Searching a camera bag seems like a never-ending story. About a year ago, I got the Shimoda explorer 40L, and was very happy about it. It is still a great bag, yet it is not an everyday bag. Shimoda focus on adventure and hiking, their bag is well designed, with nice material and craftsmanship, it is tough and heavy. Even their newer 30L seems just a bit smaller.
When I was traveling the city with only my 5Dmk4, I usually take my peak design 10L sling bag. This is also a great bag, also well designed and easy to access my gears anytime. The only downside is me, myself. When the bag is fully loading, a 5Dmk4, 20-70:2.8, a small bottle of water, the thin shoulder strap of the bag made my shoulder pain after a day of walking. Maybe I am too skinny and not enough muscle to pad the strap? I bought a cushion pad for the should strap, and it does not help much.
I wanted a small backpack with side access (which is a MUST for me). While the everyday backpack fulfilled all my needs, it missed the exterior design. the look of the back is not my favorite, but the point draw me away is the top access. It is not a complete sealed close.
The F-Stop Dalston caught my eyes in my daily website browsing. It seems ticked all my checklist, and it is not too expensive. Most importantly, it looks good! Let’s try!
The bag arrived in my office 1 week later, the packaging is second of none. Just a transparent plastic bag wrapping the backpack. Day and night comparing to peak design. Never mind, it is fair as it’s price.
I put it to the test in the following weekend. This was a casual walk on some small hill near my home. Although the bag is just 20L, it is surprisingly spacious for gears. I could put my 5Dmk4, my Mavic2pro with spare batteries and controller, a bottle of water, and other small things such as power bank. When the bag is fully loaded, it is not as comfortable as the Shimoda, but it is way lighter. The shoulder straps are thin, yet suit my chest and should well. The back panel of the bag is some kind of foam similar to Shimoda, but lack of air gap and padding.
The bag has a rolling top as many of the recent bags. This seems a trend these days. I need the bag to completely closed and weatherproof, and through this kind of rolling top fit my needs. It was half-fulfilled. The rolling mechanism is secured when there’s some kind of stuff filled the upper portion. When it was empty, the rolling will bounce back a little bit. It was still closed, but dust and bugs may get it in extreme conditions. And the lip of the rolling top is zipped by two cheap buttons, I think it would be better to use a magnet in this area.
For the side access, which is one of the major reasons I got this bag, is Okey~. Yes, I could get my camera quickly from the side. But the access area is so tight and no as quick as I wanted to be. The Shimoda explore 40 has the same problem.
In conclusion, The bag is a nice addition to my arsenal. It is not a one-bag-fit all product, but it fulfills the basic need, and look better than most of the other camera bag. I will take it for some one day trip in the urban area for sure.
If you interested in the equipment I used, please check the links below:
- Shimoda Action X30 Backpack ----- https://amzn.to/2SJXdwC
- Peak Design Tripod ----- https://amzn.to/2IajlhD
- Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip ----- https://amzn.to/33IEAQ1
- Canon 5D Mark IV ----- https://amzn.to/2SJXz6q
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro ----- https://amzn.to/33IKaC3
- GoPro Max ----- https://amzn.to/3nxqPvs
- Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod ----- https://amzn.to/2SECuKI