It seems as photographers we always come up with a specific need that calls for yet another new camera bag. I’ve been doing a number of photography tours lately, with more planned in the future. This has caused me to add another bag to my kit. I needed a bag that could handle the typical camera gear I take when I travel as well as accommodate a 13″ notebook computer. After doing a bit of research I decided on the Ruggard Navigator 65 Camera Bag.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Like other Ruggard camera bags that I own, the Navigator 65 is well built and functional. It is actually designed for a full sized DSLR with a couple of lenses and some accessories, not camera gear the size of my Nikon 1 kit. Since it is quite a deep camera bag I realized upfront that there would be some trade-offs involved using it with diminutive gear like my Nikon 1 kit. For folks shooting with larger DSLRs (including grips) it would be a bag deserving of consideration.
While I have always loved my Tenba Discovery Large Shoulder Bag, it isn’t really deep enough to accommodate a 13″ notebook computer and does not have a dedicated computer sleeve as is found in the Ruggard Navigator 65.
Here’s a photograph of the camera and computer gear that I use for my photography travel tours:
My travel photography kit includes the following:
• 2 – Nikon 1 J5 bodies
• 1 – Nikon 1 V3 body with EVF and grip
• 1 – Nikon 1 V2 body
• 1 – 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
• 1 – 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6
• 2 – 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6
• 1 – 1 Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD
• 1 – 1 Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 with polarizing filter
• 1 – 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6
• 1 – Nikon 1 SB-N5 Speedlight
• 1 – Nikon GP-N100 GPS
• 1 – set of three MOVO extension tubes for Nikon 1
• 1 – set of three 52mm neutral density filters, with 40.5-52mm step-up adapter
• 1 – 52mm polarizing filter
• 4 – battery charges (2 for J5, 1 for V3, 1 for V2)
• 11 – camera batteries (5 for J5, 3 for V3, 3 for V2)
• 4 camera straps (3 Tamrac, 1 Op/Tech)
• 3 – camera cables (1 each for J5, V3 and V2)
• 18 – 32 GB SanDisk Micro-SD cards
• 6 – 32 GB SanDisk SD cards
• 1 – Ruggard Memory Card Case
• 1 – Tenba Memory Card Case
• 1 – Purosol lens cleaner with cloth
• 1 – EyeLead sensor gel stick
• 2 – rain sleeves
• 2 – Manfrotto camera plates
• 1 – Asus U310U ZenBook with charger and mouse
• 1 – Western Digital portable 2TB My Passport Ultra hard-drive
I guess the big question is, “Does it all fit?” Here’s the answer…
While all of my gear does fit in the Ruggard Navigator 65 (with a bit of creative packing) I need to stack various components on each other which isn’t the most convenient of solutions. I will likely par down my kit a bit so the bag isn’t quite so cramped. Fully loaded as you see it in the image above, the bag with all of the contents listed weighs in at about 17 lbs (about 7.7 kg).
The exterior dimensions of the Ruggard Navigator 65 are 14 x 9.5 x 9.75 inches (35.5 x 24.1 x 24.75cm). It weighs in at 38 ounces (1077 grams).
You can see that my ASUS Zenbook U310U notebook just fits in the computer sleeve. If was even 1/16″ of an inch wider or deeper it wouldn’t fit. To ensure your computer will fit I recommend reviewing the size specifications of your computer against my ASUS.
As you can see the internal compartment is designed for full sized DSLR gear with a main centre pocket and two smaller dividers on either side. Again this isn’t the best configuration for my Nikon 1 gear, but would work well for someone travelling with a DSLR, a few lenses and a flash.
There is a mesh pocket on the underside of the bag’s lid.
The Ruggard Navigator 65 has some design details like the protective tab that goes over the zipper on the lid’s mesh pocket. This helps keep your camera gear from getting scratched by the metal zipper.
The mesh pocket is ideal for filter sets, a lens cleaning kit and other thinner objects.
There is an expandable neoprene pocket on the outside of the bag. I could fit my kit inside the Navigator 65 without having to use this pocket. As I work with my gear I may decide to use this to store some battery chargers or one of my memory card cases.
When the front flap of the bag is opened it reveals a couple of memory card Velcro pockets and two other storage pockets.
I haven’t shot with full frame gear for quite a while but I think CF cards would fit in the memory card pockets.
There is also a zippered mesh pocket in the front flap of the Navigator 65 bag. Again, it is best loaded with flatter items like a camera rain sleeve.
The strap latches seem well built and the D-rings are securely mounted.
The shoulder strap is fairly comfortable, even when the bag is loaded and weighs up to 17 lbs.
The underside of the shoulder strap has some decent padding. Obviously a backpack would be a better solution for extended hikes.
The lining of the Ruggard Navigator 65 is made of polyester and has a double row of Velcro strips allowing photographers to adjust the size and position of the dividers. Additional dividers are available.
The rear of the bag has a securely mounted strap that can be used over the extended handle of a suitcase, thus securing your camera gear to your suitcase. The Navigator 65’s top grab handle is securely fastened and is comfortable to hold when the bag is loaded.
The rear, zippered pocket of the Ruggard Navigator 65 camera bag holds the rain cover.
Overall, I’ve found that the Ruggard Navigator 65 is a well made and functional bag. It can hold my 13″ ASUS Zenbook notebook which was my primary purpose in obtaining this particular bag. It is a compromise solution when using small, light gear like my Nikon 1 kit. Due to the bag’s depth it is not the most convenient bag to use with smaller camera gear, but it is serviceable. It would a more ideal solution for folks that shoot with larger DSLRs along with a couple of lenses and a flash.
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