• Kevin

DulePro Camera Bags : Explorer Series

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

Not just pricewise but functionally the best camera bags I've ever bought (and I had/have some topline bags) !


I now own both the DulePro Explorer B450N camera bag and the DulePro Explorer B410N camera bag. The other bag in the series is the largest bag, the DulePro Explorer B480N (roughly equivalent to my Shimida Explore 40L bag).

As a landscape and travel photographer for the past 12 years I've traveled to many exotic and exciting locations : Nepal 4 times, Kyrgyzstan, all over China (where I've been resident for the past 25 years), Borneo 7 times (to photograph aquatic animals, fish and rainforest birds), Iceland twice, Norway and in the past three years Japan, Austria, the Dolomites and the Tibetan region of Sichuan, China (see the new gallery here :

https://www.thedragonsfather.com/china-tibetan-sichuan


As someone who treks and camps, usually alone, my bags, hiking and camping gear have been integral to not only my photographic success but also to my safety and of course enjoyment!

From the rear the size difference between the B450N and B410N is more noticeable. Note the cable ties I attach to my bag zips so that I can easily grab/find them in the dark or with gloves on.

What I'm comparing these bags to :


Are you a bag addict ? I'm far far worse than my wife could ever be ! Off the top of my head I've had (have in some cases) bags from Mindshift, Peak Design, Shimoda, Think Tank, Bataflae and LowePro and have adapted hiking backpacks from Boreas (3 packs), Gregory, Osprey and my current favourite backpack, the superb Lowe-Alpine Cerro Torre 65+20 (the Boreas bags, due to their huge super stretchy pockets and the LA Cerro Torre, due it's having a centre U shaped access panel that I could store an ICU behind, were the best non-dedicated packs).

The search for the 'perfect bag' will not stop here, but I'm enamoured with these DulePro bags.

Two easily accessible (from the access panel on the right) combinations and my 'Double Decker' system adds space for another 3 lenses.

What I need from my camera bags


Obviously the most important aspect is to be able to carry my cameras and lenses. In the case of the middle sized DulePro bag that means :

  • Minimum of 4-5 lenses (the B450N has what I dub 'double decker' compartments in that I can lay one lens flat, place a divider on top of it and then another lens on top of that and cover it with another divider or a lens cloth). In other words DSLR lens sized height.

  • Two cameras (with attached L plates)

  • Drone (DJI Mini 2 shown but it's now a DJI Air 2)

  • Tripod and head (ball, pano or both)

  • Full filter kit

  • Spare batteries

And I'll need to add other paraphernalia (see the photo below) that will likely include :

  • a rain jacket

  • snacks

  • and other small basic photographic accessories

The outer pockets should include (and does, and they are adjustable, on both camera bags) :

  • a water bottle pocket

  • and a tripod pocket

There should be well padded shoulder straps (I may carry the bag for a long way but I'll be putting it down often) and I like a small belt that doesn't get in the way but is sufficient so that the weight can be carried, without pain, on my hips to prevent shoulder pain/fatigue.

I mean like seriously ! Over 10 kgs was in my DulePro B450N

Pockets Galore ! All the bags also have :

  • Interior compartments (two) for a laptop and an ipad (I use the laptop compartment for my light rain jacket) with velcro to prevent items falling out when you open the back panel. I do use the iPad compartment. The maximum laptop size varies from bag to bag : 13.3", 15.4" and 17".

  • Yet another exterior pocket on the very front in which I place non-bulky and rarely used bits and pieces.

  • Another pocket on the top of the bag lid that I use for 'need to access easily but not valuable' items. Usually I put a few chocolate bars, bus / train tickets etc. in here.

  • Yet another pocket on the opposite side of the bag to the camera access panel ! This one is relatively 'flat' but useful.

  • There are two small mesh or stretchy stash pockets inside each of the interior / exterior front and main lid pockets, another in the opposite side pocket - tons of organisational options !

