My favorite camera backpacks have gear access from the back panel, a waist belt, and room to stash personal items. When Tenba announced the updated version of the Fulton backpack, V2 immediately grabbed my attention with the expanding roll top, waist belt, and even a laptop sleeve at the front instead of resting against your back. Even better, the Tenba Fulton V2 16L sells for under $ 150.
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But, I’ve been excited about a backpack before only to immediately regret putting it on my back fully loaded. Thankfully, the Tenba Fulton 16L V2 was not one of those bags. I took the Tenba Fulton 16L V2 on a weekend hiking trip, as well as on a portrait shoot. While a few changes would have made this bag perfect, it still offers a lot without spending a lot.
Too Long, Didn’t Read.
The Tenba Fulton 16L V2 is one of the better bags that you can buy for under $ 150. It’s durable, versatile, and comfortable. But, a few tweaks like more small pockets and a bigger tripod pocket would have made this bag near perfect.
Pros and Cons
- Expandable roll-top
- Durable, lightweight material
- Waist and sternum strap
- Easy, safe rear access
- Great laptop sleeve
- A really great size for one body and 5-7 lenses that’s not too deep
- Reasonably priced
- No smaller pockets for filters and SD cards
- Tripod pocket is too small
- Main compartment zipper is not weather-sealed
- Difficult to fit two camera bodies with lenses attached
I used the Tenba Fulton V2 16L bag with two different gear kits. The first arrangement I used included:
I also used the bag with two rental cameras. This set-up held the:
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
- Panasonic Leica 25-50mm f1.7
- Panasonic S5
- Panasonic Lumix 35mm f1.8 S
- Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod
- 10.2 inch 2020 iPad or a 16-inch 2021 MacBook Pro (not at the same time)
In the roll-top, I also fit the DJI Mini 2 inside a protective case (as there is no protective padding in the roll-top).
As a V2, this Tenba Fulton is a more minor update than anything radically innovative. The 16L size is a new size that’s also capable of handling a 16-inch laptop. It also includes a new waist strap and luggage pass-through slot.
Tenba lists the following specs for the 16L version of the Fulton V2:
- Weight: 2.8lb / 1.27kg
- Outside Dimensions (in): 11W x 20H x 7.5D in.
- Outside Dimensions (cm): 28W x 51H x 19D cm
- Inside Dimensions (in): 10.5W x 11H x 5D in.
- Inside Dimensions (cm): 27W x 28H x 13D cm
- Laptop Compartment Dimensions (in): 10W x 14.5H x 0.75D in.
- Laptop Compartment Dimensions (cm): 25W x 37H x 2D cm
- Capacity: Capacity – Mirrorless or DSLR camera with 5-7 lenses (up to attached 70-200mm 2.8), plus a laptop up to 16 inches (40 cm). Also fits DJI Mavic and other compact drones.
- Laptop / Tablet: Fits a laptop up to 16 inches (40 cm). Warranty: 5 Years
The Tenba Fulton V2 16L has three main compartments: a rear-access padded main compartment, a non-padded expandable roll-top, and a front pocket with a laptop sleeve.
The main compartment has built-in dividers rather than a removable cube. It’s a decent size – it’s not so deep that you have to store mirrorless cameras with the lens up so they don’t wiggle around. But, it’s roomy enough to still fit most DSLRs, with room to stash several lenses. Two large dividers create a T-shape that fits the camera body with an attached lens – up to a 70-200mm f2.8. Or, you can bend one of the ends of the T to make an L shape for smaller mirrorless bodies.
It’s not meant to carry two camera bodies, but I did carry a second body with an attached lens by reversing one of the large dividers and storing the second body upside down. It’s a better fit for a single camera body, however, and the dividers leave enough space for five to seven lenses or flashes. You’d need smaller primes to fit in seven
The top of the bag uses a roll-top closure. This creates a big space that can be expanded or compacted as needed. I was able to fit a case for my DJI Mini 2 as well as a sweatshirt – though just barely. The roll top has a small strip of velcro in the center, then is rolled and secured with a strap outside the bag.
The front zipper has a roomy laptop sleeve. I like this design more than putting the laptop against your back, which tends to make the back panel a bit stiffer. It just fit my 16-inch 2021 MacBook Pro, though I primarily used it to bring along an iPad. There are two smaller open pockets on the front of the sleeve, as well as a canvas loop.
On the outside of the bag, there are two side pockets. One is a mesh pocket for a water bottle – a 20 ounce insulated bottle fits pretty snugly. The other has a tripod pocket made from the same material as the rest of the bag. This pocket is also pretty small. Even with a travel tripod, I had to leave one leg out. A strap at the top holds the top end of the tripod in. This strap doesn’t unclip though, just loosens. Unclipping would have been much easier to access quickly. There’s a matching strap on the mesh pocket side as well.
While the large pockets are great, there aren’t enough small pockets. I didn’t really have anywhere to store extra SD cards or filters. The two smaller pockets in the front zipper are open and I wouldn’t trust a little SD card not to fall out. I would need to buy a separate wallet to keep memory cards from getting lost in too big pockets and to keep filters from getting scratched. Putting some smaller pockets on the reverse side of the back panel or even inside of the roll-top would have been a major improvement.
