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iFootage Beava Roller 35 Review – An Interesting Bag with a Few Shortcomings

January 24th, 2024 Jump to Comment Section 3
iFootage Beava Roller 35 Review - An Interesting Bag with a Few Shortcomings

The iFootage Beava lineup of bags was introduced in September 2023, and since day one, the Beava Roller 35 has caught my attention due to its design and many interesting features: a generous size with a flat bottom, a large opening, two layers of storage, and the promise of premium, rugged, and weatherproof build quality. For the past two months, I’ve been taking the bag with me on multiple shoots to get a real feeling for it. So let’s take a closer look at this interesting bag in this exclusive CineD review!

Disclaimer: Let me first say that I am not an iFootage Ambassador. However, the company sent us the product free of charge to review it. This review is my unbiased opinion, as iFootage did not modify, influence, or give input about the article before its publication.

iFootage Beava Roller 35 bag
Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

A roller bag love/hate relationship

If you’ve been following us for the past few years and have read some of my articles, you should know by now that I’m slightly obsessed with bags in general, especially when it comes to carrying my filmmaking equipment. In case you missed it and want to get a sense of my fixation on bags, you can read my previous reviews on the PGYTECH OneMo backpack and the Manfrotto PRO Light Flexloader L – which I still consider one of the best all-around filmmaking backpacks to this day.

As someone who has used a wide variety of flight cases, handbags, backpacks, roller cases, and roller bags, my relationship with the latter has evolved over time. Indeed, when I was in my 20s, carrying heavy equipment on my back or shoulders for 10 to 12 hours was not an issue. I could move back and forth and choose rolling cases/bags depending on my mood and project. Now that I’m in my 30s, I can tell you that all my heavy camera kit lives in a – unfortunately, now discontinued – Manfrotto Roller Bag-70. Nonetheless, in my opinion, it remains one of the finest large roller bags available for local or national shoots that don’t involve air travel or the need to check my bag.

As I now mainly shoot as a one-man-band filmmaker, my quest these past couple of years has been to create an efficient shooting kit with everything needed for 90% of my most common shooting scenarios and talking heads: two cameras, lenses, two camera tripods, some LED lights, light stands, and so on. I aim to carry everything independently and make my life/day on set as smooth, efficient, and easy as possible. Indeed, I hate wasting time making multiple trips from my car to the shooting location and the other way around. Currently, I use one rolling bag for my camera kit and one backpack for everything else, i.e. lighting/accessories. While this setup works for me, there are still many times when I thought to myself “Two roller bags would have been nice and maybe easier to move throughout the day.”

With the introduction of their first lineup of bags in September 2023, iFootage has launched a seamless lineup, featuring two backpacks—the Beava Backpack 35 and Backpack 50—alongside a single roller bag. So, will the beginning of iFootage’s journey in the camera bag industry be as successful and prolific as its camera accessories and LED lights? Let’s find out!

iFootage Beava Roller 35
Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

iFootage Beava Roller 35 specifications

The iFootage Beava Roller 35 is a reasonably large bag that officially measures 61 x 36 x 35cm/24 x 14.1 x 13.7in (length x height x width) for an empty weight of 3.85kg/8.48 lbs. Based on my measurements, the external dimensions are a tad smaller than what iFootage claims. While the length is 61cm/24in, the height measures 36cm/14.1in when the bag is open, reducing to approximately 30cm/11.8in when closed, and the width is 32cm/12.6in.

As usual with camera bags, the internal dimensions are slightly smaller at around 46 x 23 x 26cm/10.2 x 5.9 x 18.5in from my measurements.

Image credit: iFootage

iFootage is not very specific about how much gear you can store in the Beava Roller 35, but according to the promotional pictures, the bag can take up to two mirrorless cameras with lenses attached, an extra telephoto zoom lens, and a small LED light with its ballast. Of course, it all depends on how you set up the eight included dividers. Furthermore, the Beava Roller 35 has an interesting two-stage design that allows you to put more small gear on top of the main compartment, but we’ll talk about that in detail later.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Design

The exterior and interior design of the Beava Roller 35 is austere; the outside of the bag is entirely black, and the company played on the different materials to give it some depth. The zippers have a light touch of red on them.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

On the front pouch, you’ll also find the iFootage logo in red. Last but not least, the wheel safety covers are also bright red, but since these are made of shiny plastic, they don’t look very “high-end” to me, but it’s personal taste.

