Just a few days before my recent trip to Iceland, my old bag gave up on me and I needed a replacement. I had been looking into the Mindshift backpacks before, but because I stil had a backpack I didn’t bother to get a new one. But since the old one gave up on me it was time to search for a good backpack.

Mindshift Gear is a sister company of Think Tank, who make the best bag I ever used.
Read all about the the Think Tank airport series here: Review

Going into nature isn’t ideal with a trolley (to say the least) so I needed a good backpack again. I was getting a lot of advise from fellow photographers and most of them used the Mindshift Rotation bags. But these where a bit too big to my liking so I bought the Mindshift Backlight 26L (a bigger version (36L) is also available). Priced at € 260 it’s not a cheap backpack but as you will find out later in this review, what you pay is what you get.

Features
  • Back-panel opening provides acces to all of your gear without taking the bag off
  • Dedicated compartment for your iPad and laptop (up to 15″)
  • Day backpack capacity. Front pockets are 9L and can carry all personal gear for a day out.

 

Dimensions: 29 x 51,5 x 20 cm
Weight: 1,8 kg

iPhone shots

What fits inside

Well a lot, enough at least to be able to still walk comfortably.
I packed the following into the bag on my trip:

  • Sony A7RII body
  • Zeiss Milvus 2.8/21mm
  • Zeiss Milvus 2/135mm
  • Zeiss Batis 2.8/18mm
  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • DJI Mavic Pro remote
  • 2 extra batteries for the Mavic
  • NiSi ND filters for DJI Mavic Pro
  • Samyang 12mm fisheye
  • Rain cover
  • Macbook Pro 13”
  • Ipad Air
  • All cables and chargers
  • External Lacie Rugged HDD
  • Lens cloths
  • Peak Design camera shell
  • Peak Design field pouch
  • Peak Design Camera Sling
  • Tripod
  • Power bank
  • Spare batteries for the Sony (used 3 on a day)
  • Car chargers
  • All kinds of candy bars, chips, and 2 bottles.

On the outside I had all my Nisi ND filters + V5 Pro filter holder in the Mindshift filter Hive (review here). This worked perfect! You can easily attach the Filter Hive to the waist strap of the Backlight, securing it in a way that you are still able to reach into it and use your filters.
This is how products should work together.

In the field

Using the Mindshift Backlight 26L in the field was a joy. The padded back support and the straps around your waist and chest make trekking with this backpack a no stress experience. It fits like a good hiking backpack and the weight distribution is good.

What I liked most about the backpack are 2 things.
First of all, you acces the equipment from the back. This way the part that you carry against your back remains dry and clean. An other advantage is that you can turn the backpack around your waist and acces all your equipment while standing in the field. The more obvious advantage of opening the backpack from the back is theft prevention.
The second thing that I really liked is that the Backlight has enough space for all other stuff that you need on a hike. It has attachments on the outside on which you can hang your field bottles, walking poles, ice axe or what ever you want. Your rain equipment can be stowed in the front part of the backpack, together with extra food and other loose items.
If you want to take papers or your laptop with you in the field it has an easy accessible separate part for that too. It really has a lot of space that isn’t occupied by camera gear.

For me this was the most important reason to buy this bag.

My old backpack had a bit of extra space but I could never go out a complete day and take all of the needed non photography stuff with me. Wearing the old one for a complete day was asking for a killing pain in my back at the end of the day.
All of this is non-existent with the Mindshift Backlight backpack. Using it for 7 straight days, I don’t understand why I didn’t bought this backpack way earlier. No pain in my back, got everything that I need with me and then even more.

An other thing that I liked is that the tripod can be fixed on the center of the bag, instead of the side. The side is possible, but I don’t like it when I’m in crowded spaces. Even my compact travel tripod fitted perfectly on the back of the bag.

Conclusion

Plus

  • Lots of space for your camera gear
  • Good back support
  • Plenty of extra room to take everything with you for a hike
  • Opening the backpack from the back
  • All dividers can be removed, so you can decide how to arrange everything in the backpack

Negative

  • None. I honestly tried to find one, but I really like everything about it.

This is hands down the best backpack I have ever used. I used to be in the mountains a lot and am used to wearing good backpacks. For my camera gear I always used backpacks that were ok for a few hours in the city, but this was a mistake. You get what you pay for and the cheaper backpacks just don’t cut it if you stay out long.
Very good back support, lots of space for both your camera gear and all other things that you need and opening the bag from the back make it my best buy of the last few years.

When I’m out in the city I’d love to walk around with the Airport series bag from mother company Think Tank. But as it’s twice as expensive, this backpack seems to be the best choice if you want to stick to one bag which you can use everywhere. I wish this was my first backpack I had ever bought, it would have saved me a lot of pain and money. When you are looking for a new backpack for your camera gear, you should definitely check the Mindshift Backlight out!
There are different seizes available, so there is enough to choose from.

Martijn.Kort

Martijn.Kort

Fine art photographer focusing on architecture and cityscapes as well as capturing unique moments from the cockpit. Writing about photography techniques and sharing reviews. Ambassador for both ZEISS Netherlands and Nisi Filters.If you like my work, consider following me on Instagram!

2 Comments

  • Lee says:

    I was just looking at this and the 36L online last week. Thanks for the helpful review, Martijn.

    Lee

    • Martijn says:

      Happy to give you the info that you needed! You will definitely enjoy the backpack. The 36L can fit a 500mm attached to a dslr I believe. Awesome stuff.

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