Boundary Supply Prima System Review: The Best Modular Backpack for Photographers?

Is this the best modular backpack for photographers on the market? The Boundary Supply Prima System has a ton of customization and versatility. But does it really have the best organization for photographers?

Boundary Supply Prima System Review

The Boundary Supply Prima touts itself as one of the most well-designed daily use backpacks on the market today. Whether you need a commuting pack or want ample camera gear storage for your next weekend trip, the Prima System aims to deliver.

Boundary Supply came up with the design for the Prima System Modular Travel Backpack by combining work, play, and photography in an all-in-one bag system.

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Boundary Supply Prima System in tan

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Boundary Supply Prima System

The Boundary Supply Prima System combined with its modular components is one of the most heavy-duty, versatile bags for pro-photographers and digital nomads.

This bag seems as if it has endless versatility; however, a versatile bag isn’t always the most practical bag. In this Boundary Supply Prima System review, you’ll find out whether or not this bag is built for your lifestyle.

Boundary Supply Prima System Review 2020

  • Adaptable storage solutions for different uses, whether it’s your daily commute or a weekend trip. 
  • The combo of the Prima backpack, Verge Case, and Fieldspace (all included in the pack-only purchase option) makes for unbeatable storage solutions and personalized organization options.  
  • Ability to expand from 25 liters to 35 liters. 
  • Comes with an RFID passport pocket for added safety while traveling (so scammers can’t scan your cards). 
  • The Prima backpack comes with Boundary’s lifetime guarantee. 
  • Extra carrying comfort and added support with a removable waist belt, LFT foam shoulder straps, and back-padding. Breathable back support will also keep you dry and sweat-free.
  • Made with Bluesign fabric, one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly products available. They also use Nywool as a liner instead of wool. 

Pros

  • Incredibly durable, water-resistant, and stain-proof materials that will not sacrifice the flexibility of the bag
  • Pockets on the inside and some small, hidden pockets on the outside for easy access.
  • An attractive bag that’s also technical and functional.
  • Luggage pass-through for easy transport with additional luggage. 
  • Magnetic auto-lock buckles and Stormguard zippers for secure and easy access.
  • Accessories that work well in the bag system as well as independently. For example, you can use the pack’s removable waistband to convert the Verge Case into a one strap over-the-shoulder bag. 
  • Side access pocket makes to reach the Verge Case. 

Cons

  • Only suitable for day use and short weekend trips. It’ll carry your camera gear, but not much else.
  • The design could be improved to make the most of the space at the bottom of the bag. It’s usable for packable items, like clothing and jackets, but not much else.
  • There’s only one water bottle pocket on the side, which doubles as the tripod holder, so you can’t have both. Instead, Boundary Supply has added extra space next to the Verge Case for a water bottle (check out our water bottle review to find your perfect fit) or a small GorillaPod. You can also use the attachment straps to carry a tripod.
  • The tiny “hidden” pocket behind the water bottle holder is impossible to access with a water bottle in place because the bottle pocket is too tight.
  • Not backpack related, but the Boundary Supply website is absolutely horrible and difficult to use.

Who is the Prima System Travel Backpack For?

  • Daily Commuters: This bag allows for flawless storage solutions to keep your life in order every day.
  • Photographers: The backpack alone is a great option for photographers, but the whole modular system ensures all your equipment (including lenses) has a home.
  • Weekend Travelers: This pack is perfect for a few days away when you only really need the essentials (like your camera and a couple clean shirts and underwear) or if you just want to travel carry-on. 
  • Digital Nomads: This is a great bag for when your office is on the go. It comes with plenty of modular accessories that you can add to make sure you are productive no matter the location. Other than your camera gear, there’s also a laptop sleeve. This is not meant for one-bag travel, however—for that you’ll need something larger like the Peak Design Travel Backpack or the WANDRD HEXAD Access Duffel.
  • Day Hikers: With the versatile organization and capabilities for camera gear storage, this is a good pack for short, non-strenuous hikes in dry weather conditions.