To summarize the design, the Beava Roller 35 doesn’t stand out much in a crowd, which is a good thing for any bag that you plan to use for carrying any kind of camera equipment.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Build quality

The outside of the bag is made of waterproof nylon. This kind of ripstop nylon fabric is used to make military clothes, and all the bags I have had over the years that used this material still hold firm. In short, I have almost no doubt that this bag should both age and survive life on a film set well.

Please note (and this is not specific to the iFootage bag), but bags made out of waterproof nylon easily attract dust and marks, and it’s no different for the Beava Roller 35. Even if I’m kind to my gear, I often shoot in dirty environments – i.e., industrial factories, cities, and streets – so my bags get sludgy reasonably quickly. When you’re back at home/office, a wipe with a wet sponge or microfiber cloth cleans the bag quickly and easily, but it is worth mentioning.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

iFootage looks confident with their choice of the bag’s design and fabric, as the bag doesn’t have a removable rain cover. I did not stress-test the water resistance, but I had no issues under light rain and on wet ground. Like every bag and case, I would still be cautious under heavy rain conditions.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

The bag’s flat bottom is made of a different rugged/reinforced waterproof material that looks very resistant. You’ll also find two round “feet” at the base so the bag is not in direct contact with the ground. Next to the wheels, the other bottom corners are reinforced for extra protection.

The iFootage Beava Roller 35 is built around an internal metal frame for the main compartment, which makes it a very rigid bag.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Some parts, such as the side handle and the wheels, are secured to the internal metal frame via large Philips screws, which feels reassuring.

However, out of the box, I was not overly impressed with the build quality of the Beava Roller 35. Don’t get me wrong, the quality of the fabrics employed look and feel great. However, the devil is in the details, and some parts, such as the retractable T-shaped handle, the magnetic handles, the wheels, and the zippers, did not impress me for a bag in this price category.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Zippers and shoulder strap

When I opened the main compartment, I instantly thought that the waterproof zippers – even if they are made by YKK (the zipper industry leader) – felt a bit stiff.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Also, on both ends of the main compartment zippers, the upper and lower zipper stops, and the bottom and top tape extensions are not sewn to the bag but just hang loose. This design was done on purpose so you can fully open and unfold the main compartment (more on that later), but it lacks rigidity when you reach the ends of the main compartment zippers. Furthermore, you cannot open it with one hand.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

During my time with the bag, I stressed the zippers on purpose and did not have any issues, but they don’t “feel” perfect or as smooth as I would have liked.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Next, the bag comes with a removable shoulder strap that attaches to two plastic hooks sewn on the top of the main compartment. It means that when you open the main compartment, the shoulder strap attachment hooks open with the bag.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

This is not an ideal placement, as this top lid is not the sturdiest part of the Beava Roller 35, and they change location when you open it. I would have preferred to have the shoulder strap attachment points located elsewhere – for example, on the left/right side of the bag.

The shoulder strap itself is well padded, and it is easy to adjust – no complaints there.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Handles and front pocket

To grab the bag, there are two handles: one on the left side (or top if the bag is sitting vertically), which is sewn/screwed, and two collapsible magnetic handles on the top. The left side handle, as mentioned before, feels robust and can take some weight. I felt that another handle was missing on the right side, below the wheels, which would be handy when grabbing the bag from both sides.

For the collapsible magnetic handles, it’s a different story. Despite their solid feel and smooth sliding action, the intention is for the two handles to connect when pulled out via built-in magnets in the handles. I loved the concept from the iFootage promotional video.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

However, I can’t find another way to explain it other than to say that the magnets are not strong enough. When you join the two handles together, they barely hold. To give you an idea, a slight touch with one finger is sufficient for the magnets to disengage and the handles to open.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

T-Shaped carrying handle

Like every roller bag, the iFootage Beava Roller 35 has a built-in carrying handle. Instead of going with a one-tube design like some Think Tank or Lowepro roller bags, iFootage went with a two-tube design, which is usually more rigid and sturdy. However, while most competitors space the two tubes of their handles quite a bit, iFootage took a different direction and went with reasonably close ones.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Press the button on the handle, and you can fully extend the T-shaped tubes.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

