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FORUMS General Gear Talk Camera Bags, Backpacks & Cases 
Thread started 15 Feb 2018 (Thursday) 20:48
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Suggestion for a day out backpack

 
fplstudio
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Feb 15, 2018 20:48 |  #1

Hi folks,

I have a large backpack (Protactic AW450) and a small Kata 3n1-20. The Kata doesn't get much use because is an old design, access to camera is cumbersome and has no stern strap. As a result I carry almost always the large Protactic even when I don't need such huge space for a simple day out shooting.
I am looking for a medium size backpack for an outdoor day out alone for landscapes or as walkaround with family. I plan to carry 5DsR + 2-3 lenses OR Sony a6300 + 3 lenses and eventually Zhiyun gimbal or tripod.

I have selected:

F-Stop Guru UL
- once set up with the medium ICU it doesn't leave much space in the top?

F-Stop Loka UL
- light but maybe too big as it may compete with the Protactic I already have (and like a lot)

Lowepro Flipside Trek AW350
- camera compartment seems a bit on the small side

Mindshift Lightback 26L
- the heaviest of the group, it would have been nice if it had top opening to achieve with the dividers a separation between personal items (jacket, etc..) and camera gear

All of them have rear access because 90% of the time I need to lay down the backpack outdoor on sand or dirty places.

I would appreciate your suggestions
Thank you

FPL


10+ years with Canon, now new fresh air with Sony Full Frame
A7R3 | A6300 | MC-11 | FE 16-35 GM | EF 35 1.4 Art | FE 55 1.8 | FE 85 1.8 | EF 70-200 4L IS | FE 100-400 4.5-5.6 GM OSS | E 10-18 4 OSS | E 35 1.8 OSS
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John ­ from ­ PA
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Post edited 5 months ago by John from PA. (2 edits in all)
     
Feb 16, 2018 05:09 |  #2

With the exception of the Lowepro, I'm not familiar with most on your list. Having said that I have liked and enjoyed Lowepro exclusively since the early 1980's. At least as I use the gear it works well and more importantly has held up well.

One thing I suggest is the "bagfinder" tool at https://www.lowepro.co​m/bagfinder (external link). Its a virtual tool that allows you to select a bag and load it up with some representative equipment so you can verify size. Much better than comparing dimensions off a spec sheet.




  
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Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
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Post edited 5 months ago by Jarvis Creative Studios.
     
Feb 16, 2018 22:41 |  #3

That ProTactic 450AW is awesome! I really love it. Only thing I wish they would do better is the straps. They're a bit thin and can hurt after awhile for such a big backpack that can get heavy when fully loaded. I'm a bit of a backpack nerd, and here are some of my favorites (Protactic is the only one with rear access unfortunately.)

Favorite "Fit Everything and the Kitchen Sink" backpack: LowePro Protactic 450AW

Favorite "New York Fashion Week" Fashionable backpack: Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L edition: https://www.peakdesign​.com …t/bags/everyday​-backpack/ (external link). Maybe not the best bag if you're getting it dirty or sandy, but it's extra fancy and surprisingly rugged. Not 100% positive but I think it's weather proof without a need for a raincoat. It will take some getting used to as many of the features broke the mold on camera backpacks and you'll have to consult the user manual to see what everything is for / does. The 20L is a medium sized bag but can still fit a ton of gear. The bag is also not boxy like most camera backpacks. Pros: Extremely good looking. Unbelievably innovative features. Weather sealed zippers and Weather resistant (possibly weather-proof) fabric. Rigid build. Zipper "locks" to prevent tampering in crowded areas. Does not look like a camera backpack and brand is not very noticeable on the back. Cons: Expensive. Requires looking online or in the manual on how to use certain features. No rain jacket provided (but may not be necessary with the build).

Favorite "Quick Outdoor Trip" backpack: Tamrac Expedition 6X: https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …4649&is=REG&fro​mDisList=y (external link). Tamrac no longer makes this bag, as they seem to be moving in a weird direction with their backpacks, but this is the medium size of their awesome expedition series that was specifically made to be rugged for the outdoors. It's a medium backpack with good storage space and rigid dividers. It's very rugged with weather resistant zippers but unfortunately a rain jacket is not supplied with it. Pros: Very rugged and simple easy to use design. Weather resistant zippers. Cons: Boxy. Discontinued so a bit hard to find. Rain jacket is not supplied. Waste strap is not detachable.

