Winner of Best Hiking Camera Backpack - Shotkit.com
Dimensions: 24 x 11.4 x 11 in (61 x 29 x 28 cm)
Weight: 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Price: See latest price here
The most comfortable, well-designed and good-looking hiking camera backpack we’ve ever come across.
Construction quality is top-notch. Coated nylon exterior similar to mountaineering bags feels tough and rip-proof, and shoulder straps feel secure.
Despite being the biggest camera backpack in this review, the Shimoda Explore 60 still remains relatively lightweight. Obviously the (empty) weight will vary depending on the modular accessories you add to it, but these are all lightweight too.
Feels like a hug from a good friend! The fit can be tailored via height adjustable shoulder straps. Hip strap is one of the comfiest I’ve used on any backpack. EVA compression moulding in straps feels like a child standing on your shoulders wearing Nike Air shoes…amazing.
It’s hard to make a hiking camera backpack look cool, but Shimoda has managed it. Designed by the ex-lead designer of F-Stop Gear, it’s easy to see why. My wife’s first reaction: “I love the colour!” Both the ‘Blue Nights’ and the ‘Sea Pine’ look like no other bag I’ve seen – really unique tones, tastefully complimented with brown accents on zipper pulls.
At 60L, there’s not a lot that can’t fit in the Shimoda Explore! Depending on what modular unit you insert, prepare to shoulder everything you own…and then some.
The height adjustable shoulder straps are unique in the way that they can be adjusted – a lot of design consideration has gone into this. The straps themselves are amazingly comfortable with their moulded design.
Hip straps features cutaways to prevent bone-rub – the first time I’ve seen this on a backpack, and a great feature.
Rear padded portion features some serious padding and a unique design to increase airflow while hiking.
Pockets on front of the shoulder straps are great – one zippered, the other elasticated. Both large enough to hold a mobile phone.
Ease of Use
Easy to slide on and off the body. Getting gear in and out is easy too. Strap system takes a bit of getting used to, but this is to be expected on a technical outdoor camera backpack.
As with all backpacks that feature a separate internal camera bag, it’s never quite as quick as simply opening the main bag and getting to your gear – you need to unzip the internal one too.
Value for Money
Yes it’s very expensive (see here), but you’re paying for function and years of design experience via F-Stop, and now Shimoda – the cool styling is just an added bonus. Compared to some of the heavy leather camera backpacks costing the same amount or more, this is actually a good value.
Remember to take into account the cost of the modular accessories (the ‘Core Units’) too, though.
This is the first hiking backpack that I want to wear with casual clothes! Something about it…definitely has the x-factor. Putting it on and securing it to your body is a joy too. I never expected to want to use a hiking backpack this much!
FINAL SCORE: 81/90
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