I guess they did not have the Targhee 45?
far from perfect, but for me rear access IS the most adequate solution while hiking, as it will keep the straps clean. Actually, almost like the lowepro, you can swing it to the front an reach for the zipper and grab a lens without having to put it down - requires a bit of practice to say the least.
There are no dedicated straps for a tripod, but I solved that issue with ammo grab bags - they are set with straps for mole attaching , so they can go on the side and or the waist belt.
Like most camera bags, F-Stop are overpriced - to me their main issue is the one-size-fits all; so some bags will be too long in shorter torsos, and vice-versa. No sizing is allowed or provided. The belt itself, does not follow the body/hips contour - it's simply attached from the edge of side-back vertical seam.
at current price and weigh, the top and side panels should be waterproof
So, for some they will fit properly, and if you have a short tripod and don't need to carry more than one liter of water, they can be ok.
One has to try a bag and take it out - there are no perfect solutions, and everyone has different needs.
ps: I find the icu a PITA after all - zip for access and then zip again to reach gear - lens wraps or/and pouches are way more versatile, furthermore allowing for a better weight distribution.
I didn't get a chance to look at the Targhee, was short on time. It might be in the store; I just didn't see it. I spotted the Osprey and Deuter bags right away. I only got to try on the Osprey Kamber 42. I plan to go back and look at more models later.
The wrap idea is interesting, because the shapes of some of these bags will never allow anything cubic like an ICU to fit. That got me thinking. What size wraps do you use for what size lenses? What do you do for the camera itself? Filters? Batteries?
My one disappointment with the snowpacks is that none seem to have side stretch pockets. But I'm not carrying skis as intended.
Regarding the ICU, I pulled out the top pads and wrapped them under the ICU, so I only open the main panel like any other pack. Any small items I carry in the main compartment have to go into other bags that can't fall down the sides or into the ICU.