UltraLight Dual 36L Mindshift Bag

I recently purchased this bag for some very specific needs.   This discussion assumes you have viewed the details of the product offered on other sites. 

  1. I wanted to carry my camera equipment in a backpack but access it without putting the bag down on the ground.
  2. I wanted enough room so I could store extra clothing, such as a fleece or rain parka.

In the past during travel, I would carry three and 1/2 bags

  1. An Airport Essentials from Think Tank: two Sony a7RII attached to lens, Sony 16-35mm f4, Sony 24-105 f4, Sony 70-200mm f4, GoPro Hero 5 Black, computer, backup drives,  8-12 SD cards, filters, batteries and chargers, lens cleaning equipment and an Artic Butterfly blower.
  2. A Seattle Sports duffle bag with clothes, tripod, personal hygiene stuff, walking sticks, duplicate chargers and sensor cleaning equipment.
  3. And an empty 28 Osprey backpack packed in the duffle bag.
  4. The 1/2 bag was my wife’s carry on which included chargers for iPhones, iPads, outlet adaptors, my iPad and medicines.

Whenever we arrived at our destination and were out and about, I would transfer two camera bodies with desired lenses attached, the GoPro and stick (if they were going to be used), and a couple of extra cards and batteries to the Osprey backpack.  Whenever I wanted to use a camera, I just put the Osprey down and got the desired camera.  While this strategy worked, it had some serious draw backs

  1. There is very little room for anything extra in the Osprey bag.
  2. Always had to lay the Osprey bag down to access the desired camera body and lens.
  3. My wife was carrying a fair amount of my extra wait.

My primary purpose of this bag was to use it on a trip to Chile and Antartica.  Over the past week, I have tested the bag on a driving trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  1. I was able to pack all of my camera gear and ancillary stuff into the bag!  This allows me to get rid of 1 1/2 bags.  This included the following items:
  2. My tripod and walking sticks were packed in the checked luggage
  3. Upon arrival at our destination, I would simply remove the computer, all the contents in the upper chamber, and configure my two camera bodies with the lens that I wanted for that particular destination.  I could have carried all three lenses, but I very very rarely change lenses outside.  I was able to generate three different configurations depending on my needs.
    • I could leave the cameras in the lower pouch and rotate the camera bag as described in the MindShift videos.  In this configuration I found access to the cameras to be awkward when I had two camera bodies with lenses attached. If you are rarely accessing the cameras and not changing cameras frequently, this is workable, but care must be given that the other camera body does not fall out.  If you only have a single camera body with lens attached this will work just fine.
    • I could remove the bottom pouch with the cameras and use it as a shoulder bag.  This is a very workable solution in terms of camera access, but you lose the storage capacity in the top of the bag.
    • I could remove the bottom pouch with cameras, and attach it to the belt and shoulder straps with the tripod suspension kit.  MindShift refers to this configuration as Front Mount.  I found this configuration to be very workable with ready access to the cameras and lots of storage for clothes in the back top pouch.  The only issue that I noticed was when walking up steps or hills, the camera bag would hit my thighs, although I think I could have raised it considerably to at least partially avoid this problem.
    • In all of these options, I can have dry bags in the various lower pouch compartments to selectively protect the camera gear from rain.

  General Impressions

  1. The lower compartment of the bag readily holds two Sony a7RII bodies with attached lenses plus one additional unattached lens.  Lenses I used were the Sony 16-35mm f4, 24-105mm f4 and 70-200mm f4.
  2. In combination with the upper compartment, a lot of camera equipment can be transported in the bag.
  3. While some reviews commented on the difficulty of removing the lower compartment shoulder bag, after a few times, I found that it was not all that difficult.
  4. While the rotation concept is a great idea, I found it a bit awkward and leaves room for improvement, particularly when two bodies are used
  5. The ability to remove the lower compartment with cameras and lenses attached as a separate shoulder bag is great.  This will likely be my prefered configuration: a separate shoulder bag or the Front mount the Mindshift describes.

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