Vanguard Alta Sky 51D Review

     A few weeks ago Vanguard sent me the new Alta Sky 51D bag for my trip to Florida. As I mentioned in my last post I took a lot of camera gear and my Phantom 4 along with me. Needless to say I needed a good solution to carry everything on the airplane because there was no way I was going to check any of my gear. The Alta Sky 51D is designed to configure for multiple situations and was a perfect fit for what I needed.  

 Vanguard Alta Sky 51D, Phantom 4

Vanguard Alta Sky 51D, Phantom 4

     Since this bag is designed to carry a drone along with camera gear at the same time it is big and when I say big it's BIG! Don't be scared though, it's not so big that it isn't practical to wear and use. It is about the max size for a carryon when traveling on an airplane and I was a bit worried that it may not fit once I had it all loaded up but when I got on the plane it slid in perfectly to the overhead bin and we were off and flying!

 Vanguard Alta Sky 51D

Vanguard Alta Sky 51D

     I was able to load my Phantom 4, remote control, plugs, filters, 2 batteries, and the propellers in the main compartment configured for the drone and I was able to carry 2 camera bodies and 4 lenses in the bottom compartment. I do shoot with Olympus Micro 4/3 cameras and lenses so they fit easily into the bottom. I also had my Ipad in the tablet/ laptop slot in the back. (not pictured) I will say that everything did not fit as pictured on the Vanguard website. The Phantom 4 fit pretty snug and I had to adjust some of the dividers and I had to tuck the top arms further forward into the top of the bag. I also had to put the remote at the bottom rather than the top due to the adjustments but it worked out just fine. The propellers are in the very top under the drones arms. When you go to zip it up it looks like the back arms will be too high and tight when closed but it zips easily and there isn't enough pressure to worry about once it's closed up. Now because I got this primarily for drone use I have yet to configure it and use it for camera gear only but you can check out the versatility of this bag here.

 Top: Phantom 4, 2 batteries, charging cords, Polar Pro Filter kit, Remote, Propellers  Bottom: M. Zuiko 12-40mm 2.8, M. Zuiko 75mm 1.8, Olympus E-M1, Olympus PEN-F, M. Zuiko 60mm 2.8, M. Zuiko 8mm 1.8 Fisheye

Top: Phantom 4, 2 batteries, charging cords, Polar Pro Filter kit, Remote, Propellers

Bottom: M. Zuiko 12-40mm 2.8, M. Zuiko 75mm 1.8, Olympus E-M1, Olympus PEN-F, M. Zuiko 60mm 2.8, M. Zuiko 8mm 1.8 Fisheye

     So with all of this gear loaded into the bag I was very curious how comfortable it would be and how long it would take before my shoulders and neck got too tired and strained. Too my surprise it took quite awhile before I got tired. I actually walked the beach with this configuration for a couple hours along with my Vanguard VEO 265CB and it was very comfortable! The straps and padding in the bag were designed perfectly to distribute the load evenly without putting a lot of downward strain or pull on your shoulders. It was also designed to allow air to pass between the bag and your back preventing you from getting to hot and sweaty. 

 A shot me with the Vanguard Alta Sky 51D and VEO 265CB 

A shot me with the Vanguard Alta Sky 51D and VEO 265CB 

 Vanguard Alta Sky 51D back view

Vanguard Alta Sky 51D back view

    The design was well thought out. It was designed for a lot of storage and they give you a lot of access points to the main area of the bag. It has a bunch of Velcro inserts to move around and use to organize the bag how ever you see fit. You can obviously open the entire bag from the back to load and unload but they added an access flap on one side and one on the top so you can get to your camera, lens, etc without opening the entire bag. The bottom hatch is it's own compartment which open with a zipper and 2 buckles. It too is fully customizable with Velcro inserts. They added an exterior flap that can be used to carry your drone on the outside of the bag or you can roll up a sleeping bag or jacket and carry it in the flap.  It has several exterior and interior pockets to hold everything from SD Cards, lens caps, and water bottles. The bag is VERY sturdy and padded well so I am not concerned with anything happening to my gear if it gets bumped around.

 Vanguard Alta Sky 51D side pockets

Vanguard Alta Sky 51D side pockets

          Overall I really like the Alta Sky 51D and I will use it often especially when I have my drone with me. It's not an all around everyday bag for me but if you are going out hiking or traveling with a lot of gear it's a perfect solution! If you have any questions or comments leave them below and I will be sure to respond!