Most camera backpacks are huge and tempt the photographer to take way too much gear with them. Cue the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim, one of the smallest camera backpacks around that’s aimed specifically at outdoor photographers and pilots of small drones.
Offering just 14 litres capacity, the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim is designed specifically for those rocking a compact mirrorless camera set-up, plus a few lenses and a tripod. That’s plenty for most photographers, but it’s small size comes with a few unique characteristics.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim and why we think it’s one of the best choices for any photographer wanting to travel light.
- Best camera backpack: protect your photography gear
Tenba Shootout 14L Slim camera backpack review: Design and features
The clue is in the name. The Tenba Shootout 14L Slim is so small it doesn’t really look like a camera backpack, though it squeezes in an extraordinary amount for stuff. The only way into the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim is from the back, which is a tad unusual, but at least it’s pickpocket-proof.
Inside are 10 Velcro-fastened dividers and a central columnar strength, though you can just as easily rip it all out and use this backpack for реrѕоnаl gеаr. As such it’s got an adjustable trolley strap for attaching to the telescopic handle of rolling luggage. Its front pocket for a 10-inch tablet will be handy on long flights, too.
However, the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim isn’t really designed for airports but the outdoors. For starters, it features a soft sunglasses case on top and two waterproof pockets for SD cards etc. Also on the outside of the front of the bag is a pocket for sundries (batteries, cables etc.) and one that can take a hydration bladder/reservoir – such as a CamelBak – and there are also clips on the shoulder straps. That’s rare on camera backpacks. Meanwhile, the sides have plenty of straps and stretch pockets for securing a tripod and/or a water bottle.
Tenba Shootout 14L Slim camera backpack review: Size
Measuring just 23x46x18, the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim is a small camera backpack. Weighing a mere 1.4kg when empty, it’s best used to carry a mirrorless camera and up to five lenses, though you could probably squeeze in a second mirrorless camera body or a compact camera.
It also works well with a small crop-sensor DSLR camera wearing a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, but you can forget both full-frame DSLR cameras wearing 200mm lenses, which together don’t fit in the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim. It’s also ideally sized for carrying a compact drone kit, such as a DJI Mavic.
Tenba Shootout 14L Slim camera backpack review: Price
The Tenba Shootout 14L Slim sells for UK£169 / US$189.95, which seems to us to be a fair price for such a well designed and uniquely-sized and featured camera backpack. If you need extra capacity for more (or different kinds of) camera gear, Tenba’s range also includes the Shootout 16L DSLR, which is mostly the same as the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim, but sized for DSLRs. Tenba’s Shootout range also includes options for 24L and 32L to cater for full-frame DSLR users.
Tenba Shootout 14L Slim camera backpack review: Performance
In practice, this small bag’s rigidity is all about a central spine within the bag’s main compartment. Unlike most camera bags, which include Velcro-fastened dividers that can be arranged in any design to suit the photographer’s needs, the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim requires a tough fabric-covered spine to be placed in the middle of the bag; all other Velcro-dividers can be attached to it. It sounds a bit limiting, but it works well.
The Tenba Shootout 14L Slim’s inclusion of a pocket specifically for a hydration bladder is a stroke of genius. It makes the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim an ideal camera bag for hiking, which will help owners of mirrorless cameras to get into the mountains without too much gear, but particularly owners of compact drones looking for somewhere remote to test their piloting and photography/videography skills. We hiked with the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim and found its shoulder straps and sternum strap comfortable over about three hours, though during a downpour we did wish its waterproof cover was stashed in an outside pocket rather than hidden away in the main compartment (we had to remove the entire backpack to fish it out).
There are other reasons why this backpack isn’t perfect. Its zips are of average quality for the money. Nor is the hip-belt of great quality, lacking a little padding, which is a shame given its otherwise hiking-centric design. In an attempt to make up for the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim’s lack of side or front access, it’s designed to help the wearer extract a camera from the top of the bag using what Tenba calls a ‘Ріvоt-Fіt Аіrflоw harness’. It sort of works, but swivelling while wearing a fleece or waterproof jacket is all a bit of a mess.
Ditto the tripod loops on the bottom of the bag, which are little more than strips of Velcro. Lucky, then, that the provision no fewer than three straps on each side of the bag – complete with stretchable outer pockets – make it very easy to securely stash a tripod (or even two), though we’d advise keeping them fairly compact.
Tenba Shootout 14L Slim camera backpack review: Verdict
A smart, compact and well-designed camera backpack, the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim is comfortable to carry, waterproof and has some excellent outdoor-centric features. Though suitable only for users of compact mirrorless and DSLR set-ups, we think this is also an excellent bag for anyone with a compact drone and plans to hike into remote areas.
However, with room for a tablet and a useful loop for attaching to the handle of rolling laugh, the Tenba Shootout 14L Slim is also a good candidate for mirrorless camera owners after a camera backpack they can also use as carry-on luggage.