Are You an Active Photographer? MindShift Multi-Mount Camera Carrier

The  MindShift Multi-Mount 20  hangs securely and unobtrusively from my riding pack.

The MindShift Multi-Mount 20 hangs securely and unobtrusively from my riding pack.

If you’re an active photographer, traveling via 4 wheels, 4 legs, 2 wheels, or 2 legs, you’re probably in a constant search for the perfect camera carrying system. I’m always trying to find a more convenient way to: A) have quick access to my camera so I’ll use it more often, and B) carry it comfortably and securely so It doesn’t get in the way of my activity or experience. 

I’ve been a long-time fan of the MindShift Gear backpacks, with their Rotation 180 technology. MindShift is a division of ThinkTank, which makes some of the finest camera bags on the planet. I’ve taken my Rotation 180 Pro backpack all around the world with me and wouldn’t use anything else for my extended adventures. Sometimes, however, you need something simpler. Maybe you just need to carry a camera, lens, and some accessories. Maybe you are engaged in a highly physical activity, like motorcycle or water buffalo riding, and need to keep your camera super secure and out of your way–yet with instant easy access. This is especially important during water buffalo mating season. 

The Multi-Mount carrier can work solo or in tandem with your normal backpack. It could also be added to your MindShift Rotation 180 pack for super easy access to even more gear. In fact, this is the setup I’ll be using when I lead our MotoPhotoTour of Italy this fall. When used solo, it can be slung over your shoulder, neck, or as a hip pack. The clever part is that is has multiple connection straps for securing the carrier from swinging around and getting in your way–which can actually be quite dangerous if you are engaged in high-risk activities. 

The full line of Multi-Mount carriers. Cameras not included. Duh.

The full line of Multi-Mount carriers. Cameras not included. Duh.

When attached to your normal backpack, it can be worn in front, threaded on the backpack waist belt; or it can hang from your backpack straps, and is secured with the stabilizer straps. This method keeps the carrier up higher than your waist, which is essential for mobility during riding activities like motorcycling, biking, horseback, or water buffaloing. 

There are so many clever ways to attach and secure the Multi-Mount carrier, that you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to bring it with you.

I took my Multi-Mount 20 on an off-road motorcycle ride to see if it really functioned as well as it looked. We rode hard for almost 80 miles through forests, single-track, and fast fire roads. The amazing part is that I never even noticed the bag was there. It rides so securely and out of the way that it never interferes with your activity. Even through (uh-hmm) dismounts and pushing my bike through knee-deep snow patches, it never got in the way. Usually, I didn’t even remember I had it on. It just seems to disappear–at least until a perfect vista appeared and I could simply stop and whip out the camera without even getting off the bike. 

As with all ThinkTank and MindShift products, the quality construction is second-to-none: Beefy, smooth zippers. Thick, rip-proof fabrics. Bomber stitching on all seams. Everything seems to be really well thought out and tested. There are just enough pockets for your accessories and, as with most of their camera bags, MindShift includes a rain cover. 

The Multi-Mount carriers come in a variety of sizes: 10, 20, 30, 50. I chose the 20 size as it carries a smaller DSLR or mirrorless camera with zoom lens attached. This is generally what I want immediate access to while riding or hiking. There is an outside pocket with plenty of room for filters, cards, batteries, wallet, keys, and your water buffalo mating call device. 

Niggles? The connection straps provided to attach to your backpack strap is designed for attaching to vertical accessory straps, although many backpacks (my bike pack included) have horizontal accessory straps. It still works fine, not a big deal, you just have slightly twisted straps that may throw the OCD person in to disarray. Using another swivel clip, like the one used on the other end of the strap, would have been a more universal solution. Granted, the MindShift backpacks have vertical accessory straps, so it works perfect with those. 

On the left is the way the strap attaches to your backpack horizontal accessory strap. I would have preferred a swivel connector like on the right (which is used on the other end of the strap to connect to the carrier).

On the left is the way the strap attaches to your backpack horizontal accessory strap. I would have preferred a swivel connector like on the right (which is used on the other end of the strap to connect to the carrier).

Lastly, I’m not super excited about the single color option: green. It’s a nice color and all, but what if it clashes with my wing suit? Fortunately, I’d happily trade a little fashion for a lot of function.

After riding with my Multi-Mount for a day, I can’t imagine going anywhere without it. I have quick access to a real camera and it doesn’t have to get in the way of my fun…and fun is job #1.

