Todd Hatakeyama

Dec 022016


The new MindShift Gear SidePath is their smallest backpack with exterior dimensions: 10.6” W x 19” H x 5.9” D, perfect for a day trip when you need something compact and light. At 1.6 lbs and a 14 liter capacity, it’s my favorite bag when I just need to take my Canon XC15 with a Rode VideoMic Pro, GoPro Hero 5 Black and Evo Pro gimbal, a jacket, water bottle and monopod.

A rear camera compartment measures 9.1” W x 6.7” H x 5.5” D which holds a mirrorless camera or dslr and 1 to 2 lenses. The main compartment fits a 10” tablet or 1.5L hydration reservoir (reservoir not included), as well as plenty of space for a jacket, extra layers, and other supplies. You can also unzip the camera compartment from the inside when you need a regular backpack and need more space for non camera gear.

It’s made of the same great materials as the rest of MindShift Gear’s bags, high quality YKK zippers, and 420D high-density nylon with reinforced stress points, also includes a rain cover. The two oversized stretch water bottle pockets are so convenient to fit a water bottle on one side, and a tripod or monopod on the other. I really love these pockets and sometimes even use them to store my jacket rolled up and umbrella if I need more space inside for clothes for a weekend trip.

The SidePath is quickly becoming one of my favorite bags, especially as I completely embrace minimalist travel. The small size and simplistic design, make it an easy decision to take out for a quick hike or even a short trip when I’m not looking to take every camera that I own with me. It’s my perfect overnight bag when I don’t need to bring my Macbook, just my iPad mini, some clothes and a camera.

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Nov 042016

The MindShift Gear TrailScape 18L is a brand new midsize camera backpack with some space for a jacket and others essentials. There’s also separate compartments for a 13″ laptop and 10″ tablet, making it a perfect bag for a short trip or all day hike. With exterior dimensions of 9.8” W x 18.1” H x 7.1” D, it’s one of the more compact backpacks in the MindShift lineup.

There’s a convenient outer pocket which I like for airplane travel, my Bose earbuds and passport fit perfectly for easy access. A tripod or water bottle can fit on one side, as well as another water bottle on the other.

The main compartment measures 9.4” W x 17.3” H x 4.8” D with plenty of dividers to fit two camera bodies and several lenses along with other accessories. I modified the interior to also fit clothing for my 7 night trip to Tokyo since this will be my only bag that I will bring. I believe in traveling light and quick dry clothing so I can bring just a few days of clothes to save space and weight, I just have to wash and hang dry everything which isn’t too much trouble.

You wouldn’t think a camera bag this size could be used for a 7 night international trip all by itself, but with some strategic packing I was able to fit everything I needed in one backpack since I have a small connecting flight which won’t even fit a 19″ roller bag as a carry-on. Here’s a list: Canon XC15 Cine Camera with Rode Videomic Pro, Macbook 12″, GoPro Hero 5 Black with Evo Pro Gimbal, extension handle for gimbal, Gorilla pod, grip for Canon, 2 Zoom H1 audio recorders and lav mics, foldable backpack to carry while sightseeing instead of the TrailScape, super compact umbrella, led light, chargers and extra batteries, 6″ cables (saves a little space and weight from the 1m cables), Bose earbuds, sd and micro sd cards, variable ND filter, mini portable battery charger, usb-c adapters, SD, micro SD and CFast card readers, toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, advil and other various meds, pen, business cards, passport, 2 Columbia quick dry shirts, 2 Uniqlo quick dry shirts for sleeping, 2 boxers, sleeping shorts, Hurley Dri Fit pants, 2 pairs Dri Fit socks.

Overall the MindShift Gear TrailScape 18L is a nice smaller bag that fits a lot of gear, or gear and clothing. It has the same high quality build as the rest of the MindShift backpacks and many of the same features as the larger bags.

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Oct 302016

This was our 6 day/5 night South West Tour in October, 2016.

