Maybe you know that I usually carry a Loka Backpack from fstop. It’s amazing for travel, and carrying lots of gear for long distances over rough terrain. But there are times when I want something a little smaller. I have a small bag too – the Millar Series Shibata Bag, also from fstop. And it’s great for carrying a camera body and a couple of lenses. I use it when I am photographing my kids playing soccer, or when I want a low profile bag for getting a few shots of the kids on stage.
Still – sometimes I need something in between. There are times when I want to carry two camera bodies – maybe Jay and I will each need a camera, but we don’t want to take two bags. Or maybe I want to bring along a longer lens… or my laptop. When I need something in between the Loka and the Shibata, I use this little beauty. It’s the Ando 13 from fstop’s Mountain Series collection. It’s a great bag for indoor or outdoor shooting, and it’s just as well made as other bags from fstop.
You can see from the photo at the top of the page that the top of the bag has a slope to it – that keeps water from pooling on the lid, which is nice added protection for your stuff. The bag is great for handling a little bit of rain, and you can purchase a rain cover for it if you want to be able to take it along in really nasty weather.
I’m always amazed at how much gear I can fit comfortably into my camera bags. The photo above shows my Ando with the gear I like to take along for a short outdoor shoot. The camera has a wide-angle lens on it – and I’m also carrying a 180mm macro and a 70-200mm zoom lens with a 1.4x multiplier. Plus, there’s lots of space for filters, batteries, lens cloths (you know I love my lens cloths), and so on. And you can see from the photo below that there’s even a padded pocket for a laptop. The Ando 13 has an interior laptop pocket – and the Ando 18 has an exterior, zippered pocket. There are lots of other pockets, too. One on each end, a nice long, zippered one on the front – with extras inside, and two zippered, mesh pockets on the inside of the lid.
This is a great carry-on bag if you don’t want to bring along a camera backpack, since it will fit your camera and computers and still leave room for personal items. And it will fit under an airline seat, which is a nice bonus.
If there’s anything that I don’t like about this bag, it’s the stress it puts on my shoulders when it’s fully loaded. You’ll find that problem with any messenger-style bag, of course. But, fstop has gone a long way towards making the Ando comfortable to carry with a nicely padded shoulder strap. You can also use Gatekeepers (which attach to four handy mounting points) to fasten the bag to your body. Doing so lets you move fast without the bag swinging around and causing excessive strain.
Do you own an Ando bag from fstop? Please share your comments and experience in the comments. I always check for reviews when I want to purchase gear, and I know others will appreciate your comments as well.
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