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Mindshift Gear Sibling Rivalry (no photos)

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by maritan, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    @Harvey Melvin Richards@Harvey Melvin Richards was kind enough to point out that i had promised a report of some kind comparing two of the Mindshift Gear Rotation backpacks - the Panorama and the Horizon - that I own.

    I had (have) the Panorama and love it for its excellent build and it's defining feature - the rotation hip belt that allowed quick access to your quick camera. These backpacks were obviously built by people who shoot themselves and have probably been frustrated by the other available backpacks on the market.

    I used it as my carry on bag (and of course hiking) for my Kauai trip and a few other smaller outings. It performed really well in that it allowed me to pack the bag to my liking and then I was up and running. I was less than thrilled with two things on this particular model:

    1. Small size, but that's not really a fault of the backpack. I knew going on how small it was as far as capacity, but till I had it my hands and started packing it, I didn't realize how small it is.

    2. Water compartment - on one side, you can slide a Camelbak style bladder in to a zippered compartment for water on the go. Two issues - a) it made the pack a wee bit unbalanced, not enough to bother me, but enough to realize it when I put the pack on the first time so I had to adjust the straps and then forgot about it. b) Small, small, small compartment. It was supposed to be able to take two litre bladders, but I just couldn't get it to fit - the best I squeezed in there was a 2 litre bladder with 1 litre water, but it would pinch in spots and stop water flow.

    Still I fit the following into the backpack:
    Main compartment:
    - A rain jacket
    - Lens Switchcase (to organize flash, batteries, charger, memory cards etc.)
    - Rain cover for the backpack itself
    - Some snacks
    - A 750ml water bottle because the bladder compartment was just a pain to deal with
    - A flashlight, and two headlamps in the top pouch and their batteries on the outside

    Hip belt:
    - E-M1 with RRS base and L plate
    - 12-40 mounted, hood reversed
    - One spare SD card
    - 60mm macro
    - Spacer for remote release cable relief
    - Remote release
    - Bulb for blowing dust off
    - Case of polarizing filter on the 12-40
    - Nodal slide
    - Arca-Swiss compatible clamp for the slide

    On the outside, I was able to strap a tripod to it.

    All of that was a very, very tight squeeze, and occasionally, I had to make decisions - do I take my light jacket so I don't get cold, or the rain jacket since it might rain?

    When Mindshift Gear announced the Horizon, I was thrilled. I had to justify it, and used my birthday as an excuse. I went to Munich recently, I used the Horizon and what a difference! I used it as my carry on bag and had the following in the main compartment:
    - A behemoth work 15" laptop with an extended battery pack (think almost two MacBook Pro 15" stacked)
    - Lens Switchcase (to organize flash, batteries, charger, memory cards etc.)
    - Rain cover for the backpack itself
    - Tripod suspension kit
    - A full change of clothes (underwear, an undershirt, a polo t-shirt, socks and a pair of jeans)
    - A flashlight, and two headlamps in the top pouch and their batteries on the outside
    - A Filter Hive Mini in the top pouch

    Hip belt:
    - E-M1 with RRS base and L plate
    - 12-40 mounted, hood reversed
    - One spare SD card
    - 15mm PL with hood, 75mm f1.8 with hood
    - Spacer for remote release cable relief
    - Remote release
    - Bulb for blowing dust off
    - Nodal slide
    - Arca-Swiss compatible clamp for the slide
    - Passport, and other important travel documents
    - Cash

    It also has a totally useful water compartment with the same design drawback (one sided) but at least it is function. It has a zippered pouch in the front that I stuffed my rain jacket and a Polartec fleece jacket into.

    The downside to the Horizon? Not much. Once I was set up in my hotel and I wanted to take just a couple small things and my camera and associated items, the Horizon was just too large. I wished for the Panorama in those cases.

    Both bags have excellent build quality and recommend them without any reservations whatsoever. Depending on the trip, I have a use for both bags. If my wife and I are both going somewhere, my wife will use the Panorama and I'll use the Horizon.