This bag is fairly comfortable to wear. The shoulder straps have a decent amount of padding to them. The sternum strap is adjustable. There’s a waist belt too, but the belt isn’t padded. The back of the bag has one padded mesh area over the rear access. Above that, there’s a strap that can be used to hold the backpack on the handle of a rolling luggage.
Overall, I liked the design. But, some smaller pockets for SD cards and filters, a bigger tripod pocket, and padding on the waist belt would have made me really love the design.
Designed with weather-repellant canvas, the Tenba Fulton V2 16L feels pretty sturdy. The material repels water pretty well, which also makes it easier to wipe off any dirt. While the material is sturdy, it also feels a bit thinner than some of the other water repellent bags that I’ve tested, such as the Wandrd PRVKE. This helps make the bag a little lighter. The black color has a subtle camouflage pattern.
The front zipper on the laptop compartment has a weather-sealed zipper. But, the main compartment has a plain zipper. The theory is that this is resting against your back, so it’s not going to get hit with the direct spray that the front will. It’s not the only bag that weather-seals all the zippers except for the one holding your camera and lenses. I think it will be fine in light rain, but I would be concerned with rain rolling off a raincoat and into the zipper with heavier precipitation.
Interestingly enough, Tenba still pairs this bag with a rain cover. It only stretches over the front of the bag, however, not the back panel in question. It tucks nicely into a pouch that’s sewn right into the cover, so there’s no separate pouch to lose.
Overall, this bag does feel like it will last and will keep the gear safe in light rain. But, the back panel might not entirely squelch worries about wearing this backpack in heavy rain.
Ease of Use
The large rear opening makes the gear easy to pull out. The rear panel also stays open, so it doesn’t get in the way when using the bag in workstation mode open on the ground. Using the waist belt, I could also slip off the shoulder straps, swing the bag around, and pull out the gear quickly without putting the bag on the ground.
Accessing the roll-top is similarly straightforward. Rolling and unrolling the top takes a little longer than working a zipper, but it is not difficult to do. I think the roll-top would have stayed rolled in place a little better if the velcro closure was larger, but it’s not bad. The front pouch is also simple to use. It held my MacBook snug, but not so snug that it was difficult to access.
While accessing the main and front compartment is simple, the tripod pocket is a bit tricky. The pocket is so snug that it took more time than it should have to pack and remove my tripod. I also needed a bit more slack in the top strap – it was difficult to get loose enough to pull the tripod out. Being able to unclip the strap instead of just loosening it would have been a big improvement.
Tenba Fulton V2 vs. Wandrd CHAMPIONS
The Tenba Fulton V2 has several features in common with a bag that I use regularly – the Wandrd PRVKE Lite and larger PRVKE. All three bags have a rear access design with a roll-top. Both are also made with a weather-resistant fabric exterior. But there are a few differences. Since the bags are so close, I thought they deserved a direct comparison.
The Wandrd PRVKE has smaller pockets to stash things like SD cards, filters, and batteries. Almost the entire interior of the opening back panel is smaller pockets. Inside the main compartment, the PRVKE also has a zipper to access the roll-top from the rear. This makes it faster to access items stored in the top if the main compartment is already open. The tripod pocket at the side also unzips to expand. I also prefer the zippers because the PRVKE has weather-sealing on the main compartment zipper against the back as well. I also slightly preferred the Wandrd’s straps and back padding. The PRVKE’s waist belt also has padding on it, but it is sold separately and not compatible with the smaller PRVKE Lite.
But, I prefer Tenba’s laptop sleeve. I don’t like placing the laptop against my back because then the back panel doesn’t mold to my body as well. The materials on the Fulton are also thinner, which makes the bag a bit lighter. The Fulton is also more affordable. It’s $ 100 cheaper than the 21-liter PRVKE once you factor in purchasing the waist belt separately. It’s also $ 80 less than the PRVK Lite with a little bit more room.
- The expanding roll-top is very versatile.
- The material feels durable, but isn’t too heavy.
- The bag is comfortable to wear.
- I like the easy rear access.
- Many bags only fit 13 inch laptops, this one fits a 16 inch.
- The bag is a pretty good size.
- At under $ 150, this bag is really reasonable.
- Where do I put my extra SD cards?
- The tripod pocket strap is annoying and the pocket is a little small.
- The zipper that protects the camera gear is not weather-sealed.
- Despite being a larger bag, it doesn’t easily fit two bodies with lenses attached.
The Tenba Fulton V2 16L is a good option for camera backpacks under $ 150. It’s durable and comfortable. It easily carries larger laptops. The expanding top compartment also makes this bag versatile – I could see it being used for anything from wedding photography to street photography to hiking.
But, a few minor tweaks would have made this bag perfect. There’s no place for smaller accessories like SD cards and filters. The rear compartment is not weather-sealed like the front. The tripod pocket is also a little too snug and difficult to access.
Thankfully, the Tenba Fulton 16L makes up for those lacking features with the price. While it may not be my absolute favorite camera backpack ever, for under $ 150, it’s one of the better choices. Just plan to pick up an SD card wallet and cases for your filters and keep it out of heavy rain – then you, your gear, and your wallet will likely be happy with this bag.
I’m giving the Tenba Fulton 16L four out of five stars. Want one? Check them out at Adorama.