While some of us have been be fixated on the Nikon D5 that was announced at CES (read tech editor Greg Scoblete’s take on the camera and other Nikon CES announcements here), I managed to change focus for a little while to see what other news might be interesting and there it was: new UltraLight backpacks from MindShift Gear. Granted, backpacks don’t have as many bells and whistles as a new pro DSLR, nor are they quite as sexy, but UltraLight-anything-photographic is music to my ears.
Available in three sizes and capacities, the UltraLight Dual 36L, UltraLight Dual 25L and the Sprint 16L, are part photo backpack/part daypack, with room for both camera and personal gear. Even if you’re not a hiker, you may appreciate having room for an optional hydration reservoir so you don’t have to carry around a bottle of water. The two Dual bags have removable camera compartments with a shoulder strap, so you can easily ditch the backpack and carry even less weight.
The UltraLight Dual 36L can handle up to one gripped DSLR like the Nikon D4S and up to 2-3 standard zoom lenses, including a detached 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 15″ laptop. The backpack—including the removable camera insert, rain cover, removable shoulder strap, etc., weighs only 3.3 pounds.
Pick up the UltraLight Dual 25L if you don’t need more than an attached 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, a single (ungripped) DSLR or mirrorless, a couple of lenses and up to a 15″ laptop. You’ll drop a few ounces to 2.8 pounds.
Finally, the UltraLight Sprint 16L—as its name implies—is the lightest of the trio, weighing in at 1.9 pounds, including the backpack’s rain cover. Designed for large mirrorless or compact DSLRs, the pack will fit a camera, one or two lenses (including a mirrorless 70-200mm f/2.8 attached) and up to a 10″ tablet with lots of room for personal gear.
While outdoor adventurers may reap the most benefits from these backpacks, wedding and portrait photographers don’t always get to shoot in dry, pristine environments and will appreciate the water-repellant coating on the fabric and all the attention to small details that these bags feature, including the integrated tripod/monopod mounting system, zippered and stretch pockets and the ability to access gear without taking off the bag and putting it down on the (sometimes not so clean) ground.
The backpacks are quite affordable, too, ranging from $120 for the UltraLight Sprint 16L to $200 for the UltraLight Dual 36L. For more information, go to www.mindshiftgear.com