F-Stop Gear 'Loka' - perfect pack for photo adventure? My small review.
So... recently planned to get a new backpack for my photo-trips. This time I wanted something:
- bigger than my usual carry pack (non-photography): TAD Gear Litespeed (20ltr)
- with quick direct access to my photo gear
- allows carrying full frame dSLR with 70-200/2.8 lens attached
- alpine or military style prefered (not your typical 'photo backpack')
- molle pannels and additional straps for stuff would be welcome
Oh, just to give you some perspective - my usual location for landscape photography:
So after some web searching I found my grail photo pack: F-Stop 'Loka'
It's as good as they say. It looks like anything BUT photo backpack! It's made of ripstop material in foliage green, hypalon bottom, has waterproof zippers, hydration pocket, molle pannels (!) and gives you almost instant access to your gear without the need of putting it on the ground. You can use it also as a 'lens change tray'. It has multiple attachment straps, molle also on the waistbelt and you can use one of many photo-inserts - tailored to your needs and preferred body/lens combinations. I opted for 'medium slope' insert, great for D700 with 70-200 and some accesories and also additional lens/es. For my first trip (just to check the pack) I took just mentioned camera combo, 50/1.4 as backup lens, batteries, cards... and that's it. And some cloths & food supply of course. Man, it's a very comfortable pack. To check it evem more I was skiing with the pack and taking pics of my daughter. It took me up to 15 seconds from 'carry on my back' position to first shot. And I didn't rush to much, I think I could go down to 10 seconds or less if I'd practice a bit more. Yeah, it's so fast! Ergonomics beyond anything I've seen so far. Bulky & 'square' typical photo-backpack stuff is a joke compared to this one.
Ok, enough writting, time for some pics (all taken with my iphone):
BTW, the attached medical pouch is ITS Tactical 'Trauma Pouch' (fatboy variant):
So... if you're looking for adventure photography pack - I cannot recommend the Loca more! It's not cheap but worth every $$$. It might be my best photo-related purchase of 2012/13 winter season!
And couple more pictures:
and again John, my little assistant... taking some rest after a hard day
And BTW, just an example - my daughter during ski-training. And I took while skiing with Loka on my back. It's very comfortable and made for action!
Thanks for the entertaining review. I am also in the market for a similar photography backpack and the F-stop line is at the top of my list, with Clik Elite and Mindshiftgear trailing closely behind. Cheers.
I looked hard at the F-Stop line of bags and really liked what I saw. I ended up going with another company because the F-Stop bags are super pricey. Probably the most expensive bags around outside of the high end fashion line of bags. Still they looked solid.
I am thinking of buying the "loka", how easy is it to carry a full size tripod. Also can you fit a 15" laptop in it?
You can carry a full size tripod via the many attachment points. There is an interesting roll-top tripod bag, too, that will accommodate just about any tripod you'd want to bring with you with into the wilderness.
You can put a 15 inch laptop into the Loka, but it'll be a squeeze and it will not, as per the F-Stop website, let you put anything larger than a 13 inch laptop into the internal sleeve (that can hold whatever fits that you want, including a water bladder).
My own review of the pack is here .