Beginner photographers often believe bigger is better but that’s not always the case, especially with a camera bag or backpack. At first it may seem sensible to be swayed towards large models in order to fit all your gear inside, but more often than not it results in you lugging a heavy bag with lots of unnecessary kit. Experienced photographers tend to consider small-to-mid-sized bags with a suitable capacity to hold only the essentials, with one or two extras.
The MindShift TrailScape 18L, from ThinkTankPhoto, is a great choice for DSLR and mirrorless users with one or two bodies and a half-dozen lenses. With an ample 18L capacity, it may be a small-to-mid-sized bag but it offers a neatly designed and deceptively spacious option for trips lasting a day or a couple of weeks.
DESIGN & COMFORT
Costing around £159, the MindShift TrailScape is made from top-quality materials so you can expect it to handle rough treatment. A water-repellent coating and supplied rain cover helps to protect it from the elements. The sides of the bag are padded but to keep weight and bulk down they’re not too thick, so do take care when placing the bag on to hard surfaces. Thankfully, the back of the MindShift is very well padded for good lumbar support, as are the shoulder straps, so once you've set up the harness, you'll find this is a very comfortable bag to carry, even for extended periods.
WHAT CAN YOU FIT IN?
There are several adjustable padded walls within the zippered main compartment, allowing the interior to be customised to your requirements. As you'll discover, it can hold far more than you might think, for instance it will take a Nikon D800-series DSLR with 70-200mm f/2.8 attached, as well as an ultra wide-angle zoom, fast standard zoom and macro lens, with room to spare for a charger, batteries and small accessories. Users of mirrorless models from the likes of Sony and Panasonic will find the MindShift can hold a couple of bodies with six or seven lenses easily.
There is no shortage of internal and external pockets and compartments available to hold personal items, including a 13in laptop. Both sides of the bag have elasticated pockets with cinch cords for holding drinks bottles, as well as a mounting system for a monopod or tripod.
You'll find several other excellent backpacks at a similar price from the likes of Manfrotto, Lowepro, Tamrac and ThinkTank Photo, so the MindShift bag faces stiff competition, but its design, capacity and build quality make it one of the best available.