For a landscape photographer like me, there’s nothing like the first light of day, as dawn spreads glorious, golden, diffused light over forests and fields. And now there’s nothing like MindShift Gear’s FirstLight 40L Backpack to help me get my gear out to those forests and fields before the sun comes up. This roomy yet portable pack ensures that, no matter what the weather or environment, you’ll be able to carry all the cameras and accessories you need safely and comfortably.
I’m pretty sure the “L” in “40L” stands for “Large,” for the FirstLight 40L’s main compartment is big enough to fit two DSLRs with grips and lenses attached, as well as up to eight additional lenses, two flashes, and all the trimmings (Interior Dimensions: 13.4″ W x 20″ H x 7.3″ D or 34 x 51 x 18.5 cm). Since I’ve switched to mirrorless cameras, I had even more space to play with: for my recent trip to Alaska, I easily stashed my Sony A7r II, Sony 16-35mm f/4, Sony 55mm f/1.8, Sony 70-200mm f/4, Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4, and GoPro Hero 4 Black, and had plenty of room left for an Inmarsat IsatPhone, Anker battery, some dry bags, a Uniqlo down jacket, and MindShift Gear’s House of Cards memory card wallet.
I slipped my 11″ laptop in the front pocket, which can accommodate either a tablet or up to a 17″ notebook computer, and a variety of other zippered pockets held my Sony and GoPro batteries, miscellaneous cables, medications, a first aid kit, and other necessities. A dedicated hydration pocket on the side can hold as much as three liters of water.
Despite its mighty carrying capacity, I had no trouble stowing the FirstLight 40L in the overhead bin on my plane (Exterior Dimensions: 13.8″ W x 21.4″ H x 9″ D or 35 x 55 x 22.9 cm). It also fit easily under the seat in front of me, except for certain aisle seats beneath which electrical boxes took up some of the space. (MindShift Gear advises you to check with your airline about overhead bin size restrictions.)
With MindShift Gear’s characteristic combination of durability and build quality, the FirstLight 40L performs as well out in the wild as it does in the airport. The bag complements its durable water-resistant coating with a seamless rain cover that can double as a ground cloth. This cover was a life-saver while I was in Glacier Bay National Park, where it rained constantly. The backpack and, more importantly, my gear, stayed snug and dry despite the downpour.
MindShift Gear continues to produce innovative camera bags customized to the needs of individual photographers, and with the FirstLight 40L, they offer another great option for the roving outdoor photographer. It may be the FirstLight…but I’m sure it won’t be the last we see of this line of top-notch backpacks!