Wotancraft Pilot Bag 7L Review

Overall Score:8.7

The Wotancraft Pilot 7L is a modular camera shoulder bag with a premium build that’s truly best-in-class. It impressed us with its comfortable carry, quick-access organization, and drool worthy looks. For travel or street photographers, the Pilot 7L is an all-around winner.

Durability: 9.0
Functionality: 8.5
Performance: 8.0
Aesthetics: 10.0
Value: 8.0

Capacity: 7L

Weight: 840 g

Main Material: 500D Cordura

Hardware: YKK, Duraflex

Weather Resistance: Teflon (exterior), polyurethane (interior)

Dimensions: 35 x 15 x 24 cm

Manufacturing Country: Taiwan

Warranty: 3 Years

Length of Test: 6 weeks

Acquisition: in exchange for our honest feedback, Wotancraft sent us the Pilot with zero expectations. As always, the content of this review wasn’t shared with the company prior to publishing. Just know, our job isn’t to tickle the ego of a gear brand… its to provide you with the insights you need to make a sound buying decision – nothing more, nothing less. 

Countries: Thailand

Climate(s): Tropical Savanna

Weather: Hot and Humid (highest temp 34 C), Light and Heavy Rain

The Wotancraft Pilot is designed for:

  • Travel and street photography.

It’s not designed for:

  • EDC or technical adventures.
Durablity

Build Quality

Construction: as expected from Wotancraft, the Pilot Bag exudes top-quality craftsmanship and is built to last. From the waxed Cordura to the Fidlock magnetic buckle and smooth YKK zippers, every design choice was exceptionally well considered. 

And as we’ve mentioned before, Wotancraft’s Cordura is one of the best materials we’ve ever seen on a bag – it’s one of our favorites, as it ages beautifully with a rugged patina. It’s also highly weather-resistant and brushes off light rain with ease – you can expect your expensive camera gear to stay dry during a short downpour.

Functionality

Main Feature Set

Main Compartment: when you open up the bag’s seashell-like flap, you gain quick access to a densely padded and modular section of dividers. Made of a medical-grade microfiber lining, you can arrange the dividers however you like without worrying about the development of dreaded VELCRO fuzz (which is common with other camera bags).

As for storage, this compartment will easily stow a mirrorless or DSLR camera with 1-2 lenses plus accessories. Additionally, there’s a padded sleeve that’ll fit up to a 9.7″ tablet. 

Adjacent to the compartment, there’s a zippered security pocket where you can store a wallet, an SD card holder, a battery holder, and a lens cloth. 

External Components: in addition to the two teeny-tiny 500ml water bottle pockets on each side, Wotancraft sells add-on modules that attach via YKK snap clips to the exterior daisy chains. With these modules you can have to the ability to port around a larger water bottle for the day or go accessory crazy with your camera gear. 

Side note: the Zipper Pouch module can also be used as a standalone minimal EDC sling, once you reach your destination.

Underneath the two exterior daisy chains are hidden dual-access stash pockets that are meant to secure valuables while traveling – think a passport, extra cash, etc. 

The pockets themselves are shallow and a bit difficult to use by design – as they are meant to be a redundancy for safe storage.

Last but certainly not least, the bottom of the bag is home to two removable compression straps that can be used to lash small tripods like the Joby Gorillapod or the Peak Design travel models.

Just know, the webbing can sometimes be a pain in the arse to loosen up and tighten. On the flipside, that means your tripod won’t accidently slip out easily.

Performance

Practical Utility

Carry Comfort: let’s cut to the chase… the Wotancraft Pilot is as comfortable as a camera shoulder bag can be. No more, no less.

For street photography and short walks in the mountains, you’ll have a hard time finding a camera shoulder bag that balances comfort, accessibility, and protection as well as the Pilot. Performance wise, it’s truly best-in-class.

But at the end of the day, no camera shoulder bag (including the Pilot) is inherently comfortable. When loaded up with gear or during extended carries, all of the weight will be concentrated on the small surface area that the shoulder pad is in contact with. And ultimately, the lack of load distribution that comes with carrying a shoulder bag will cause a hot spot to form during prolonged use.

With the dilemma of shoulder bag comfort in mind, the Pilot’s ergonomics are generously aided by an adequately dense shoulder pad. And what makes this pad unique, is that it’s covered by a neoprene scuba fabric that’s slip-resistant and oh-so satisfying to touch.

In all honesty, we squish this padding for fun more than we’d like to admit… 

Aesthetics

Design Elements

Wotancraft pimped out the Pilot bag with some rediculously good looks… no doubt, it’s the baddest camera shoulder bag in the game.  

Aesthetically speaking, the Pilot is Indiana Jones reincarnated with a WWII rucksack vibe. It’s unique. It’s art. It’s guaranteed to turn heads and drop jaws.

At the time of writing, the Wotancraft Pilot comes in two colorways: black and khaki.

Value

Primary Alternatives

The Wotancraft Pilot is a premium offering with a premium build, that has a premium price to match. Relative to its nearest competition, the Pilot seems to be fairly priced. Our only issue with its price is Wotancraft’s 3-year warranty. For such an expensive bag, it should be covered under a lifetime warranty.

The primary competition (read: alternatives to consider) for the Wotancraft Pilot are:

Pack Main Fabric Gender Vol. Weight Adjustable Length? Padded?
Pilot 500D Cordura Unisex 7L 840 g Yes Yes
Everyday 400D Nylon Unisex 6L 780 g Yes Yes
F-5XB Waxed Canvas Unisex 6L 500 g Yes Yes
SH 140 II 500D Cordura Unisex 6L 300 g Yes Yes
Skyline 7 600D Polyester Unisex 6L 182 g Yes Yes
8.9/10 Rating

Overall Verdict

The Wotancraft Pilot Bag 7L is a near perfect design for a camera shoulder bag.

In our humble opinion, it’s best-in-class for street and travel photography. And if budget isn’t an issue, the Pilot is 100% worth every pretty penny it costs. Why? It’ll last you a near lifetime of photography adventures and look great while doing it. 

For more information on Wotancraft, see our interview with them HERE.

What We Liked

  • Comfortable for short duration use with a lightweight setup.
  • Overall materials and build are highly water-resistant.
  • An overly good looking bag that’s impossible to not stare at.

What Could Use Improvements

  • Adding paracord pulls to the zippers on the pockets for easier access.
  • Adding a keyring clip to the zippered pocket in the main compartment.
Longevity

Usage Timeline

Excellent

Initial Usage

Build quality is impeccable and there’s nothing to really complain about – the Pilot is a solid bag.

Excellent

Excellent

6 Weeks of Usage

Shoulder bags aren’t really are thing, because of their limitations but the Pilot has made us reassess their use cases. We’ve really enjoyed using the bag thus far – no issues to report.

Excellent

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