“With every good story, there’s often a better backstory. The same is true with the BackStory series of camera backpacks. At Think Tank, we spend many hours researching, discussing benefits, developing prototypes, reviewing, redoing… and then we do it again. The end result is a truly innovative and full-featured backpack that serves your needs as an expert photographer.
The BackStory’s rear-panel opening offers complete access to your gear while a top panel provides quick access to your camera and speeds your workflow. A deep front compartment with zippered mesh pockets has ample room for personal gear, including a 10” tablet and 13″ or 16″ laptop. And with its plush shoulder harness and removable waist belt, the BackStory is comfortable enough to wear all day.”
Specifications, BackStory 13
- Internal Dimensions: 25 x 36 x 15 cm (9.8” W x 14.2” H x 5.9” D)
- Exterior Dimensions: 26 x 43 x 18 cm (10.2” W x 16.9” H x 7.1” D)
- Laptop Pocket (fits up to 13” laptop): 23 x 34 x 2.5 cm (9.1” W x 13.4” H x 1.0” D)
- Weight: 1.3 kg (3.0 lbs)
Specifications, BackStory 15
- Internal Dimensions: 27 x 43 x 15 cm (11.4” W x 14.6” H x 5.9” D)
- Exterior Dimensions: 28 x 50 x 19 cm (13.4” W x 20.4” H x 7.5” D)
- Laptop Pocket (fits up to 16″ laptop): 26 x 40 x 2.5 cm (10.2” W x 15.7” H x 1.0” D)
- Weight: 1.6 kg (3.6 lbs)
Just when you think that innovation in camera backpacks has surely reached its zenith, along comes another innovative backpack concept from Think Tank Photo in the form of the BackStory 13 and 15.
Then, thinking back on the backpack collection in my storage room, not one of them perfectly satisfies all the many and different needs when transporting endless combinations of cinematography or photography equipment, accessories, personal items and other camera carrying gear such as speed belts and waist packs.
I have been forced to rethink, yet again, how I carry gear on a daily basis given the resurgence this year of back and shoulder problems leading to headaches and nausea, and one possible answer lies in combining waist packs with backpacks.
Can the BackStory backpacks be used in combination with these other carrying solutions?
I ask this question as I have tried using other backpacks along with belt-mounted camera pouches and waist-packs including Cosyspeed’s Camslinger Streetomatic+ and Outdoor models and there have been problems and a few compromises.
So far the best combination is a Think Tank Photo/MindShift Gear Rotation180º Travel Away 22L in Twilight Blue with the rotating belt pack removed altogether and replaced by a Cosyspeed Streetomatic+ with a StuffIt! on the Streetomatic’s belt and a Little StuffIt! secured by a Think Tank Photo Red Whip on one shoulder strap.
The Travel Away carries personal items, rain cover and one or two smaller lenses in the two internal pockets, and it is a brilliant solution for traveling really light as a photographer or as a journalist needing just a compact camera for note taking, a role I have played in the past.
The Streetomatic+ is a great solution for small stills cameras but after some experience shooting during dust storms the newer Camslinger Outdoor model may offer better weather protection.
I like the Olive version but as my old secondary school art teacher was often prone to chant, “blue and green must not be seen”… no, I don’t think so.
When needing to carry a couple of cameras, a few lenses and plenty of accessories and personal items as well as a RotoLight Neo LED light, I currently prefer a Think Tank Photo/MindShift Gear BackLight 26L though its own waist belt can clash with other waist belts and belt packs if they cannot be attached to the backpack’s waist belt side rails.
For even more gear I have currently have a big aluminium-framed f-stop gear backpack but am seriously considering retiring it when I find a replacement that does not exacerbate my back and shoulder problems.
Never having had the pleasure of using rolling cases before, I need to get some serious hands-on time with some examples and may need to consider other brands such as HPRC given the lack of a local equivalent to B&H Photo with its amazingly well-stocked displays of almost every brand one could hope to see.
And now, back to backpacks.
Both MindShift Gear backpacks extend far down the back to waist level, 51cm (20.3″) in both the BackLight 26L and the Rotation180º while the BackStory 13 extends down to 43cm (16.9″) and the BackStory 15 to 50cm (20.4″).
I wonder if that difference of 43cm to 50cm/51cm might enable using a BackStory 13 in conjunction with Pro Speed Belt and an assortment of pouches without clashing?
Think Tank Photo used to photograph their products on a showroom dummy and sometimes a live model, as I recall, and that helped considerably in working out which version of their products might work best for me.
Pity they don’t do that now as I would really like to know how such combinations may work over the course of a long and challenging day in the field, especially now that I must limit what I carry in my remaining shoulder bags if not rule them out altogether.
More Think Tank Photo BackStory 13
Finding the right kit for transporting your camera gear is a serious business given what is at stake with being able to do your job right and maintaining good health while doing so.
Given we are stuck with even fewer camera stores now with even less stock to enable try-before-buy and more of us are purchasing online and unseen in real life than ever before, it is imperative that we have good enough information about the gear we are considering investing even harder-earned, even scarcer cash in.
Look in any photography or video production practitioner’s storage room and you will find an array of camera bags, backpacks and hard cases, none of which are the universal answer to all transportation needs.
Consider any professional or dedicated photographers’ or videographers’ physical health and ponder how much damage has been done by the rigours of long, hard days in the field and issues with suboptimal gear.
Congratulations to Think Tank Photo for coming up with a new camera backpack design that may not be revolutionary or radically different to all that came before it, but innovative the BackStory 13 and BackStory 15 most certainly are and I very much look forward to learning more about them, especially the BackStory 13, and I hope that I may lay eyes upon one someday in order to see if it fits my very specific needs as outlined above.
- B&H – Cosyspeed
- B&H – MindShift Gear BackLight camera backpacks
- B&H – Think Tank Photo Airport rolling camera bags
- B&H – Think Tank Photo BackStory 13 Camera Backpack
- B&H – Think Tank Photo BackStory 15 Camera Backpack
- B&H – Think Tank Photo Modular Essentials Set V3.0
- My Think Tank Photo affiliate link – click there to help support this website by purchasing direct from Think Tank Photo or click on this link.
- Think Tank Photo – BackStory Series Backpacks