Surprisingly the shipment from the Midwestbags.com came sooner than expected, so here's my promised review of Kata R-103 backpack and T-212 slinger bag.
I'm not gonna go into the materials themselves since you can get a highly detailed info from their own website. Just remember that Kata is a company that specializes in body armors.
The first impression:
WOW!! Both carriers are built like body armors themselves. Having either of these things around my body makes me feel like I'm wearing a bullit-proof vest. You like Lowepro or Tamrac? While I don't own either of these brands, I've tried them at a local camera store. Built and material wise, simply no comparison, in my opinion. I've heard nothing but good things about Kata bags prior to ordering them, but these bags went beyond my anticipation. I'm 100% satisfied and happy with what I got.
The Kata R-103 Backpack Space and Organization:
In the center compartment I can easily fit either of my 24-70mm or 70-200mm lenses with the hood. The side compartments can easily fit either of these lenses, 580EX Flash, 2x Extender, another lens, and the battery recharger. The first front cover zipper opens up to quickly grab the camera with whatever the attached lens. The second front cover zipper then opens up for the whole viewing of your hardware. Inside of this second front cover has one storage room that can be divided up in two with a velcro divider for lots of additional accessories -- filters, cleaners, lens covers, batteries, and whatnot. There's another storage on this front cover for storing manuals or other documents or lens tissues and such flat items.
On the backside of the bag is the place for a laptop or something else flat. It won't fit my 17" Dell XPS, but that's probably a blessing. It looks like it's designed to fit 15" laptop or smaller. The interior color for all compartments is dark yellow that is very soothing to the eyes, comforting and stylish. This backpack also comes with a couple of small net bags and the rain protector cover that can be flipped inside out to be used as the sun and heat protector. It also comes with a detachable (and very tough) holder for either a monopod or a tripod. Because the bag is a part of the Kata's Ergonomic Photo System (EPH), it is designed to be attached to their other bags, like T-212 slinger.
The T-212 Slinger Space and Organization:
While this looks like something that won't be able to hold a lot of stuff, because of its extendable outer cover, it actually holds more than what your eyes can see. The inner space can be divided into two compartments with the zipper that runs vertically in the middle. With the zipper down, I can comfortably place my 20D with 24-70 lens in it without having to struggle to close the bag. It's not large enough to fit the same WITH the lens hood. With the zipper divider, I can comfortably fit my 24-70 lens on one side and 70-200 on the other. There's another zipper compartment where you can, along with the above equipments, place a couple of books or mauals or whatever accessories that are preferrably flat. Again, the interior is of the same yellow color that is very attractive. This bag is designed to fit your body like a glove, so climbing a tree when chased by a grizzly won't be a problem. The shoulder padding is not only thick and comfortable, but it's also very wide such that it looks like I can carry this thing all day without distressing.
I'm extremely impressed by their quality and design, so I'm very happy with my decision making and my instinct to order these without ever having my eyes laid on either of them. Both bags are definite keepers. Those free gift bags (Crumpler) that Midwestbags.com sent along with the order are also very nice, albeit smaller than anticipated. I can certainly use them for holding my cell phone in one and my Canon A80 in the other. Or give to my 6 and 8 year old boys to place their gameboys in them. A perfect service, quick delivery, free shipping, nice gifts, and most important of all, perfect bags.
In fact, I'm going to order another bag from Kata: either Holster-12 or Holster-14. If anyone thinks the aforementioned slinger bag, T-212, is a tad small for your purpose, I think either of these would be your better choice.
Feel free to throw any questions at me regarding these items.