Favorite "Do Everything" backpack: Think Tank Shapeshifter V2: https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …ifter_17_v2_0.h​tml?sts=pi (external link). This bag is simply fantastic. It's very innovative in it's storage design. Instead of using solid dividers it uses neoprene pouches to store equipment upright, so it lays flatter on your back saving you from the normal "boxy" look of camera backpacks. The weight displacement is really good as well. And finally the straps are like heaven. I wish every bag had straps like these. Far and above the most comfortable straps of any backpack I've used. This bag is the one I'll take everytime for long jobs or hikes, because I could wear it all day no problem. And even though it's significantly smaller than the Protactic 450AW, I can fit almost the same amount of gear. It's a deceptively large bag that looks and wears like a medium backpack. You can also buy a "naked" version where you just get an empty backpack with loose neoprene cases, and you can fit more gear that way. I have the attached neoprene version though. Pros: Looks like a normal backpack. Unless you specifically knew the Think Tank name you would never know this was a camera backpack. Innovative design that shifts the size of the bag to the amount of gear you are carrying. With no gear bag is only 3" wide. The most comfortable backpack you will ever wear. Stores a surprisingly large amount of gear. Rain jacket is supplied with bag (and works awesome. Used it in snowy NYC no problems). Cons: Most expensive bag on my list. Waste strap is not detachable, but can be tied up to sit flush against the bag. Does not have a rigid exterior like the 450AW and Everyday Backpack, but still a great build quality.


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John ­ from ­ PA
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Feb 17, 2018 08:51 |  #4

There is a bag currently on the B&H deal of the day, $80 off so final price $60. I'm not familiar with the brand iKan but take a look at https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …IBG_EXP_Explore​r_Bag.html (external link). Some reviews seem to indicate that in the early days of the bag the straps didn't hold up when the bag was really full. Recent reviews don;t seem to mention this "con" and in fact mention it as sturdy. The bag holds a ton of stuff as well as a 17 inch laptop. I'm not certain I wouild want all that weight on my back.




  
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sawsedge
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Feb 17, 2018 12:49 |  #5

Of the original list, I have experience with the Loka and the Mindshift Backlight 26L.

I haven't seen the Protactic 450 in person so I can't compare the size, but unless you need to carry layers, I'd say the Loka may be too large. Size-wise, when I need to carry snacks and layers, the Loka ends up being a good size for me on family outings.

I have a small pro ICU for the Loka and I can fit my 5D3, 16-35, 24-70, and 100 macro along with filters, batteries, and remote release, with any lens mounted. That will fit in the Guru or Loka. You might also check out their Lotus, which is between the Guru and Loka in size (and also fits the pro ICUs up to the large).

Quality-wise, I lost interest in f-stop when I found the bottom front corners had frayed. F-stop would not back that up, calling it abuse on my part (if setting a bag down is abuse, then I'm certainly guilty). They also claimed, for a time, that they had no records of my purchase. I fixed the frayed corners with tearmender. I've heard the newer bags are better made than my slightly older Loka, but their customer service lost me.

The Backlight is wonderfully made, but the camera section is equivalent to an XL shallow ICU (if f-stop ever made one - they do not), so the camera section will be overkill for 2-3 lenses. I use it when I want to carry my 100-400 at the zoo, etc. It is a great travel bag, but limited in how much extras it can handle like layers. Overall, I prefer the Backlight as an urban bag, but the Guru would be even smaller and good for urban use.

If I fill either pack, neither the Loka nor the Backlight are comfortable for very long, but you are talking about a lighter load so it shouldn't be a problem with either. Neither pack screams out "camera gear inside" either.


- John

  
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fplstudio
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Feb 19, 2018 05:37 |  #6

I've checked at the store both the flipside trek BP and the mindshift 26L, none of them was convincing.
The flip side trek AW350 has a very small camera unit, meaning that I'd need to go up to the AW450 which is quite bulky. The mindshift is an awesome bag outside but not that great inside. The deal breaker for me is that the 3 vertical long dividers have zero flexibility in repositioning as they cannot bend. Will have to check out the f-stop at a different shop but I am generally oriented towards the Guru UL + medium shallow unit.


10+ years with Canon, now new fresh air with Sony Full Frame
A7R3 | A6300 | MC-11 | FE 16-35 GM | EF 35 1.4 Art | FE 55 1.8 | FE 85 1.8 | EF 70-200 4L IS | FE 100-400 4.5-5.6 GM OSS | E 10-18 4 OSS | E 35 1.8 OSS
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sawsedge
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Feb 19, 2018 08:08 |  #7

fplstudio wrote in post #18567255 (external link)
I've checked at the store both the flipside trek BP and the mindshift 26L, none of them was convincing.
The flip side trek AW350 has a very small camera unit, meaning that I'd need to go up to the AW450 which is quite bulky. The mindshift is an awesome bag outside but not that great inside. The deal breaker for me is that the 3 vertical long dividers have zero flexibility in repositioning as they cannot bend. Will have to check out the f-stop at a different shop but I am generally oriented towards the Guru UL + medium shallow unit.

