ThinkTank StreetWalker HardDrive Photo Backpack Review
Backpacks are usually not my first choice for carrying my gear around, and for good reason. There is really no fast way to access my camera and lenses. As a concert photographer I need my gear easily accessible in tight spaces at all times. There is no throwing down my backpack on the floor, unzipping, and finding my gear. By the time I could do that, security will have stepped on me and I’ll have missed many great shots. For that reason, I am not a fan of backpacks at concerts, but for other things, like walk-arounds and projects, I’m all for them.
Usually I’ll pull out a photo backpack for travel, or bigger festivals that require me to have more of my gear with me all day. I also like to use a photo backpack for projects and general tasks that don’t require me having speedy access to my gear. I have gone through backpack after backpack looking for one that works well and feel right. Up until now I have not found one that I really liked.
The ThinkTank StreetWalker HardDrive backpack is what really changed my mind about photo backpacks. It’s not oversized or lopsided or too square. This bag is simple and perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better feeling backpack.
This simplicity of the StreetWalker HardDrive is something that I have been seeking for a great deal of time. There are many places to shove a lot of gear, but it is very organized and best of all can handle all the gear you put in it. Some companies make bags that have a lot of pockets, but when you decide to use them all it just doesn’t work out. The StreetWalker HardDrive does not have this problem and can handle pretty much anything you put in it. There are a few storage pockets on the outside and a large, dividable, main compartment on the inside. The main compartment can store a tremendous amount of gear for its relatively conservative size. You can really fit a lot of gear in there including a few bodies, ‘full size’ lenses, your outboard flash, cleaning tools, laptop accessories, and much more. There are also a few pockets in the flap that folds out to expose the internal compartment where you can store cables and other loose gear. The StreetWalker HardDrive also features a handy fold out pocket on the outside to strap on your tripod. With the included straps you can easily secure a fairly large tripod to the outside of the backpack for convenient travel.
From the factory, the StreetWalker HardDrive ships with the camera (lens attached) compartment at the top. Upon filling the rest of my StreetWalker HardDrive with my remaining gear I found that it was very top heavy because of the camera compartment at the top. I switched this around and it felt a lot better. This also works very well if you’re carrying your tripod on the bag too. Usually the heads of the tripods can get rather heavy, so my configuration helped balance this setup even better.
I also really like the pocket on the backside of StreetWalker HardDrive. It’s big enough to fit larger sized notebooks and just right for my 13″ MBP. I am also confident that it will stay protected while I use the bag and isn’t something I have to constantly worry about. The padding on the back of the bag meant to comfort your back also serves as extra protection for your notebook. The padding on the back of the bag was great and I liked that it wasn’t uncomfortable or something that I had to get used to. This complimented the strap system of the bag which proved to be very comfortable, even with large loads of gear. Even the chest strap adjusts up and down in relation to where you want the shoulder straps to sit.
The ThinkTank StreetWalker HardDrive is just another photo backpack, but one of the better backpacks in the industry. It has become very difficult to find a bag with the quality and reliability of ThinkTank photo bags. I have become extremely pleased with the balance of quality, simplicity, and functionality of their bags. Someone really thinks these bags out before selling them. The amazing reliability of the StreetWalker HardDrive is ideal for on-the-road concert photography and random photo expedition trips that I encounter.