MindShift Rotation 180° Panorama Camera Bag — A Mind Blower

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 25, 2014      
MindShift rotation180° Panorama backpack, an ingenious camera carry system for backcountry skiing.

MindShift Rotation180° Panorama is an ingenious camera carry system for backcountry travelers.

My trusty field camera, a Canon G12, died last month after I dropped it while rock climbing (oops). Fortunately we recently purchased a Canon EOS Rebel SL1. Since the EOS is a larger camera, especially with a lens attached, we had planned to use it mainly for studio shots. But with the G12 out of commission, the EOS became my go-to camera while backcountry ski touring this spring.

Finding a camera bag that works well with a ski pack is always a challenge and it was especially difficult with the bulky EOS. Our usual solution, a chest pack, was too cumbersome. And storing the camera inside the pack made it inaccessible. As luck would have it, MindShift contacted me about reviewing their new Rotation180° Panorama backpack. The extremely clever design of their patented system solved my problems.

MindShift’s goal is quick access to gear and they accomplish this with a rotating belt pack. While the backpack stays on your back, you push down on a magnetic clasp to disengage the belt pack and then rotate it to the front by tugging on the belt. When you’re done accessing your gear, rotate it back and guide the lock to close back into place. Simply ingenious.

Rotation180° Panorama is one of the smaller packs that is available from MindShift. Rotation180° Professional is larger and heavier, designed to accommodate a shovel and probe. Since we’re in spring ski season, a time when I carry a smaller shovel and thinner layers, the lighter Panorama has adequate volume. My probe and shovel handle slide easily into the side tripod slot. I attach the blade to the outside, although one of our modified blades (which Lou had trimmed by an inch) fits nicely inside as well.

Rotating the belt pack back in place.

Rotating the belt pack back in place.

Shovel handle and probe in side tripod slot; blade on back.

Shovel handle and probe in side tripod slot; blade on back.

I can’t help myself from gushing about this elegant system. The belt back rotates around so easily that I barely have to come to a stop before I whip out the camera for a shot. And when the belt pack is back in place, the weight of the camera at the bottom of the pack makes it ride comfortably. And best of all, the system is sleek — no more fiddly chest packs that protrude like warts on my shoulder straps.

Spacious belt pack with velcro dividers for customizable compartments. Top green mesh pocket for lens filters.

Spacious belt pack with velcro dividers for customizable compartments. Top green mesh pocket protects lens filters and caps.

Panorama without the belt pack.

Backpack body without the belt pack.

I like the top zipper compartment, roomy enough to be useful.

I like the top zipper compartment, roomy enough to be useful.

When the pack is on your back, reaching back to clip the magnetic closure on the pack belt becomes intuitive after a couple of tries.

When the pack is on your back, reaching back to clip the magnetic closure on the pack belt becomes intuitive after a couple of tries.

One mod I made to the pack was to replace a side strap with a snap buckle for side ski carry. The buckles may be different on the Professional model, but the Panorama featured side straps that don’t snap closed, something they could improve. They do have a snap buckle on the top center but the strap was too short for my fatter skis.

The belt pack is spacious enough to carry an extra lens and even some miscellaneous stuff like snacks, reading glasses and spare gloves. And if you’re not a photographer, it could be used to hold binos, GPS devices, water bottles or maps — stuff you’d like to access often without the hassle of taking off your pack. All in all, highly recommended.

Diagonal ski carry using center buckle strap.

Diagonal ski carry using center buckle strap. The bottom loop is made of heavy duty bungee cord which may not be quite as durable as webbing for an extensive amount of ski carrying.

I would prefer snap buckles on the side straps.

I would prefer snap buckles on the side straps.

Dimensions and specs:

Backpack exterior: 9.8” W x 19.7” H x 8.3” L (25 x 50 x 21 cm)

Beltpack interior: 9.4” W x 7.5” H x 4.7” L (24 x 19 x 12 cm)

Beltpack exterior: 9.8” W x 8.2” H x 5.1” L (25 x 22 x 13 cm)

Weight: Backpack 2.0 lbs (0.9 kg), beltpack 0.9 lbs (0.4 kg). Total weight: 2.9bs (1.3 kg)

Volume: Backpack: 1013 cubic inches or 16.6 liters, beltpack: 329 cubic inches or 5.4 liters. Total: 1342 cubic inches or 22 liters


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20 Responses to “MindShift Rotation 180° Panorama Camera Bag — A Mind Blower”

  1. Brian June 25th, 2014 11:03 am

    how do you like those DPS skis?

  2. Lisa Dawson June 25th, 2014 11:29 am

    Brian, the Pure 3 Wailer 112RP is a sweet, sweet ski. Lou mounted the bindings 1+ in order to make the ski initiate turns easier. They’re light considering their width and I found myself enjoying them in most every condition. Indepth review coming soon.

  3. Lou Dawson June 25th, 2014 12:33 pm

    We could probably show a DPS ski as 3 pixels in a 16 megapixel landscape photo of the Grand Canyon, with an alien spacecraft landing in the foreground and a beach full of bathing female raft guides in the background, and what would we get? A comment about the skis. (grin) Lou

  4. Joe Risi June 25th, 2014 12:53 pm

    The pack is really sweet! Lisa showed me how easy it is to deploy the camera case while wearing and I couldn’t believe it. It felt natural pulling the camera case to the front of your torso. Ideal for taking shots in the steeps, windy situations, etc. when you can’t remove your pack to get out your gear.
    It actually makes you want to take more photos because you can access your camera significantly faster and easier then traditional packs.

