Gear Review: Ruggard Thunderhead 55


Ruggard is a well respected brand, but I had never thought of them as a camera bag brand, but the value on this bag looked too good to pass up so I thought I would give it a try.   My first impression was this is a large backpack.  It felt really big to me, but it was a really nice bag and I was surprised actually at how much I liked it.  It reminded me a lot of the  Streetwalker bag from Think Tank in construction and features except the Streetwalker is much taller while this bag is much deeper.  This bag has ruggardsimilar interior pockets to the Streetwalker, which are really nice, protected pockets.  This bag is also the only other bag I have used that rivals the the and it is the only other bag that had zippers I felt were comparable to those from Think Tank and Mindshift.

This bag is going to fit all your gear, even if you have big professional bodies.  In fact, I felt like my Fuji X-T1 body was much too small for this bag.

I like to use this bag when I have to carry flash gear because the depth of the bag accomodates more of my larger lighting gear.  I also used this bag to shoot college basketball games and carried two camera bodies and five lenses plus a mess of other gear and did not even fill the main compartment.   In addition to the main pocket there is a large laptop pocket that easily fit my 15.6 inch laptop and other folders and items.  There is also a smaller front pouch good for storing other miscellaneous items.  There are other little pockets everywhere on this bag that really assist in storing all your small objects.  Something I loved was the three Velcro battery pockets at the very top of the inside of the main compartment.  This made it so easy to access spare batteries whenever I needed them, which is bound to happen when shooting a multiple day college basketball tournament.  I also like that the inside pockets are clear plastic so that you can see what gear is in them without having to unzip them.

This bag was actually really comfortable once I got it in the right position.  I am going to be honest, I started with it too high on my back and I felt like I was going to tip backwards.  Once I got all the straps adjusted to where it fit perfectly, I had no complaints about the comfort of the bag.

The tripod attached to the side of the bag.  There is a nice pocket that cinches and then three straps to securely hold even a large tripod without any swinging.  Given the bag is not very tall, I probably would not want a huge tripod hanging over the top.  All three of the tripod straps are outside of the zipper so your tripod won’t interfere at all with your access to the inside of the bag.  To me, that is a must-have feature that is often overlooked.

Overall, I would recommend this bag to someone with larger ruggaprofessional gear who wants a lot of high quality features that make shooting easier.  It would work fine for day hikes, but I wouldn’t take it backpacking.  It probably is not going to fit under most airplane seats given how deep it is so this would have to be your carry-on bag on most flights.  It would work great for an easy weekend trip if you didn’t have a lot to take with you as there would be plenty of room for the essentials along with some camera gear.

This bag retails for $260, but you can currently pick it up at Amazon for only $129.  I think that is an awesome value.

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