Mindshift Gear Firstlight 40L Camera Backpack First Impressions

If you're like me, then you frequently find yourself in the position of travelling on foot and weighted down with an unreasonable amount of camera gear. Eventually you will find that your cameras and lenses and the rest no longer fit in one, or two, or maybe even three of the camera cases and backpacks that accumulate organically and which multiply exponential throughout the life of a photographer. At some point the only solution is a bigger bag, and it might be that the Firstlight 40L from Mindshift is the bigger bag you're looking for.

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Sigma 150-600mm Comtemporary Review

Wildlife photography is perhaps the most demanding genre of photography in terms of gear. Since most of the time you can't (and shouldn't) get up close to wildlife, you need a massively long lens in order to capture those amazing shots like the pros get. In most areas of photography, the skill of the photographer is far more of a factor in great images than the gear they use, but when it comes to wildlife you not only need a high degree of skill, you also have the gear to match. If you have the skill, but not the dough, the Sigma 150 - 600mm Contemporary lens offers a way to get into wildlife photography without taking out a second mortgage 
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Rokinon 14mm F/2.8 Lens Review

If you're on a tight budget, but want to expand your lens collection to open up more creative possibilities, the Rokinon 14mm F/2.8 wide angle lens might be your best option. It's a solid, dependable performer that can deliver dramatic images in a variety of situations, and is available for most cameras at a price that even the most frugal photographer won't find prohibitive. 
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Canon 55-250mm IS STM Lens Review

Quality optics, or a balanced budget - that is the question that plagues so many photographers not blessed with a vast disposable income or the professional capitol to justify the cost of high end glass for photography work. You can, of course, compromise with third party manufacturers such as Rokinon - give up luxuries like autofocus, zoom, and image stabilization for great image quality. Fortunately, if you’re looking for a good telephoto zoom lens that won’t break the bank, yet has awesome modern tech
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UST Hex Tarp Review 

I have a habit of going camping in the very worst weather possible, and last week, backpacking on the Olympic coast was no exception. Normally, foul weather camping means the utter misery of cooking and eating dinner in the pouring rain. This time, though, I brought along the Hex Tarp by Ultimate Survival Technologies, hoping to be able to eat a bagel without it getting soaked in a sudden downpour.
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UST Paraknife FS 2.0 Review

The problem with a lot of knives I’ve used is their weight - a good pocket knife can have a real impact on the weight of your pack. The Paraknife FS 2.0 from Ultimate Survival Technologies changes all that with its barebones ultra-light design that also manages to fit in a wide array of useful tools such as might more often be found on a heavy, bulky multi-tool. It’s a marvelous device for anyone looking to shave a few ounces off their pack.
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FeatherLite Survival Kit Review 

I have a confession to make - I don’t always carry the ten essentials. Worse still, I often don’t even carry a large percentage of those essentials. I don’t carry a knife, I leave the compass at home, I forget the fire starting materials, I leave the flashlight on the kitchen counter, and the emergency shelter gathers dust in the closet. The fact is that I’ll sacrifice safety if it means fitting in an extra camera lens. However, the Featherlite Survival Kit 3.0 by Ultimate Survival Technologies might change that for me.
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UST Gear Unboxing

Oshiro 60mm Super Macro Lens Review

We’ve all seen that interesting bug, that beautiful flower, that fascinating ice formation, and have likely tried to capture it through the lens our cameras. However, we quickly find that the closest we can get still leaves our subject as little more than a boring speck lost in the image. There are many ways to get a macro shot - reverse mounting your lens, using extension tubes, or a bellows for example.  All these options come with significant downsides. To get the best macro shooting experience you need a dedicated macro lens, but those don’t usually come cheap. They are a niche product and thus typically command a high price. However, the Oshiro 60mm F2.8 Super Macro lens is the exception to this rule.

Rain, mist, fog – damp weather brings out the best colors and most interesting conditions. Famous landscapes that have been photographed a billion  times may look unfamiliar like alien landscapes with swirling clouds, flowing mists, and skeins of virga to reveal them in new and intriguing ways. Sadly, such weather often makes getting a shot not smeared with water droplets impossible,  so many photographers avoid going out in the kinds of weather that produce the most interesting and unique photos. The Shell by Peak Design allows you to conquer inclement weather and brave the storms that thwart your photographic success. Read More......

