GearPack Minimalist Camera Bag Review

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These days, photographers have an incredible range of camera bags to choose from, and with so many choices it can certainly be quite overwhelming.

Some bags look great on Instagram, but will actually be impractical or unnecessarily heavy when you actually need them to function in the field.

Freshly appearing on Kickstarter, the GearPack is a Minimalist Camera Bag from a small team in San Francisco and Australia known as Oobo Bags.

It has the durability of a heavyweight bag but in a lightweight and comfortable package that you’ll certainly appreciate!

GearPack - The Minimalist Camera Bag
GearPack - The Minimalist Camera Bag

Super lightweight, well-designed and robust, flying under the radar as a camera backpack by looking sleek and minimal.

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By surveying and asking photographers what they look for and need, Oobo were able to cherry-pick the features that we actually wanted, and leave out anything unnecessary from the very beginning.

Low key, but carefully designed and crafted, Oobo has developed a no-fuss backpack that does everything we need it to do, but in a rather simple, yet classy and elegant package.

Being fortunate to experience one of their earlier pre-production variations, I am pleased to say that I have certainly appreciated my time with this Minimalist Camera Bag.

See what I have to say below in this non-minimalist review!

GearPack – The Minimalist Camera Bag Specs

The GearPack and it's larger sibling the GearBag (launching early 2022)

The GearPack and its larger sibling the GearBag (launching early 2022)

Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • Lots of memory foam for great comfort
  • Convenient internal and external compartments
  • Hard-wearing water-resistant materials
  • Can be placed inside the Oobo GearBag
Cons
  • Might be a bit small for those with a lot of gear – pack smart!
  • Zippers are not weather sealed
  • Cargo straps cannot be removed or tucked away

GearPack Specs:
Max Capacity: 14L (estimated)
External Size: 38 x 28 x 13cm (15” x 11” x 5.5”)
Weight: 600g (1.3lbs)
Laptop Sleeve: up to 13″ Laptop or Tablet
Compatible with Oobo’s upcoming project the GearBag

GearBag Specs:
External Size: 51 x 35 x 27cm (20″ x 13.7″ x 10.6″)
Weight: 2.6kg (5.7lbs)
Laptop Sleeve: up to 13″ (or 15-17″ if not utilising pouch)
Wheels: 2x 180mm (7″ diameter)
Handle Extension: up to 1.1m (43″)
Release: Early 2022

  • Discrete Minimalist Design
  • Weather Resistant Materials
  • Hard Wearing Colourfast 600D Polyester
  • Internal Pockets
  • Laptop/Tablet Pouch
  • External Cargo Straps
  • Padded Shoulder Straps w/ Memory Card Pocket
  • Padded Grab Handle
  • Hanging Tab
  • Airmesh Back Panel
  • External Bottle Pockets
  • Removable Dividers and Internal Zipper Pocket
  • YKK Zippers
  • Quick Access Pocket

Build & Appearance

Conveniently sized - the GearPack is not too large or bulky, but definitely not too small for daily use either.

Conveniently sized – the GearPack is not too large or bulky, but definitely not too small for daily use either.

Intentionally discrete and simplistic in style and build, the GearPack doesn’t demand attention nor does it weigh you down with heavy materials.

However, just because Oobo may be keeping things simple and discrete, does not mean they’re cutting corners in regards to selected materials and build quality.

Built with hard-wearing non-fading Colourfast 600D Polyester with water-resistant properties and adjustable memory foam padded shoulder straps, the GearPack is an extremely comfortable, lightweight and adaptable backpack.

The GearPack features YKK zippers throughout the build and double stitching where it matters most. However, bear in mind the zippers aren’t weather-sealed – water won’t freely flow through, but in an extended downpour it may seep in.

The build quality has been great on this pre-production model - and it will be even better in the final!

The build quality has been great on this pre-production model – and no doubt it will be even better in the final!

