15 Jul Go-To Camera Bag
What I like:
- Fits more like a backpack
- Fits small body structure
- Sleek and light
- ICUs provide options
- Carry everything you need
- Comfortable for hours, even when loaded
What Can it Hold?
- Either 400mm f/2.8 or 500mm f/4
- 100-400mm (attached to body or not)
- Two Pro camera bodies
- 1.4x & 2.0x Extenders
- Tripod plus Jobu Gimbal Head
Being a smaller female, I have always had trouble finding a camera bag that fit all my gear, plus fit my body, and didn’t make me feel like I suddenly became a turtle and acquired a shell. When F-Stop announced that they were releasing a bag that was specifically designed for females, I was rather intrigued, and put my name on the list to get one right away. The pack they released is called the Kashmir UL, and can hold up to a Large ICU.
I’ve had the bag for over a year now, and I can say that it has met, and probably even exceeded all my expectations. To begin with it is light when it’s empty, so unlike other bags that I have tried in the past which already felt heavy, and bulky, before you added any camera gear, this isn’t the case with this Kashmir UL bag.
To understand one of the benefits of this bag, you have to understand how the F-Stop Gear system works. Basically the offer a selection of bags, and then all you to buy different Internal Camera Units (ICU’s) that you can fit within the bag. The benefit of this system is that if you are trying to lug around all your gear, as I often do, then you would go with the largest ICU for the bag, which in my case is the Large Pro ICU. If you are going for a day of macro shooting, and packing a lunch, then you can go with a smaller ICU, and then have extra room in your bag for the extras that you will need throughout the day, and use it as more of a traditional backpack instead of a camera bag.
Another benefit of this ICU system, is that when you are travelling, you can remove the ICU and pack it in a carry-on roller (why f-stop doesn’t make their own is beyond me), and then your backpack folds up nicely and fits in your checked bag. This allows you to not have to carry around your overstuffed backpack if you have multiple stops or layovers, but then when you get to the field you just have to switch it over to your backpack and it’s all ready to go. However, if you do want to, you can carry the Kashmir onto the plane and it easily fits either under the seat in front of you, or in even the smallest of the overhead bin.
What is always hard to tell by looking online and reading spec sheets, is what can I actually fit in this bag. The one downside to this pack is that if I take my 500mm, or 400mm f/2.8 then I can’t have it attached to the body, so it’s not in the “ready to shoot” condition. But otherwise I am able to fit either my 100-400 or Sigma 150-600mm attached to a body in the bag. I can (not always easily) fit the following in the bag together:
-either the Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS II or the Canon 500mm f/4L IS II not attached to a body;
-100-400mm attached to a body;
-1.4x and 2.0x canon extenders.
-Tripod and Jobu Gimbal head
-Note, I have carried both a 1dx and 1dx mark II at the same time.
The other great thing about this bag is the fit. Now I haven’t tried (other than for a few seconds) any of the other f-stop ultra light series bags (i.e. those that aren’t specifically marketed towards females), but even when this bag is loaded so full that you wonder if it’s going to burst at the seams I am still able to comfortably walk around with it for a few hours. The waist belt, which in my opinion is one of the most important aspects of the bag, is able to tighten for my waist size (which is on the smaller size), and keeps the strain off my shoulders. So carrying everything I mentioned above and walking around for several hours, I am still able to function afterwards.
So in summary, here’s what I like best about the bag:
1 – fit – sleek, and doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a turtle shell
2 – ICUs – allows me to re-arrange based on the days activities, or remove for travel.
3 – Weight – UL stands for Ultra Light, and I 100% agree with that. It is one of the lightest bags (empty) that i have tried.
I have more recently purchased the F-Stop Red Bull Photography Ajna bag in order to have the ability to carry my larger prime lenses with the body attached, so stay tuned to my review of that bag.