I’ve had my Shimoda Explorer V2 backpack for a few months now and I want to share my thoughts on it with you. But first, this bag was not provided to me by Shimoda, I backed this bag on Kickstarter and I am not being compensated in any way to write this article. OK, now that’s out of the way let’s get back to it. Like most photographers I have a love-hate relationship with camera bags. I even ditched my camera bag and went to a camera insert for a time. That is until I saw this bag and watched some of the YouTube reviews on it one day. It took me some thought to pull the trigger, but I eventually did as you can see. Some of what I will be talking about includes:
What I Like
What I Don’t Like
This will by no means be an extensive review. Just some of my thoughts after using the bag for a while.
Notable features I love about this bag:
30L Carrying Capacity
Back Panel Opening
Removable Core Unit
Luggage Handle Pass-through
Stowable Side Water/Tripod Pockets
Water Bladder Compatible
Room for Hiking Gear
Quite a few photographers got a hold of one of these when Shimoda launched the bag and made some great videos about them. I’ll post one below so you can see all of the bag’s features.
First let's talk about the main camera compartment. You will need a core unit to use this bag effectively. The Core Unit is a small box that your camera gear will be arranged in and you can choose from multiple sizes, this gives you more options than your standard camera bag with a built-in organization system. My favorite feature is the ability to remove the core unit and carry it separately. This is useful when you unexpectedly have to check your bag at the airport. You simply remove the core unit and carry it on as a personal item. You can also slide things, such as a rain cover, between the unit and the side of the bag.
So many pockets. Pockets here. Pockets there. Pockets freaking everywhere! There are so many pockets you might have a hard time remembering where you put stuff at first. This gets easier with use and a good organizational system.
While I was researching the Explorer V2, many people raved about how the straps are some of the most comfortable camera bag straps they have ever worn. And they weren’t lying. I would even go as far as saying these shoulder straps are the most comfortable ones I have used period! That goes for any bag, including my expensive backpacking bags.
While I haven’t put this bag through the ringer, I haven’t babied it either. I’ve placed it directly on fresh snow and splashed it with mud. Thankfully it’s easy to clean due to the material it’s made of which is also highly abrasion resistant. My bag still doesn’t have a single scratch on it after the use I have put it through.
What I Like
Because I need a bag for both travel and long distance hiking, I have a lot of requirements when looking for a camera bag. The Explorer V2 has them all. Lots of water storage and the space to carry extra gear and supplies (first aid kit, rain jacket, etc.) in addition to my camera and lenses.
It’s damn comfortable. In addition to the amazing straps, thanks to all of the adjustment points I was really able to dial in the fit making the Explorer V2 a dream to wear for long periods of time.
What I Don’t Like
I use a Peak Design Camera Clip to hold my camera while hiking. The attachment points on the shoulder straps make it difficult to place my clip where I would prefer it to be. It is still possible but its location is limited and, unfortunately, that location means it digs into my collar bone at times.
It’s easy to overload. Due to it having pockets galore, you need to use extra care with how much you pack into it. If you’re not careful it can get super heavy, real quick.
To end this post I am going to answer two questions. Is it worth the money and would I buy it again? Yes and yes. Even if I had to buy it at full price, I would buy it again and if you are looking for a quality camera bag I highly recommend this one.