Robert Rodriguez Jr. – In-Depth Review Gura Gura Bataflae 26L Backpack

March 18th, 2013 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.

What makes a good camera backpack? What should I buy? As photographers, we always ask questions.

But, let’s skip the questions and just let you decide after watching this awesome review…

Robert Rodriguez Jr., a professional landscape photographer explores his Gura Gear Bataflae 26L and shows how efficient it is in the field.

Check out the Gura Gear Bataflae 26L here.

Check out Robert’s website for images, workshops, webinars and more: LINK

Transcript

Hey, everybody. My name is Robert Rodriguez, Jr. I’m a landscape
photographer, working primarily right here in the beautiful Hudson Valley
region of New York. For me as an outdoor photographer and hiker, nothing
beats a great backpack for getting my gear around. I’ve used lots of
backpacks from different manufacturers over my career, but for the last few
years, I’ve relied exclusively on Gura Gear bags. They’re light and well
designed. They’re strong, and most importantly for me, they’re really
comfortable on my back and shoulders, especially when I’m carrying lots of
heavy gear around. They just make my life in the field a lot easier,
whether I’m carrying stuff around out here on a long hike, traveling my
air, or just getting my gear from one place to another in my car.

I’ve been field-testing their latest model, the Bataflae 26L, for a few
months now. I have to tell you, I really, really, really like it. It’s got
some great new features over past models from Gura Gear, the most obvious
one being this beautiful new color that it comes in; a nice gray. I thought
I would share my thoughts and opinions, and also go over some of the key
features of this bag that make it a top choice for me, and help you decide
whether it’s the right bag for you.

We’re back here in my studio where it’s a little bit warmer than it was
outside, thankfully. Let’s get right into it. The Bataflae bag comes in two
sizes, a 26L and a 32L; ‘L’ stands for liters. The only difference, really,
between the two bags is the height. The 32L is about 4 inches higher than
the 26, otherwise, same width and same depth. It really depends on your
personal preference, how much gear you want to carry. For me, the 26L kind
of fit the sweet spot between the size, the weight when it’s loaded, and
how it feels on my back.

The other nice feature with these new bags is that they now come in some
nice colors; this really nice gray, the original black, and also a tan
color. I’m particularly fond of this gray color, I think it looks
fantastic. The second thing about the Bataflae and all Gura Gear bags is
that they are made of this really light and strong nylon material, which
gives them a very sleek look. They’re, again, lightweight; this bag only
weighs 4 pounds with nothing inside, which is really uncommon when it comes
to backpacks of this size. Also, the material is strong, tear-resistant.
I’ve rubbed it on rocks and dragged it on the ground, and it holds up
really well, and also does a good job of repelling water and snow.

The second thing is these handles that you see here, that are built into
the top and the side. They’re reinforced, they’re very strong. The fact
that there are 2 give you some really nice options when you want to carry
the bag, either just picking it up to put it into your car or truck or
you’re carrying it on a plane, putting it in an overhead compartment; just
gives you lots of options to carry the bag around. I really use these a lot
and find over and over again how versatile they are.

The next thing about the bag that’s really nice and I think one of the key
features for me is the shoulder harness, which is well-designed. It’s
ergonomic, lots of adjustments, and also does a good job of putting the
weight on your waist where it belongs with a nice waist strap; again,
adjustments here. This is really critical because if you’re not comfortable
carrying gear on a long hike, it’s not going to be enjoyable.

The other nice thing about Gura Gear bags is that all of this can be stowed
away, removed, and zipped, and then the bag really becomes more of like a
luggage bag, which is great when you’re traveling and want to make it more
streamlined. I use that very often; again, another fantastic feature.

The next key design, I think, of all Gura Gear bags, and this one
especially, is the Bataflae design. Gura Gear bags are all about access,
and I think that’s one of the key things that attracted me. They all
feature this Bataflae design, meaning that you have 2 doors, you can keep
different things on either side and that might suit your working style. You
may be working in cramped quarters and you can’t really open a big pocket,
so you just can open up one pocket. Maybe the weather’s bad and you don’t
have to open the whole thing.