You could cut the Backlight long dividers to the length you want, use a section of the leftover divider cross-wise to hold up the gear on the top, and use the bottom for your extra gear. I've done it with a LowePro pack in the past to make things fit the way I wanted.

The f-stop design is the most flexible with the ICUs, but be prepared to use tearmender on the bottom after some use.

I bet the pack is too large for what you want at 40L, but you might have a look at Shimoda as well. The straps look too thin to me, and the overall bag too boxy, but the design is interesting.


- John

  
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jcothron
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Feb 19, 2018 08:19 |  #8

I am a fan of f-stop. With that being said I would say gator bags aren't a do everything kind of bag. If you are going out in the woods with photography only in mind they are great. If you want something more everyday I would look closely at Peak Design. I picked up the 30L about a month ago and carry it everyday to the office. It holds my laptop, planner, and I also have my Fuji system in it at all times. Really great for everyday and family outings.


John
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soeren
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Post edited 4 months ago by soeren.
     
Feb 19, 2018 08:31 |  #9

Ive got 2 F-Stop bags, my favorite small backpack the Guru and my favorite large backpack the Tilopa BC. The Guru takes either of the 2 small or 2 medium slope ICU's packed with my A6000 kit, body 3 lenses 2 TT685 and accessories (small ICU), or Mamiya RZ67PROII kit with 3 lenses ekstra back and accessories (medium ICU) or my nikon F100 with lenses and accessories also in a medium slope ICU. The Tilopa is mainly for my LF gear with a large pro ICU but several combos are possible.




  
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fplstudio
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Feb 19, 2018 18:23 |  #10

soeren wrote in post #18567314 (external link)
Ive got 2 F-Stop bags, my favorite small backpack the Guru and my favorite large backpack the Tilopa BC. The Guru takes either of the 2 small or 2 medium slope ICU's packed with my A6000 kit, body 3 lenses 2 TT685 and accessories (small ICU), or Mamiya RZ67PROII kit with 3 lenses ekstra back and accessories (medium ICU) or my nikon F100 with lenses and accessories also in a medium slope ICU. The Tilopa is mainly for my LF gear with a large pro ICU but several combos are possible.

I have heard that the medium slope ICU is a bit of a tight fit for the Guru...can you report your experience?
I am looking at medium shallow since 5d+ L bracket should be fine. Unfortunately I guess none of the medium ICUs would accommodate my 100mm system landscape filters which would need to go in a pouch in the upper part


10+ years with Canon, now new fresh air with Sony Full Frame
A7R3 | A6300 | MC-11 | FE 16-35 GM | EF 35 1.4 Art | FE 55 1.8 | FE 85 1.8 | EF 70-200 4L IS | FE 100-400 4.5-5.6 GM OSS | E 10-18 4 OSS | E 35 1.8 OSS
Godox AD200 | V860ii | 2x TT600

  
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sawsedge
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Feb 19, 2018 18:43 |  #11

fplstudio wrote in post #18567758 (external link)
I have heard that the medium slope ICU is a bit of a tight fit for the Guru...can you report your experience?
I am looking at medium shallow since 5d+ L bracket should be fine. Unfortunately I guess none of the medium ICUs would accommodate my 100mm system landscape filters which would need to go in a pouch in the upper part

f-stop indicates that the medium slope will fit fine in the guru UL: http://fstopgear.com/p​roducts/packs/guru-ul (external link) They used to make a medium pro which was too thick for the guru. f-stop discontinued making that ICU because of that confusion. Either of the current ICU models will be fine according to their website.

I believe 100mm filters should fit fine in either medium ICU as long as their pouch isn't too large; the shortest internal height is 4.5".


- John

  
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soeren
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Feb 19, 2018 23:39 |  #12

fplstudio wrote in post #18567758 (external link)
I have heard that the medium slope ICU is a bit of a tight fit for the Guru...can you report your experience?
I am looking at medium shallow since 5d+ L bracket should be fine. Unfortunately I guess none of the medium ICUs would accommodate my 100mm system landscape filters which would need to go in a pouch in the upper part

Hmm nothing Ive noticed. Could be down to how hard you pack the ICU




  
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Suggestion for a day out backpack
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