After months of my First Impression of the Shimoda Explore 40L, I took the bag with me for many weekend hiking. In short, the answer is the same as my first impression: the bag is not perfect, having small flaws, but Great overall. This should be the best camera bag for me so far.

Every photographer has different needs. The advantage for me is not for everyone, so I have to tell you a little bit more about my usage first. I am not a full-time photographer but a weekend-photographer. 3 Lens, 1 DSRL, a Mavic 2 Pro, some batteries, and cleaning stuff are all my gears. I usually go hiking on weekend and take my gears for capturing landscape photos.

My previous camera bags are either "good-looking but not durable", "functional but not handsome". Side-access is a must for me, I need to be ready to take out my camera whenever and wherever the situation is. It is not practical to place the bag on the ground and take out the gears in many places (Riff, beach, dirt, etc). Durable is also a major point, while I always walk through trees, rocks and all landscape, the bag must be tough enough for thousands scratching from branches and rocks, as well as waterproof and easy to clean up. When there is some dirt on the bag, I just use a wet towel to wipe and the bag was cleaned. I also need to hold my jacket, water, food, and other small things. Finally, the design and the look is super important to me, too! So many bags are functional but ugly in this world!

And, Shimoda Explore 40L meets all the points above.

The bag for adventure.

The bag is tough, beautifully designed. I am happy with my purchase. One more advantage I didn't expect is the adjustable back strips. Adjusting the strips to make the bag feels so different. It is comfortable on my back even I was in full gear. There is also a metal frame at the back of the bag to enhance the stability (but add the weight of the other hand). All advantages about the bag saying by others are true. Take a look at some other youtubers, like Nick Page and Mark Denney should get a deeper understanding of what the bag is.

Besides all the advantages, the bag is not perfect. First, the bag is a little bit big for me. I do not always have the bag packing fully. 30L / 35L should be better for my need. There’s a belt to balance the pressure and weight of the bag, while it is not removable when I was in light-gear, the belt somehow unnecessary in some situations. The most bothering thing for me is the “noise of the straps”.

Shimoda Explore 40L

The dirt on the bag could be easily cleaned.

The lower end of the back straps is near the belt. The surface of the straps and belt will continually rub each other and make noise. Some “errr errr” sound is noticeable when this happens. This is not a deal breaker but annoying me every time walking in a quiet place. It is not loud. I could not hear it when I was in the urban area.

I love the small zip pocket on the left back strap. I put my iPhone 8 in it and picked the phone out very conveniently with ease. While I changed to iPhone XR recently, the pocket could not hold my phone (with case) anymore. I have to place XR on the pocket at the right-hand side, which is an open-pocket and not as secure as the left-hand side. I really hope the zipping pocket could be a little bit bigger (really only a bit is enough) to hold some big phone.

Shimoda has just released a 30L version and I think I would purchase a 30L version if I had this choice. I love the 40L though and do not regret the purchased at all. I emailed the noise problem to Shimoda, and the company cares about my opinion and shows passion about making the bag better.

This is a bag with quality. This is the best camera bag for me so far.

If you interested in the equipment I used, please check the links below:

- Shimoda Action X30 Backpack -----

- Shimoda Action Explore 40 Backpack -----

- Peak Design Tripod -----

- Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip -----

- Canon 5D Mark IV -----

- DJI Mavic 2 Pro -----

- GoPro Max -----

- Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod -----