Shimoda Camera Backpack Review
I am delighted to be an ambassador for Shimoda camera backpacks. Their bespoke camera bags, built for outdoor photographers, are perfect for me to manage my kit whilst photographing on beaches. I wouldn’t describe myself as an adventure photographer, but my landscape photography can take me to some wild and rugged places and I’m going to want everything with me for the full day’s shooting without having to trek back to the van. I need to know that all my camera equipment is safe and secure from the wind, rain and sand whilst I’m absorbed in my work and these camera bags are ideal for me.
Making the right choice for you
Making an investment in your photography kit is an important decision so let me share with you a little about the bag I carry, how I use it and some of the alternatives I know Shimoda offer. I use the Shimoda Explore 40L which is available in a fabulous green colour called ‘Sea Pine’ and a dusky blue called ‘Blue Night’. I like them both equally, but I currently have the ‘Blue Night’. Finding a bag that suits all of my outdoor photography needs was simply amazing after struggling for nearly sixteen years photographing remote coastlines in wintry storms that require secure, stable storage of my gear. With Shimoda, thankfully I’ve found the perfect solution.
What fits inside the Shimoda Camera Backpack?
I carry a Fuji GFX 50s with a 250mm lens, as well as a 32-64mm lens in my Shimoda backpack. I tend to keep the 250mm lens on my GFX as it’s the one I use all the time.
There’s still room for me to carry my 23mm lens, extension tube and teleconverter in there as well along with a Cokin Filter System which fits nicely in one of the pockets. And also a Shimoda accessory bag full of bits and pieces I might need. If you don’t have quite as much kit as me, you might find the Explore 30L works well for you. This is available in the new Action X series which Shimoda make in black and Khaki. This size is more suited to mirrorless cameras. Saying that, I’ve used one of the 30L and carried a Nikon DSLR with a 24-70 lens and there was still space for more lenses, another body, a filter kit and an accessory bag in the top. So even though the 30L Action X is smaller than the 40l, it still carries a lot of kit and has space to enlarge to 37 litres if you draw out the top section.
Outside a Shimoda Camera Backpack
My Shimoda Explore 40L stands up to the rigours of the beach really well having a resin nylon coating that is waterproof. It often lies on the wet sand and when coming back to my van, the last thing I want is to bring sand into the van. So, I carry a brush with me and simply brush the backpack down when I return before opening it or putting it into my van.
There are some great outer pockets: a top pocket with internal mesh for easy access and side cylinder pouch where I carry my tripod ; A drawstring securely stows it. The front straps contain useful little pockets for keeping my mobile phone or a smaller water bottle.
There are some fantastically well-considered details to this bag which reveal a lot about the thought behind this backpack. The zip pulls are made from genuine leather and are so easy to grasp with cold fingers, and indeed the zips themselves are covered over for that extra layer of security. The inner core opens ‘magazine style’ which I find so much more accessible working on a beach than the usual style of opening upwards.
But the best detail by far for me is the choice of women’s straps that you can attach on four different places, small, medium, large and extra-large (three on the 30L as it’s smaller) These fasten across the top of your chest, under your bust and round your waist, so the pack is really sturdy and easily carried even with a lot of weight in it. Both women’s and men’s straps are available and it’s good that there’s recognition of both body-types in the outdoor photography world and that the backpack is easily carried by both larger and smaller bodies. I’m quite a tall woman, so I have the women’s straps set on the extra-large setting and the fit for me is perfect; I don’t have any issue hiking for long periods to get to the exact right spot with the way this backpack carries.
If you need some more advice on buying a Shimoda backpack, give Ffordes Photographic a call and mention me and you will be eligible for a discount. Or if you’d like to hear me talking you through all this look me up on YouTube as I’ve made a couple of videos showing you the bags in more detail.
(this is the link to the comparison between the Action x and the Explore 40L )
The Explore 40L video review is at the top of this blog post!
Good luck and enjoy your outdoor photography!