Who Isn’t the Prima System Travel Backpack For?

  • Backpackers and Trail Junkies: Although the pack is designed with comfort in mind, this bag is not intended for backcountry travel or multi-day backpacking trips. For that, read our list of best camera backpacks for hiking.
  • Long-Term Travelers: Despite all the extra liters of storage, the pack is still pretty small. If you plan on being gone for months at a time, you may need more space. For more options, check out our list of best travel backpacks.

Who is Boundary Supply?

This wouldn’t be a full review without talking a little bit about the company. Boundary Supply is an innovative organization based out of Salt Lake City, UT. The company’s number one goal in production and distribution is to be a customer-direct business. This allows Boundary Supply to be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible. 

Their products are technical and functional without compromising comfort. Boundary Supply is also very methodical and intentional in every step of production to avoid unnecessary environmental degradation.

Boundary Supply’s primary focus is on bags and backpack accessories, as you’ll learn throughout this review. However, they also have a minimal variety of men’s and women’s clothing.

Boundary Supply Prima System Features

This bag has almost an overwhelming amount of storage! From expandable pockets to dedicated space in the main compartment for every piece of gear you own, including multiple lenses, let’s talk about how each feature stacks up.

Main Compartment

Boundary Supply Prima main compartment

The large main compartment works well with the modular components and comes with an expandable pouch that serves as a handy space for stuffing a sweater, jacket, or other clothing items.

If you access the main compartment from the front – via the vertical zipper – the bag folds open, almost like a book, with a flap on either side of the zip. You’ll find a pocket on each of these two front flaps. One side has a standard zipper pocket, and the other side is a sturdy mesh pocket for less valuable items. 

This zipper access provides a unique way to access to the main compartment of the bag, whether you’re packing or retrieving. I very much prefer this quick access over blindly groping through one single top access without being able to see inside.

Expandable Storage

The Prima System Travel Backpack expands from 25 liters to 35 liters. How? It’s designed with a flap over the main compartment rather than the typical zip top.

I love the extra space this top access provides, and I typically only use it when stuffing things into my bag or when I need to expand the capacity of the main compartment.

Although the extra space can be helpful for weekend trips, this flap-over design can somewhat inhibit your access through the top of the bag. Perhaps that’s why Boundary Supply added the side access and the front access zip to the main compartment. 

Laptop Compartment

Boundary Supply Prima laptop sleeve

The laptop compartment is accessible via the top of the pack and is compatible with laptops up to 17 inches. This particular laptop compartment is also large enough to house the Boundary Supply Fieldspace organizer. 

The Fieldspace is your professional organizer for a tablet and other smaller accessories and stays in place with a magnetic clip. This clip keeps the organizer pouch secure yet easy to remove when needed.

Without the Fieldspace inside the compartment, you could likely fit a notebook or a book in its place. On the other hand, I love the Fieldspace—it’s a fantastic office organizer and is very handy for digital nomads. 

Quick Access Pockets

Boundary Supply Prima access pockets

Like I mentioned earlier, there are noticeably few exterior pockets. However, there are enough to keep your frequently used items easily accessible.

The top of the pack has a quick access pocket with a magnetic strip to separate the compartment into two sections—it’s lined with Nywool fabric so you can store your phone or glasses there without scratching them. 

Behind the water bottle holder on the side of the pack is a somewhat hidden pocket that is just large enough to fit a small item (like your phone or wallet). But if you have a water bottle in the holder, accessing the hidden pocket is difficult.

RFID Security Pocket + Main Compartment Access Zipper

On the front of the pack, there is a larger zipper for easy access to the main compartment, which pairs flawlessly with the Verge Case camera storage. There is an RFID pouch just inside this main compartment zipper to add extra security for your valuables without compromising accessibility. 

Attachment Straps

For additional storage, Boundary Supply added straps on the bottom of the bag for a tripod or to attach additional accessories. Several accessories are included or can be added for an even more extensive organization (I’ll talk about those shortly). I love the amount of customization these straps bring to the table.

