Great whether you’re on the run or in the studio.
I’m pretty low-maintenance when it comes to my camera backpacks. I like them to be lightweight and easy to access. I tried out one camera backpack a few years ago that opened on the back and it was nearly impossible to pull parts out of it or load the pack easily and quickly. To me, I want something that is efficient. If I’m wearing a camera backpack it’s because I’m ‘on the go’ and need to be quickly functional. So, when I was presented with the opportunity to review the Urban Access 13 Backpack from Think Tank Photo, I was a little hesitant because it does load from the back. That said, I have a lot of faith in Think Tank and their designs for their bags. So, I opted to review it and was more than pleasantly surprised.
The Urban Access 13 Backpack is designed to carry your camera gear and all its accessories. It’s easy to pack and access. There are access panels on both sides of the backpack, which enable you to sling the backpack left or right. The rear-panel provides complete access to all the gear you’ve stored inside. There is also a center tripod mounting system included on the front of the bag. The harness is padded for comfort and the backpack has a dedicated pocket for laptops up to 13 inches in size (there is a larger version of the backpack that holds up to a 15-inch laptop).
- Deep front pocket fits a light jacket
- Robust shoulder harness with load-lifters help to adjust the weight of the pack
- Removable sternum strap and waist belt
- Luggage handle pass-through
- Top compartment fits snacks and personal gear
- Expandable water bottle pockets on both sides
- Customizable divider system
- Top compartment mesh pockets help keep small items organized
- Internal organizer pockets give you quick access to filters, batteries, cards, etc.
- Seam-sealed rain cover included
1 ungripped DSLR or Mirrorless body with lens attached up to a 24–70mm f/2.8, 2–4 additional lenses including a 70–200mm f/2.8 detached, a 13” laptop, plus personal gear.
- Nikon D750 with 24–70mm f/2.8 attached, 70–200mm f/2.8, 14–24mm f/2.8, 105mm f/2.8 macro and a 13” laptop
- Canon 5D with 24–70mm f/2.8 attached, 70–200mm f/2.8, 16–35mm f/2.8, flash and a 13” laptop
- Sony a7rIII with 24–70mm f/2.8 attached, 70–200mm f/2.8, 16–35mm f/2.8, 13” laptop and 90mm f/2.8 macro
- Exterior Dimensions: 12.2” W x 18.9” H x 9” D (31 x 48 x 23 cm)
- Interior Dimensions: 10.2” W x 13” H x 5.5” D (26 x 33 x 14 cm)
- 13″ Laptop Compartment: 9.2” W x 13” H x 0.8” D (23.5 x 33 x 2 cm)
- Weight: 3.7 lbs. (1.7 kg)
- Durable water-repellant (DWR) coating with polyurethane backed fabric for superior water-resistance
- 500D 2-tone poly tech-weave
- YKK® RC fuse zippers
- 420D high-density nylon
- Nylon webbing
- High-density nylon air-mesh
- 3-ply bonded nylon thread
- Stiffened closed-cell foam dividers
- Polyurethane backed liner and dividers
- 210D nylon
- Super-Grip velex
- Hexa mesh
- High-density nylon microfiber
- 2x polyurethane coated nylon 190T seam-sealed rain cover
- 3-ply bonded nylon thread
As I mentioned above, the Urban Access backpack is a back-loading pack. The feature that intrigued me though was the side access option. With the Urban Access backpack, you have the option to sling the bag from either side so that you can open the side access panel and pull out equipment as needed. I have seen this with other backpacks in the past, but they were nearly as functional as Think Tank’s version. One of my favorite camera bags is the Retrospective v2.0 series shoulder bag from Think Tank Photo. The main reason I LOVE that bag so much is that it’s incredibly easy to access equipment. You simply throw open the main flap and grab whatever you need inside. I had the same type of access from the Urban Access backpack as I did from the Retrospective shoulder bag.
Now, I want to point out my fairly unique camera set-up. I have a Canon 70D and keep an 18-135mm installed on it. In addition to the 18-135mm, I have 55-250mm and 10-18mm lenses for my kit. Granted, I fully understand this is a beginner’s kit, but that’s where I am right now on my photography journey. That said, my fiance, Nick, has a Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS-R as his main cameras. He has a 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses as well as a Macro lens and a 15-30 Wide lens that is his main kit. We did slide his equipment into this backpack, too, in order to verify that the list that was included with the backpack was correct. It was. Nick liked this bag so much he is thinking of ordering the bigger size for himself.
One of the items that were included with the backpack is a hinged divider. One side of the divider has Velcro while the other side is smooth and can move freely inside the storage chamber. I found these to be a big asset for me when I placed my lenses. Think Tank included these so that when you access items from the side panels, you can pass through the entire chamber to get to your equipment. I thought this was genius!
Another feature of this backpack that I really liked is the small storage compartment on the top of the backpack. This pocket was perfect for storing my glasses and mobile phone. I used the backpack at a work event (our annual Thanksgiving lunch) and hated to leave my phone and glasses out on a table where people were eating. It was great to just slip them into this top storage compartment and know that I had quick access to them while they were still concealed and safe. I also plan on using this as my main camera bag during the Thanksgiving 5K race that I am in charge of.
The Urban Access backpack is a very stylish, functional option for carrying camera gear from place to place. I would especially like this for a trip and/or sightseeing because you have the option to carry your gear comfortably, but can also have very easy access to it if a photo op pops up. There is plenty of storage available and you can customize the bag to fit your needs. Think Tank even includes a very handy instructional guide for two different layout options — pass through or hinged.