It wasn’t too long ago that only one or two companies recognized a demand for outdoor-focused camera backpacks; now there are enough to make choosing the right one a task in itself. Some tend toward general travel with minimal profiles that are optimized for the outdoors with a handful of functional features (like adjustable shoulder straps and waterproof coatings), while others are as technical as the best trekking backpacks. Shimoda Designs, which launched in late 2017, makes bags that fit somewhere in the middle, and the new 30-liter Explore might be its most versatile yet.
Shimoda began, like many companies these days, as a crowdfunding campaign (it earned over $180,000). But the company is helmed by Ian Millar, who spent eight years at F-stop Gear as its Director of Development, where he designed and developed what were at one point the most popular outdoor camera backpacks available. That experience informed Shimoda, which seeks to answer the needs of contemporary adventure photographers.
That concept materialized in Shimoda’s initial release of a 40-liter and a 60-liter backpack with features like water- and abrasion-resistant exteriors, a height-adjustable torso and a left-to-right rear access panel. The new Explore 30 continues that thread in a slightly smaller package that now features a removable hipbelt. The bag is perfect for traveling photographers who spend equal parts of their time in urban environments and on remote trails, as well as those who prefer to carry a smaller camera system when a lower-profile bag makes more sense.
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