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.
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.
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.
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