Review F-Stop Loka... my dream adventure photography bag (first impressions & pics)

Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
164
Location
PL
So... recently planned to get a new backpack for my photo-trips. This time I wanted something:
- bigger than my usual carry pack (non-photography): TAD Gear Litespeed (20ltr)
- with quick direct access to my photo gear
- allows carrying full frame dSLR with 70-200/2.8 lens attached
- alpine or military style (not your typical 'photo backpack')
- molle pannels and additional straps for stuff would be welcome

So after some web searching I found my grail photo pack: F-Stop 'Loka'

http://fstopgear.com/product/mountain/loka

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It's as good as they say. It looks like anything BUT photo backpack! It's made of ripstop material in foliage green, hypalon bottom, has waterproof zippers, hydration pocket, molle pannels (!) and gives you almost instant access to your gear without the need of putting it on the ground. You can use it also as a 'lens change tray'. It has multiple attachment straps, molle also on the waistbelt and you can use one of many photo-inserts - tailored to your needs and preferred body/lens combinations. I opted for 'medium slope' insert, great for D700 with 70-200 and some accesories and also additional lens/es. For my first trip (couple of days ago) I took just mentioned camera combo, 50/1.4 as backup lens, batteries, cards... and that's it. And some cloths & food supply of course. Man, it's a very comfortable pack. And yesterday & today I was skiing with it and taking pics ofmy daughter with 70-200 on the hill. It takes me up to 15 seconds from 'carry on my back' position to first shot. And I didn't rush to much, I think I could go down to 10 seconds if I train bit more. Yeah, it's so fast! Ergonomics beyond anything I've seen so far. Bulky & 'square' LowePro stuff is a joke compared to this one.

Ok, enough writting, time for some pics (all taken with my iphone):

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BTW, the attached medical pouch is ITS Tactical 'Trauma Pouch' (fatboy variant):

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So... if you're looking for adventure photography pack - I cannot recommend the Loca more! It's not cheap but worth every $$$. It might be my best photo-related purchase of 2012/13 winter season!
 

Butlerkid

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Looks interesting. I went to the website....nice range of products....although the Loka with large ICU looked to be over 5 lb empty...

For travel, I will probably stick with a photo vest and smaller backpack...
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2010
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PL
Some additional pics:

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and again my little assistant , arranging snow in correct shape for the session and resting after hard day :)

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Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,078
Location
SE Wisconsin
F-stop makes a great product. I have the Tilopa Back Country which is the next size up to this pack. It's going on year 3 and I have few complaints. I have the large ICU and now that I have the 70-200 I struggled to find a combination of the dividers to fit how I would like. Seeing your medium ICU and how it fits I may have to order one of those.

Enjoy the pack.

You have found the best part of the pack. Being in the snow and being able to set it down in the snow to change lenses.
 

JPS

Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
9,264
Location
North-East of Brazil
That bag looks nice ! It resembles a lot to the MOUNTAINSMITH that I've been using for a year now !

...only drawback -for me- is that one can stuff it with so many things that I have a tendancy to really put -almost- all my photo equipment in it, and the damn thing is getting heavier and heavier !

...but it's very solid and, as you showed, it doesn't fear sitting in the snow !

:smile:
J-P.
 
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Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
164
Location
PL
I like your style! We should hang out!
Who knows, maybe we can meet each other one day on the trial!? If you ever come to Poland let me know, I can show you some nice spots. I really like adventure photography, like this:

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Joined
Sep 28, 2007
Messages
6,319
Location
NYC
I just ordered the Tilopa in the same color. Needed something that could hold all my stuff in one bag. I got it with the large slope. Should have it middle of next week. Can't wait.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
164
Location
PL
Thanks for the review. Seriously thinking about the same pack.
Get one before Summer, the supply is usually very limited in the high season. And the pack is awesome! I like it more and more - it's very comfortable and fast in action.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
3,799
Location
The Netherlands
...only drawback -for me- is that one can stuff it with so many things that I have a tendancy to really put -almost- all my photo equipment in it, and the damn thing is getting heavier and heavier !
I also have the Loka and really like it because you can use one or two inserts. This means you can match the insert to the gear you want to take. I only have the large ICU as the medium ICU was not in stock for a while but now it is in stock so I will get the medium ICU for my next trip to Iceland.

I used the large ICU for Bhutan and carried a D700, 16-35/4, 28-300VR, 50/1.8, 70-200VR, V1, FT-1, 1.4TC, 1.7TC, SB800, filters, batteries, GPS, chargers, cables, iPad, PSD, Markins M10 tripod head, and lots of other small stuff without problems.

For Iceland I want to bring a similar kit but use the D200 instead of the V1. We will be hiking more distances in Iceland compared to Bhutan so I want to use a smaller ICU to prevent just bringing too much gear. Also I will be carrying a tripod and camelbag so that will provide enough weight :biggrin:
 

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