When fully extended, the carrying handle is held in place with only one locking pin, which feels light to me. In addition, the carrying handle wobbles a lot and inspires little confidence regarding its long-term life. While the mechanism of the two tubes is metal/aluminum, the handle’s top is plastic. Also, the two metal tubes have some flex to them, and I would worry that if they took a fall or a hit, they could bend easily, meaning the folding system might not work as expected anymore.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Wheels

At the bottom of the bag, you’ll find two rollerblade-like wheels with an outside diameter of 85mm from my measurement, while iFootage claims a diameter of 80mm. According to iFootage, these “large rubber premium wheels absorb shock while eliminating sound to create a smoother travel experience and additionally decreases the rev speed which will produce less noise while in use.” I agree, the wheels are silent and pretty smooth from sidewalks which are smooth and easy for a rolling case, to cross/offroad terrains. With decades of skateboarding behind me, I would rate and compare the hardness of the iFootage wheels at around 100A, just a bit softer than Pelican case wheels. In contrast, I usually prefer softer 80A/85A wheels for camera equipment. Let me know in the comments if you get what I mean regarding the reference to the wheel’s hardness!

If you need to replace one of the wheels, it is doable by the end user. You’ll have to remove the bag’s internals, some screws, and the entire wheel assembly.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Pockets and compartments

The iFootage Beava Roller 35 is a simple bag and doesn’t have a plethora of pockets, which is handy if you want to keep things simple. Indeed, the roller bag only has one exterior pocket with two compartments at the front and a trolley sleeve at the back.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

The trolley sleeve has a width of 23cm/9.05in and a velcro strip, which allows you to strap it to another trolley without having to make the entire bag slide through the handle.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

The front pocket has a width of around 34cm/13.38in at its narrowest point. At the front of the front pocket, there is a little compartment that is a bit smaller with an opening of 30cm/11.8in and a height of 23cm/9.05in. There is nothing fancy about that little front compartment: no dividers or pockets inside, but it’s handy to throw cables or items you need to grab quickly.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Inside the front pocket, you’ll find two large meshed dividers and five small net ones to store pens, compact batteries, and small accessories. Lastly, there is a built-in detachable key ring.

If we want to be a bit picky, the Beava Roller 35 doesn’t have a laptop pocket/compartment, but I wouldn’t carry my laptop in a roller bag, so it did not bother me. Also, this roller bag has no tripod or light stand attachment points. I like to carry my tripod or light stands strapped to my roller bag: it gives me a free hand, saves my shoulders, and I can move everything at once.

Interior design

The Beava Roller 35 is built around a rigid metal frame that helps keep the bag in shape. Now, let’s move to the bag’s interior by opening the long waterproof zipper. Once you open the zipper, you’ll have to fully open the two sides, which are also part of the metal frame, revealing a large opening of around 18.5cm/7.28in. The opening mechanism feels very sturdy and reassuring; it’s a pleasure to open and close it. The inside of the bag has two layers: a top and a bottom/main compartment.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

The top compartment is basically one giant removable divider velcroed to the inner liner of the bag. This top compartment has a maximum height of around 10cm/3.93in. Also, there is no way to put any divider on that top section.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

However, the bottom layer has built-in velcro that can be used to strap/secure some gear and prevent them from moving around. You can use this top compartment to carry a gimbal, an LED lighting ballast, or small accessories you want to keep at your disposal.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

As I mentioned, you can remove the top layer if you don’t need it and want to maximize the bottom/main compartment’s size.

When you flip open the top compartment, you easily access the bottom compartment, which measures around 49 x 24 x 14cm/19.3 x 9.4 x 5.5in. This compartment is where you’ll store your camera, lights, lenses, and all the critical pieces of gear.

Dividers

For the main compartment, the Beava Roller 35 comes with two full-length dividers, three medium dividers with a width of 9.5cm/3.74in, and three small dividers that are 7cm/2.75in wide.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

The dividers have a thickness of around 0.7cm/0.27in and are pretty rigid. There is a stripe pattern on the dividers where the firm padding is. These thin dividers only take up a little space inside the bag, giving you more room to store camera equipment.

Once velcroed to the inner liner or full-length dividers, the dividers stay in place and don’t come loose. 

The full-length dividers have two small sections on each side that can be flipped. However, you can’t use one full-length divider as a full-width divider by flipping these two peripheral shorter sides. 

After using the iFootage Beava Roller 35, I found that I ended up not using the second full-length divider. It’s nice that the company includes two, and you might have a use for it, but considering the type of large gear I carried, I seldom used it. So, how much gear can you put inside the iFootage Beava Roller 35?

