Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reviews R Us

I have been looking for a new backpack for my camera gear for a few months now. Because of my previous profession I needed a camera bag that had all of my equipment in one spot so that I could just grab it and go and I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I had extra batteries, the chargers, memory cards and video tapes. This lead me to buying my first camera backpack which I came to love.

I have since changed professions and gotten more equipment but I still like the idea of having everything in one spot so I can just grab it and go. I started looking for a backpack that was comfortable and big enough to handle the equipment I now have and was something that I could live with cost wise.

Since I’m cheap, er, I mean, thrifty, it takes me a while to find what I want because I am always looking for that ever illusive “deal”. I finally found that deal, and a really good one I might add, about two weeks ago in the Kata HB-207 backpack.

I have to say that I have developed a love/hate relationship with this backpack. I love this pack because it will easily hold all of my gear. I hate this backpack because it will easily hold all of my gear!

With three camera bodies (Nikon D300, D80 & D3000) two battery grips, five lenses including the huge Sigma 150-500mm, a digital video camera, chargers, batteries, filters, memory cards, video tapes, my laptop, an Induro tripod with ball head and a bogen monopod with ball head the pack weighs in at 35 pounds! You can see an empty slot in the photo and that's only because I had to take the photo with something!

The good thing is this is a VERY comfortable backpack to wear and the weight doesn’t even seem like it is there. Granted, I don’t always take this backpack where ever I go. I mainly bought it for long trips (such as to Hawaii) where I want to have all of my stuff with me and for my day trips when I’m not very far from the car. I have a Tamrac Velocity 9 sling bag for taking a single camera body with grip and a few lenses if I’m going to be away from the main backpack for awhile.

The Kata HB-207 would probably be considered huge by most standards. The pack is 25 inches tall, about 15 inches wide and the inside compartment is about 8 inches deep. The pack has a lumbar support and the waist band is detachable if you don’t want to use it. As an accessory you can purchase luggage rack type setup for it that comes with a handle and wheels so that you can roll it through the airport or other places if you don’t want to carry it.

The pack comes with four mesh bags that have Velcro on them so that you can secure things like charges, cables, memory cards and such and then stick them in the bag where they won’t move or fall out when the bag is open. It also comes with a rain/sun cover to keep everything cool or dry. The rain side of the cover is black and the sun side of the cover is silver to reflect the heat and sun off the bag. They have made the rain/sun cover big enough so that if you have a monopod and/or tripod attached to the side the rain cover has enough size that it will protect these also.

There are several pockets on the pack and even a padded slot for a laptop. One of the best features of the pack is that the bottom back outside of the pack is formed and hardened somewhat to act as a protective shell for the camera compartment that sits at the bottom of the pack. You can see the curve of this formed part of the pack in the first photo at the bottom left.  The padding is extremely thick on the inside of the pack and protects the gear well.

Another good feature of this pack is that the inside is bright yellow. Since all of the camera equipment is normally black, this makes it easier to see the things in the adjustable spaces inside the pack.

The zippers on this pack are extra heavy duty and all have a cover to help keep out dust and moisture. There is even a top compartment that can be rearranged so that you have access to one camera body and lens without having to open up the entire back of the pack. Just zip open the small top pocket where the handle is, reach in and grab your camera and start shooting.

I haven’t found anything I don’t like about this pack except for the retail price, right around $300, but since I’m “thrifty” and try to never pay retail this isn’t too much of a detriment. Thanks to a little luck and E-Bay I paid less than half of the retail price for this pack ($123.45 including shipping).

I don’t have any pictures of me wearing the backpack, I didn’t want anyone making fun of my legs :~) but I have found it to be very comfortable. The pack probably wouldn’t be that comfortable with someone that has a small frame. Since it is 25 inches tall it does take a good size upper body to where it and be comfortable. It works perfect for me.

Now all I have to do is make sure I can get it in the overhead bin on an airplane!


  1. Good reviews! Looks like you are the man on the missions. I'm just about to run out of pictures to post on this blog, so I guess I can complete the painting in the next few months.

  2. Very delux backpack, and good review to go with. I like the idea of having a bright contrasting colour for the interior of the pack, well thought out feature.
    Looks like you got yourself a great deal on this pack also... It pays to be frugal!
    My pack loaded weighs in at 12lbs. after hiking or biking around for 3 or 4 hours you feel it though I only use the shoulder straps and not the waist belt so far. At 35lbs. loaded you will definately want to be using the waist belt with your pack!

  3. Another informative review on a very nice pack. That baby will carry a serious arsenal of cameras with lens and accessories. Looks very comfortable. I sure like these equipment reviews!

    Ron do you own a small pack? LOL

  4. Small packs are for girls! LOL


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