On my way to scouting a landscape photography location last year, I came across a wild fox puppy resting in the sun. The only issue was that all my gear was tucked away on my back. Should I risk scaring away the fox puppy, while trying to get my camera? Or should I just enjoy the moment? I managed to crouch down unnoticed and take off the backpack, put it on the ground and reach for my camera. At that point, the fox puppy noticed me and snug away. I was lucky later to get a second chance of a one-to-one photography session with the curious fox puppy when my gear was ready. However, I might as well had missed the opportunity altogether because my gear was stored on my back.
When hiking towards a location, it is not always convenient to have the camera out all the time. If it is a longer trip where you need to bring extra clothes and other accessories it gets even more challenging to fit both camera gear and your extra stuff into a single bag and still being able to access everything in an easy way.
This experience made me look into possible solutions on the market. I ended up going for the Mindshift Gear Rotation 180 Professional Backpack. Just look at the animation below. How cool is that?
The best thing about Rotation 180 Professional Backpack is that it gives you instant access to your camera gear without needing to take the camera bag off your back. You can easily rotate the integrated waist pack so it swings out in front of you at the waist level. From there you can easily get to your camera and a 2nd lens. When you are done shooting, just rotate the waist pack into the backpack and secure the sliding buckle.
The backpack is divided into the waist pack and an upper compartment. You can access the upper compartment from the top and from the backside once it is off your back. The back access offers a more easy way finding your things you if you carry a lot of extra stuff. The front stash pocket can easily hold your rain clothes or a jacket. The Rotation 180 Professional Backpack has a total loading volume of 38L.
When you unpack this bag for the first time, you can clearly see that the designers have pampered for the small details, like a strap for the waist pack rain cover, so it doesn’t get lost.
I also use the backpack for smaller day trips with the family, where I have my gear in the waist pack and the extra Lens Switch Case, while lunch and extra clothes for the children go in the upper compartment. Before I got this bag I often had to carry two bags on family trips. The Lens Switch Case attach to the right side of the waist belt and rotates with the waist pack.
The Deluxe model also includes a padded photo insert, attachment straps, top pocket, and a tripod suspension kit for easy tripod carrying.
If you carry a lot of gear occasionally, but most of the time only carry a little gear with you then you should combine this bag with a smaller one. I decided to keep my old smaller bag, for the times, when I only need my camera and one lens. The photo insert (that comes with the deluxe model) takes some of the space in the upper compartment. However, it gives you the possibility to subdivide the space in the upper compartment. Most of the time I don’t use the photo insert in the backpack. However, I keep most of my extra lenses and photo gear in the photo insert, so I can insert it into the upper compartment in a snap, so I can quickly take it with me. The photo insert, which is padded, can also offer protection for gear that you need to carry in a suitcase or extra backpack for longer travel.
You should also note, that the Mindshift Rotation 180 can’t hold very long lenses like a 400mm. The bag itself is quite heavy (2.5 kgs), but you don’t feel that once you get it onto your pack, because it is well padded with memory foam, making it very comfortable to carry.
The waist pack can hold a pro DSLR camera and a 70-200mm lens f/2.8, or a pro DLSR camera and two smaller lenses. You can supplement with the Lens Switch Case if you need more space with easy access.
- Fully adjustable shoulder straps
- Memory Foam back panel with air mesh channel
- Side compression Internal aluminum frame
- Side pockets. One of them can hold 3 liters of water in a hydration reservoir (not included)
- Selection of additional accessories to expand capacity and functionality
- Adjustable ice axe/ski carry loops
- Waterproof rain cover. Including a separate rain cover for the waist pack.
- Exterior dimensions with outside pockets empty: 13.5″ W x 22.5″ H x 10.5″ D (57 x 27 x 34 cm)
- Interior dimension of only the upper compartment: 12″ W x 14″ H x 8″ D (30.5 x 35.5 x 20.3 cm)
- Exterior dimension of the belt pack only: 13″ W x 7″ H x 7.5″ D (33 x 17.8 x 19 cm)
- Interior dimension of the belt pack only: 12.5″ W x 7″ H x 7″ D (31.7 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm)
Even though the Mindshift Rotation 180 Professional Backpack is quite expensive for a camera bag, it matches up well with other camera bags intended for being a combo between hiking backpack and a camera bag, the Rotation 180 just being a bit smarter choice in my opinion. I know for sure that this is my favorite bag for the next many years.
If you don’t need the Photo Insert and extra accessories the price is cheaper.
The Lens Switch Case is bought separately.