We started in Las Vegas, had a great dinner at a speakeasy. The following morning made the long drive to the Escalante Monument and visited Devil’s Garden. We then had dinner in Tropic at the best restaurant in the area and stayed the night near Bryce Canyon. The next morning we woke up early to shoot the sunrise at Sunset Point and Thor’s Hammer, did some hiking, saw all of the overlooks, then left for Zion.

We had a nice dinner in Zion, relaxed a little, did some window shopping in town, then woke up early for the Narrows. This was the best hike of the trip, it was an amazing and tiring 9 miles through the water. The best photos of the trip were taken in the Narrows, well worth the long hike. We had another nice dinner, got some sleep and did a short hike to the Emerald Pools. We stopped for lunch at the nicest restaurant in St George with a view of the city from high above on a cliff, then made our way to the Valley of Fire.

We then headed back to Las Vegas, had a great all you can eat Japanese tapas dinner then to the Palms for our final night of the tour. The next morning we had a helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon, landing at the bottom for a picnic lunch and some great scenery.

It was an exciting 6 days/5 nights, we saw some of the best scenery in 3 states, ate some great food, and had a lot of fun.

Check out our website for upcoming tours

Oct 162016

Think Tank just released it’s third generation of their Airport International Rolling Case. There’s a brand new reinforced telescoping handle, a dedicated padded pocket for both a laptop and tablet which is lockable with a coated cable and lock which can also secure your bag to an immovable object, and user-replaceable parts. It’s outer dimensions of 14” x 21” x 8” complies with most international and domestic airlines.

I’m able to fit two full camera systems, Sony A7r II and Olympus Pen F, a camcorder, 2 microphones, a sound recorder and filters. There’s so much room in the main compartment, lots of dividers to customize the space to fit your gear.


The interior lid has 4 zippered pockets to store memory cards, batteries, filters and other miscellaneous accessories.

The laptop compartment also has a separate tablet pocket, plus several small pockets and a zippered compartment to fit small accessories.

The top of the bag has a business card holder as well as a zippered pocket for small items, plus a nice handle and the retractable handle.

There’s a badge with a serial number for Lost & Found registration with a phone number for Think Tank to help return the bag to the owner.

The tripod mount on the side with a pocket will hold even large tripods, or a water bottle.

High-performance, 80mm wheels with sealed ABEC grade 5 bearings provide quiet rolling and are user replaceable as well as the wheel housings, feet, kick plate and extendable handle.

The new Airport International is a great bag when you need to travel with a lot of gear. The upgrades are just what the Airport series needed, a stronger handle, user replaceable parts, and extra pockets. The only problem, I’ll be leaving the Airport International Version 2 at home now, it won’t see much use unless I need to bring an extra large amount of gear.

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Aug 312016
GP 2 Kit Case

MindShift Gear’s MindShift GP Series is a complete storage solution for your GoPro action cameras and accessories. Typical camera bags and backpacks sometimes just don’t work for carrying all of my GoPro gear. The cameras fit well in the dividers where lenses usually go, but all of the accessories just don’t fit well in the small pockets of the bags, or loose in the main divider compartment.

GP 2 Kit Case

GP 2 Kit Case – 6.7” W x 2.6” H x 3.7” D

I can fit two GoPro cameras, most of my attachments, chargers, extra batteries in the GP Bundle Medium which includes the GP 2 Kit Case, GP Cables & Power, GP Mounts, and GP 2 Batteries & Cards.

GP Cables & Power

GP Cables & Power – 6.7” W x 3.7” H x 1.4 D

If I’m taking my large Think Tank Airport Roller with the Canon C100 and Sony A7rII systems, I’ll put the GoPro cameras in the GP2 Kit Case, and use some of the accessory pouches for the rest of the GoPro gear. Then I can store all of these bags in the outer compartment of the Airport bag.

GP Mounts - Medium

GP Mounts – Medium – 7.1” W x 7.1” H x 1.2” D

I like the convenience of the clear windows so it’s quick and easy to find what you need instead of digging through a pouch or dumping everything out. The sizes are perfect, not too big, but will hold what I need for most shoots. The quality is just like all other MindShift Gear products, very well made, great attention to detail.

