The MindShift Gear BackLight 26L from Think Tank can hold so much kit that it’s hard to imagine needing the 36L version. It’s also well made, with thickly-padded straps, high-quality dividers and plenty of attachment points. It’s a great choice for those heavy-lifting days!
The MindShift Gear BackLight 26L’s main compartment opens via a zip in the back section. This makes the backpack nice and secure as the zip can’t be opened while you’re carrying it.
Provided that the waistbelt is clipped, you can slip your arms out the straps and swivel the backpack around your body to access this section without having to put the bag down. That’s especially useful in wet or muddy conditions.
There’s also a thin elasticated loop that you can slip over your head to keep the back flap out of the way while you find the kit you want.
The BackLight 26L’s main compartment can carry a full-frame DSLR such as the Canon 5D Mark IV or Nikon D850 and around 4-6 lenses (including 70-200mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8 optics), plus a few accessories. Naturally, if you have a mirrorless camera, you’re likely to be able to squeeze another lens in or a few more accessories.
There’s also a laptop and tablet pocket at the front of the backpack. This can take a laptop of up to 15-inches and an average tablet.
I used the BackLight 26L to carry a full-frame Panasonic Lumix S1, an APS-C format Canon EOS 250D (Rebel SL3), four lenses, a variety of small accessories, a Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, a DJI Osmo Pocket, a 12-inch MacBook and an iPad mini. That’s a lot of kit to carry, but the BackLight made the weight bearable.
Helpfully, there’s a large elasticated pocket on either side of the bag. These are useful for carrying a large bottle of water and/or a mini tripod. Thanks to a couple of straps, you can also use one to carry a standard tripod, but there’s also a front attachment if you prefer to carry it there.
The front tripod attachments stay nicely out of the way, tucked inside Velcro-closing pouches when they’re not in use.
In addition to a pocket at the top of the bag, which is usful for stashing your passport, there’s a pocket at the front that’s handy for bits and bobs. The top pocket is a little slim for a purse or wallet, so I put mine in the front pocket.
Interior Dimensions: 26 x 49 x 15 cm / 10.2 x 19.3 x 5.9-inches (W x H x D)
Exterior Dimensions: 29 x 51.5 x 20 cm / 11.4 x 20.3 x 7.9 (W x H x D)
Weight: 1.8Kg / 3.9lb
Volume: 26 Litres
The MindShift Gear BackLight 26L is a substantial bag but it’s small enough to qualify as carry-on luggage on most airlines. It also has a well-padded back, with a ventilation channel, and generously padded straps, so it feels comfortable to carry.
Despite being 5ft-2, was able able to adjust the straps so the backpack fitted me. However, there’s sufficient scope for adjustment to make the pack fit my 6ft-2 partner.
As a UK size 8, I have to put the waistbelt to its shortest length to get the benefit of it when I’m wearing summer clothes. However, there’s plenty of capacity to extend the belt to accommodate extra layers of clothes in colder conditions.
I used the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L to carry all the camera gear I needed for a trip to the French Alps. I was able to squeeze in everything I needed and still lift it. It’s a comfortable bag that gives you quick access to your gear.
Although there are a few pockets and lots of attachment points, the BackLight 26L isn’t one of those bags that you have to hunt around, continually opening and closing zips to find what you’re looking for. Everything is logically arranged and the main compartment has plenty of space.
The dividers are also quite thin but made of dense foam so your gear is protected and space is maximised.
I think the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L is a good choice for trips and those days when you need to carry most of your kit. However, it’s not the sort of bag I’d use every day, I’d be more inclined to go for something like the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L or Peak Design EveryDay Backpack for daily use.