Within the 9 months I’ve owned a DJI Mavic Pro, I’ve cycled through 4 or 5 different backpacks searching for the perfect fit. As a landscape photographer I need a backpack that sits comfortably all day long, whilst protecting my gear from the elements and being easy to access at any moment. It also needs room for water, snacks and any spare clothing I might need to carry. Sweat-free ventilation and a tripod connection are also vital. Meeting this entire criterion hasn’t been easy, but then along came the Aviator Hover-25 and I may have finally met my match.
I recently pack up all my equipment and headed for a day on the hills of the Peak District National Park to really put it to the test…
The Aviator Hover-25 is a dedicated drone backpack so my first consideration was the access and protection of my DJI Mavic Pro. What I quickly came to discover was a side-access pocket, specifically built with this in mind.
With previous packs, my gear is generally stored together in a centre console – drone, controller, spare cameras, lenses, film etc. This designated section allows for greater organisation and less exposure to the elements – only being accessed when required. Inside the compartment is an insulated pouch that keeps two spare batteries safeguarded. I’m yet to find another backpack as intuitive as this, in the past cold batteries have resulted in missed shots but I no longer have this problem. With a strap and padding, my drone feels safe and secure. I feel comfortable enough to sling it the pack onto my back without worry.
After a short drone flight near Derwent Reservoir, we hit the road, made a quick stop at an abandoned barn and then headed for Winnats Pass. The quintessential English weather began to blow in with wind and dampness in the air. Thankfully I wasn’t concerned as the bag comes with a water repellent coating*, which keeps resistant to moisture.
I hiked in the mist towards the ridge. Throughout the walk I realised I’d packed more than I really needed but due to the suspended mesh back panel it remained super comfortable and my back was sweat-free. Inside my bag I had my Canon 5d Mark III full frame body, 2 lenses, the DJI Mavic Pro and controller, 2 spare Mavic batteries, Canon G7x on a Joby Gorrilapod, a Manfrotto Befree travel tripod plus chargers and accessories such as microfiber towels and a SD card holder. In addition to this, I carried a 750ml bottle, snacks and a rain jacket, with plenty of room to spare.
Upon reaching the top I spent some time shooting a few landscapes. Here I was thankful for the external tripod connection as it made for easy access.
Again I was grateful for the water repellent as I popped by bag onto the wet grass and flew the Mavic. I caught this selfie just as some light poked through behind the ridgeline. I returned to the car satisfied and finished the shoot with a visit to another of my favourite spots in the National Park – Chrome Hill.
My adventure with the backpack was a real success and since then, I have now taken it on trips to both Ireland and the Faroe Islands. I really enjoyed having the Air Support and harness system as it kept me from the normal aches of carrying a heavy pack. It made accessing my gear easy and I felt at ease with chucking my bag in the back of the car. If I have once concern it would be that it doesn’t have a sleeve for a laptop, just an iPad, which meant packing my gear for the plane a little tight but I managed just fine. Below are some photos for you to enjoy from those trips. This week I’ll again be using the pack but this time in the Alps. It’s likely to be its toughest test yet but after my previous experiences, I have no doubt it will hold strong. Feel free to check out my Instagram to see more of my work and my travels. Thanks for reading! Take it easy out there.
*The pack also has a rain protector but I didn’t feel the need to use it that day.