

You're on a tight budget
You could argue that the bag is good value because it should last years, but there are other high-quality bags out there for half the price.

How I tested the Gomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L

  • One month of regular use
  • International travel
  • Multiple purposes including travel, commuting and photoshoots

I had the Gomatic McKinnon Camera Pack 35L for over a month, during which time it was my primary camera bag. It was my carry-on bag for overseas travel, my commuter bag, plus a bag for shoots. 

I've regularly switched up the gear stowed inside and the internal divider configurations, packing various mirrorless cameras, accessories, lighting and more, as well as everyday essentials.

First reviewed March 2024

Timothy Coleman
Cameras editor

Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.