Review by Mark Degner
MindShift Gear is a new company that was founded by the people who produce the Think Tank Photo line of camera bags and packs. Their first product is the Rotation 180° Professional photo backpack with an integrated rotating belt pack that allows quick access to your camera gear without having to take the backpack off.
There are actually two versions of the MindShift Gear Rotation 180° Professional: the deluxe version ($499.99 US), which was the one I received to review, and the less expensive standard model ($389.99 US). They are identical in all aspects, except that the standard version doesn’t come with the padded photo insert for the backpack compartment, the top pocket, attachment straps, and the tripod suspension kit (but they can all be ordered individually or as an accessory kit). A third smaller daypack model, the Rotation 180° Panorama ($199.99 US), is also available.
The belt pack is designed to rotate around on your hips so that you can easily access your camera gear in front of you or swing it around and store it securely out of the way in a compartment in the bottom part of the backpack. The belt pack’s compartment is surprisingly large and can hold a variety of camera gear depending upon the configuration. The internal configuration can be customized using the movable padded dividers to make sure that your camera gear is properly secured. For example, it can hold a standard or pro-sized DSLR camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, or a DSLR camera with a couple of lenses and accessories. The belt pack can easily be removed from the backpack and worn on its own.
The large upper compartment on the backpack can be used to carry bulky items like a jacket, food and other outdoor gear. The compartment can be accessed either through the rear zippered opening or from the top of the pack. Adding the customizable padded photo insert to the upper compartment allows for the secure carrying of a pro-sized DSLR body and a number of other lenses and accessories. Including the top pocket, there are a total of five pockets on the outside of the backpack, two small shoulder strap pockets and a small zippered pocket on the waist belt. So there’s lots of additional storage for a variety of items, including a 3L hydration bladder (not included).
A tripod can be carried either on the front of the bag using the removable tripod cup/accessory sling and tripod straps or on the left side by sticking the legs in the mesh pocket and securing it with the compression straps. The Rotation 180° Professional comes with a removable, seam-sealed, waterproof rain cover that protects the backpack while still allowing the rotation of the belt pack.
The Rotation 180° Professional has an internal aluminum frame, providing nice support and a memory foam back panel with air mesh system that provides breathability when wearing it. The adjustable shoulder straps are nicely padded and there’s an adjustable sternum strap. It can be adjusted to fit most body sizes and shapes and is very comfortable to wear.
When I first saw the MindShift Gear Rotation 180° Professional I wondered just how practical its innovative design would be when used in the field. Like trying anything new, it took me a while to get the hang of smoothly rotating the waist pack around from the backpack to in front of me, but the more I used it the easier and quicker it became. And once I became more comfortable using it, the more I liked using it. It provides quick and easy access to the camera gear I most commonly use without having to take the backpack off. The MindShift Gear Rotation 180° Professional is really well constructed, using high-quality materials and zippers, and is built to stand up to rigorous professional outdoor use. It’s definitely a product that’s worth checking out.
Visit www.mindshiftgear.com for more information.