The GearPack is available in black or grey and features plenty of memory foam padding to keep things comfortable at all times. The additional straps are a strong and smooth seatbelt style webbed material with easily adjustable slides for quick adjustments on the go.

The bag itself has a firm structure and maintains its shape whether sitting upright or laid flat, but since it is also made from softer materials, this allows you to overpack when you need it – not restricting you with rigid limitations.

The GearPack has been designed to fit easily within the GearBag.

The GearPack has been designed to fit easily within the GearBag.

The shape and design of the GearPack has been crafted to also pair well with another project Oobo Bags have been working on, the GearBag – a wheeled bag designed for travel, students, and those who commute with heavier loads. I’ll go in to more detail about the GearBag later in this article.

Maintaining a healthy balance of simplicity and comfort, while upholding high standards of quality and materials surely is a great mix in every context – Oobo has done this with both of their bags!

Exterior Features

The Cargo straps expand to be able to loop around bulkier loads. However, longer adjustability would be nice!

The Cargo straps expand to be able to loop around bulkier loads. However, longer adjustability would be nice!

The GearPack may take a minimalist approach in look and feel, but it has a nice number of features dotted around it.

You’ll appreciate the thick padding resting against your person, while the memory foam padded shoulder straps wrap around you like a warm hug. All of this is supporting the physical and emotional weight within the backpack itself, while the Airmesh help to manage the level of warmth creating all-day comfort while on the move.

Hidden within those wonderfully padded shoulder straps, you’ll find a hidden pocket built-in to stow memory cards or a picture of a loved one inside (suggestion: a photo of the GearPack – your newest love). Quick and easy access to happiness on the go!

You’ll find adorning the top of the GearPack a generously padded grab handle along with a smaller hanging tab added to the top. The grab handle has a layer of neoprene built into the underside for added strength and comfort.

Strong and soft top handle, bottom cargo straps, a hanging loop, and hidden card holder in the shoulder strap!

Strong and soft top handle, bottom cargo straps, a hanging loop, and hidden cardholder in the shoulder strap!

Wrapping around the backpack are the fantastic YKK zippers that easily glide smoothly along the rails, opening up the clamshell-style backpack to provide access to the fairly sized main interior compartment.

Placed at the bottom of the Minimalist Camera Bag is a pair of external adjustable cargo straps for bulkier items such as your tripod, a sleeping bag, smelly gym towel, winter jacket, or lazy puppy. Hopefully, the final model will allow for a longer strap though.

Currently missing from my version (but will be included on the final production model) is a quick access pocket to fit your iPhone or some cash and to my delight bottle pockets!

(If you’ve read any of my Sling reviews here on Shotkit, you will know that I’m a firm advocate for the inclusion bottle pockets on every bag!)

Interior Features

Customisable interior with strong structured dividers as standard in the GearPack.

Customisable interior with strong structured dividers as standard in the GearPack.

While the quick access pocket may give you access to your phone or spare cash, the main compartment is accessible only from the main zippers and is a free and open space designed for lay-flat use.

Starting with the main compartment, you’ll find the familiar adjustable internal dividers. Provided are two full-length dividers which have been segmented in two places to allow for angled bends or a formation of a simple T or I configuration, as well as a pair of shorter dividers to section off the larger areas.

The dividers are not only padded but structured as well. This helps limit sag while your gear is in transit, and it’s much easier to re-configuring to your needs with less-floppy-fuss.

The additional mesh pockets and pouches that adorn the inside of the main rear panel have YKK zippers to keep them secure. Pictured is the pre-production model with blacked-out elastic pouches, but the final release will have mesh pockets there instead.

The compartments contained on the back panel of the GearPack can be used in numerous ways!

The compartments contained on the back panel of the GearPack can be used in numerous ways!

The interior will also feature a grey colour rather than black to help with the visibility of your gear.

You’ll also receive a wallet-sized removable velcro mesh zipper pouch which can be relocated to any soft surface within the main compartment.

