- Buyer's Guide
Carry Evolution :: Boreas Aperture
Boreas Gear gave the world of pack suspension systems a wake-up shake with the introduction of the innovative Bootlegger series. With their latest addition to the Bootlegger series, the brand is branching out into camera carry courtesy of the Boreas Aperture Photo Pack. Eager to dig down into the details and learn more, we snapped up the opportunity to delve into the pack’s design process with Boreas designer Todd Wilkinson…
Why does this pack need to exist?
With the success of our Bootlegger series and the additional packs we’ve added so far, Kezar and Uptown, we felt that we should continue its story. There are numerous possibilities for pack ad-ons but we found that a lot of the camera bags that are out there look similar and there is definite need for something fresh in the market.
Who do you consult to make sure this pack will nail it for your intended user?
We have worked with numerous photographers over the years on adventure lifestyle photography trips. On those trips and in our studio we were able to converse with photographers on what works and does not with their camera carrying gear. We also discovered improvement areas to the photography equipment, both carrying and access-wise, as we traveled around. One of our most recent trips to Alaska with its tough weather and rough terrain showed there was a need for the Aperture Photo Pack. One that can withstand the elements, carry all our gear and be as versatile as our other Bootlegger packs.
What did your brief look like? Is price part of that conversation?
The brief was pretty simple. Assess the state of current camera carrying gear, take it in a new direction, and most important – make it Boreas. The pack needs to work for people who are new to Boreas but also support our current audience with Bootlegger compatibility. Access, tripod attachment, versatility and definitely price were key factors. Camera packs are pretty expensive and we are planning on placing the Aperture pack at a very competitive price.
Access can make or break a camera pack. Can you talk through how you prioritised access with this format?
We wanted to keep the camera safe, allow for increased ability to attach gear, and be able to integrate our suspension. With all these aspects in mind we created a full access back panel zipper opening. Internally we have a camera insert that has a similar rear access panel that you can clip to the main opening. The ability to clip both openings together allows one to get right into the camera insert with unzipping one panel. A different setup would be to keep the insert fully closed so once the main bag is open you can remove the insert and use it on its own. We are adding a shoulder strap to the insert so it acts as a satellite bag to the main body.
You’ve run with the full back opening, which works great for stationary access, but not as well for mobile access. Is there a type of use you’ve designed it for which better suits this?
The Aperture pack has the ability to be used as a technical daypack and camera pack. Being able to carry gear on the outside of the pack was very important to us so “ultra quick” camera access was not first priority, although functional access is. We have seen side access openings and other quick access packs as popular directions, but if you carry items on the outside they are usually blocked. So to us being able to use the pack in an adventure setting, carry all your gear out in the field with the ability to access and stow your camera equipment, makes the Aperture super versatile.
Were there issues getting the Bootlegger system and the back access system working together on the back panel?
With the Bootlegger suspension being such a unique component to our pack system we have to work through each pack setup to make sure that it is truly compatible. This is the same whether it’s the Hopper, Kezar or Torpedo pack. The Aperture pack posed itself as an interesting challenge with the zipper running so close to an access point. We worked out a zipper path that works with the pack and is durable with use out in the field. But yes, Bootlegger suspension compatibility always adds in a need for a bit more design and development.
How about getting laptops and filled camera sections to work against the curve of the Bootlegger suspension?
We’ve sized the insert so that there is room for both flex and a laptop. There is however points at which the most extreme flex level on the suspension will limit the amount of gear that can fit inside. This is also the case for the Bootlegger series and the Bolinas and Lagunitas packs. There is definitely a trade off to the amount of flex and the amount of gear you can stow.
How well does the pack work with the camera insert removed? It looks like it could be a neat travel pack.
Exactly. One of the benefits with the pack’s setup is that it allows for use without the camera insert. The pack pretty much features all the Boreas DNA of our other packs; waterproof top pocket, main compartment top access, front stretch pockets, hidden daisy chain sides, laptop sleeve, reflective side print, and ribcage seams. All these put together allow for the Aperture to stand alone as its own unique addition to the Bootlegger series.
What didn’t you get to include in this design?
I think we created a well-balanced and unique pack that has a feature set that will work great out in the field. So I really don’t think there’s more I would like to add to this one. We will see how the Aperture is received and who knows, maybe we will expand our camera series. It would be cool to have them all integrate together somehow.
What are you most proud of with this design?
One of the best aspects of this pack is that it fits in our Bootlegger suspension line but has a unique function that differentiates itself from the rest. Second to that would be the application of multiple daisy chains on both sides for increased gear attachment versatility. Third is that one can use the insert as its own over-the-shoulder bag if you need to leave the frame and body behind.
After a successful Bootlegger campaign, you guys have gone back to Kickstarter with this. Can you talk a bit about that?
We found that Kickstarter is a great platform for launching unique products that we may or may not introduce into our main production. When we get great feedback on projects like the Bootlegger series then we know we have something special. The Aperture Pack is also doing great so we know that we have a supportive audience for our suspension-compatible products.
And lastly, do people still carry big cameras? We thought all photography was done on iPhones these days. 🙂
Funny you should ask. It’s amazing how far the photography capabilities have come with cell phones these days. Although there is an increased popularity with the phone camera, we wanted to support amateur and professional photographers who are out on amazing adventures. It’s great to see our packs in photos from our users in far-off destinations. It makes me want to get out there!