Camera Storage

Prima System camera storage

The primary selling point that sets this pack apart from other similar travel or commuting backpacks is the camera gear storage. It’s really the crux of this review.

The backpack alone is just a backpack with no specialized camera storage features — the Verge Case is actually the camera bag. You can easily clip it externally to the pack, clip it inside the main compartment, or use the strap to carry it separately like a shoulder bag.

The Verge Case feature really flows well with the overall design and makes bringing your camera gear on trips a breeze. I’ll talk more about the Verge Case later in this review.

Depending on whether you’re a hobby photographer or do it for a living, there are additional camera-specific accessories you can add as well. 

Access Points

The Prima Supply Boundary bag has several different access points.

Top Access: I mentioned a little earlier that the main access point on the top of the bag is a flap over design. This feature requires you to open the magnetic buckles, unroll the flap, and then either reach into the abyss or unzip the front for more access. 

The top access is a pretty cumbersome design as far as quick access goes, but it does have the ability to add more storage space. Admittedly, the flap also keeps your gear more protected from the elements. 

Access to your laptop is made easy by having a separate compartment behind the flap over so that you can just unzip and grab your laptop and the Fieldspace organizer. 

Side Zipper: The side access point is definitely one of my favorite photographer-friendly features of this bag. Since getting into the top of the bag isn’t super easy, Boundary Supply added the side access so that you can slide your Verge Case in and out easily.

Boundary Supply Prima side access

When you are holding the bag, you don’t even have to take it off all the way to access your camera, What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to take the verge case out either. Sling it like a shoulder bag with one strap, unzip the side, unzip the Verge Case, and then take your camera out. This is great for those unexpected photo opportunities when time is of the essence. (Alternatively, the WANDRD PRVKE acts like a shoulder bag in much the same way.)

Front Zipper: Boundary Supply has also added the front zipper that turns the main pack into a duffle-style bag. This feature is nice, especially when traveling, so you don’t have to rummage around and take things out to get to the bottom. 

Dimensions & Specifications

PrimaVerge CaseFieldspace
Dimensions20″H X 12″W X 8″D9″H X 8″W X 6″D14″H X 10″W X 5″D
Weight3.75 lbs / 1.70 kgs3 lbs / 0.38 kgs 0.5 lbs / 0.23 kgs
Capacity25-35 litersCamera body + 2 lenses13” tablet or laptop sleeve stowage

Boundary Supply Prima System Review

Materials (5/5)

The Prima System is manufactured using Bluesign fabrics with Hypalon abrasion-resistant panels. The Kodra Nylon fabric is one of the most durable woven fabrics on the market, and all of Boundary’s Kodra materials are coated with Boundary’s Barricade Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating. This coating makes the inside and outside of the backpack water-resistant, stain-proof, and easy to clean. 

Hypalon is the most durable textile that Boundary manufactures and ensures the pack is highly resistant to any abrasive surfaces. The exterior of the pack also has some 3M reflective trim for safety purposes while commuting in the dark. 

LFT EVA Foam pads the straps and back panel. Without minimizing comfort, this foam is also extremely breathable, making it perfect for carrying a pack of any weight for any length of time. 

Some pockets, including the brain pouch (the pocket at the top of the backpack), are lined with water-resistant Nywool fabric. It’s coated with the same Barricade DWR as the exterior fabric to make it water-resistant. This coating is a scratch-free liner that imitates the look and feel of wool while being animal fiber-free. 

The Prima System does include some mesh pouches on the inside of certain parts of the backpack. The mesh is made of a durable, hyper-stretch nylon material for longevity. 

Boundary Supply has a patented magnetic, auto-locking buckle system that combines the need for security with the desire for accessibility for life on the go. Other access points on the Prima system use YKK Stormguard zippers for similar reasons: protection and ease of use. All metal hardware (including magnetic clips) on the pack is coated in a matte black finish to resist corrosion and wear of the materials. 