  5. Lisa Dawson June 25th, 2014 1:26 pm

    Thanks for chiming in, Joe. Everyone I showed the pack to was impressed. Truly a pack above the rest.

  6. BigBlue June 25th, 2014 1:27 pm

    Another great option – especially for smaller cameras — I used this winter was the “Capture Clip.” Can be mounted on any pack, in multiple configurations. Allows for immediate access, easy almost-hands-free interfacing, and ability to snap photos while on the move.

    Not affiliated in any way — just a small niche product I think makes sense.

  7. Scruppo June 25th, 2014 1:29 pm

    Nice Wailers! What’s this about a camera bag…

  8. Hank June 25th, 2014 1:29 pm

    I’m not a fan of chest packs either so this system looks pretty intriguing, although too small for winter touring. How’s the larger version.

  9. Dave Field June 25th, 2014 1:44 pm

    Looks like a great pack for facilitating photography. Never mind the pretty skis, where did you get the snazzy multicolored toque?

  10. Lisa Dawson June 25th, 2014 3:15 pm

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the compliment! That hat goes with everything. I got it from WizBang years ago. The fabric is lightweight brushed nylon and is surprisingly warm.

  11. Jake June 25th, 2014 6:08 pm

    Like! Access is eeesential!!

  12. Lisa Dawson June 25th, 2014 6:15 pm

    Hank, just got word that we’ll be getting the larger Professional model to review. I am impressed that the smaller Panorama works so well for days when you carry minimal loads and don’t plan to carry your skis much. We’ll do a comparo when the Professional arrives.

  13. Christian June 26th, 2014 1:28 am

    Smart design. My main ski-touring backpack is the Dynafit Manaslu. Love the side compartment. This backpack takes it one step further, and I am sure the design can be very handy also when accessing crampons, ski-crampons, ice-screws, skins etc. When you suddenly realize that the steep isn’t as secure as you thought, it is good to not have remove the backpack. (Have to consider modifying the dynafit backpack to this desing).

  14. Jen June 26th, 2014 2:41 pm

    Is the camera pack waterproof?

  15. David B June 26th, 2014 7:36 pm

    Nice pack, lovin’ those DPS Wailer 112RP’s though.

  16. Lisa Dawson June 26th, 2014 8:41 pm

    Haha, Dave. Those DPS skis do make me look good. Hero skis!

  17. Simon @ MindShift June 27th, 2014 1:13 am

    Hey Jen, it’s not waterproof, but it is treated and pretty resistant – I’ve had mine pretty wet and it’s done a good job at keeping the gear dry. We have a seam sealed cover (separate to keep cost down) that you can get for the Panorama and the Pro. Hope that helps! — Any Q’s feel free to get in touch, anyone! Thanks for the review.

    Sime // mindShiftGear

  18. Lou Dawson June 27th, 2014 8:25 am

    Good question about waterproof-ness of camera bag. Reality is that very few camera bags are waterproof enough to be 100% confident that in an extended rain you camera would stay safe. If you carry anything more than a cheap point-and-shoot, a commercial waterproof cover or a ziplock bag are mandatory items in the kit for backcountry photography. In fact, I need to remind Lisa to keep a few ziplocks in the MindShift, especially in summer. That Canon was expensive. Lou

  19. Don Meyers October 15th, 2014 9:56 am

    Great Review. I found it while searching for “mindshift ski carry” since I was trying to figure out a way to carry my skis on the Panorama, which I just got. The bag is a great concept but falls far short of an F-Stop bag (even the smallest Guru) when it comes to rugged options for attaching accessories, storage, or ski carry – especially with their super rugged Gatekeeper replaceable strap options. However, that’s not why I got this and I do expect it to be a superior option for skiing simply because of the fantastic rotation feature. I will be skiing with me Olympus E-M1 and the PRO 14-40 & new 40-150 lenses which will both fit without a problem. That alone should be awesome. But this is a word of caution to others and my one biggest disappointment and that’s the ski carry. I have the DPS Wailer 112 as well (which are phenomenal) and for hiking I figure I’ll have little choice but to use the tripod straps on the front face of the bag which will have them apparently hanging pretty awkwardly off the back with the binding digging into the lower pack and possibly inhibiting the rotation function somewhat while hiking. I guess there’s no free lunch, and I dont hike that much, but the warning is this – I tried the “diagonal carry” you seemed to use in the article with the ski tails going through the side bungee and immediately my rather sharp (unburred) edges cut the outer covering on the bungee cord in two places. It already looks like hell and obviously this seems like a real bad idea to me. I don’t know how you manage to do it without a problem. Anyhow, the good news is that it looks like the bungee is very easily replaced and just knotted behind the grommets. But so much for me sending it back now if I decided it wasn’t for me. Nevertheless, I realize compromises have to be made to accommodate the great rotation feature, but I’d sure love to see some upgraded strap options on this pack in the future.

  20. Simon October 15th, 2014 8:44 pm

    Hey Don, appreciate your feedback – I’ll be sure to get it through to our designers. Cheers.

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