One of the interesting things that they added to this new bag of the
Bataflae series is the ability to open the whole flap in one. That not only
gives you access to all of your gear at once, it allows you to maybe lay it
out a little bit easier, and also, you get access to all the pockets on the
flap here, which, again, is really, really nice. Having that option, having
the choice of either doing either pocket or the whole, I think is a really
key feature and an upgrade in this bag. I find myself using this more often
than I thought I would because, in terms of the situation, it makes it easy
to get to stuff.

While I have this open, you can see there’s lots of different options here
for organizing your gear. Another key feature is being able to get full-
size bodies with an L-bracket. You can have multiple lenses in here. I have
it designed in a way that works for me. Sometimes if I’m hiking in the
winter and I want to bring clothing or other things that aren’t camera-
related, like food, I will remove some of these dividers and create a big
pocket, and then I can shove things in there that I might need later on; a
dry set of clothing. [inaudible: 05:41] I do it with the whole side,
depending on what my hike is. Again, a lot of versatility here; easy to
configure.

There are also two additional pockets on the outside with additional
zippers. There’s a spot here to keep your keys. There’s also a pocket here,
a place to put business cards and pens. Then on the other side, again,
similar type pockets, there’s a bigger pouch. Lots of different ways to
organize your gear. Some of them have zipper, some of them don’t, so
depending on what you want to get. Lots of versatility and lots of thinking
about how a photographer actually works out of his bag, and that’s one of
the things that I really like about Gura Gear bags.

On the very outside, there’s also a rain pouch that, obviously, you can use
to cover the bag in bad weather. You can also use it as a ground cloth, in
case you want to put your bag down somewhere where it’s sloppy or muddy. On
days when I know it’s not going to rain and I’m just going out for 1 day,
sometimes I’ll take this out and use it as a place to store either a snack
or an iPhone. Nice, little, convenient pocket on the outside.

Finally, they’ve added a way to carry a tripod on the back of the bag. On
previous versions and in this one as well, you can carry the tripod on the
side. There is a big mesh pocket here so you can put your tripod into this
pocket, and then use this strap here on the side to secure the tripod to
the side. That works fine if you prefer to carry your tripod that way. I
personally prefer to carry it on the back because I feel that it gives me a
better weight distribution on my back when I’m climbing and hiking. I want
to be really secure and stable, so the tripod on the back, for me, works
better. I find with the harness, if I adjust it properly, I don’t really
have an issue. It feels comfortable, and that’s how I prefer it. That’s
something new to this bag.

These 2 straps here on the side will secure around the tripod legs. Then
there is an elastic strap that Gura Gear now includes, and this allows you
to wrap it around the bottom of the legs here and cinch those down. Then
you’re able to carry the tripod on the back of the bag pretty easily. What
I find that I do is that I’ll just take the tripod off of the bag, leave
the straps attached to the tripod so I can put it back on when I’m ready to
head out and keep going.

Having used this bag out in the field for a few months now, I’ve got to
tell you, it’s a really great bag. I wasn’t really surprised, considering
it’s a bag from Gura Gear. The bag comes with a fantastic warranty and they
provide great customer support. On a previous bag, I had an issue with the
bag. I called them up and they sent me a brand-new bag, no questions asked.
That’s something that I really look for in all the gear that I use, and
find really valuable.

Finally, I want to say under full disclosure that Gura Gear provided me
with this bag for review purposes, but my thoughts and my opinions are
solely my own. I can guarantee you that if you see me out there, whether
I’m teaching or whether I’m shooting, I’ll have this bag on my back. All
right. Having said all of that, I think this is a great bag and I highly
recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a backpack and willing to make a
long-term investment. You won’t regret it. Hope you enjoyed the review. See
you out there in the field. Take care.

 

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