    I realize this being a photography forum, I should probably provide pictures of the two bags and their contents, but hey, you can't it all. :2thumbs:

    Questions, comments welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
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  2. Aushiker

    Aushiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Thanks for the review. The Horizon looks interesting and I guess being able to just use the hip belt when the full pack is not required or is it not quite big enough to be practical? Also can the straps be removed or packed away for use as cabin luggage. I have noticed this feature on some other backpacks and its seems like a good idea.

    Thanks
    Andrew
     
  3. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    Thanks for the excellent (but disappointing) review. I had been thinking the Panorama sounded about perfect for me, but now I'm not sure it will work for me. A primary use would be to take my camera while mountain biking. Holding at least a two litre hydration bladder is essential and it sounds like that just wouldn't happen.
     
  4. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    @Aushiker@Aushiker - I think the hip belt can be used on its own depending on how much you want to take with you. I could have easily left a lens or two in the hotel room and stuff a rain jacket in the hip belt instead and been just fine. I bought the rain cover for the backpack, which includes a separate rain cover for the hip belt. I've never been caught out in rain with either of the backpacks though, so I can't provide any reports on that.

    Edited to add: I don't think the straps will pack away or removed. Neither pack's straps bothered me when I put them in the overhead compartment.

    @TwoWheels@TwoWheels - I'm hoping @Harvey Melvin Richards@Harvey Melvin Richards will chime in regarding this, but if you don't stuff your pack to where it's bursting at the seams and you have a properly shaped bladder (long and narrow as opposed to wide and short - I can hear the "that's what she said jokes" already) you might have a fighting chance. I haven't used bladders that much, so maybe I was doing something wrong. One thing I DID like about that compartment is that they provide a hook and loop hanger so your bladder doesn't collapse to the bottom.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
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  5. Harvey Melvin Richards

    Harvey Melvin Richards Photo Posting Junkie

    Feb 15, 2014
    Southwest Utah
    Thanks for the review, maritan.

    I am able to get a full 2 liter (100 oz) Camelbak bladder in my Panorama. However it is a bit of a struggle to do so, and most importantly, it is an old narrow mouth bladder. My newer wide mouth bladders don't fit. I also usually have my bladder about half frozen before I fill it with water, I don't know if this helps on the struggle or not.

    I love my Panorama, and it is rare that I need more space, because I carry a lot on my bike. I have been carrying an E-M10 with 40-150 PRO + MC-14 in my chest mounted Digital Holster, then another E-M10 with a 12-40 PRO, or other small lens in the hip pack.

    My main complaint with the system is the bladder struggle, and the fact that it is difficult to get to my camera gear when the pack is off. However, I can't see going to any system where I have to remove the pack while hiking just to get to my camera or lenses.
     
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  6. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    I have just returned the even smaller model than Panorama: the Trail. Great build overall, and has some outside compartments (stretch back pocket and a side pocket) of which Panorama has zero, but I found it unusably small. The belt pack won't fit my E-M1 + 12-40 lens down. It only fits it horizontally, so it's unusable for anything else - even batteries in the top pocket will bulge. The main compartment will barely fit an XL rain jacket (outer shell only). The back mesh pocket may fit a map / guide but that's about it. Only the bladder compartment looks better as it is wide/flat and sits right in the middle behind your back - but I haven't tested it. I would only take the Trail on a short bike ride. It's a bit frustrating - looks great and you'd think it would allow you to carry something - but it won't. The rotating belt pack however is absolutely unbeatable.

    Looking forward to receiving the Panorama early next week. I'm going on a two-week trip to Croatia next week so will happily share my thoughts when I'm back.
     
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  7. Indianpeaksjoe

    Indianpeaksjoe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    838
    Oct 1, 2012
    Colorado
    Hey Owczi - That is a bummer. I have to say I LOVE the MindShift Trail pack. I have carried the 12-40 and 9-18mm in it at the same time. I also can carry a down vest, bike tools, pump and snacks on the inside. It however will not fit the 40-150 PRO in it.
    P1210050.