The Verge Case is a camera case specially designed to keep your equipment scratch-free through the use of hypersoft Velex fabric as the liner. 

All materials used for the Prima System Travel Backpack are Bluesign approved. Bluesign is a European-based organization that monitors and certifies companies as they optimize environmentally safe products and processes, environmentally safe materials, efficient operating procedures, pollution control, and safe working environments. This allows Boundary Supply to reduce their environmental impact on all levels of production, as well as minimize the use of harmful substances. 

Let’s now take some time to review aesthetics and comfort. 

Style & Aesthetics (5/5)

This is one sexy bag. It’s super under the radar and aesthetically pleasing without compromising any amount of functionality. There are three color options: brown/black, black, and gray/black. All the color schemes are non-flashy and will blend well in any setting—perfect for travelers who don’t want to draw a lot of attention to themselves and their expensive gear!

The Boundary Supply logo is also rather incognito. Overall, this backpack has the look of a modern adventure travel bag combined with an old-school leather rucksack style. 

Comfort (4/5)

Next up in our Boundary Supply Prima System backpack review is comfort. The foam padding on the back and the straps make this bag a delight to carry. The padding is pretty breathable, which makes this a good commuting bag.

Despite the carrying comfort, some commuters have found this backpack to be somewhat bulky for simple day-to-day use. The term “bulky” is subjective, however, and although some commuters find the features cumbersome, others find them extremely useful. 

man wearing a Boundary Supply Prima Backpack

It’s up to you. If you’re looking for a very slim pack that barely takes up any space at all, then the Boundary Supply Prima System backpack probably isn’t for you. But if you don’t mind a little extra bulk in exchange for plenty of room and great aesthetics, then you’re in the right place. 

This backpack also comes with a removable waist strap, as well as a sternum strap for added comfort. This is ideal if you have to wear the pack for long periods of time or reduce shifting on your commute, or have a heavy load. The waist strap and the sternum strap also allow you to distribute the weight of the pack better, so it doesn’t sit directly on your shoulders.

Although the straps and waist belt adds a lot of extra support and comfort, this pack is not comfortable for more than a day hike. Strenuous hiking and more than one day’s worth of equipment will bog you down, and you’re better off investing in something more suited for the extremes. 

Organization (5/5)

As far as modular pack systems go, the Boundary Supply Prima System backpack is hard to beat.

This bag excels in electronics organization. You’ll find dedicated spots for your laptop, tablet, camera, and lenses, with room to spare. You’ll also find that the optional accessories will keep every piece of your gear just where it needs to be. I’ll discuss these accessories later in the review, but rest assured that this pack’s organization is phenomenal. 

If your idea of organization revolves around free-style packing, this is also an option. All the accessories are completely interchangeable and can be removed whenever you want. Don’t want the Verge Case taking up room? Then just take it out and pack your bag however you like. 

Generally speaking, there are similar bags to this one, however, there isn’t one that checks quite as many boxes as this one does.

Durability (5/5)

Durability and longevity are some of the driving design factors that Boundary Supply considers in designing any of their products. The Prima System is made using robust and woven nylon material so you can use the pack every day for years to come.

Other features, such as the buckles and zippers, are high-quality metal with a black matte coating to prevent premature aging. 

How long it lasts will also be dependent on how much it’s used. If you’re using it every day on your commute to work, and even on your weekend trips, the pack will likely start to show some general wear after six months. The quality of the pack won’t be compromised at this point, but it will be evident that it’s being used daily. Keep in mind that Boundary Supply has a lifetime guarantee. 

Price

The Prima System is a mid-range pack as far as the price goes, and honestly, with all the modular components and accessories, it’s a great deal. Depending on the specific accessories you include in your purchase, the price will range from $219-407 (but there are often sales).

If you can’t fork out the entire amount all at once, they do also offer interest-free installments for the Prima System. 