The green color of the Multi-Mount looks awesome in B&W ;-)

The green color of the Multi-Mount looks awesome in B&W ;-)

Even at speed, the carrier didn't budge or get in the way.

Even at speed, the carrier didn't budge or get in the way.

When you're chasing views like this, you might want to bring a camera.

When you're chasing views like this, you might want to bring a camera.

Bring your camera, share the beauty!

Bring your camera, share the beauty!

The most comfortable camera backpack on a risk-free 30 day trial

This is a slick camera backpack! You'll be hard pressed to find a better fit or function.

This is a slick camera backpack! You'll be hard pressed to find a better fit or function.

I am currently traveling in Italy, and constantly reminded how much I like my MindShift camera backpack. They just seem to be so well thought out and are built to such incredible quality standards. Then, I get this secret message: MindShift have a new pack and they will actually let you try it FREE for 30 days! No risk, you don't even have to pay for it up front. Wow. 

Try out their FirstLight outdoor photography backpacks on a 30-day, risk-free “test drive.”  Call them toll free at 866-558-4465 x1, 8:30 AM - 5 PM PST Mon - Fri and they'll process your free test drive trial. Ask for FedEx Ground shipping and they'll include it at no charge.  And, be sure to mention my name when ordering to get the free trial deal.

The FirstLight backpacks are designed for the traveling outdoor photographer. The two packs are carry on compatible on virtually any regional and large commercial flight, making getting to your destination with your gear a worry free experience.  The FirstLights' contoured, 11-point adjustable torso harness fits most men and women. A shaped aluminum torso stay provides additional support. The packs also utilize ballistic nylon bottoms for long lasting durability.

They have dedicated water bottle pockets on both sizes, while the 30L also accommodates up to a 3L hydration reservoir. Both have long lens capacity, big stuff pockets, sternum strap whistles, with extra room for your 15" laptop and personal gear. Use the accessory straps to carry a tripod, monopod or hiking poles. They've also included a seam-sealed rain cover. When attached, rain cover allows small to medium tripods to be carried on front or side positions. 

The FirstLight 30L is sized for gripped DSLRs and larger gear and will hold up to a 500mm f/4 lens detached or 400 f/2.8 attached.   The FirstLight 20L is sized for standard size DSLRs and robust mirrorless kits and will hold up to a 200–400mm f/4 attached or 300 f/2.8.

Our favorite his and her photo bags: You can win one too!

I have a confession to make. I have a bag fetish. Yes, this is Kevin talking, not Clare. Oh sure, you wouldn't be surprised to hear a woman talking about her bag or shoe fetish, but guys just don't get the same kind of sympathy and respect for admitting they love and covet things to put your feet or your cameras in. Speaking of respect. I also have been working up the courage, for several years, to carry a MAG, or Man Bag. I bought this super cool one in Florence, Italy years ago during one of our photo workshop tours and for some reason I have only been able to carry it proudly when gallivanting around Europe. I envy the man who can strut a swanky MAG and maintain his masculinity – assuming that's his goal.

My MAG, still waiting to be proudly toted on US soil

 

Clare and I thought it would be fun to share a few of our personal favorite bags for photo related gear. Tamrac makes these particular bags and, jingle jingle bells, surprise! They are giving his and her bags away as holiday gifts too! All you have to do is tweet "I want to win Kevin's bag (or Clares bag) from @Tamrac and @kubotatools!" with a link to this blog post. If haven't ventured in to the Twitterverse yet, you can make a comment here with a link to the bag you covet on Tamrac.com and you just might win that bag! We'll be giving away two bags, his (the 614 or the 5592) and hers (the 5426), to random winners from all twitterers and commenters. Contest ends this Friday at 5pm pacific time and winners will be announced on Saturday, just in time for Christmas!

