So I think I’ll just come right out and say it… I’ve found my perfect backpack for day-hikes.

While I’ve mentioned my dissatisfaction with the lack of compartments and general poor quality of my current day-pack before, what I haven’t mentioned is my endless (until now) hunt for a way to hike with camera gear without causing myself horrible back, neck and shoulder pain.

The rotation180 Professional from Mindshift Gear solves both of my day-pack problems, and it does so in the most brilliant possible way.

rotation180 photography hiking backpack

Naturally I’ve seen camera backpacks before, but I hate the idea of having to take off my pack every time I need to access my camera gear. That’s not necessary with the rotation180, since the camera section of the bag is actually an independent unit, attached to the waste belt, which can be swung around to the front at any time. Once it’s in front of you and the lid is unzipped, accessing whichever bit of camera gear you need couldn’t be any easier. Even changing lenses quickly is effortless with the bag sitting right there in front of you to rest a lens or lens-cap on while you’ve got your hands full.

The top section features a well-padded main compartment and two large zippered mesh compartments. I managed to fit my day-hiking kit without any issues, and the compartments meant accessing the bits and pieces I needed during a hike was much easier than with my own day-pack.

Usually when I’m all loaded up with gear for a day-hike, I can tell that (at the very least) my shoulders are going to hurt by the end of the day. With the rotation180 jam-packed, I could barely even tell it was there. The whole thing only weighs 2.5kg (empty), the straps are incredibly well padded, and load lifter straps help balance the weight. A breathable airflow harness keeps back sweating to a minimum.

There are probably a hundred other features I’m forgetting to list here, so you should definitely go check it out yourself on the Mind Shift website. I’m extremely sad to say that the rotation180 and I only had a few glorious weeks together, and this was during my hectic final month of book writing, so I missed out on exploring its every nook and cranny.

I only have one tiny complaint about this backpack and that concerns the hydration bladder compartment… While I’m sure it is big enough, as advertised, to hold some three-litre bladders, it’s funny shape meant that I couldn’t find a way to wrestle mine in there (even when half-empty). The design could be improved by catering to the different shapes and sizes of bladder on the market.

In the scheme of things though, I’d be more than happy to go out and buy a bladder to fit the pack… Which I will have to do sooner or later, because I’m buying a rotation180 for myself as soon as I can afford to.

Are you thinking you might do the same? Well then it’s worth mentioning that they’re going for US$389.99 (RRP). Check the Blonde Robot website for a list of Australian stockists. You might also like to consider its smaller, cheaper cousin, the rotation180 Panorama.

 

This is not a sponsored post. I requested to borrow a rotation180 from the good people at Blonde Robot (Mind Shift’s Australian distributor), just to give it a try.

 

Update (10/12/16): I ended up buying one of the smaller Rotation180 Panorama packs, back in August 2015. Yes, it’s smaller, but it’s also cheaper, and it does the job for me. I take it on almost every hike I do. Get one on Amazon or check out your local camera retailers.

The above link is an affiliate link. This does not influence the opinions presented here in any way.

 

If there’s anything I’ve missed that you want to know, or if you’ve got anything at all to say about the rotation180, please do so in the comments section below.