When you're taking photos around town, a retro-style canvas camera bag is all well and good. But head in the backcountry with an SLR and a quiver of lenses and you'll need a camera backpack – something that's able to protect your gear while keeping it easily accessible and rather effortless to haul up mountains. Something like the new Mindshift Rotation 180.
Thanks to a revolutionary swiveling hip compartment that gives a shooter access to gear without removing the pack, the Rotation 180 is possibly the most convenient camera pack we've ever worn. Looking every bit a conventional backpack, the Rotation 180 has a standard sectioned-off interior for quarantining your camera kit. But its unique element is a padded lower compartment that swings around your hips so you can access it from the front. The idea is that it prevents you from having to constantly remove your pack when you want to swap lenses.
After loading the well-padded 2.9 pound pack with an SLR body and spare zoom lens and setting out for some shooting, we found that accessing the lens-stocked waist panel proved quick and that the pack stayed comfortable over five undulating miles of hiking. The small top compartment was perfect for a rain shell and some lunch and a side sleeve swallowed up a hydration bladder.
An integrated tripod sling and rain cover round out the trail-ready features. The torso length is a bit short so taller hikers might find the hip belt riding up too high, and the hip compartment is too small for really long lenses. Still, for the adventure photographer who's hanging off of Half Dome angling for the prize-winning shot, this might be just the pack to wear.