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The Oliday Journeyman backpack is a bag that I was known to use by many other journalists and folks in the industry. It looks nice, functions well, and overall just feels good. Long-time readers know that we’ve reviewed the most camera bags of any photography outlet still standing. I’d probably argue that we’d done the most, ever. We often get things for free, that we declare, from manufacturers. But I also tend to get frustrated with camera bags. Like you, few of them are ever everything that you want. The Journeyman came so close that I repurchased it. And before you go on, I’d recommend that you not rough it around too much.
First off, the Oliday Journeyman isn’t expensive at all. It’s made of leather and canvas both. There is a waist strap, but not a sternum strap. There are side pockets, side straps, and lots of padding. And most of all, it’s stylish. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begged Gura Gear, Tenba, and WANDRD to make their bags in canvas and leather. But they won’t do it either as a branding philosophy or as a supply and cost issue. And all those brands do something better than the Oliday Journeyman does: build quality. The reason why I repurchased this bag is that the first one broke around a strap. Indeed, Oliday’s stitching quality can’t outdo the other brands. And for what it’s worth, no bag from those other brands has ever broken on the Phoblographer staff or I.
In fact, I tried reaching out to Oliday to develop a press relationship. They made me try to fill out a ton of information and a press deck larger than some NDAs. It really seemed like they weren’t interested, which shocked me.
I reviewed the Oliday Journeyman back in 2018. And at that point, I had been using the bag for over a year already. So what does the Oliday Journeyman do right?
- Canvas and leather: it’s a million times better looking than the nylon and other stuff that other brands use. I once had someone tell me that nylon bags are stylish, like a Peak Design bag for example. Maybe if you’re into wearing cheap Amazon athleisure wear all day and in every situation. But trust me, it’s not stylish in any sense.
- Two very different sections: A bag I was recently very much let down by was the Manfrotto Legende. The camera compartment had the most non-sensical entry point. And you couldn’t even pack your gear effectively in the bottom. But other brands do have that issue. The Oliday Journeyman surely doesn’t have this problem at all.
- Very comfortable shoulder straps: Do I need to say more about comfort? Tag onto this that you’ve got a waist strap. I’d also like a sternum strap, but that’s not happening any time soon.
- Good dividers: These dividers aren’t too big, too thin, or too complicated. They’re soft, padded, and just right.
- Weather resistance: I’ve brought my older bag into rain, the desert, and so many other locations. It always stood up to the elements.
So what’s not to like about the Oliday Journeyman?
- The stitching around the top of the shoulder straps will break after a while. Years, for what it’s worth.
- I wish the top of the bag were a roll top, but this works.
- I also wish that there were a sternum strap.
Yet again, though, I should also be even more forward. No camera bag is perfect. But this is close. I have a camera bag for every camera system I use regularly. My Leica L system lives in a Tenba bag. My Canon RF system stays in WANDRD. And my Sony system is in a cheap BAGSMART. In between all of those, I use Billingham bags in varying degrees. All of these we’ve gotten for free after reviewing, mind you, but I bought the Tenba myself. However, the Oliday Journeyman is for when I need to head out and actually use a bit of gear in combination with other stuff. The rest are for storage, organization, or for when I really need all that gear with me.