MindShift Gear Rotation 180 Panorama Camera Pack Review
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Since I have started taking my outdoor photography hobby to the next level I found it difficult to find an adequate pack that made it easy for me to access my camera and lenses. When using a regular backpack, every time I wanted to take a picture I would have to take the pack off of my back and dig through it to find my camera. It was very inconvenient and I missed a lot of great shots because it took so long to get to my camera. Needless to say I was very excited when I had the opportunity to review the MindShift Panorama pack! After two months of taking the pack on a variety of hikes and bike rides I have come to love this pack for all of my photography adventures. Continue reading for my full review of the pack and some other great accessories offered by MindShift Gear.
Organization and Capacity:
The belt pack with Nikon D5200 Camera
The main feature of this pack that stands out is the 180 degree rotating belt pack which makes accessing your camera and extra lenses a breeze. I was able to easily put my Nikon D5200 with a Nikon 55-200mm lens in the pack and still have room for an additional 18-55mm lens. The belt pack is equipped with padded velcro dividers allowing for multiple configurations. The belt pack also accommodates an iPad or similar tablet in a separate sleeve if you need some on the go editing done. The mesh pocket on the top flap is a great place to store extra cards or other small accessories. Rotating the belt pack from the backpack to the front is so easy that it just glides around in one smooth motion. It’s almost like magic! One concern I had about the belt pack was possibly dropping it if I forgot to buckle the waste belt, but MindShift has added the safety feature of a daisy chain to prevent the belt pack (and camera) from falling to the ground.
The main compartment of the panorama pack can be used to either store your gear and food or MindShift offers an optional insert pack for storage of additional camera gear. I found the majority of the time I left the insert at home and opted for the additional storage. At 16.6 liters the main compartment has ample storage for most day hikes. On an everyday hike, I was able to fit an extra layer, rain coat, food, and gloves with room to spare! The top of the main compartment has a lid storage for extra miscellaneous items/storage.
The photo insert I have used mainly for traveling and protecting additional lenses. The insert will fit a standard body with an attached 24-70mm lens with room for an additional 1-3 lenses or a detached pro body with room for 1-3 additional lenses. The padded velcro inserts allows for a variety of configurations and made it easy to fit all my gear.
The Panorama has two options to carry your tripod. The first is on the back of the pack, which is the main option I have used during most of my hikes. I found that the lower pocket and upper straps did a great job of securing my tripod during long hikes and I could barely tell it was there during some short scrambles I had to do on a couple of hikes. The upper strap has a buckle along with a strap clamp to ensure the strap doesn’t loosen and allows for an easy on/off of your tripod. When you are not carrying a tripod with you the lower pouch folds right into the bag and the upper strap can be tucked into a velcro pocket.
The second option is carrying it on the side of the pack with a bungee strap at the bottom and a strap at the top. I didn’t mind my tripod on the side, but I preferred it on the back. The on the side option ends up covering the hydration sleeve which was inconvenient to me because I always use the hydration sleeve. MindShift does offer a third option for a photographer who finds it annoying to have to take off their pack to access their tripod and that is the tripod suspension system. The tripod suspension system is integrated into the panorama pack and allows for you to have access to your tripod at all times.
As mentioned above, the Panorama pack comes with a hydration sleeve on the side of the pack that can hold up to a 2 liter bladder. Some people have found it difficult to get bladders into the pack, but I found that as long as I put the bladder into the sleeve prior to packing my gear into the upper portion of the pack that I had no problems with it. I was able to place an almost full 3 liter camel bak bladder into the hydration sleeve. One must stay hydrated in the hot Colorado sun!
I’ve had the panorama pack on my back for multiple long hikes and I have yet to come home with sore shoulders. The pack features a breathable air harness, adjustable load straps on the shoulders and belt pack, and to add stability the pack has a curved back panel with a single aluminum stay.
I am 6 feet tall with a middle torso and the pack has fit great. On a few shorter outings I actually just took the rotating belt pack off and used it by itself. I found it to be a nice option when you didn’t need additional gear. (And Yes, it does kind of look like a fanny pack if you just wear the rotating belt pack!)
Materials and Durabilty:
During my time with the pack I have been impressed with its durability. I have used it in multiple conditions from sun to snow and have snagged it on quite a few trees and it still looks the same as when I received the pack. The exterior of the pack is a mixture of durable water-repellant nylon which would make this a great pack to even take skiing. If you do find yourself needing a little more water protection MindShift does offer an optional rain cover.
If you’re looking for a quality, versatile pack to protect your camera and gear that will hold up in all conditions then this is a pack you should definitely consider purchasing! This is the perfect pack for the outdoor photographer enthusiast at a reasonable price point MSRP $199. If you are in need of a larger pack MindShift does offer the Professional Model which is a little larger and offers a couple of additional features. I can’t say enough good things about this pack! It has made hiking in the mountains with my camera enjoyable again!
MindShift also offers an ultralight cover that comes in three sizes. The Size 10 fits small DSLR cameras (ex: a Nikon 5200 with kit lens). The Size 20 fits a standard DSLR with a medium zoom lens ( ex: Canon 5D MIII). The Size 30 fits a standard DSLR with an attached large zoom lens (ex: Nikon D800/D4). When I was camping the ultralight cover came in handy for short outings that didn’t require multiple lenses or gear. When the cover isn’t being used it folds into itself for easy storage.
The Filter Hive is another great option offered by MindShift that keeps your filters protected with easy access and color coded compartments.