A clever rethink of the camera backpack that makes access to your common gear much easier than the competition.
Camera backpacks are an essential part of many of our kits, especially if we have a lot of gear and we often walk a fair bit in search of the perfect shot. The problem with most backpacks is that, since you need to take the backpack off to access your gear. This makes even simple things like a lens change a real pain. One solution to this is to wear a belt or bag on our front with our common gear in it. But this can be very awkward in many situations, especially those involving climbing.
Think Tank Photo has addressed this problem with their unique Rotation 360 backpack. The bottom part of the backpack houses a bum bag that fits into a cavity in the backpack. Tabs on the waist belt allow you to lock and unlock this, and then pull it around to the front. The upper part of the backpack remains firmly on your back.
Total capacity of the backpack is very good. You can readily fit a camera body with lens attached, plus another lens or two in the belt bag, depending on their size, plus other accessories, like memory cards, filters, etc. A small additional packet is on the belt, separate from the main belt bag and this is big enough to hold one of those memory card transferring disk storage units, like a Jobo. If your wear the camera you can fit more or larger lenses in the belt bag. The top part of the backpack can hold a camera body and lenses, clothing, food or whatever you want.
The backpack is part of a system. There are attachment loops on the belt that allow you to attach large zoom lens bags to the side of the belt you pull on to rotate it (on the other side, it blocks rotation). Further there are ample other attachment points elsewhere on the backpack. Attachment rings on the shoulder straps and accessory straps allow you to hang a camera from the backpack straps, taking the weight off your neck. You can attach several cameras in this way. There are side mesh pockets and a good-sized front pocket. It has an inbuilt rain shield.
This is not the largest of backpacks, or the lightest, as even empty it has surprising weight compared to the lightest of camera backpacks, though it is far from heavy at around 2.5kg (or 5.5 pounds) without accessories. But you can fit a decent collection of camera gear in it ad comfortably carry it long distances, as I have done over the Australian summer and autumn. The backpack is very comfortable to wear, at least for me (this can be a very personal thing) and the belt bag is really easy to use. Where it really comes into its own is in situations where you are walking, exploring an area and shooting as you go, whilst still wanting to change lenses, memory cards, etc. It keeps the gear comfortably balanced on your back, as I can attest from climbing over rocks and up and down cliffs while wearing one.
The back is very well made and will offer many years of quality service in rough conditions. At US$279 it is not cheap, but then what price that great shot you missed while fiddling with a normal backpack to change lenses? The fact that you can expand it with system accessories means that you really can carry a lot of gear with it, if you need to. You can also just use the belt bag. My preferred way is to carry my lenses in the belt bag, along with memory cards, etc. My camera bodies go in the backpack part. When I get to my location I attach the camera to the harness and can then just rotate the belt bag around when I need to change lenses. It all works great. I know I love mine and look forward to getting many years of great use out of it. Very highly recommended.