- Buyer's Guide
An agile camera daypack with a host of slick features
f-stop's bags usually use a modular “Internal Camera Unit”, but with the Kenti - a camera daypack for outdoor shooting and urban day travel - they’ve gone for a dedicated system without the insert.
The features and weight savings of purpose-built bags like the Kenti are an advantage when you're trying to outrun a snowstorm in the alpine or convincing the flight attendant your camera bag totally counts as your personal carry-on item; but with reduced modularity it’s critical to get the organization right.
I jumped at the opportunity to take a closer look at the Kenti, and I've spent the last six months using it hard.
- Name: Kenti
- Brand: f-stop
- Format: Camera backpack
- Measurement: Height: 43.2 cm, Width: 27.9 cm, Depth 21.6 cm
- Capacity: 25 litres
- Weight: 1.54 kg
- Zippers: YKK
- Material: DWR-treated 330D Ripstop Nylon with 1500mm PU coating, Hypalon zipper garages, Duraflex buckles, EVA-padded hip-belt/shoulder straps/back panel
- PriceUS $249
The roll-top section of the bag is excellent. I usually throw a light jacket and a Clif bar in there, but it’s large enough to hold a change of clothes (not jeans) for a quick overnight trip somewhere. Another nice overnight feature is its laptop sleeve down the front of the bag. A 13" MacBook Pro is a very tight fit into the laptop sleeve, but I love that it keeps the rigid laptop away from your curved, flexible back.
Another thing I appreciated was the hydration-compatible back panel. I took the bag on a few photo/video shoots for the day job, and I was thankful for the extra water when riding in the alpine. I have no idea why it bugs me, but I find it annoying that the hydration port is right-side-only. I'm insane, this is likely not an issue for others.
The rest of the details are nice, with an easily accessible soft pocket for sunnies or a cellphone, a rain-cover pocket at the bottom of the bag, zippered pocket on the waist-strap, MOLLE webbing for compatibility with tons of other accessories, “GateKeeper” attachment points for straps to attach skis or a tripod, et cetera.
I did find the front panel organizer pocket less useful than it could be. It’s a tight fit and only zips down one side, making the battery sleeves, zippered pockets, key ring, and otherwise well-laid-out features hard to access.*
*There has been a minor update to the bag that I’m reviewing, and apparently the front panel organizer zipper now extends further down for easier access. I suspect this update at least partially addresses this issue.
Comfort & Use
I’ve been using the Kenti for over 6 months now. It's been on photoshoots in Whistler, carried bear-bangers on Okanagan dawn patrol rides, helped film prototype bikes in Arizona, seen several ill-advised snowy adventures in the Monashees - for science! - and more. It's been one of my go-to bags for work, and it's served me well around town.
I was concerned about the lack of load-lifters, but on a bag this small it wasn’t an issue. The shoulder straps are wide, flexible, and comfortable; the waist-belt does a great job of transferring weight to your hips without constricting movement, and the 2:1 pulls on the waist-belt are a nice touch. The size of the Kenti suited my 5'2" girlfriend as well.
After some experimentation, I got the camera compartment optimized for slinging the bag off my right shoulder toward my left side. This lets me leave a 24-70 2.8 on my camera body and have it ready to use in seconds. The bag is ambidextrous, so you could do the same setup for the opposite side depending on your dominant hand.
Despite excellent organization and comfort, I had several issues with the Kenti in use. The compression straps along the side slow down access to your camera, so I left them unclipped. For urban use these straps may be a theft deterrent.
I found that the roll-top compartment straps also interfere with camera access. To address this, I attach the roll-top female buckle to the compression strap male buckle. This works adequately, but it’s a design flaw as far as I’m concerned.
After more than 6 months of hard use the materials show only minor wear. The stitching has no major signs of stress, the YKK zippers are smooth, and the buckles survived being accidentally slammed in my car door.
The 330D ripstop nylon feels somewhat flimsy. It has held up so far, and it was clearly chosen for its light weight, but the $249 USD price tag makes me wish they had taken a slight weight penalty to add more robust materials in high wear areas.
It's a cliché that good design is invisible, but it rings true here. After getting the Kenti set up initially I all but forgot about it. No surprises at elevation, no material failures, no features that didn't work as advertised. Despite some minor issues, it nails most of the details.
It speaks volumes that f-stop rolls out incremental improvements in their bags. Too many companies put out a design, let sales decay for a few seasons, and then put out a whole new design with a new name that creates new design flaws while trying to fix old ones. This is a better approach.
Ultimately the f-stop Kenti is a feature-rich bag that is light, agile, and functional. It's more stable than a sling bag, and still has quick camera access. For those whose photographic adventures stray from the beaten path, or those who appreciate a fast-paced urban bag, the Kenti comes recommended.
- Size & weight is perfect for agile camera daypack
- Camera & storage layout is effective
- Laptop compartment is away from back
- Tons of features - hydration, glasses pouch, MOLLE, etc.
- Technical, understated looks
The Not As Good
- Minor details off the mark
- Compression strap & roll-top strap design hinder access to camera
- Concern about lightweight material in high wear areas
- Expensive for being made in China
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Space & Access
Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware
Warranty & Support