Tamrac 5549 Adventure 9 Digital SLR Backpack (Red/Black) review: Tamrac 5549 Adventure 9 Digital SLR Backpack (Red/Black)

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Tamrac 5549 Adventure 9 Digital SLR Backpack (Red/Black)

(Part #: 5549)
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Solid, yet lightweight construction; plenty of padding; comfortable, easy-to-adjust harness; water-resistant zipper on laptop compartment; big enough for pro lenses; accommodates up to 17-inch laptops.

The Bad The textured grip on the handle is slightly uncomfortable when the pack is loaded with heavy gear; there is no convenient place for a cell phone.

The Bottom Line Great for day hikes or vacationers who can't leave the SLR at home, the Adventure 9 combines a serious camera backpack on bottom with a small daypack compartment in the top.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 8.0

Tamrac Adventure 9 camera backpack

All too often, camera bags, especially backpacks, end up being geared toward professionals, with enough room for a battalion of lenses and every accessory you could ever imagine. That's great if you are a pro, but most of us need to bring along some noncamera items on our outings, and don't want to have to haul more than one bag to do so. That's why Tamrac created the Adventure series of backpacks, which do double duty as camera bags and small daypacks, thanks to separate compartments on bottom and top, respectively.

Largest among the series is the Adventure 9, which can accommodate professional SLR bodies with vertical grips and large pro lenses, such as Canon's nice, big EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM. The daypack portion isn't huge--measuring 11x8.75x6.5 inches--but you'd be surprised at what you can fit into it. Plus, a padded sleeve built into the back of the bag holds laptops with screens as large as 17 inches, though the somewhat thick Dell we tried was a tight fit. A removable pouch, large enough for a laptop power supply or similar-size items, also comes with the bag.


Tamrac includes a Pop-Off Pocket with the Adventure 9 to keep smaller items from becoming lost in the top portion of the pack.

As you can usually expect from Tamrac, there is a great attention to detail in this seemingly simple backpack. For example, the bottom portion has three clips on the outside that can keep the compartment from flopping open if the zippers somehow come undone. But, they also come in handy if you only want to open the compartment half way. Since the company's patented Memory and Battery Management System finds its home inside the bottom compartment cover, Tamrac included the two small side clips for the compartment so you can easily access your batteries and memory cards without having to completely open the bottom hatch. Depending on how you choose to configure the padded dividers inside that compartment, this can also make quick lens changes a lot smoother, especially if you wear the backpack on your front as many pro photographers do: to rest your arms on the pack to help steady your shots.

To help keep the forces of nature at bay, Tamrac uses weather-resistant fabric and includes extra large flaps over the zippers on the front, and a weather-resistant, rubberized zipper for the laptop compartment. A couple of times, we had some trouble with those large flaps getting caught in the zippers, but they never caused any damage and were fairly easy to untangle. If you find yourself having trouble, you should really flip them back when accessing either compartment. However, we were happy to have them there when running out to the car in the rain, and just as happy when we reached into the bag to find our camera gear safe and dry.

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