How does a company improve their products when they are already the best (well, we think they are the best) in their category? They can try to make it more versatile, maybe more durable, and perhaps even more comfortable to use. We have been using Kata bags to carry our camera gear for over five years. All during this time, we have been impressed by Kata’s continual drive to improve and innovate in the area of photo-gear protection.
Our staff has reviewed a lot of camera bags over the years, but we have mostly stopped reviewing bags from other makers. It is not that no one else has good camera bags, it’s that we think Kata makes the best ones out there. Kata’s updated line of camera bags has once again raised the bar:
- Owl-272 Backpack – carry camera gear + everyday personal effects. The bag can be converted into a useful daypack when not using or carrying a camera.
- Bug-203 Backpack – designed to provide quick access to the main DSLR. This pack can also accommodate a 15″ laptop.
- LighTri-314 Torso Pack – keep your DSLR in quick-draw position at all times with a “pull to shoot” opening.
- Hybrid-531 Shoulder bags – carry and protect both still camera and video camcorder in a single bag that can be split in two. Perfect for every day use.
- Flyby-76 Organizer – a sleek, low profile carry-on travel case designed for those who fly.
Kata has managed to reduce the weight of the foam padding used in these new bags without compromising the level of protection. The new harness system of the backpacks is more ergonomic, more secure, and more comfortable than its predecessor. We would love to go into each of these Kata bags in detail, but the Holidays is upon us. So, for now, what we will do is take a closer look at one of the new bags to give you an idea of the changes. You will get a good look and still have time left for shopping.
We chose the Bug-203 Backpack because it is our favorite. The Bug-203 is similar to the R-102 we reviewed back in 2005. However, it is clear that Kata has made a lot of updates based on feedback from photographers. There are the little details like looped zipper pulls, lay-flat handles, and small/large openings. The multiple access options make it easier to get at the gear without having to open up the entire pack. The interiorof the backpack can be adjusted to protect equipment in many configurations, including a DSLR with a long lens already mounted.
There are also larger changes, such as the addition of a laptop compartment and a completely new Gecko Harness system. The laptop compartment is helpful because many digital photographers want to check their images while out in the field instead of waiting until they get back to the studio. The new Gecko Harness system, due to its contour fit and improved padding, makes it even easier and more comfortable to carry a loaded pack.
OK, enough about these new Kata bags. They are obviously awesome, perfect for protecting anything you put in them, and will make anyone who receives one a happy camper. Now, stop reading, get online and get shopping. Happy Holidays!