And the last main feature worth mentioning is the additional laptop and tablet pocket that Oobo will be introducing on the final model. Providing you with safe storage and transport of your 13″ Laptops or Tablets.

Storage Capacity

The dog is ready for a day out adventuring in the mountains, and so is the GearPack!

The dog is ready for a day out adventuring in the mountains, and so is the GearPack!

The GearPack has been developed as a small lightweight backpack that can be utilised in whatever way you decide, whether it be for photography, fun days out, commuting, the gym (not me!), or as an everyday pack – you can customise it to suit.

Being very lightweight from the beginning is a great start as you’re not weighed down by the bag itself, only what you decide to bring with you (personal baggage and all).

Speaking of personal baggage, I have made a few decisions for you (well, myself..) to give you some photography related examples of the GearPack loaded up with different systems.

Full-frame DSLR camera set up:

  • Canon 5D MkIII
  • Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Canon 50mm f/1.8
  • Canon 600RT Speedlite Flash
  • HOYA Filters
  • A Tripod
  • USB Charger and cables
  • Plus various other items, like batteries, sunglasses, etc

Mirrorless camera set up:

  • Sony a7 III
  • Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
  • Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE
  • A Godox External Flash
  • A Godox Transmitter
  • HOYA Filters
  • A Tripod
  • USB Charger and cables
  • Plus numerous other items, sunglasses, and accessories

Followed by a foldable drone setup:

  • DJI Mavic Pro drone
  • DJI Mavic Pro controller
  • 2x DJI Mavic Pro batteries
  • DJI Mavic Pro battery charger
  • Polar Pro Lens Filters
  • DJI Osmo Pocket
  • A Jacket
  • Plus numerous other bits and pieces

Mixed Purpose:

  • Sony a7 III
  • Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
  • DJI Mavic Pro drone
  • DJI Mavic Pro controller
  • 2x DJI Mavic Pro batteries
  • Polar Pro Lens Filters
  • Dog Bowl, Treats, and Toys
  • Plus numerous other goodies like a USB charger, etc.

Ease of Use/Comfort

Heaps of padding on the back of the GearPack and thick padding on the shoulder straps means day long comfort.

Heaps of memory foam on the back of the GearPack and on the shoulder straps means day-long comfort.

In short, the GearPack is incredibly comfortable and super light. The only weight you’ll feel wearing the GearPack is your equipment itself. Being intentionally lightweight has benefits that can be felt immediately!

No more broken backs from quadruple layered kevlar-battle ready camera bags ready to take on that hardcore train ride to the office, the GearPack is more like the pillow that snuggles your lenses while partially massaging your shoulders.

Alright, I know that’s ridiculous (although a massage bag would be nice – take note Oobo) but I just want to make sure you’re very well aware, this bag is comfortable!

It’s structured enough not to sag, and the shoulder straps are easily adjustable on the move. If you’re one to carry extra heavy gear and need more items, keep a lookout for the previously mentioned GearBag to remove the load off your shoulders.

Access is easy with the YKK zippers, but it does require you to stop to access your gear. Some may suggest side access, but to be honest, it’s not always necessary. Sometimes stopping to get your gear is a great way to avoid accidents or things falling out when you’re scurrying along.

But if you want to access your camera quickly on the move, place the camera body at the top of the bag!

The GearBag X GearPack Combination

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Oobo has been also working on another project called the GearBag, a travel and commute friendly bag made from durable 600D Nylon and featuring large 180mm wheels, chunky YKK zippers, and an anodised aluminium extendable handle. It’s due to launch in early 2022 – I was sent an early prototype with optional reflectors.

The GearPack can be seamlessly paired with the GearBag by simply sliding it into the main compartment, instantly moving the weight from your shoulders to resting lightly in your hand.

The GearBag features large wheels which glide over any surface and a long sturdy handle that distributes the weight so well that you hardly feel it when on the move – easily the best wheels we’ve seen on a rolling camera bag.

