Versatility and comfort with Chrome’s Niko Camera Backpack 3.0

The Niko Camera Backpack 3.0 is the latest photography bag from Chrome Industries. With over 25 years of creating bags for photographers, Chrome has put that experience into play with this release. Made for any photographer on the go, the backpack is comfortable, unassuming and functional no matter the genre you shoot.

With a ton of pockets, a customizable main compartment and a full 25L of storage room, the Niko Camera Backpack 3.0 efficacy carries a ton of gear while still staying compact and comfortable. The coated zippers, padded tricot lining and durable nylon material make this bag rugged and ready for adventure. To top it off, the signature Chrome buckle on the chest strap adds a subtle bit of swagger to the otherwise low-profile design.

Pro

  • Clean, unassuming design
  • Easy access to main compartment through the back panel zipper or the side zippers
  • Water resistant and durable materials
  • Back panel padding for comfort
  • Tons of pockets plus a laptop sleeve
  • Wears comfortably over long durations of time
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Waist belt isn’t padded
  • Would have liked to see the bottom of the pack be fully rubberized/waterproof

Technical specifications — Niko Camera Backpack 3.0

The Chrome buckle on the chest strap is a nice touch.

All technical specifications have been taken from the Chrome website:

  • Size: 19.5” H | 11” W | 8” D
  • Volume: 25L
  • Weight: 4.41lbs | 2kg
  • Bag Material: 1050D Nylon, 500D TPE Tarp, 180g Tricot
  • Laptop Size: up to 15″
  • Laptop Compartment: Padded

Ergonomics and build quality — Niko Camera Backpack 3.0

Right out of the box, the Niko Camera Backpack 3.0 appealed to me due to its near-perfect size and shape. The bag is big enough to fit a bunch of gear, while still maintaining a reasonable size and weight. As someone who photographs outside almost exclusively, I love the fact that it is made from durable 1050D Nylon and is also water resistant. And while some people may lament that the only color option currently is black, I’m happy they stayed with a simple color that hides the wear and tear that I inevitably inflict upon my bags.

When I put the bag on, I was surprised at how comfortable it was, even fully loaded with gear. Chrome has utilized an ergonomic shoulder strap design with spacer mesh for ventilation. There is also a contoured EVA foam back piece that allows air to circulate when wearing the pack. Chrome states that they consulted various industry experts including action, street and adventure photographers when designing this bag, and I feel like the results are a testament to their due diligence in this regard.

The one thing that had me concerned at first look was the waist belt. It is very simple and thin in design, and I had concerns right away that it wouldn’t be comfortable, especially when carrying a loaded pack for long durations. However, it is easily removable via some Velcro straps which is nice as it eliminates the straps from dangling down behind you when you don’t need them.

Packing the Niko Camera Backpack 3.0

chrome niko backpack customization
Lots of customizable room in the main compartment with back panel access.

Like most camera bags, the main compartment of the Niko Camera Backpack 3.0 is fully customizable with removable modular dividers. I set mine up to be able to carry my go-to lens kit: A Canon EOS R5, 70-200mm lens with EF lens adapter, 24-70mm lens and 15-35mm lens. I loved being able to do this, because the bag I was using prior used a cube insert, and I was never able to place my camera with my 70-200mm lens attached inside the cube. With the Niko Camera Backpack I am able to do this easily.

My personal customization with the foam dividers created what acts like another side pocket for my accessories, which I can access through the side door entry zippers. There are also zippered mesh pockets build into the side of the bag which are great for securing things like extra batteries and cards. The bag also has expandable sleeves on each side, suitable for water bottles or a tripod when used in conjunction with the compression straps.

chrome niko backpack
A Canon 7D Mark II with a 50mm fits easily in the top compartment.

The top compartment can actually hold a whole other camera and lens combo if so desired. When field testing, I used it to store my lunch and spare camera body. At home, II found I could actually fit my camera and a 70-200mm lens attached in the upper compartment if needed. Once the top compartment is unzipped even further, you have access to the laptop sleeve and a ton of other pockets.

In the field — Niko Camera Backpack 3.0

Side zippers allow you to access your main compartment without taking the bag fully off.

This bag arrived right before I was due to cover a weekend of mountain bike racing in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. I decided to test it out the day before the races, while out scouting my locations. With the pack moderately loaded, I spent about four hours hiking the trails. I used both the waist and chest strap the entire time and didn’t find the thin waist strap to be uncomfortable. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the bag was and decided to test it again the next day with a full day of work.

The main compartment is fully customizable.

Once again, the pack did not disappoint. The weather was warm and sunny and I put in a long day hiking around the trails. I found the ventilation to work effectively, and I stayed comfortable all day with the pack fully loaded. The side mesh pockets were great as I used one for my water bottle and one for my can of bug spray — both much needed and easily accessible!

I ended up using the pack for the duration of my weekend, and really had no complaints. If I’m being picky, I would still like to see a padded waist belt from Chrome, even if it required purchasing it separately.

The perfect carry — Niko Camera Backpack 3.0

chrome laptop sleeve
The laptop sleeve holds up to a 15″ laptop.

Overall, I am super impressed with this bag. In fact, it’s now my main camera pack! The size is perfect to carry a decent amount of gear without it feeling too bulky. I like the way the bag sits on my back, especially when utilizing the chest and waist belts. The backpack is super versatile. I think it will work well from hiking around the forest, to flying with it in overhead storage, or just going for an afternoon stroll down main street.

I love that it doesn’t scream “camera bag!” and I know that the durable materials are going to keep my gear safe no matter where I am. If you’re looking for a multi-use bag that’s going to stand the test of time, I would highly recommend the Niko Camera Backpack 3.0.

Leave a Comment