Our new Donner daypack is just what the doctor ordered | Product Review

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I don’t like to think of myself as lazy, but there is one thing that had really been bothering me. Way back when we started traveling, Dani took initiative and became the one who brought a backpack everywhere we went. She’s the one with the camera, and the extra lens, so naturally she would always bring a bag. I would throw in my iPhone, my bottle of water, then there are things like wallets, gum, little snacks and suddenly Dani is carrying around this heavy pack every day, while I stand around with empty pockets. The thing is, she didn’t even really mind. She has no problem carrying a full pack all day, whereas on the occasions I would offer to give her shoulders a break, mine would start bothering me within a half an hour or so. I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about it lately, too.

That’s why when we were put in touch with Overland Equipment, I was ecstatic about testing out my own bag and their Donner bag looked like the right one for me.

overland equipment bagI liked this bag from the start and not only because it would assuage my non-carrier guilt. I’ve also been on a big organization kick this year, trying to keep things in the best order possible. I want to have my own wallet, pens, maps and phone on me, right where I know where they are. This bag seemed just right to avoid as much stress as possible. Think I am being dramatic? Perhaps. But some of you may remember reading about our big Lisbon freak-out? I need to make sure I know where everything is at all times.

The Donner is sturdy but slim, with one main compartment and then a separate front section with different size pockets for notes, pens, and even a padded slot for my iPhone. There are deep outside pockets on either side, which are the each fit a small water bottle, too. Plus, I really dig the colors. Because we’ll be using it for traveling, I like the inconspicuous coffee brown color on the outside, but really love the extra pizazz of the yellow interior when you lift the flap or look inside.

Well, I had the bag for all of a few days before one of the two outside pockets became the perfect pocket for Dani’s long lens. Honestly, it fits surprisingly well and I had no qualms about carrying it…

dani with overland equipment bagPretty soon though, Dani started bringing the bag on her long walks with Millie, the dog we were caring for. The bag really carries weight well, so between her camera, the lenses and the dog water bottle, the bag worked great. Over the next few days, I quietly noticed how the bag was always on Dani’s shoulders, not mine.

She loves the Donner bag as much as I do, and says she doesn’t mind carrying this one either. One good thing is that it is smaller than the other day-pack, which means at least it won’t be as heavy or filled with extra ‘stuff’ we don’t need. The only downside to that is it doesn’t hold a laptop for the days we go to work in a cafe. In addition to all the front pockets, and side pockets, there is also an easy-access large pocket in the back that getting to our plane tickets and passports much easier through the boarding on our way down to Cancun the other day, and it will work for holding a small notebook, pens and a map when we’re roaming around cities in the future.

overland equipment donner bagThe only complaint about the bag is the Velcro on the outside front pocket. It makes that typical ripping sound every time she opens the bag, which is loud, but the bigger concern is that the Velcro is less secure than a zipper would be. This means that when we are in a city like Buenos Aires, Dani – I mean we – might not use all those great organizational pockets that attracted me to the bag in the first place.

For now though, it would seem that *we* have found ourselves the perfect new day-pack…

overland equipment donner bag

Full disclosure: We would like to thank Overland Equipment for providing a complimentary bag for us to test. As always, the opinions in this review and all other product reviews are entirely our own. 

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  1. hi guys

    I love your blog, its very inspiring, and I got some great tips for my adventure to mexico earlier this year. Wish I had known about this bag then!!

    I was wondering what camera you use and lens, your photos are absolutely beautiful..


  2. Hi guys

    I love reading your blog, I think what you are doing is so inspiring. I got some great tips for my holiday to mexico and USA earlier this year, wish I had known about this bag then..

    Your photos are so beautiful, I was wondering what camera and lens that you use..


    1. Thanks, Shantele! Glad that you like the Donner bag – we are actually using ours every day! And I am using a Canon EOS Rebel T3i and I am traveling with only a 18-55mm lens (plus a Canon EF 70-300mm zoom lens, but I broke it 🙁 Need to replace it).

  3. Can you hold a DSLR in the main compartment with some sort of padding? Do you think it would fit with a cover like this?

  4. I have been looking into a good travel bag that would hold my DSLR camera and other important items. Could this daypack comfortably fit a camera and other essential items?

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