GP 2 Batteries & Cards

GP 2 Batteries & Cards – 4.3” W x 0.8” H x 2.4” D

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Aug 142016
Think Tank Video Workhorse 19

The Think Tank Video Workhorse 19 fits professional camcorders or video camera rigs up to 19” long and 7.5” tall. Unlike other photography bags, you are able to store your video rig without breaking it down for quick access when you need it.

Think Tank Video Workhorse 19

I’m able to fit two camera systems, the Sony CX675 camcorder with the Rode Videomicro and Velbon Ultra Stick Super 8 Monopod attached, along with the Olympus Pen F with the 12-40mm f/2.8 lens attached. I haven’t set it up to fit the Pen F without breaking down, but I’m sure it would fit nicely with the Zoom H5 and hot shoe stabilizer mount. I took this bag on my recent road trip to my favorite restaurant Jocko’s Steakhouse. It fit everything I needed for the two day trip of eating and hiking. I didn’t need to carry it on the hike so it worked out perfectly, putting the Sony camcorder away after each shoot was quick and easy, much faster than using one of my photo backpacks.

Think Tank Video Workhorse 19 pic 2

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Aug 022016
MindShift Gear Moose Peterson M-P3 V2.0

MindShift and wildlife photographer Moose Peterson worked together to update the original Moose Peterson Photopacks. There are three sizes ranging from 15.5″ external height for the MP-7, 20″ for the MP-3 and 23″ for the MP-1. The three compartment design allows quick access to each section individually, with self closing flaps that help to keep out dust to protect your gear.


Each compartment is fully customizable with additional included dividers, plus two removable mesh pockets are included in addition to a mesh pocked on the inside of each compartment flap. On top there’s another zippered compartment, business card/ID window, and a padded handle. On one side there’s another padded handle, the other has a large elastic pouch for a water bottle or tripod. The backpack straps are able to be tucked away as well as a removable waist harness. The only thing missing is a laptop or tablet compartment, but it seems this bag is made for a day out in the field when you can leave the laptop back in your car or hotel room.


My choice was the MP-3 which is large enough to hold all of my videography gear for a one day shoot. I was able to easily fit the following: Sony A7r II, Sony 16-35mm f/4, Sony 70-200mm f/4, Sony 55mm f/1.8, Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4, Olympus Pen F, Olympus 9-18mm, Olympus 75-300mm, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, two GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Evo Pro Gimbal, Tascam DR-10SG Microphone/Recorder, Gorillapod, Vanguard Alta 225CT tripod, Feisol CB-30C head and rain cover. Plus all kinds of small accessories like batteries, memory cards, etc.


Overall the MP-3 V2.9 is a very well built backpack with nice materials like other MindShift Gear bags. It holds more than enough gear for a day trip and the unique three compartment design is nice to keep your gear safe from the outdoor elements.

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Jun 052016


The MindShift Gear Card-Again Memory Wallets are a great choice for carrying your SD and CF cards. There are so many memory card holders and wallets on the market it’s hard to decide which one to buy.


I have some other SD card holders that are too thick and bulky so sometimes I would just use the plastic holder that the SD card comes in, but then it’s easy to lose and hard to keep track of. I like the small and thin size of the Card-Agains, the 6 SD card or 4 CF card capacity is more than enough for a short trip, and doesn’t take up much space in my bag.


I like the tri-fold design with two rows of cards and a Velcro flap, it keeps it thin, but still securely holds your cards in place, and is water resistant. There’s also a nice little loop to tether to a clip on your bag or clothing. Exterior Dimensions: 4.3” W x 2.4” H x 0.5” D (11 x 6 x 1.2 cm), 0.9 oz. (25 g)


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Apr 242016


The new Think Tank Photo Retrospective 6 is a great sized bag for mirrorless or DSLR camera systems. It’s small enough to carry enough camera gear for a day out shooting, but still not too large to discourage you from carrying a bag around town.