With the GearPack loaded into the GearBag, you still have two decent size pockets to load up with other things. Or if you’re one to pack a bit more, throw the heavier items into the GearBag and wear the GearPack on your back.

Having large wheels and a balanced build means it glides over everything effortlessly, while handling heavy loads!

Having large wheels and a balanced build means it glides over everything effortlessly while handling heavy loads!

Take the load off your shoulders and wheel it behind you instead, keeping you fresh once you’ve arrived at your destination. Then why not just leave the GearBag in the hotel and keep what you need into the ultra-light GearPack and head on out again!

The GearBag features 3 main compartments, a laptop/tablet pouch, multiple smaller internal organisational pockets and pouches, and a large soft grab handle.

If you’re like me and have a larger laptop (ie: 15.6″ Gaming or bigger), it will still fit within the back compartment of the GearBag, just it won’t fit inside the built-in pouch… which is fine if you have a protective laptop sleeve anyway!

gearbag

(Image of GearBag supplied by Oobo Bags)

Alternatives

Compared to alternatives, the GearPack stands alone in it's level of comfort and quality.

Compared to alternatives, the GearPack stands alone in its level of comfort and quality.

If you’re one to consider other options, the only other similar sized and weighted offering to the GearPack that I can immediately think of is the Lowepro Tahoe BP 150.

I purchased the Tahoe a number of years ago to be a dedicated drone bag but since moved on to other options. It served its purpose at the time and if I recall correctly, it only just fit my Canon 5D MkIII but bulged out a lot. It was a tight fit, especially with the drone packed in as well.

In its defence though, I believe it was designed for smaller entry-level DSLRs and Mirrorless systems, not the larger full-frame gear. However, the GearPack will happily fit a larger DSLR camera such as my aforementioned Canon 5D MkIII.

Where the biggest differences lay between the Tahoe and the GearPack would be build quality, feel, and comfort. The Tahoe was almost just as light (800g) but didn’t have anywhere near as much padding or support, and the materials felt much cheaper and economical.

The GearPack definitely feels as though it has been built stronger, more comfortable, dependable, and definitely has more of a considered feel about it (ie: designed by and for photographers).

Value for Money

The GearPack is fantastic value for money. Comfortable, structured, and light weight!

The GearPack is fantastic value for money. Comfortable, structured, and lightweight!

Currently sitting on Kickstarter with a special rate, the GearPack is definitely priced well. Even at the full retail following the campaign, you’re getting a high quality and versatile product from a passionate company.

Great materials, light and comfortable to wear, and enough space to carry what you need – all of this is a great combination for the price.

Paired with their upcoming GearBag project this will be a great travel combination. Take the load off your shoulders and wheel it behind you instead, keeping you fresh once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Then why not just leave the GearBag in the hotel and keep what you need into the ultra-light GearPack and head on out again! Highly recommended, and a steal at the Kickstarter price.

GearPack – The Minimalist Camera Bag Review | Conclusion

gearpack-minimalist-camera-bag-11-conclusion copy

Built and designed with ease of use, comfort, and functionality in mind, the GearPack definitely lives up to Oobo Bags goal of keeping things simple for the everyday photographer, commuter, and adventurer.

Having only just launched on Kickstarter and smashed their goal on day one (onwards to production!), the team at Oobo Bags has definitely worked hard to get to this point – and they continue to do so. Partnering with the right manufacturers and using materials that meet Oobo’s high standards would certainly have taken a lot of time.

But in saying that, good things do always take time, and what I have experienced with this pre-production model so far has been quite positive. I look forward to seeing how the final product will evolve – see you on Kickstarter, Oobo!

GearPack - The Minimalist Camera Bag
GearPack - The Minimalist Camera Bag

Super lightweight, well-designed and robust, flying under the radar as a camera backpack by looking sleek and minimal.

Check Current Price

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Tommy Williams is a travel photographer from Sydney, Australia. He is pretty chill, and admits he really needs to get around to updating his website more often.

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