Peak Design Capture Pro Review

A conundrum faces all photographers: you can carry your camera safely in a backpack, but then you will struggle to remove it every time you need to take a photo. Alternatively, you can carry it like dead weight from your neck – more accessible, but often uncomfortable. The Capture Pro camera clip offers an ideal compromise. By securing your camera to the strap of your backpack or belt, it can be carried comfortably and securely while remaining easily accessible.
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Klymit Insulated Static V Lite Review
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Buying a camping pad is a complex gamble that will often take an avid backpacker years of expensive trial and error to win. Every pro has its con; foam pads are cheap, light and durable, but at the same time are bulky and are often uncomfortable. Inflatable pads are light, compact and can be extremely comfortable, but they are expensive, delicate and cold. Rarely do you find a pad that does everything right, yet does not cost the moon. In the Klymit Insulated Static V Lite I have found that balance.
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Mindshift Panorama 180 backpack review
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Hiking gear problems have long been an obsession for me. Aching shoulders? Add some padding. Extra weight banging on the back of my pack? Get a bigger one and put everything inside. Everything soaked after a day of hiking in the rain? Carry a hiking umbrella. But one problem I hadn’t been able to solve was how to safely and comfortably carry my DSLR.
In my basement, I have a box of rejected camera bags. I have a sling bag that holds the camera gear, but little else. I have a small, over the shoulder bag that holds only the camera, but can be worn with a backpack on. It generally results in an aching neck after a day out hiking. I have tried hiking with this bag stuffed in a rucksack or backpack, but it is impossible to take it out for a quick shot. I kept imagining a bag that would ride comfortably on my back, with room for extra gear and somehow be easy to access, and thought I would never find one. Enter the Mindshift Panorama 180. Read more.....
Vibrobarefoot Trail Freak Review
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Upon initial inspection, the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak looks like just a water shoe; colorful, flexible and breathable – unlike any hiking shoe I’ve ever worn. When first trying them out, I felt as though I was walking around with nothing but thick socks on my feet! The Trail Freak is truly fundamentally different from what many of us have come to expect in a shoe. Read More.......

SOL Escape Lite Bivvy Review
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As the ice crinkled on my bag and water melted from around my face and dripped into my eyes, I pondered on the fantastic claims many gear manufacturers make about their excellent products.
The great paradox of backpacking gear has always been the balance between weight, comfort and durability; comfort and durability often equal bulk and weight, while a lack of weight and bulk often result in the sacrifice of comfort and durability. As I settled into the SOL (Survive Outdoors Longer) Escape Lite Bivvy, I hoped that, here, I would find an ideal balance of the three, but it turns out that – at least in this case – you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Read more at:

Adventures in Deep Snow with Old Gear
Until last year I had never been downhill skiing. The closest I had ever come had been an occasional jaunt in the woods on cross country skis; looking up at the ski hill, I would shake my head in wonder at the madness of people careening down mountains at breakneck speeds. In my mind, skiing was a hobby partaken of only by wealthy daredevils, and of course by my parents sometime in the ancient, hazy days of the 80s. That all changed with the watching of a broadcast of the 2014 Olympic winter games in Sochi, and my younger brother’s resulting fascination with winter sports. For several days of the games, he watched snowboarders twirl through the air, saw the challenge and the glory of the sport, and decided that was what he wanted to do. We decided to take to the slopes with him on skis to see what the allure of the tall mountain was. Read More........

Brenthaven Velo Backpack Review
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If you commute by bicycle, and carry along electronics, then the Brenthaven Velo Backpack is for you! Rugged yet sleek, the Velo’s water resistant exterior protects against all but the heaviest rain, while a waterproof interior pocket guarded by two sets of sealed zippers will keep laptops with screen sizes as large as 16” snug and dry. This interior compartment is also cleverly designed to suspend a laptop in the center of the pack so that it is not touching any of the exterior walls.Read More.........

   As my uncle heaved his pack up over a 6 foot high granite ledge to me, I realized the reason for his weariness. This ancient wicker behemoth with who-knows-what filling its cavernous depths must have weighed a ton! The two shoulder straps were padded only by thin, decaying leather-there was no hip strap, no pockets, frame or high tech air-cooling trampoline. It was a relic of a simpler age of backpacking.......Read More