The BackLight from Mindshift comes in three sizes 18L, 26L and 36L but we will be focusing on the 18L in this review as this is the one that we received. The 18L has a gear profile of two standard DSLR bodies with lenses attached and 1–3 standard zoom lenses or two Mirrorless bodies with lenses attached and 3–5 lenses as well as up to a 13” laptop and a 10” tablet and space for your personal gear in the 5L front compartments, it takes up to a maximum lens size of 300mm f/2.8 or 150–600mm f/5–6.3 attached to a body. The backlight has a rear-panel access that lets you grab your gear without having to take it off your back, the bag can be rotated round to the front of your body whilst the waist belt can be left attached keeping the bag secure against your body.
This rear-panel access also provides you with some extra security when traveling as the access rests against your back it would to a ninja to get their hands in the bag without you noticing. There are two dedicated compartments that securely hold a 13” laptop and full size tablet and the 5L front pockets lets you keep your personal belongings and camera gear separate, the daisy chain, ice axe loops and additional lash points get you the option for expanding your carry capacity. The Backlight meets most international and US carry-on requirements (always check with the airline before travelling), you can mount a tripod or monopod to the front or side, there are two large water bottle pockets with cinch cord fit a 32oz bottle, the side compression straps have locking SR buckles for additional lash points and front stuff pockets can be used for storing essentials, torch, hat or chargers for example. On the inside the removable, reinforced panels can be customised for your things, the top zip pocket can be used for quick access essentials whilst the interior mesh pockets are ideal for storing filters, batteries and cables.
For protection against the elements the Backlight is made from a 420D Velocity and 420D high-density nylon and there is a seam-sealed rain cover included. The best thing about the Backlight is how comfortable it is, there is loads of padding, on the shoulder straps, back and waist belt, there is an air channel to help keep your back cool. Things will still get warm on hot days, and the high visibility, ergonomic zip pulls are easy to grip with gloves on or cold hands. The Backlight is comfortable bag even when fully loaded, the back panel access is a functional addition that lets you grab you gear when you need it and have piece of mind that your belongings are safe and secure when not in use. RRP $199.99
4.8 out of 5
Back panel access
Lots of padding
Comfortable waist band
Front stuff pockets
Seam-sealed rain cover included
Not enough ventilation