A good quality camera bag not just protects your expensive gear, it also provides comfort to move around with your heavy equipment. I have just arrived back from a trip with Mindshift Gear UltraLight™ Dual 36L and I would like to share my view/opinion about this bag with you.
The first impression of Mindshift Gear UltraLight™ Dual 36L is very good. The best part is, it doesn’t look like a camera bag, then you are safe. It’s a neat and clever design for those who love on-the-move photography. This bag is designed keeping those photographers & day packers in mind who enjoys traveling light. It has got many features which are going to impress travel photographers in particular.
The bag is built with high quality water resistant fabric which also has a durable water-repellant coating plus the underside of the fabric has a polyurethane coating. It also has high-quality YKK® Fuse zippers, 100D nylon shadow rip-stop, 420D high-density nylon, 210D velocity nylon, 320G UltraStretch mesh, 350G airmesh, nylon webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread. The interior is made with 200D poly, velex, high-density closed-cell foam, belly-o mesh, 3-ply bonded nylon thread. Surprisingly the weight of the bag is only 1.5 kg. Mindshift has claimed to be the lightest camera day pack ever.
In the camera compartment can hold a full size DSLR along 24-70 f/2.8 to 70-200 f/2.8 along with two smaller lenses. An additional pocket is provided in the camera compartment to maintain your memory cards, batteries, remote etc. The dividers are fully adjustable. I took a Nikon D800E along with 24-70 f/2.8, Tamron 15-30 f/2.8, Nikon PCE 24mm, one Gopro camera, two remotes, 3 batteries, one lens cleaning blower and some more accessories in the camera compartment itself. All these were comfortably positioned inside the bag. But to give you an idea about the dimensions of the camera compartment, its 9.8” deep, front face is 8.9” by 6.5”.
The Camera compartment can also be taken out and used as a shoulder bag. The additional strap is provided to make it as a shoulder purse. I don’t know whether I am going to use it like this or not, but it may be a useful feature for those who don’t want to travel with the full bag. Even so, if you remove the camera compartment, the entire bag can be used as a travel bag. That’s I think people are going to like.
Personal gear compartment can carry Light jackets, food or more camera gears if you care to. It is 10” deep and the front face is 10.5” by 7”. Good enough to pack lots of stuff. I carried my 70-200 f/2.8 inside a pouch, 24mm f/1.4 inside a pouch, my NiSi 150 mm filter holder, NiSi 150 mm filter case, lots of Gopro accessories, 3 my chargers, a light jacket, supplied rain cover with the bag, some eatables etc. Even after all these, I had scope to put more stuff in the bag.
The camera also has a laptop compartment which can hold either a 15” laptop or a 3-liter hydration bag. Though I did not carry any laptop or a hydration bag, I am pretty much certain that the bag will not be uncomfortable even with a laptop or a hydration bag inside. The dimensions of the compartment are 10.4” by 19.3”.
The stretch side pocket can hold a water bottle if you are not carrying a hydration bag. Some more items can also be laid in. Since I was hiking, I used the stretch side pocket to keep food waste which was generated from my food items. Well, that sounds weird, but I believe in travel hygiene.
Hip belt, pocket is really handy to carry some other belongings like your car keys, mobile, head lamp or some other small stuff. Mindshift Gear provided a hip belt, pocket only one position of the hip belt. Still, pockets on the both sides would be more useful.
I actually liked the capacity of the top lid pocket. It took two pairs of glasses with cover, my wallet, hand towel etc. Impressive.
The bag has strings, one on the upper side and one on the bottom of the bag, which can hold your tripod comfortably. Both these strings are hidden in the small compartments which are sealed with velcro. One can tie down one reasonable sized tripod. These days are travelers prefer a carbon fiber tripod because of its weight. The bag is perfectly suited for such tripods.
Mindshift Gear UltraLight™ Dual 36L is provided with a rain cover in a separate pouch. One for the main backpack and one for the detachable camera compartment. The main cover can cover the backpack along with a decent size tripod.
The overall design and built quality are quite impressive. It was my second major trip with this bag with few small trips. I waited to check the endurance of the bag before writing the review. So far, I have not faced any problem with this bag. I took this bag to the mountains, had some trips in extreme heat conditions and to my surprise, it has not disappointed me at all. With so much of the equipment inside, once the bag is properly fixed on your back, it’s an easy ride.
The breathable three-layer shoulder strap, adjustable chest strap, adjustable waist strap and the back cushions make this bag absolutely comfortable to carry.
Like I said, Mindshift Gear UltraLight™ Dual 36L is very cleverly designed to keep the bag light. The padding on the straps are not so thick, however that does not have any impact on the comfort level. Enough padding given on the camera compartment to keep the gear secure and safe. Photographers like me who travels a lot generally have a tendency to misuse/mishandle their camera bag because of the extreme locations. I am sure this bag is going to travel with me for a long time.
The unique design of this bag makes it different. It does not appear to be a camera bag as the first glance. It becomes a normal backpack when you remove the camera compartment. I am not very sure whether I will ever use the removable camera compartment as a shoulder bag, but some people might like this feature. For those who feel 36L is too big for them, Mindshift gear also has the same bag with 25L and 16L capacity.