Warranty

The Prima System comes with a lifetime guarantee. However, their warranty policy is slightly more complicated. If you’re interested in more information about the terms of the warranty, visit their website.

Shipping

Yes! The Prima System is available no matter where you live. If the shipping costs are below $40 USD, Boundary Supply will refund the extra amount. Additionally, if you live in Indonesia, you qualify for domestic shipping. 

Prima System Modular Backpack Accessories

The Prima System itself includes two modular accessories in the “pack only” purchase. If you want, you can customize the pack for your specific organizational needs, or you can choose an already designed option such as the commuter, traveler, or photographer. 

Verge Case

Boundary Supply Verge Case

The Verge Case is what makes this a camera-worthy bag, and it’s included in the pack only purchase option. This packing cube style camera accessory is lined with Nywool to prevent scratches and has room for your camera and two lenses.

The Verge Case fits securely into your pack and attaches inside with two magnetic buttons. This helps keep it in place when you’re using the side access to get to your camera. It also clips to the exterior of your bag.

If you want to just take your camera for the day, you can also use the Verge Case as an over the shoulder bag. The detachable waistband doubles as a shoulder strap for the Verge Case.

There’s also a thermal insert that keeps the case thermal-controlled using Thermagrid technology. Bonus: it’s waterproof. 

Fieldspace

Boundary Supply Fieldspace

This is another accessory that’s included in the pack only purchase option. The Fieldspace can be used as a travel or office organizer and can house a 13” laptop or tablet. It slides into the laptop compartment and fastens into place with a magnetic button.

The Fieldspace can easily be left out of the pack if you aren’t using it that day, but it doesn’t take up a lot of room and allows for easy organization of small items or important documents. 

Port Kitt

Boundary Supply Port Kitt

This accessory is only included if you choose the commuter or traveler purchase options. You can also customize your order to add it as well. The Port Kitt is a dual compartment packing block that holds dry goods on one side and is waterproof to keep liquids on the other. The waterproof portion will protect your other gear from pressure leaks or liquid explosions. 

There is also an X-PAC Port Kitt option that is essentially the same design as the original port kit, just a heavier duty model. It has reinforced fibers and extra lamination for more waterproof resistance, and it’s also slash-proof. 

EXT Stormproof Transit Case

This accessory is included in the traveler, commuter, and photography purchase options. The case is an exterior feature that holds two pens and your phone. It uses the magnetic fidlock closure system, while the interior is padded with foam and lined with Nywool to protect your phone from scratches. 

EDC-1 Case

This small accessory is only included in the commuter purchase option. It’s a redesign of an older Boundary Supply accessory in a more minimalistic option to store creative essentials, like pencils, pens, or headphones. 

HT Key Clip

The key clip accessory comes with the commuter and photographer purchase options. It’s a lightweight G clip that secures your keys wherever you choose. 

MK-1 Camera Case

Only included in the photographer purchase option, this is a one of a kind camera case. It basically takes up the entire main compartment but can store camera equipment (including lenses) and/or drone equipment and has a handle on the top to be a stand-alone bag as well. 

EXM Port 6 Liter

Part of the traveler and photographer purchase options, this extra separate space is large enough to fit a pair of shoes (or it will fit any other loose items you wish to store). It also separates wet items from your other cargo. 

PK-1 Packing Cube

Included as an accessory for the traveler purchase option, this is a great travel companion to compartmentalize your pack and keep things organized. 

Prima System Modular Backpack: Final Thoughts

The number of features on the Prima System Modular Travel Backpack seems overwhelming at first. But after some use, you’ll appreciate that it allows for amazing organization and personalized options for your daily backpacking needs. It’s one of the most comfortable packs for a daily commute and is water-resistant enough that you don’t have to be too worried in light rain. This bag really is what you make it.

There are a few quirks with the bag, but many of them are largely overshadowed by the thoughtfulness of design and the quality of the material. Overall, this pack has it all. If you want an all-around day-to-day bag that can double as a day-hike pack, camera bag, and a short travel bag, you found it.