Functional, customizable, practical travel bag for photographers
I’ve been an avid user and fan of Think Tank Photo gear for many years. They make practical bags that work for most occasions. Even though I’ve been hauling around the Streetwalker Pro v2.0 for a few years now, I always felt there might be a better option out there. As I’ve grown into my photography craft, I’ve taken a lot of pride in caring for my gear. I only want the best to protect my camera and its lenses. So, when I heard about the Ultimate Camera Bundle from Nomatic, I didn’t hesitate to test it out.
Designed with the active photographer in mind, the Ultimate Camera Bundle is meant to provide the best possible storage option for camera gear. The bundle includes the following pieces:
- McKinnon Camera Pack 35L
- McKinnon Cube Pack 21L
- Memory Card Case
- Battery Case
- Filter Case
- Customizable Dividers
- Waist Strap
All the pieces are durable and made to be water resistant. Even though each piece is remarkable in its own right, they all work together best as this bundle. The main bag is the 35L McKinnon Camera Pack. This backpack is designed to be the perfect bag for every adventure. Filmmaker Peter McKinnon worked side-by-side with Nomatic designers to make this massive camera bag. It’s large by design though as it’s meant to not only carry your camera gear, but also enough clothing and personal items for 1-5 days. The backpack can also hold laptops and tablets and features quick side access. The bag expands from 35L up to 42L and its interior dimensions measure 21” x 12.5” x 5.25”.
The remaining pieces of the bundle are designed to fit into the Camera Pack. The second largest piece is the McKinnon Cube Pack. While it folds up to make a convenient pouch-like unit, it actually has 21L of space available when it is completely opened. The base of the Cube Pack is semi-rigid and designed to hold your camera and basic accessories. The Cube Pack is what McKinnon refers to as a ‘go bag’ and is meant to be used as an ancillary kit so that you don’t have to carry around the Camera Pack everywhere.
The smallest accessories of the bundle – the memory card case, battery case, and filter case – have specifically designed places to call home inside the Camera Pack. The memory card case and battery case both feature magnetic closures and the filter case is a zippered pouch. The filter case can hold up to 6 circular filters up to 82mm in size. The battery case is designed to hold up to three camera batteries and it comes with stickers to designate when a battery is dead. The Memory Card Case can hold up to 6 SD cards and 2 C-Fast cards. There is also a small zippered pocket meant to hold Micro SD cards or other small items.
There is one additional accessory that is not part of the Ultimate Camera Bundle, but I feel it should be highlighted – the Accessory Case. This beast of an accessory kit is perfect for larger items that you don’t want to remain loose in your camera bag. It also comes with customizable dividers and is made from the same EVA foam that the filter case is made from. The case fits perfectly inside the Camera Pack and is ideal for items like hard drives, lens caps, and flash accessories.
All the parts and pieces of the Ultimate Camera Bundle arrived in the most exotic shipping boxes I’ve ever seen. The packaging is well-detailed in our unboxing video, but I can’t let this review continue without a comment about the boxes. The boxes were black cardboard with the Nomatic branding stamped on it. Upon opening the box, we found the unmistakable Skull & Crossbones of Peter McKinnon printed on a semi-transparent plastic bag. After unzipping the bag, I pulled out the Camera Pack and all the ancillary parts of the bundle. Needless to say, the unboxing process was quite an experience. I liked the boxes so much that I hesitated to throw them out.
Once I had every piece unboxed and laid out, I started customizing the internal sections of the Camera Pack. I have to admit that when you first open up the bag, it’s a bit intimidating. The Camera Pack is massive. Even though it comes with a pre-designed configuration, I recommend laying out all the gear you know you want to carry in it, ripping all the dividers out, and laying your equipment into the empty chasm that is the Camera Pack until you settle on a layout you like. Then, you can start placing the dividers to fit the equipment. I found this is by far the easiest way to get the most functional layout for your specific needs.
There are many ways to go about switching everything around thanks to the dividers. At first, I wanted to make sure I could utilize the side access panel for my camera. After a couple of shoots, I decided that the bag would be more useable if I didn’t constrain myself into using the side access for just my camera. I’ve been through several configurations since I’ve had the bag and even though I’m sure I’ll keep configuring the layout for quite some time, I have to say that it’s very easy to work with. The dividers are easy to pull out and replace in the main compartment. McKinnon and Nomatic ensured that photographers could make this bag their own depending on the needs of their daily use or specific production gig.
I’ve taken the Camera Pack along with its accessories on several different adventures since I’ve had it. I took it with me to photograph some Bald Eagles; it was with me when I watch my daughter graduate from high school; I photographed a husband and wife’s first steps together; captured a mother and daughter in their cap and gowns as they graduated from college…together; and I took photos of my daughter and her boyfriend in formal wear since the pandemic cancelled their prom. Each shoot has its own special needs and the Camera Bundle ensured that I had every piece of equipment I needed to finish the job.
The only small complaint I have concerns the Filter Case. I have an incredible set of Variable ND filters from Moment and because of their bulk, they do not fit in the sleeves. I also have some great filters from K&F concept, which do fit just fine. So, while the description mentions fitting up to 82mm filters, it is not quite ‘universal’ in its uses. On the other side of things, the stickers that are included with the battery case are a lifesaver. I used the heck out of them when I recently shot a wedding. They really help photographers or their assistants identify the live batteries quickly, which really helps in that run-and-gun environment.
Even with this bag being a bit heavier than some other everyday camera bags, the McKinnon Camera Pack has quickly become my favorite bag thus far. It’s got excellent add-ons like the battery and memory cardholders. The area for clothing has been a lifesaver and I think it will allow me to really pack a bit lighter when going on small trips. Overall, this is the ultimate camera bag set-up for anyone serious about photography.
NOMATIC McKinnon Camera Pack 35L is a full travel system that features Removable Folding Dividers, a 7L Expansion System and External Carry Straps.