Review Long lens backpack

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Mark Molloy
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#1
MrJanGear “Boris” Rucksack-(pictures added at end of the write up)


I have decided to write a small review on my latest bag. After seeing others putting in the effort in writing reviews I thought it was about time I got my ass into gear and do my bit.

A little bit about what I wanted from a new bag- I knew I wanted a rucksack type of bag, it had to fit my Nikon 600 f4 AFS lens along with maybe another lens or two and just as importantly it needed to fit into cabin luggage on most airlines. These were just a few of my needs and believe me I wanted comfort, ruggedness and waterproofing just as much.

My search took me to searching the internet and reading reviews from various sources including photographers, manufacturers and other online sources.

Amongst my considerations and some of the top contenders were from manufacturers like Gura Gear, Tamrac,Kata, Lowepro,Tenba,Kata,Kinessis and Think Tank.

All the above bags looked great but for one reason or another I just didn’t choose them, be it weight, size, style, comfort, price—it could have been any of these.

I was trawling a birding site one day where I saw the mention of a bag I had never heard of before, the bag was from a very small company in the Czech Republic called “MrJanGear”. After a search the only info I could find was from the actual manufacturers site itself—never a good thing. Despite this I sent a few emails to them and they were answered quickly which gave me a bit more confidence. I asked many questions and they were all answered to my liking. I was also sent info on other photographers using the bag and giving them a trial. Again more emails to said photographers and all was going well.

At this point Mr Jan told me he was about to be selling a newly designed bag which may also meet my needs. He mentioned a few neat ideas which made sense on the bag-things that a person who actually used bags and wasn’t just a bag designer would have thought of.

I was sent a few mails showing the new design and it seemed that I had found a bag which was close to meeting most of my needs. Money paid into the account and the bag was sent out quickly to me- arriving in only a few days from the Czech Republic and best of all-no VAT to pay as it’s a Euro zone country.

So that’s the history of how I came about being in possession of the MrJanGear “Boris” bag. Yeah Boris is the bags given name….lol


So the bag fits my Nikon 600 AFS f4 lens with the hood reversed( no camera attached)-i will say that the hoods reveresed on the lens make it a tight fit but that is fine as that wasn’t a priority for me .The bag fits my Sigma 120-300 f2.8 and 1.4 tc and camera attached and it actually makes the lens/camera look small. The bag is showerproof and has a rain cover like many other bags in its class. Its a true rucksack style which I can use out in the mountains etc ( it doesn’t have wheels-which I didn’t want as they add weight).Its comfortable to wear for medium walks although the weight of your own equipment can be an issue as the bag fits so much.. The bag comes within most airlines sizing rules for cabin luggage.

So all good so far but I have yet to test the bag in a long term “ in the field” test however I feel quite positive in using the bag to carry and protect my equipment.

So all is rosy and positive however I wouldn’t be doing this review any justice if I never pointed out things which I feel would make the bag fit exactly what I would want in a bag if I was designing myself-

I would like to see a way to tuck in the harness straps or remove them altogether to take away any doubt from those jobsworth airline staff who may think the bag is to large to go inside the cabin.

The bag has handles/straps to carry the bag when you don’t use as a rucksack style however after carrying the bag with the big lens and the 120-300 along with a few bodies, batteries etc I feel the straps could be a bit wider. The reason being is that the material folds in your hand which puts more weight onto a smaller area in the hand. The straps do feel sturdy though. I have wrapped a Velcro padded strap around one handle which is padded just enough and doesn’t cut into the hand quite as much. This isn’t a big issue anyway as the straps are only used to carry short distances for the majority of the time.

So that’s the main things I can see for improvement but other people have differing needs and wants from a bag and these were just mine.

So the bag as you can see is quite large( 54x34x17cm).It has the zips at the rear and opens up one side at a time if you want. The zips being at the rear help with security and also for when you lay the bag down you no longer need to flip it over to get to your equipment. Added to this it then keeps the surface which goes against your back clean—a good thing depending on the condition/places you photograph. .Having separate opening per side allows you to keep the equipment your not using clean and dust/dirt/water free. The bag only weighs aprox 2.75kg with the additional padding and pouches which come with the bag.

On one side of the bag is a small pouch which houses the rain cover which comes attached but can be detached if you decide you wont require it when out in the field.. The other side has an elasticated pouch which can be used for various things however its main purpose is the hold a tripod as there is strap at the top to secure the tripod in place. The front face of the bag has another pouch, this time you could slip in a small laptop, netbook or ipad etc but anything really which isn’t to bulky. The bottom of the bag has 2 thick plastic feet type grips. The harnesses feel well made and I have carried a bag fully laiden on 1 shoulder with only 1 strap and its strong and holds well.

The bag comes with some very strong YKK zips which gives confidence however as an extra there are several tension straps which take tension from the bag and zips and act as another safety net( 2 per side on the inside and several outside the bag).Padding inside is adequate and as expected. The material is loose fitting but feels good quality-this again helps keep the weight down. There are webbing straps all around the bag to add strength.

I haven’t flown with any airlines with the bag as yet however I see no reason why it wont fit in the cabin on most airlines-the weight of all my equipment on some airlines my be an issue though.

So that is as informative as I can be .I do not work for the company and I don’t write this review for any other reason than to let others see the bag and form their own opinions. I will add to this later when I have used the bag for several trips to see how it performs.


Web address--- www.mrjangear.com

Cost of bag as of 5/9/2013 is 320 Euros.







 
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7,164
Name
Carl
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#4
Sounds like an excellent bag. Not cheap, but worth it if it does what you want, is good quality & lasts well. :cool:

Have you any pics of it rammed to the gunnels with your gear?
 
OP
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markyboy.1967
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8,123
Name
Mark Molloy
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#5
Well my first backpack started to have stitching coming loose, a very small area about 5cm but when I contacted MrJanGear they replaced the bag with a brand new one with a few improvements including the stitching materials, straps etc. couldn't ask for more. I have since used loads of times with my big lenses and other equipment and all is good.
 
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Name
Sam
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#6
Nice review, surprised the F-Stop systems never came onto your radar when originally looking for a bag.
 
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264
Name
Sam
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#8
I've previously got a Canon 600mm F4 mk2 (un-mounted) into the XL ICU which easily conforms to carry on dimensions - that ICU then fits into both Tilopa BC (tightly) and Satori back packs. I fly with the ICU using a laptop strap for my hand luggage and the backpack element goes into my suitcase, this gets checked into the hold. It's a very versatile system and another option in the market.
 
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