    I use a 3 liter bladder, but only fill it with 2 liters of water to fit in the bladder compartment. Which is enough for me to ride for 4 hours in Moab in June.
    P6220200.

    I did pick up at MindShfit Gear FirstLight 20L for when I want to carry a lot of lenses. I can fit my 12-40, 40-150, 60MM macro, flash and more in it.

    Everyone has a different style of packing and riding though. So it's cool they make multiple sizes of the their packs. I totally agree the rotating belt pack is ingenious. I bought a Capture Pro plate thing for one of my other bags. It's just not the same as a rotation pack.

    Cheers,
    -Joe
     
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  8. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    Yeah, I do agree this is all very subjective. I'm talking hiking here, dawn till dusk sometimes - no camping though. I know I will have no space for anything photographic outside the belt pack. OK I guess there is one detail. I always have the bigger EVF eyepieces on my OM-Ds. Maybe with the normal eyepiece and hood removed or reversed I could fit the E-M1 lens down with the 12-40, but I want it ready for action :) Ideally I want to take the Lumix 35-100 f/2.8 and Lumix 7-14 with me on top of that - we'll see if either will fit.

    Funny you should mention Capture Pro - I intend to use mine WITH the Mindshift pack. For those moments when you need both hands. Anyway - it's good to have the choice. I would suggest to Mindshift that they release a more hiking-friendly Panorama - basically with some mesh pockets, more loops / attachments, a top flap that can fit something underneath, etc. As is, the Panorama is too much a photography pack :)
     
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  9. Harvey Melvin Richards

    Harvey Melvin Richards Photo Posting Junkie

    Feb 15, 2014
    Southwest Utah
    I have the Capture Pro on my Panorama all the time. I don't use it a lot (I'm mostly mountain biking), but it's great to have when I do need it. It's also very handy for changing lenses.
     
  10. maritan

    maritan Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Oct 30, 2014
    So, I recently took the Horizon out on a really rough canyoneering/ hiking trip through one of the local canyons here. The bag was VERY lightly loaded.

    The main compartment had the following:
    Climbing helmet (large volume, but light)
    Belay device with carabiner (just took up space due to shape)
    An anchoring strap with carabiner
    A climbing harness
    In a dry bag, the following:
    A rain jacket to be used as a windstopper if we got cold getting in and out of water
    A small bag of chocolates, some jerky, and other small snacks

    The hip belt had the following in a dry bag:
    E-M1 with 12-40
    Large case for sunglasses
    A remote release that I had accidentally brought along

    Also a pair of gardening gloves in the top pouch to help prevent rope burn while rappelling.

    I took the Horizon rather than the Panorama because I thought the volume of the climbing helmet would necessitate a larger main compartment. If I do this trip again, I'll probably take the Panorama if I can stuff the helmet into the main compartment for the brief time that it will reside there.

    I ended up taking no pictures at all because within a few minutes of starting the hike, we were at least knee deep in water. Since the E-M1 was already in a dry bag and I was in water for pretty much the entire way, it made no sense to constantly pull the camera out and put it back in. Several spots required swimming and a lot of times we were walking in chest deep water. We had to rappel down at 5 different spots, three of which were through waterfalls. We had to scramble a lot, sometimes on our butts. There were a couple spots that needed down climbing too. The dry bags thankfully did their job and my only regret with the trip is that I didn't have a TG-4 with me. I would have left the E-M1 at home and just used the TG-4. It's been a couple days and the backpack has dried out at home. It still looks brand new after this trip. I'm very impressed with this backpack and their quality.

    One of the other guys had a Panasonic Lumix FT5 and took some shots. These are not artistic or technically perfect, but it conveys the scale and ruggedness of the area that the Horizon (I'm 6' even for reference). So, here are five with faces blocked to protect the guilty:

    P1110810.JPG
    P1110818.JPG
    P1110820.JPG
    P1110834.JPG
    P1110878.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
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