The Think Tank Rotation 360 camera backpack is a pretty amazing contraption. It’s a new take on the camera backpack concept. We’ve seen sling bags and other variations on the backpack. As far as I know though, the Rotation 360 is the only one that lets you keep the backpack completely on your back while retrieving your camera.
The big thing I like about the Rotation 360 is its comfort. I’m pretty happy with the comfort of lugging around all the of the Think Tank Photo bags that I’ve carried in the past, but the Rotation 360 has been the most comfortable to throw over my shoulders.
I took it on a 9 mile day hike (with about a 2900′ elevation gain) about a week ago and was pleasantly surprised at how well it treated me during that trip. It earns big kudos for the waist and chest strap, which help stabilize the bag while I’m tackling the trail (er, maybe it tackled me). While anything on my back would have been uncomfortable over 9 miles, I could tell a big difference in the way the Rotation 360 treated me.
The Rotation 360 doesn’t hold a ton of gear like the Airport Addicted v 2.0 or even the amount gear that the Streetwalker Harddrive holds. The Rotation 360 certainly makes a good day hike bag, but I also think it would be a pretty good event bag. I managed to pack a Nikon D300s with 50mm lens attached, an SB-600, 70-300mm VR, spare battery and Gitzo tripod head in the bag for my trip. I also packed a fair portion of granola bars in the rear zipper pouch and two water bottles in the side pouches.
I echo the sentiments of one of the consumer reviewers on Think Tank Photo’s website – if the waist pouch was a little bigger, it could handle a DSLR with a battery grip attached. Because of the space issue, I had to take the grip off the D300s in order to fit it in the bag on the belt.
The belt system works as advertised. I was really surprise at how efficient the locking system works. It’s based on some magical velcro locking mechanism and it really won’t slide unless you unlock it. Getting the waist bag back into position isn’t a pain either. It’s surprising a very smooth movement.
Word of warning though: Don’t take the pack off without ensuring that the belt system is locked or the hip pack will easily fall out. (And, I’m not speaking from experience or anything here . . .) The good thing is that when if it did does fall out, the hip bag is well-padded so nothing was is damaged.
Another cool feature of the Rotation 360 is that it has built-in rain covers that work pretty darn smoothly. Just unzip a pouch and in a few seconds (while the pack is not on your back) you can have the rain cover on and ready to tackle the elements.
The Rotation 360 also has a built-in tripod carrier that snugly secures the tripod to the outside of the bag. Think Tank Photo includes a generous amount of accessory straps and pads – really more than you’ll need. But if you want to tie down a tripod or whatever to the back of the bag, there’s plenty straps to work with.
The Rotation 360 runs $279 direct from Think Tank Photo.
Think Tank Photo Special Deal and Free Bag
If you are interested in the Rotation 360, Think Tank Photo has a special deal for Photography Bay readers. Essentially, if you spend $50 or more on gear from Think Tank Photo and, during checkout, their system will automatically let you select a free camera bag (e.g., Lens Changer 50) along with your order. Go to Think Tank Photo using this link and follow the on-screen instructions at check out to get your free item.