Confessions of a Backpack Junky

Some call it an addiction. I call it the search for the perfect camera backpack. - by David R. Beebe
Let's start with an admission. I am a camera bag addict. I am forever on a quest for the next perfect camera bag. Since I started using the Cotton Carrier chest harness to distribute the load of my DSLRs in the field (see the 7/27/11 post), I need a bag to serve 2 functions: It has to be as small and light as possible for airplane travel and it has to be a safe haven for my gear during bad weather.

My backpack evolution started with a small Tamrac backpack that I quickly outgrew. From there I tried the massive Lowepro Photo Treker AW II which weighs in at a hefty 9 bounds empty. With more adventures depending on small plane travel where every ounce packed is a concern, I switched to a small Lowepro Fastpack 250 that weighs only 2.5 pounds empty. I loved the side access door but the bag wasn't large enough to accommodate both my Canon EF 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS and my Canon EF 400 f/4 DO IS lenses.

Here is where
Gura Gear comes to the rescue. Their camera backpacks are designed with a butterfly wing design where the backpack is split vertically into 2 main compartments. The bags ship with loads of hook-and-loop dividers for customization but by removing most of them, I was left with a bag that can accommodate both of my lenses on DSLR bodies. The only concession is I have to reverse the lens hoods for storage.

Gura Gear has 2 main models: 2012's Kiboko and 2013's Bataflae (pronounced butterfly). Both shared the vertically hinged opening idea. The Kiboko includes a separate laptop compartment that was removed from the Bataflae to allow for even larger diameter lenses. Another main difference between the 2 is that the Bataflae;s hinged doors can unclip as a traditional single door to make it easier to load and unload in a studio. Both the Kiboko 22 liter and Bataflae 26 liter bags have a built-in rain cover, weigh in empty around 5 pounds and are sized for international carry-on limits.

I spent probably 20 minutes on the phone with one of Gura Gear's helpful customer service reps. She looked up the gear I was carrying and sized me into the Koboko which is what I had hoped for as I really needed the laptop pocket. I've loaded it up and I am ready for a field trial after which I will report back. In the mean time, is anyone shopping for some older backpacks?