This is the side pocket on the opposite side of the bag to the Instant Access panel. Plenty of space - as if more were needed !

Actually I really appreciate all of these pockets to help me keep the bag organised rather than having half the stuff just shoved into a large pocket.

Notice the 'Double Decker' system I have in place ! The easy access panel is on the right and I can set this up so I have instant access to both camera+lens combinations.

Side Access Also very important to me is easy side access ! Many bags claim side access but either the access is limited or difficult (small zip, zip length is too short, panel is just a slit and doesn't fully open, interior layout doesn't make side access simple etc.). That isn't so with in the DulePro Explorer series where the side access is superb, a large YKK water-resistant zippered panel enables easy access and the interior layout can be simply tailored to suit your camera/lens combination(s) and note also that it can easily open up even if the pocket is in use. This is important to me not only when shooting around town but also when shooting landscapes because I don't want to have to open the bag's back panel up every time I put it down (dirt, wind, losing something dropping out, or much more than likely is just me being totally clumsy / thoughtless and picking it up with the back compartment still open) !

Side Access Panel showing how easy it is to grab 'n' go either camera/lens combination.

How I use these camera bags


DulePro Explorer B450N During my recent trip to the Tibetan region of Sichuan, China I wanted a camera bag that I could stuff in my backpack and take out for my day (or night) excursions to specific sites/locations.


In the end I was unable to squeeze the B450 Explorer into the Lowe-Alpine Cerro Torre 65+20 without excluding some critical items (however as I planned on making this a B&B trip for the majority of my time there - I'd estimated 4-5 weeks - it wasn't critical to be able to store everything in one pack) so as I didn't anticipate many times where I'd have to hike with both packs, I carried the DulePro on the front and wore the Lowe-Alpine Cerro Torre, as one should, on my back !

Around 30 kgs in total but I felt totally balanced and the superb carry of the Lowe-Alpine Cerro Torre meant I really didn't feel the weight. During my day/night excursions I was carrying everything that can be seen in the lay-flat contents photo (above) in the B450N. I estimate the size of this camera bag (because I can't find the size in litres anywhere) to be 25-30L.


DulePro Explorer B410N

This is a much smaller bag that I've been using around the massive city where I currently reside (Shanghai). For that purpose it is near perfect. There's maybe one aspect that could be improved on perhaps but not without make the bag larger (so just buy the bigger bag) ! The tripod carry is difficult (I'm using a LeoFoto Ranger 282C with a panoramic head) as the tripod is a bit too tall for this bag. Option ? Just carry it with a tripod carry strap (reduces weight) or in the provided tripod bag. For this bag I'd typically take most of the contents above (I could actually fit in 90% of them - though the bag did now feel over-stuffed). However typically around town I have : One camera with the Tamron 70-180/2.8 attached for quick deployment. Another 3 lenses (Laowa 12mm / Samyang 24mm / Voigtlander 35mm). Smaller tripod (Sirui). Drone (Mini or Air 2). Lots of the other bits and pieces shown in the contents pic above. It was more difficult to stash my rain-jacket - which had to be lashed to the other exterior pocket.


I estimate the size of the B410N camera bag (because I can't find the size in litres anywhere) to be 15-20L. DulePro Explorer B480N I haven't used this bag and don't own it - though have checked it out in store. Based on my experience with the smaller B450N, and comparing the B480N to my Shimoda Explore 40, I estimate this to be of a similar size to the Shimoda, so around 35-40L. The feature set is laid out in the graphic from DulePro below and it functions in an identical way to the two bags I do have, the B450N and B410N. So it's feature rich and very very functional.

This is the top section of the B450N bag. Plenty of space for my drone kit, filters, Insta 360 and other bits and pieces. The smaller top section of the B410N can still take the drone, filter kit and Insta 360.

