The EVOC CP 26L is a camera-focused (ho ho) pack designed to protect your kit from the rough and tumble of mountain biking. It’s packed with useful features for the professional or hobbyist media squid, and makes light work of a lot of weight, but you do have to get creative with spares and tools.
Made using an N420 D HD PU coated material (nylon with a waterproof coating, basically), the CP 26L is designed to be hard-wearing and force water to run off the surface of the bag.
Features include snowboard/tripod straps, spaces for a hydration bladder and a laptop, and of course stowage for camera kit. It can also carry a pair of ice axes if that’s what you’re into. There’s a stowable and detachable waterproof cover, goggle pocket, and side access to the camera compartment.
It has the usual shoulder straps, chest buckle and waistband, but the waistband is built to be a lot more supportive than normal. It’s adjustable and features a couple of pockets for quick-access storage. Thanks to a Velcro section, it’s super easy to do up and it serves as a bit of extra comfort too.
Open up the heavy-duty zips and the back unfolds to unveil the camera and ‘personal’ compartments, which are split 60/40. That extra 40% is also accessible via the front of the bag, as is the laptop storage. This is a great way of going about accessing the bag as everything is out in front of you, minimizing faff as you’re looking for what you need.
The CP 26L happily carries two camera bodies, three lenses (one attached to a body), and all of the batteries and memory I need, with a little extra space to spare. However, if you like your telephoto zooms, this bag may not be deep enough to store a second.
It’s also not big enough to carry flash equipment as well as the above, or at least, not without using some of the personal space, where things are free to flop about.
As a bag aimed towards multiple sports, the CP 26L is missing a purpose-built spot for tools and spares. That said, the goggle pouch can take a spare tube, pump, multitool and a phone, but at that point you’re brimming the pocket – and it’s not really ideal for a phone, either, as it’s not well protected.
I feel like the bag would be better if it was proportioned more generously towards the camera section, but then again, it’s best to sweet talk the talent into carrying the tools anyway…
The most impressive thing about the CP 26L is how well it carries considerable weight.With all my kit and a full hydration bladder the bag weighs over 8kg, but I never felt any shoulder fatigue even after a full day riding – only the day after. It does get warm underneath the padded back, but that’s forgivable for a bag this size.
One real advantage of the CP 26L is that it holds a hydration bladder, something not an awful lot of camera bags can. It can take up to 2L, Evoc says, but I found even 1.5L a squeeze. There’s not one included, either.
While a very welcome feature, the hydration feels a bit of an afterthought. There’s no proper way of routing the hose, so I was left improvising around the left strap. It works but the hose gets in the way when opening or putting the bag on – still, I would much rather a slightly cumbersome hose than no hydration at all.
On the bike, the bag is impressively comfy thanks to its well-designed straps and back panel, and it’s easy to whip the camera out via the zipped side panel, shoot what you need and go along on your merry way. It’s quick and really simple to use.
However, when at full chat (or as full-on as you can get with the extra weight) the bag likes to bounce quite a lot, even with all straps cinched as tight as possible. It’s enough movement for it to knock you in the back of the head, which isn’t ideal while concentrating on a descent, but is perhaps unavoidable with a bag this size and (loaded) weight.
Measuring 52 x 30 x 17cm, it’s perfect for flying with and made even better by the laptop compartment, as you can carry everything for a day’s shooting all in one bag. It’s even well prepared for an overnight stay with that 40 percent, separately-accessible personal storage space.
If you’re not looking to carry quite as much kit, EVOC also offers the CP in an 18L version.
Whether you’re a serious hobbyist or a pro photographer, the CP 26L does a great job carrying a lot of heavy, valuable kit. It’s comfortable, easy to use, can cope with hydration and has separate space for essentials, along with a bit more besides.