The Retrospective 6 has many of the features that we’ve seen in the entire Retrospective line of shoulder bags. It comes in Sandstone, Pinestone or Black, has the Sound Silencers for discrete opening, expandable front pocket that fits an 8” tablet, removable carrying handle, adjustable cushioned shoulder strap, rain cover and much more.


On my first day out with the Retrospective 6, I was able to carry my Sony A7r II, Sony 16-35mm lens, Sony 55mm lens, and Voigtlander 40mm lens, with my iPad mini 4, extra batteries, sd cards, Anker battery charger, and a few other small accessories. There was still plenty of room to fit a flash and small lens or charger.


With Internal Dimensions of 13” W x 7.5” H x 5.3” D (33 x 19 x 13.5 cm) and Exterior Dimensions of
13.5” W x 7.9” H x 6.7” D (34.5 x 20 x 17 cm), I like that it’s just a little larger than the Retrospective 5, but fit’s a lot more and isn’t nearly as large as the Retrospective 7. I lost my Retrospective 5 to my wife, she loves that size when we travel, I think the 6 will be a really nice size to take with me when I don’t need to carry a Macbook.


Think Tank did a perfect job creating another bag for the mirrorless shooter, not too big and not too small. I’ll definitely grab the Retrospective 6 when I need to carry a few lenses and iPad Mini 4.

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Feb 062016

It’s the perennial dilemma of the backpacking photographer: By definition, a backpack is on your back, so unless you’re a double-jointed circus contortionist, you can’t get reach into the bag to get anything without taking it off. But if you take it off, you have to set it down somewhere, unless you happen to have an extra pair of arms to hold the bag while you dig through it. When you’re out in Nature, it can be hard to find a spot to put your pack that’s not dirty, wet, rocky, icy, or all of the above. What to do?


Leave it to MindShift Gear, the folks who gave us the rotation180° backpack series, to solve this conundrum. As readers of past reviews may remember, the rotation180° backpacks all have an ingenious detachable beltpack that you can slide along the harness around your waist until it’s in front of you for easy access to your camera accessories. MindShift Gear’s new BackLight 26L backpack applies the same principle to the whole pack, so you can get at the entire contents of the bag without ever taking it off.


Like the rotation180° bags, the BackLight 26L (Exterior Dimensions: 11.4″ W x 20.3″ H x 7.9″ D or 29 x 51.5 x 20 cm) features a sturdy belt harness that fastens around your waist. When you want to access the pack, you simply slip the shoulder straps off your shoulders and rotate the belt until the pack is jutting out in front of you like a kangaroo pouch. A zippered rear panel allows you to open the back of the bag and pull items from the capacious padded main compartment (Interior Dimensions: 10.2″ W x 19.3″ H x 5.9″ D or 26 x 49 x 15 cm). When you’ve retrieved the gear you want, you zip the bag up, shift the belt until the pack is on your back again, hitch up the shoulder straps, and you’re ready to move on.


The BackLight 26L can accommodate a DSLR with lens attached, with enough space left for a smaller mirrorless camera and several lenses. as well as filters, batteries, and other gear. Mesh pockets in the lid and zippered pockets on the top and front of the backpack provide additional storage space for smaller items, while dedicated sleeve compartments can hold both a 15″ laptop and a full-size tablet computer. Side pouches let you stash a couple of water bottles within easy reach, and an assortment of external loops and straps permit you to attach a tripod and other equipment to the outside of the pack. The BackLight 26L is also compatible with MindShift Gear’s Tripod Suspension Kit, Filter Nest/Hive, and other backpack accessories (sold separately).


Thanks to MindShift Gear, you need never again stoop to set your backpack down in muddy, treacherous terrain. The BackLight 26L combines the carrying capacity and all-day portability of a rugged backpack with the convenience and accessibility of a shoulder bag, so you can always grab your gear on the go.

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