 

For years, I've carried and loved my Tamrac Super Pro 14. For me, it's the perfect DSLR carrier for those who prefer a shoulder carry bag. It has all the right pockets, in all the right places AND has a nice laptop pocket in the back which coincidently is perfectly sized to slide in my collapsed 5-in-1 LightDisc from Photoflex - my go everywhere lighting tool. This bag is superbly durable - I've used a version of it for nearly 20 years and never had a rip, break, or failure. I've only had to upgrade when my old bag got so dingy from use that it made me look bad (i.e. not fashionable :-). It also slides perfectly under an airplane seat – laptop and all.
The Tamrac SuperPro 14
Lately, I've started carrying more gear and lighting accessories around with me and my shoulders aren't as compliant as they used to be so I've given in to the luxury of wheeling the stuff around a roller case. Tamrac's 5592 Big Wheels Speed Roller is the perfect size and form for that. I love that it provides nearly the protection of a hard-sided case in a lighter and more functional design. I can fit all the gear that I stuffed in my Super Pro 14, plus a bit more. I like the lid support that keeps it upright while you rummage through it and  the outer pocket also accommodates my 5-in-1 disc or a laptop. It's tough, functional, ergonomic, and well thought out. I have two of these – one for photo gear and the other for speedlighting gear. I can pull them both along by myself for miles without dislocating my shoulders and life is good.
the SpeedRoller 5592
For my daily trips to the office, I love my Tamrac Superlights® Computer Messenger 17. I can stuff my 15" Macbook Pro, iPad with a case on it, portable drives, gadgets, adapters, chargers, sunglasses, compact camera, snacks, and a chew toy for my dog. Oh, and some business cards and a lucky rock I found on the beach. I love the well padded, and grippy, shoulder pad which keeps it comfortably in place. It also has a secret zip on the back that opens to allow it to nestle on your roller bag for all-in-one toting adventures.
The Superlight 17 computer bagClosed, it's clean and sylish
Finally, I always keep my pocket cameras in a protective case and Tamrac has a perfectly sized case for most any point-n-shoot. I use the Express 6 Compact Zip for my mid-size compact and it allows quick access and room to store and extra battery and cards.
Pick a color!

In a future post, I'll share some cool tips and gadgets for going on photo adventures abroad, including my favorite photo backpacks. But wait, Clare is just dying to share her baggy favorites too! 

 

Hi everyone, this is Clare, Kevin’s wife and partner in all things ;-). I’ve been shooting weddings with Kevin for over 20 years now and I’ve got a lot to say about finding a good camera bag. For years I hoped and prayed for someone to come out with the perfect camera bag for a woman, as I’m sure many others did. Now camera bags for women are popping up everywhere and I’m loving it! When Kevin and I were in New York for the Photo Plus convention last October I got this great bag from Tamrac. Kevin’s been using Tamrac bags forever, so we headed over to their booth to say hello and see what was new. I was immediately drawn to the Tamrac Aria 6. This fun raspberry bag is the same size as my current wedding gear bag, and much cuter ;-). It was also the first Tamrac bag that came in a fun feminine color. The days of all black are over for me. 

 

The Aria 6 in berry colorinside the Aria 6
The Aria 6 protects all my valuables!
Here are some things I love about this bag: 
  • The size. I’m a petite person, so carrying around a huge bag on my shoulder for an 8 to 10 hour wedding would put me out for at least a week. I don’t think my kids would allow me that much recoup time. I usually have 2 to 3 lenses in my bag and I’m able put all of those as well as a flash in this bag because I have my camera in my hands all the time – so I don’t need a space for it in my bag while I’m working. 
  • There is a nice slot pocket in the back to put any paper work I have as well as a pen or other small items I may need to grab quickly.
  • In addition to the big closure flap there is also a zipper closure that keeps all your gear safe even when you have the flap flipped open. Even with the zipper open the design would still do a pretty good job keeping equipment protected. I can’t tell you how hard this feature has been for me to find!
  • There is a front pocket as well that has a zipper closure. I like this for storing things like car keys, wedding emergency kit items, etc. I can use one hand to open and close it which is a must since I’ve got my camera in the other hand. 
  • It’s got a pocket on each end. Perfect size for my cell phone which I access often to keep track of the time. You’re always on a tight schedule at a wedding! The other one fits a water bottle perfectly, as long as it’s a small one. 
  • Inside there is a padded slot pocket perfect for an ipad. There is also another zipper pocket. A great place to store your cards.
  • The fabric used for the outside of the bag. I’ve had nice clothes ruined way too many times from those rough nylon fabrics you find on many bags. This is nice and smooth which also allows for easy wipe downs when needed. 
  • The strap. It’s adjustable. We’re all different sizes, so adjustability is key! The strap also has an adjustable shoulder pad made with a slightly grippy material on one side. 
  • The chrome buckles. This just adds to the feminine factor. Women love details like that.

If you’re not a raspberry pink kind of person it also comes in a moss green and your standard black and brown

 

Thanks so much for reading! Enjoy your holidays and I hope you get to make some great memories.

Best, Clare