F-stop guru vs. Shimoda explore v2

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
SDreamer Regular Member • Posts: 108
Re: F-stop guru vs. Shimoda explore v2

jor23 wrote:

There's a Decathlon nearby. I could check out the MH500 he recommended. But I still feel those are not meant for daily carry, or air travel. Maybe for serious hikes, they would better. I read the disadvantages he outlined regarding back entry. All valid points, but unlikely to happen in an urban environment. Also, being able to take a laptop is appreciated for daily carry. I might use this bag for commute without camera gear.

Yeah I would say it depends on your community and location. I think in Seattle it was common to see hiking packs a lot because of the type of locale they have (also have an REI flagship class store there so I think that means they have a pretty avid hiking community). I'd see some dressed for work but with some daypacks sometimes during my travel. Again, like you mentioned it all depends. The Shimoda bags are a little more geared to the outdoors as well with all the straps that dangle (there are strap keepers for everything, but it does not have the clean look that Peak Designs have), but I feel the black with leather zip pulls is classy enough that I used to use it as an EDC for work (currently using my new Billingham Hadley Pro Small because my load got lighter). I would prioritize what you feel is important.

I asked Shimoda, but no response. Also, which Facebook page should I check? I checked their page, but there are not a lot of photos of how the core units are filled.

It's been a while because I've been trying to clean myself of social media, but I just realized now that it was an unofficial group titled "Shimoda Explore v2 Insider Community." The group still looks plenty active, but it is private. Hopefully you might be able to confirm. If you're trying to get a hold of them also try going through their social media channels and see. They seem active on Instagram, so that might be a good place to try to contact them. I know during their Kickstarter for the Explore v2, they were actively replying on their community, so not hearing back from them is a little surprising in a way.

I read a bit more on various sites. Some claimed that the Shimoda bags are not as special as I thought. Maybe I should just give up the idea of find an end all be all solution. Use an ICU for air travel. Put it in my daily carry when go out for a shoot or shot trip.

Bags and packs are very personal honestly, and is a very deep rabbit hole to go down. I love my Shimoda as it seems pretty much prefect for my needs when I need that amount of gear. Luckily for me as an m43 user, I can pack my OM-1, 40-150 f2.8, 17 f1.2, 45 f1.2, and either my 8-25 f4, or my 12-40 f2.8 all in the small ICU. My plan for travels is to put my Billingham Hadley Small in the top portion as it compresses well (it lets me carry my OM-1 with one lens attached and 1-2 more lenses depending on my choice) and still have a little space for a compressed jacket or a few things, or I think I can actually shove it in there with it's ICU and carry more camera gear in it. I think the modular nature of it with the thoughtful designs is what makes it special for its users. I enjoy watching Ian on their Youtube channel taking different packs to different locations in Japan and showing his load out and how it works, and taking some time to explain design choices (the side access on one side was interesting to me). One of the things I really like are the stow away bottle holders. Obviously, EDC they're stowed, but when traveling, they're indispensible for me. I have a tripod in one and a water bottle in the other. Or if I don't have the tripod, the second one is holding trash (especially important in Japan urban settings because of the rarity of trash cans).

I've tried going to the TMP back with an ICU (Osprey 32L variant), Peak Design EDCs (30L, and 20L Zip), Lowepro Freeline, WANDRD PRVKE, and finally landed on this through their Kickstarter. I found my happy medium of volume was between 20-30L for the gear I carried, and I found through travels I had to have good water bottle pockets, back access was a big thing for me (found that out with how cumbersome and slow I was without it PD ED, LP Freeline, TMP pack), and enough organization to everything else (pointing at the PRVKE v1). Basically this journey is a lot of trial and error trying to find it, and finding that end all solution will probably be long and expensive.

One interesting tidbit I thought was that one of the guys who runs Shimoda, Ian Miller, came from F-stop. He's also the one that does a lot of the videos for them to show load outs, etc. The other, Peter Waisnor, is from Tenba (looks like he's still there), and he's the guy that demos Tenba's gear (gosh I miss my old Tenba DNA Messenger 11). So they both have plenty of experience, making Shimoda bags pretty high quality and worth it imo.

With everything said, there's still some quirks. The back panel is improved from previous as it is more breathable, but again nothing close to the comfort of a TMP, but still muuuuch more comfortable to me than any other bags I've used (sans the Osprey); I still get that sweaty back on long treks though. Strap management I've mentioned above, can get messy. The dividers for the ICU are nice, but not as forgiving and forming as you find with PD or WANDRD (and some others), but better than what I got with Lowepro. ICU does have cover that comes with the pack, and you can use this as daily carry, downside is it is bright blue (think this is one of those advantages if you're outdoors so you can see your bag from a distance); hence why I still got another small daily carry for urban locations. Shoulder straps are plush and wide, but take away from making it look cleaner for some (but the pockets they have are pretty great for traveling). I think the biggest con we've already discussed in depth is the laptop sleeve on the back panel.

Hope you're able to find what you're looking for and won't have to go through so many bags.

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