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Gear Review: Hiking and Photography Backpack or Hip Pack — or Both! … The Mindshift Rotation 180


The Mindshift Rotation 180 offers accessibility and organization. The quest for the perfect hiking pack can take you down a rabbit hole of YouTube, the interwebs, and aisles of the local REI for hours on end. There is no one pack for everyone. As you can see above, we’ve tried plenty of packs.


And we’ve found … some may like open storage, others may want comfy straps, and you may want something with lots of nooks and pockets to store your stuff. My wife has one preference with her pack — does it have storage and are the straps wide enough on the back to prevent pinching of her shoulders. That makes perfect sense. For me, it’s about accessibility to get to the stuff I need.


My quest was long and enjoyable and ultimately ended with the Mindshift Rotation 22L Camera Backpack for Outdoor Adventure Photography by Think Tank Photo. This bag has storage and organization all-in-one.


Questions to Ask for Selecting the Best Hiking or Photography Backpack for You


The questions are endless when thinking about a backpack or even a pack to take along on hikes:

  • What hiking backpacks or hiking packs are best? Wow, that’s a loaded question and everyone will have a different answer.

  • What hiking backpacks are the easiest to access the various things that I want to bring with me?

  • What hiking backpacks are weatherproof or waterproof for inclement conditions?

  • What are things that I should consider when selecting a hiking backpack?

And many more questions that may come to mind when you are searching for that perfect companion to take along with you on the trail. For us, we have a few things to consider:

  • Fido has a lot of little things that are necessary to bring along … paw wax for the snow, whistles, leashes, water and bowl, etc.

  • The weather in Virginia is tricky … sometimes it’s clear skies and sunshine, sometimes it’s rainy and soggy

  • Length of trip factors into which of the 3 packs I might select … longer packs require lunch, shorter trips just the basic essentials

  • Which Photography gear will be coming along … do I need a wide-angle lens, how about the teleconverter, etc.

All of these factors and many more should be taken into consideration when selecting a pack. And it’s ok to have just one pack for everything and perfectly ok to have multiple options for when you plan to get outside.


The journey to selecting a bag early on that I referenced was enjoyable since I appreciate trying new gear. I wanted something that would enable me to carry a water, first aid, lunch, and various other items like a rain jacket, etc. This is no different than anyone that gets on the trail for a trek into the backcountry for the day. Never mind the complexities that are introduced with overnight trips, let’s keep it simple here and talk about day trips.


If you think about the hiking essentials that you’ll need to bring with you, it may include items like the following:

  • Rain shell jacket, rain shell for the backpack, heavier shirt/sweater for layering plus gloves or beanie/hat

  • First aid kit, knife or multitool, sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, perhaps a LensCoat® RainCoat for your camera

  • Lunch and water plus any snacks or drinks you might want to bring

This means that you’ll need to think about the elements and more importantly the placement. You might be ok with just stuffing everything inside or you may want to consider a more organized approach to packing. If you are concerned about the organization of your bag, you’ll need to ensure that the backpack has places to ‘put the stuff.’ The


Accessibility of Key Elements


There are a few key elements of hiking with a backpack that I find convenient and helpful for hiking. Depending on your needs, you may have fewer items and if you’re a gear junkie, you may have more. The core elements that I like to have accessible are the following:

Easy to access tools for various things, water for myself and the dog, a place to put the camera, and of course the trusty GPS handheld for tracking the journey and mapping where we are going.

What About Inside the Pack?


The inside of this back is unique. It’s technically two packs in one. The brilliance of the Rotation 180 product is the patented technology that allows the back to slide around. The pack is divided into 2 sections.

  • Upper storage is 16L or 11.2” W x 11.4” H x 5.9” D

  • Beltpack storage is 10.6” W x 6.7” H x 6.1” D

For the upper section of the pack that stores about 16L, that’s fairly large for a pack. Let’s be honest, 22L is slightly on the larger side but I am a photographer on the trail (I can fill it no problem). If you would like the smaller 18L Trail version, check eBay since it was discontinued (Search link for Mindshift Trail 180 18L | eBay).


So what’s on the interior of my pack when we’re out and about — and more importantly, how does it fit?

The main upper section includes the:

The side pocket has an elastic sleeve for the water bottle, easy to get a hold of, and accessible

For the belt pack, I place the items that are needed more frequently.

  • Placing the KNIPEX - CoBolt Compact Bolt Cutters on the waist section (right side)

  • The top sleeve has the Dog First Aid: A Field Guide book

  • The right side has a canned mini drink and almonds or fruit leather (that’s all preference)

  • The middle includes bug wipes, honey for the dog, and poop bags plus a reflective blanket and Leatherman Raptor Shears

  • And the left side has photography essentials like lens wipes, disposable rain cover for the camera, lens brush, and Z lens caps

While this is all of the stuff that I carry, I want to illustrate that you can take an approach of stuff you need now and stuff that can be brought along and grabbed when it’s convenient to take the pack off. For now, take a peek at the ThinkTank overview of the product … Rotation 22L Camera Backpack - YouTube.


All and All - The Mindshift Rotation 22L Offers Storage and Organization


But your bag is your thing - you need to make the right decision for what’s best for your needs. The good news is there are unlimited options for you to choose from. There is no shortage of available bags and a stroll down the aisle of REI will prove that it can almost cause paralysis for selecting what’s best for you.


For me, the Mindshift Rotation 22L Camera Backpack for Outdoor Adventure Photography by Think Tank Photo offered the right mix of storage and functionality. The balance of organization and accessibility. If this feels right for you, I encourage you to check out the reviews on YouTube, as they all share the sentiment — Mindshift Rotation 22L - YouTube.


Happy hiking and enjoy!

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