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Tip of the Month

Bataflae Photo Backpack

July 2013


A few years ago Gura Gear introduced their revolutionary new camera backpack, the Kiboko bag. I loved it and with its convenient features and extremely light weight it instantly became my favorite and only photo backpack.

An improved model didn't seem possible, but Gura Gear did just that with their upgraded version of my old favorite Called the Bataflae, the bag has two features that I really like that differ from the older bag. The most important feature is its depth, 7 inches internally, which is deep enough to completely and easily hold a large digital camera like a Mark IV or a big lens like an 800mm, without stressing the zipper. My other favorite feature is the snap buckle that releases the top flap completely, opening the bag in to a traditional, fully opened bag. I usually do not use this feature, preferring instead to use the side-by-side compartment configuration that keeps one side closed, but when I'm packing gear or working in an open environment or studio I do fully open the bag.


Here's the Bataflae opened like a traditional photo backpack, as I might use it in the studio or when packing for a trip. Normally, however, I open just one side at a time. In the photo below, you can see how deeply the cameras set within the bag, being completely enclosed within the bag. A 70-300mm set on its end also fits comfortably, placed on end or, if a side panel is removed, lying on its side.


I received my Bataflae bag just days before our most recent trip to Svalbard for our polar bear and wildlife photo tour. I had no trouble on any of the flights with the bag, even for the leg from Oslo to Longyearbyen where, we'd been told, the airlines sometimes (and erratically and by mood) restrict carry-on bags. The Bataflae 32L has a bit of a confusing name, which might lead you to think that the bag is indeed 32 inches long and far too big for a carry-on piece. It is not, as the bag itself measures 14 x 21 x 9 inches on the outside, and 13 x 20 x 7 on the inside. The external dimensions conform with carry-on requirements.

The bag also has a great shoulder harness and waist belt that is very comfortable when worn, but also tucks into zippered flaps to disappear when not in use. Normally, because I have the bag packed to capacity I transport my bag through air port terminals on a small wheeled cart I purchased at Office Max. The cart folds up to a small, flat size, but has a rather large bottom platform for a very secure base. Both the Kiboko and the Bataflae have female clips for attaching accessory Roller Attachment Straps which will secure the bag to the uprights of a roller or cart. Buy them, they are $12.95 and they will keep your bag from sliding off a roller cart, especially when wheeling around corners. When I board a plane I remove the bag from the cart and hand-carry the bag down the narrow aisles via either of the two very sturdy handles, one on the top and another on the side.

bHere's much of the kit I took to Svalbard, which included three camera bodies, a 24-105, 70-200 f4, 70-300 f4-5.6, and an 800mm lens without the lens hood. I packed the hood in our luggage just to keep stress off the zippers and to facilitate easy repacking when, inevitably, TSA or other security would ask for the pack to be examined and unpacked. The bag comes complete with loads of dividers, although I remove all of them from one side to accommodate my big lens. This compartment would also hold a 500mm with a camera attached. As it was, I still had room around the 800 to stick in hard drives, my Hoodman CF cards and case, and some extra clothes and personal items.

If you already have a Kiboko then you may not need a Bataflae, but that's a 'may not' which I'd say is a may want! If you do not own a Kiboko and you have a big lens, then this is the bag! Both the Kiboko and the Bataflae are made from light-weight nylon and the bags are the lightest well-made bags on the market. Although I have old bags from other manufacturers, I never use them as the weight and convenience and design of the Gura Gear bags makes them the right choice for carrying my gear.


Previous Tips, July 2009 onward


High Speed Shutter
Guide to Tropical Nature Photography ebook
Hoodman Compact Loupe CH32

Essential Gear for Safaris

Take our Digital Nature Photo Course FIRST!

GPS and Home Security

Range IR Camera Remote

Gitzo Monopod 5561T Monopod

Easy Macro with Extension Tubes and Zoom Lenses

FotoSharp Camou Rain Covers

Canon 17mm T/S Lens
Locking Button for the Canon 7D

NIK HDR Program

Silver Efex Pro for Black and White Images

Beware the DELL Software Solution Rip Off
How and What We Pack for Trips

Canon Digital Learning Center

The Movie Mode with the Canon Mark IV
Batch Renaming in Bridge and CS5
Alternate Uses of some Bogen Products

Hoodman Products

Using High ISO and Live View for Focusing in Dim Light

Art Print Scams for Hungry Photographers

Hungry Vultures ruin vehicles in the Everglades

Use a Short Lens for Depth of Field

Get Professional Help!

Mini-Molar Bag
Access America Trip Insurance
Bogen Base for Macro Work

Archived Tips of the Month
prior to July 2009
Most of my original Tips of the Month for the last several
years are available through this link. Warning - some of the links are broken, so some are not available at this time. Also, the 'look' is from my
original web site, although if I ever have enough time I might redo these pages to match the new web site But that's not a high priority.

Check out our latest website,

where we'll be adding portfolios and eventually building up
a searchable data base for photo buyers. We've just started,
and the selection is limited, but it is still worth a visit!

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