Monday, June 25, 2012

Make sure all your gear stays with you...

I've been looking for a bag for a while that I can travel with to do editorial assignments which means being able to pack a reasonable amount of gear plus my laptop so that I can work on site and prepare and send pictures from anywhere I happen to be.

I also am one of those people that enjoys the less is more approach to many aspects of my life. So what I wanted was a bag that could hold a large amount of gear, but packed into a reasonably compact and neat size.

After doing a lot of research online, I felt that Kata may have the solution for me. I already own another model of their bags and am still really pleased with it.

I happened to be out in Golden Gate Park one day and saw someone with the bag I had become more and more interested in and after speaking with him, he was kind enough to let me give the bag a once over. It was the Kata Bumblebee range, model DL-210. .

I had an international trip coming up and decided to take the plunge on this model.

I was happily surprised at just how much this back can eat up. In practice, I found that it was more a limitation of how much weight I wanted on my back rather than how much the bag could actually hold!

I think Kata have been conservative in their specs when they say how much this bag will hold and probably they are right to do so. But here is the list of what I actually carried on my trip and a photo of all the items.

3 pairs of glasses/sunglasses in hard cases.
18 - 105mm Nikon lens.
50mm Nikon prime lens.
35mm Nikon prime lens.
17 - 55mm Tamron lens (Shown on camera).
Camera body cap and lens dust cap.
2 Speedlites - (SB600)
MacBook Pro power cord and adapter.
40GB hard drive. (with power adapter).
Battery tray adapter for camera.
Pack of Strobist colored gels.
Various rechargeable batteries.
Wireless remote camera trigger.
SD Card reader.
Back up charger and power pack for iPhone.
Tripod mount.
Nic Cad Batteries charger.
2 wireless receivers and 1 transmitter.
USB cable and iPhone charging cable.
Nikon camera battery charger.
Spare SD cards.
Spare iPhone USB cable.
Canon SD900 camera and waterproof housing.
20 various door keys.
My apartment keys.
Canon camera battery charger.
Air blower.
Pack with batteries and more memory cards.
Pocket size packet of tissues.
15 inch MacBook Pro in a laptop cooling pouch.
4 magazines.
Model releases.
One DX format DSLR.
Wallet, iPhone, and travel documents (Not shown).

Fully packed, the bag was comfortable and easy to wear and I was able to carry additional suitcases while wearing the pack. Interestingly, if you do decide to go crazy and pack it "heavy", Kata offer a set of wheels and pulling handle that can be purchased as an optional extra.

You can also pack it so that you have a little less photo gear and use the top compartment for some clothing or refreshment or some other need. It's ultimately versatile in it's offering.

Once on the plane, it fit easily under the seat in front of me so I didn't even have to worry about whether or not there was space in the overhead lockers. Regardless of the airline restrictions, I still see very large packs being hauled onto planes and stuffed into the overhead lockers and many others that just don't fit at all…

Anyway, with this bag it was never something I had to concern myself with.

You can see the full specs and accessories for this product at

If you're looking for a quick shooting bag, this is probably not the right solution for you, but if you're traveling or doing assignments in the field, I definitely recommend it.

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