Drive By

Drive By :: MindShift Gear Rotation180º Backpack

by , January 4, 2013

We touched on the Rotation180º backpack very briefly in the Week In Review (8 December) but we thought it deserved further attention, since it’s a pretty creative idea that has a lot to offer photographers.  We haven’t played with this in person yet, but we have spent far too long scoping it online.

The pack has been created by MindShift Gear and is aimed in particular at outdoor photographers who are tired of having to take their backpacks off every time they want access to their camera gear.

Integrated into the backpack is a waist-pack that can be rotated out of the bottom half of the backpack all the way to the front of the body.  The waist-pack hangs in front of your stomach (or hip if you prefer), making it easy and convenient to access the camera gear inside it.  Thanks to this design, if an ideal photo opportunity presents itself mid-climb or mid-walk, you don’t have to stop and remove your backpack before you can access your gear.  Plus as long as your core gear is in the waist-pack, there’s no need to place your backpack on the ground, which can expose your gear to dust, water and dirt.  The video below shows the Rotation180º in use.

The waist-pack can be removed from the rest of the backpack and used by itself.  It also offers a range of configurations in order to accommodate a variety of gear.  The waist-pack has a volume of 7.87 liters while the rest of the backpack offers 29.63 liters of space (including pockets). The entire backpack (top section and waist-pack) weighs 5.3 lbs (2.4 kg), which is pretty good considering the added complexity of the swivel section.

All the usual pack pocketing is there, including a dedicated hydration pocket that is separated from the other contents of the pack (it holds bladders up to 3 liters in volume).

The backpack offers several methods for carrying a tripod, including a tripod cup (included with the pack) and a tripod suspension kit (an optional extra).  Other optional accessories include the likes of a rain cover, waterproof ground sheet and a removable padded camera gear insert.

Issues we can see? Nothing major jumps out at us.

You won’t want to be wearing big cowboy belt buckles when swivelling, but you really don’t want to be wearing them anyways. There is some added bulk and weight with the doubling up of protection when the waist-bag is in place, but that’s not major. And it looks like there are a few ways the waist-bag might snag on its trip around the merry-go-round, but that looks manageable as well.

We’re stoked to see that they’ve incorporated new Fidlock buckles on the mechanism release for the wasit-bag swivel. That shows that they’re sweating the details to get his right.

You can find more info via the Rotation180º pack sales sheet or the pack’s Kickstarter page.  The backpack will be successfully funded through Kickstarter in January, though there’s still an opportunity to pledge if you’d like to get in on the action.

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