About Us

Contact Us

Our Complete Schedule

Photography Courses

Personal Instruction and One-on-One sessions

Hunt's Photo and Video

Complete List and Schedule Digital Photography Schedule Domestic Tours and Workshop Schedule Worldwide Safaris and Tours Flash Photography Instruction Personal Instruction in Photography or Photoshop Stock Photography and Sales Seminars, Assemblies, Fund Raisers








Tip of the Month
April 2017

MindShift 30L Photo Backpack

I've used a lot of different Photo Backpacks over the years, and when the GuraGear packs came into being I thought I'd finally found the ultimate pack. The pack was lightweight and had a unique material, made for racing sails, and although I loved the pack I hated its zippers, and I was always worried that one of these days, when I was some place remote the zipper would finally jam or skip, and I'd be left transporting all my gear in a bag I couldn't zip shut.

I'm about to test what I'm expecting to be my new bag, the MindShift 30L, a sister company to ThinkTank. ThinkTank has been around for a long time, and has the reputation of having high quality, well tested gear. One of our roll-on cases we use for international travel is a ThinkTank, and we've been very happy with that case.

One of the things that impressed me right from the start was the MindShift web site's illustrations of various configurations for your gear with the various bags. In choosing a bag, seeing gear similar to what I'm using, and what bags would accommodate that gear, was extremely helpful. I found myself wishing that every manufacturer should do the same.

bWhen I got the bag and unzipped (zippers that I have a lot of confidence in!), I discovered that the bag had a photo insert depicting a potential configuration. That got me on the right track immediately, although I did have to remove several of the velcro insert dividers to match my configuration. That's not a complaint, it is an observation that there are a lot of dividers included, allowing the user to configure the bag in multiple ways.

At left is the photo insert, showing a possible configuration, that came with the bag.

Before I loaded the bag I tried it on, and it fits extremely well. The pack frame is permanent, unlike the GuraGear Bataflae bag I was using. With the Bataflae, you can detach the straps and hip belt and tuck them into a zippered sleeve, transforming the pack into a case. You can't do so with the MindShift, and for a reason -- the support and belt system was designed for comfort in wearing it as a photo backpack. In that it succeeds really well.

In their instruction sheet, tucked into the inside pocket, there are a nice set of instructions, including how to configure the straps for carrying on to a plane.

bSeveral features I liked included the two small zippered pockets on the top of the bag. One could hold small items, card holders or cable releases, while the other hides a snap-lock strap that would secure a jacket on the top of the gag. There are two expandable mess pockets on each side, and one side has a long zippered pocket that would accommodate something the size of a hotshoe flash. In front there's a large zippered pocket that will easily fit a 15 inch laptop, and, not knowing how big my laptop was, I stuffed a 17 inch laptop into that pocket. It was a very tight fit, but the laptop fit!

Here's my bag filled with the gear, with the photo insert lying on top.

Personally, I'd be reluctant to put my laptop in a pocket if I was carrying it onto a plane, as I'd be afraid some lunkhead would slap something heavy on the bag, breaking my screen, or worse. However, if I was simply going to carry the gear from one location to another -- perhaps checking images in the field -- I would not have that worry.

I probably won't be carrying all of these items out on a shoot, but I'm likely to be packing all of them as I fly down to Puerto Rico to photograph with a good friend. On the right are the items packed inside the case. They include:
1Canon 1DX Mark II
1Canon 5DsR
1 Canon 7D II
16-35mm wide-angle
24-105mm zoom
100mm Macro
100-400mm zoom Telephoto
Rainpouch for the bag
1.4X tele-converter
25mm extension tube

In the field, the only changes I'll expect to make is eliminating one of the camera bodies (the 7D II was brought along so I could use the Rogue Safari flash extender for easy hiking with the telephoto), and I'll add my Canon Flash and flash cable instead.

Accustomed to lugging my 800mm or 200-400, which takes up much of my pack and either weigh a ton, I'm anticipating a very pleasant time hiking through the Carribean forests, shooting frogs and macro subjects and tropical birds, with a much lighter kit.

You can see this pack on their website at


Check out our past Tips

Why you should travel with us
Read an Interesting Interview with Joe

Join Our Email List

Try Constant Contact FREE for 60 days!

Join us on Facebook at: Follow Hoot Hollow

Office Phone: (717) 543-6423
Or FAX us at: (717) 543-5342

Mary and Joe are proud to endorse the Photo Retailer that has
done the absolute most in supporting nature photography in all
its facets --
Hunts Photo

Check out their Monthly Specials