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

iFootage Beava Roller 35 – carrying capacity

One of the main reasons to choose one bag over another, except for its design and features, is how much gear you can throw in it. The iFootage Beava Roller 35 was primarily designed as an all-arounder to carry an entire camera kit, including one or two cameras, lenses, but also LED lights, a gimbal, and multiple miscellaneous pieces of equipment.

I would consider the Beava Roller 35 more suited for mirrorless or small cinema cameras. Indeed, the relatively “small” 14cm/5.5in height of the main compartment limits the amount of gear you can put inside if you don’t want to sacrifice storage space by removing the top compartment. The Canon EOS C70 is one of the tallest cameras that can fit. No problem either holding a RED KOMODO/V-RAPTOR or a Sony FX3/FX6, for example. However, don’t expect to store a Sony FX9, a RED DSMC2, a Canon EOS C300 Mark III/C500 Mark II, or a fully-rigged camera. The same height limitation applies to lenses, which are often too long to be stored vertically. This means you’ll need to store/carry lenses horizontally, which wastes space.

I tried multiple interior layouts, and here is what I was able to carry at best:

  • One Aputure 200D LED light with the power supply and cables.
  • A Canon EOS C70.
  • One Canon RF24-70 F/2.8 L IS zoom lens.
  • One Canon RF70-200 F/2.8 L IS zoom lens.
  • Camera batteries and memory cards.
Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

The top compartment could fit a DJI RS 3 Pro gimbal fully assembled easily.

While this is pretty decent, one main downside is that I felt I was wasting space and that the main compartment’s interior needed to be more versatile for my needs. Indeed, to get that layout to work, I had to combine multiple dividers to get to the reorganized width of the bag. I think it all comes down to simply having more dividers included or available to purchase separately to truly optimize what you can fit inside the Beava Roller 35. 

To give you an idea, my Manfrotto Roller Bag-70 – which is just a little bit bigger than the iFootage Beava Roller 35 – can carry twice as much camera equipment due to a more optimized divider layout, even if it doesn’t have two compartments. However, the Manfrotto roller is less suited to carry LED lights and gimbals. You can’t have your cake and eat it too…

Finally, I would say that for photography equipment, which is usually smaller than video gear, the original divider layout of the Beava Roller 35 could be okay.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Final thoughts

To summarize this review, after spending a couple of months with the Beava Roller 35:

  • The bag’s design has many good ideas: removable shoulder straps, full-width openings like doctor’s bags, two compartments, large and replaceable wheels, etc.
  • It has a pleasant overall build quality, but many details could be improved, such as the T-shaped carrying handle that wobbles, the feeling of the zippers, and the magnetic carrying handle that doesn’t stay in place.
  • There is some room for improvement regarding the dividers’ layout, the number of included dividers, and their versatility.

For their first series of bags, iFootage did a good job with the Beava Roller 35. It ticks many boxes, but it clearly has some room for improvement: adding a handle at the bottom of the bag, and a way to securely close the bag with a TSA lock would be a great addition; fix the retractable handles’ magnets that are not strong enough, reinforce/change the design of the T-handle, as well as adding more pockets to carry equipment or handy accessories, to list a few. 

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

And now, for the important final question: is this bag for you, and should you get it? Firstly, if you’re a filmmaker, it will depend on what camera you use. As you can tell from my review, there are many points to consider, but as this is iFootage’s first attempt at creating a bag, I’d say they did fairly well. 

Personally, I would have loved to see a more robust solution and greater attention to detail, but all in all, it mainly depends on the type of equipment you carry around with you. I have no doubt that iFootage will do its best to improve this product in the future.

As usual, when buying new equipment, I highly recommend doing so at a place that offers refunds in case the bag doesn’t suit your production needs.

Image credit: Jeff Loch / CineD

Price and availability

The iFootage Beava Roller 35 is available now for $319. As a direct comparison, the Shimoda Designs DV Roller retails for $339.95, the Think Tank Photo Airport Advantage XT is $349.75, and the Tenba Transport Air Wheeled Case Attache 2214W is $224.95.

For more information, please visit iFootage’s website.

What do you think about this roller bag? Do you often use roller bags to carry your camera equipment? What is your go-to bag? Would you like us to review more camera bags? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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