The best backpack for photographers?
Shimoda Designs introduced their first camera backpacks, the Shimoda Explore 40 and the Shimoda Explore 60, with a Kickstarter launch in 2017. I feel very honored to be one of the first to review the Explore 40.
For years, I’ve been looking for the perfect camera backpack for my photography day trips. I have tried different brands and models, but I haven’t been able to find one yet that I really felt comfortable carrying and using. Like with beds and mattresses, I sometimes feel like the Princess and the Pea. I have owned and used the very good LowePro’s Slingshot 202AW (currently replaced by the slightly larger and Flipside Sport 20L AW and the near-perfect F-Stop Gear Guru UL 25L. None of them felt if they were comfortable enough for me and I missed extra space to carry other things. I needed a larger volume backpack to carry my photography gear comfortably on longer hikes, including my gripped DSLR, two or three lenses and tripod, with an additional jacket or layer, my CamelBak hydration bag, some food and other small things, like a filter set etc.
I must admit, expanding my camera gear through the years didn’t help very much in sticking with a backpack. So I have been on the quest for a while to find a better fitting camera backpack. My wish list: It had to be lightweight, waterproof (preferably without an additional rain cover), with ample space and a flexible layout. The F-Stop Gear Loka UL with its content of 37L. seemed a great choice, because I already own the F-Stop Guru and I like the quality and design of the F-Stop Gear backpacks. They also provide a flexible layout with their versatile ICU’s (Internal Camera Units).
Then I heard a rumour that a well-known designer was working on the Shimoda Explore 40 camera backpack. It had to become the mother of all backpacks, the über photography backpack, the best backpack for photographers… Was my pea finally going to be crushed?