Dulepro's official feature list


Here's a list of a few of the features as detailed on their official website (given at the end of this blog post) :

  • Water-repellant (not tested but looks like it'll easily hold up in light rain or maybe more).

  • Wear-resistant material

  • Japanese YKK zippers (inside rain protective sleeves)

  • American Dornafu (UTX) buckles

  • Adjustable shoulder straps and chest harness

  • Removable waist belt

  • Carry Handle

  • Separate trolley sleeve for placing your bag on top of a roller bag

  • HPS-EVA Bag Dividers (with velcro)

  • Reinforced Stitching

  • Reflective Tape in 3 places

  • Weight : 1.25 kgs / 1.5 kgs / 1.78 kgs


CONCLUSION


At this moment in time I can't give anything but a 5 Star rating to these bags. After years of buying/testing/using a plethora of camera bags on the road in some of the world's toughest locations : Everest & Annapurna regions of Nepal, hot sweaty rain-forests of Borneo and Taman Nagara, wind-swept and wet (very wet!) Iceland, Scotland, Wales etc. these bags seem to meet pretty much everything I am looking for in a camera bag to handle not only those conditions/locations but just general use e.g. day trips or just wandering around the city shooting street. My practical experience with the B450N and B410N just underlines that.


These are my feelings after using the B450N for two weeks in the Tibetan region of Sichuan, that is mountains, lakes, sun, rain and snow and freezing temperatures down to -30C (ca. -22F) :

  • I love being able to just throw the bag on the floor, take out my gear and know that the bag won't be damaged by rock or rain and I can just easily wipe the mud off.

  • I was aware that I was carrying a huge weight for this B450N bag (I guess around 10 kgs) however the seams seem as strong as the day I bought it.

  • I was worried that the metal tips to my tripod may tear through the fabric in the tripod pocket - they didn't so I guess the 'tear-proof' claim is living up to its billing !

  • I couldn't believe how much gear I could stow in this bag and it still carried well (I was walking between 15 and 25 kms a day).

  • No shoulder pain and it carried well on my hips despite having just a small (removable) 'made in the USA' belt.

  • I absolutely loved being able to have simple, easy, access to not one but both cameras and lenses.

  • Quick access was a breeze - better than any other bag I've owned.

I had a Sony A7rii with Samyang 24/1.4 in one side of the quick access and a Sony A9 with Tamron 70-180/2.8 in the other. Three other lenses (Voigtlander 35/1.7 + Samyang 45/1.8 and Samyang 18/2.8) were also stored inside the main compartment.


NEGATIVES I have actually only found two, very minor, negative aspects to these bags :

  1. The tiny pocket tightener straps tend to get caught in the main compartment zipper every time I do the zip up. Because the pocket tightener strap falls across the main compartment zip. Had the pocket tightener tighten in the opposite direction - no issue ! So please reverse it DulePro !

  2. I find the strap for the top tripod strap (above the tripod pocket) is difficult to loosen / tighten. So I changed it out for a small bungee strap with a better/easier to use, lock.

And here's the clincher : I can buy all three of these DulePro Explorer bags, I'll say that again because it is incredible (at least to me!) ... I can buy all three bags, the B480N, B450N and the B410N, for less than it cost me to buy the Shimoda Explore 40 + Large ICU. Much less than!

So I can get the Shimoda Explore 40 sized B480N for when I'm carrying a lot more equipment than usual, the B450N for pure photo-based expeditions (either around town or when I'm traveling) and the B410N for a basic, or small, camera setup and for when I don't want to be carrying much weight/gear. All for less than I paid for my Shimoda Explore 40 + large DSLR ICU. There is nothing I like better than buying the ideal product ... except when it blows my price expectations out of the water ! My wife is very appreciative of my efforts ;) Kevin

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Here is the official specifications and features page from DulePro :

Here is the link to DulePro's official website : https://www.dulepro.com/explorer-series_p51083.html

If you'd like to leave a comment or share your experience with these, or other, camera bags, please do so below !

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