Last year the well-known photographer and co-founder of thinkTANK Doug Murdoch came by with a backpack-prototype from his new company Mindshift Gear on the way to a shooting in Vietnam. I knew immediately: This is it – the most brilliant camera-backpack in the world: rotation180 ° Professional. And so I was looking forward for more than one year to the first test.
Of course you have to qualify this… There isn´t the one and only all-rounder, but the rotation180° is pretty close. No other camera-backpack combines the properties of a camera- and an outdoor-backpack as well.
As an ambitious amateur photographer I full time sell backpacks among other things, so the bar is set relatively high.
The trained eye can see the high-quality workmanship at first glance: Fat zippers, double seams where they belong to, a very good adjustable, padded and comfortable carrying system even for heavy load as I normally expect it from a good outdoor-backpack . A brilliant backpack you gladly entrust your expensive camera-equipment to!
You will find all details you would expect: integrated rain cover, small pockets on both shoulder straps and hip belt for GPS, mobile phone, memory card, lens covers, etc., a secure fastening tripod bag, holes for a hydration system (note: Deuter Streamer or Osprey is very tight – Hydrapak, Camelback or Platypus 2 and 3 liters are slimmer and fit much better), spacious pockets on both sides and over the entire front with sealed zippers, top pocket, …
The upper 2/3-part of this 38-liter (2287 cubic inches) backpack contains a large space (inside dimensions : 30.5 x 35.5 x 20.3 cm/12″ W x 14″ H x 8″ D), which also can gather additional camera equipment if required by the additional available padded photo insert, so you will have a pure camera-backpack . This upper pocket can either be opened from the top or your back.
But the real defining point is an integrated camera bag in the lower part (interior dimensions: 31.7 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm/12.5″ W x 7″ H x 7″ D). There is a stable but easy to open magnetic fastener on the bottom right side of the backpack. Once opened the cover is swinging up so you can pull the camera-bag with one handle to the front and you will have your camera ready to hand in just a few seconds while still carrying the pack on your back!
Of course this camera bag can also be worn separately as a waist bag or shoulder bag and you can arrange the volume as you like by Velcro fasteners as you know from any other camera bag. A separate pocket on the inner side of its lid holds memory cards, filters, or lenspen.
So far I have done almost all of my air travel with hand luggage only and stuffed one of my separate camera bags into a normal 35 liter backpack. In the future, this task will be done much more comfortable by the rotation180° and should not be a problem at the handluggage, provided that no weight limits exist.
I will also seal the upper zipper with cable ties so nobody will guess the expensive camera equipment inside and almost no external access is possible. Still, the camera is quickly ready to hand.
In the past I often left my big DSLR at home when traveling, mountaineering etc., because I simply did not use it while stuffed in my normal backpack! But that is history with the new backpack from MindShift Gear!
Conclusion : The ideal travel and outdoor camera-backpack for me! Pictures can be found here : MindshiftGear rotation180 ° Professional