Kata 3N1-20 Sling-Backpack
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Old 11-12-2008   #1
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Default Kata 3N1-20 Sling-Backpack

Like most, I have more camera bags than cameras. My favorites for field use are the ThinkTank Speed Freak (belt pack) and the ThinkTank Glass Taxi. But, with winter arriving, neither will work for me (the belt pack is impossible to wear with winter outer wear - compresses the insulation, and the Glass Taxi, like most backpacks, gets wet straps when placing it down to retrieve lenses and other gear). The sling packs, like the Lowepro, Tamrac, and Mountainsmith bags allow access, but have a basic flaw - the weight is only on one shoulder (starts to get to your back after a few hours).

So, when I heard about the new Kata 3N1 series, I visited a few camera stores until I found them. There were 3 sizes, and I settled on the middle one. The larger would hold a lot more, but the extra weight and size makes it a poor choice for me. The small one was too narrow to fit my 70-200 f4L lens. The middle size (-20) was just right. This bag is unique in that you can configure it as a right or left shoulder sling (right shoulder for right handed photographers and left of the south paws). Since it is symmetrical, you do not loose any compartments or features if you switch. The nice thing about this pack is you can wear it as a backpack - either conventionally (straps parallel), or cross (you can release one side and have a quick sling type access). There are small side compartments, one on each side, that can hold batteries, a cell phone, filters, cleaning cloths, etc and a top compartment which can hold a flash, more lenses, snacks, pens, paper, etc. The top compartment has a mesh pocket (zippered) that can hold smaller items (I put my lens brush, a pack of Kodak photo tissues, a micro fiber cloth, pen, paper pad, and a spare eye piece hood - yes, I loose these). There is a small velco flap pocket that can hold a small cell phone or batteries, and there is other velco plap pocket that holds business cards. The bottom padded divider can be removed (it is zippered) if you need to expand your equipment portion of the pack. The bottom section has many moveable dividers and can be set up for a camera with battery pack with lens attached and either vertical or horizontal extra lenses. Mine is currently set up to hold a 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM lens, a 100mm f2.8 USM macro lens, and the 24-105 f4L lens on my 5D. I can replace the 70-300 with a 70-200 f4 USM lens (the IS one fits too). Or, I can set the dividers for horizontal use and put the two lenses side by side plus two more. Oh, since there are zippered openings on both sides, you can configure the bag for easy access for either left or right use. There is also a small velcro attached pocket for CF cards too. To help arrange the contents, and to provide access for horizontally arranged lenses, the front of the pack has a three sided opening for the gear section too. Like most Kata bags, this one includes a rain cover in its own bag (mine sits below the 24-105). There is also a metal ring on the front, which I attach a velcro strap to hold a wind breaker or fleece.

The bag is made of rugged nylon, the straps are very well padded and very soft (the sales gal at Mike's really likes these packs as they feel good on your back). There is a padded strap on top to carry the bag too. It is sized for under seat or overhead use on airplanes, and is 17.3" tall, 9.25" wide, and 7.48" deep. Oh, it is typical Kata - bright yellow interior - great for finding gear when it is dark. One last item - the straps can be put into 'hidden' compartments, there is a minimal waist strap (more to stabilize the pack when using it as a sling) and there is a lifetime warrantee if you register the bag. Cost? under $100USD.

Wayne

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Old 01-19-2009   #2
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Default Re: Kata 3N1-20 Sling-Backpack

Thank you for this review. I am considering this bag (possibly the 30).


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