F-Stop Lotus and ICU pack

F-Stop Lotus Camera Bag

Words & Photos by Samson “Rides with Wind” Hatae

Finding the perfect backpack for all occasions is tough, especially since each trip requires different gear. When looking for a bag for our recent Bikes on Bikes trip, I had a few requirements. I would be strapping everything to my motorcycle so size was a factor. We would also be leaving the motorcycles and hopping on mountain bikes to ride backcountry and bike park. This meant hydration, gear security and comfort were also important features. I also wanted something discrete that didn’t scream “camera bag” since it would be out in the open on my motorcycle. F-stop is known for producing some of the best camera bags on the market, so when I saw their subdued, drab-colored Lotus, I pulled the trigger.

F-Stop Lotus

The Pack

The F-stop Lotus looks more like a small backpacking bag then a camera bag and it checked all the boxes. I also liked the drab green color as it doesn’t stand out when left unattended on my motorcycle while I’m buying root beers. It also has a large waist strap to keep the pack secure when riding on a mountain bike. Aside from stability, the strap helps alleviate weight from your shoulders. The inside can be configured with a number of different Internal Camera Units (ICU), so you can choose what best fits your personal gear. It’s compatible with many hydration bladder systems, which is a great added benefit when shooting riding photos. The outside is constructed of weather-resistant Ripstop nylon. The ruggedness helps provide peace of mind when laying the bag down on the side of the mountain. I also appreciate the metal frame as it helps keep the bag’s shape while also protecting valuable gear inside.

F-Stop Lotus X-Ray

The Load

For this particular trip I was going to be shooting stills, video and editing along the way. I had to bring a decent amount of gear and wanted it all to fit into one pack so could grab all my gear at once. Here is what I brought along in my bag:

Nikon D800
35mm f/2
50mm f/1.4
24-70 f/2.8
70-200 f/2.8
Filters, 2 extra batteries, charger

Sony A6500
16-70 f/4
Small Rig Cage
Meta bones adapter
Rode video mic pro
Extra batteries, charger, filters

MacBook Pro 15”
2 Lacie Rugged portable drives
Gorilla Pod tripod
2L CamelBak bladder
Passport and other personal items

I chose the Large ICU as I knew I was going to be carrying a lot. It was a snug fit for the 32L pack, but I wanted all my gear to be organized and held in place. This left little room in the main compartment for any loose items like a jacket, but it was worth it to me. My laptop slips right into the main compartment behind the ICU and stays safe and protected. Access to the inside compartment is from the backside of the pack via a stout zipper. I like this design because it requires that I zip the pack up before putting it on. The upper opening of the pack also have a few zippered compartments, which I utilize for things I need to grab more frequently (snacks mostly).

F-Stop Lotus and the goods

The Wolf’s Last Word

Overall, the Lotus 32L and the Large ICU worked out great for me. It kept me organized and kept my gear secure. The load felt tight and solid, even while riding double black diamond trails in Whistler. Having a pack that fits so much stuff but can still be stuffed under the seat in front of you on an airplane is pretty awesome. I really like the ability to configure the organizational compartments to your needs by getting different ICU sizes. F-stop also sells a number of pack organizers to help hold small things that may float around like cables or memory cards. I used some pouches I already had, but if you don’t have anything, F-stop has you covered. I am happy to know I have a pack I can configure to the needs of a trip and look forward to taking it out on many more journeys.

Price: Lotus Pack – $239, Large ICU Pro – $99
Contact: f-stopgear.com

F-Stop Lotus from the top

We Dig

Subdued Color
Customization/ Organization Ability

We Don’t

Nothing Yet

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