MindShift Gear Rotation180° Horizon Review
Review of the MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon, an innovative hiking camera backpack that gives you quick access to your gear via a rotating belt-pack.
The MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon is a unique pack that solves a specific problem: How do you hike with a camera in your backpack but still have it readily accessible at all times?
With the unique rotation180° beltpack, you can do just that! I’m very impressed with the ingenuity of this backpack as well as many of the features it offers.
Clever rotating design means your gear is always just one quick move away.
As someone who does a lot of hiking with my camera, this pack is an awesome fit. It serves the consumer as well as the professional who travels light in the back-country.
We’ll dive into more detail below, but if you want one of the best camera backpacks that makes your gear easily accessible without the need to remove it from your back, this is one to check out!
Let’s take a closer look at my MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon review.
MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon Specs
- Exterior Dimensions: 11 x 24 x 9 in / 28 x 62 x 23 cm
- Weight (Backpack): 2.7 lb / 1.2 kg
- Weight (Beltpack): 1.2 lb / 0.6 kg
- Volume: 34L
- Tripod Carry: Yes
- Raincover: Included
Build & Appearance
Even at a glance, you can tell this bag is packed with features and built to last.
There’s a fine line between being durable and being heavy. I feel like the MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon balances those two qualities extremely well.
The nylon exterior feels tough yet lightweight. It has extra-durable fabric in high wear areas and a lightweight ripstop material in other places.
Additionally, the zippers (an area that can be prone to failure) feel smooth and sturdy.
Camera protection has never been a concern with the padded beltpack. It has a nice layer of foam to keep your gear safe but also has the added protection of sliding inside the bottom of the pack when not in use.
I also appreciate that this pack has a nice clean look. I love the “Tahoe Blue” color with orange accents.
I often get bored of black camera bags but I don’t want anything excessively loud. The blue balances these qualities nicely and even looks like a hiking backpack, helping it to blend in when photographed among other hikers.
Arguably the most important part of a backpack like the rotation180° Horizon is the frame design and how well it distributes weight. I am impressed by how this pack performs: it carries just as well as my non-camera specific bags!
The MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon features an innovative design that allows you to quickly access your camera gear without having to take off your pack.
It also allows you to focus on hiking with a comfortable pack while your camera equipment is nicely tucked away on your back.
On the exterior of the pack, a number of slick features make this bag very friendly to use.
I especially appreciate the flat-lying stretchy pockets on each side of the rotation180° Horizon (great for water bottle carry), as well as the straps and attachment points that allow you to attach additional items.
One feature that isn’t included with the rotation180° Horizon but would be handy to have is some kind of helmet carry system.
Lots of adventure photographers wear helmets and having a way to carry one without it swinging around on the outside of the pack is really nice. An elastic bit that securely fastens a helmet would have been fantastic!
Two small Velcro flaps on the back of the pack reveal a super-handy tripod carry option.
The legs tuck into a small pocket so you never have to worry about them snagging inside the stretchy fabric on the side pockets (or getting them muddy). A small buckle keeps it secure near the top!
I wish more bags would implement a similar tripod carry system. It’s easy to use, accessible, but also tucks away discreetly when not in use.
The belt-pack on the MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon can also be removed and used as a standalone item if you want to leave your larger bag behind.
This is handy especially if you want a small walk-around bag and don’t need the extra capacity of the larger pack.
I find myself using the belt-pack when scrambling up to an overlook or when wanting to take only the camera on a road trip. It keeps things protected and contained without the need for a full backpack.
When the belt-pack is used in conjunction with the camera bag, it also attaches with a keeper strap that keeps you from dropping your camera gear if you forget to leave your belt buckled.
It took some familiarization to remember to just swing the belt-pack around instead of unbuckling the waist!
While the belt-pack makes it extremely handy to access your gear while wearing the pack, it’s important to note that it can be slightly cumbersome to access your camera after you’ve taken off the bag. It feels a bit clumsy to take the belt-pack out when not wearing the pack.
With this in mind, I found it best to remove my camera first, then take off the pack.
The MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon has several handy pockets, but not too many. I find that if a bag has too much organization, I forget where I put things and get frustrated.
On the top of the pack, you have access to the main (non-camera gear) compartment for storing a jacket, lunch, and other essentials.
On the lid of the pack, there’s a small pocket for keys and other small accessories. Lastly, there’s a sleeve-style pocket on the front of the pack that holds additional accessories or slimmer items.
Lastly, I appreciate the inclusion of the water bladder compartment on the side of the pack. I’ve flooded cameras when the bladder has failed me in the past, so a dedicated pocket is a nice upgrade!
It will also hold a large water bottle if you prefer.
Inside the MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon, you’ll find a variety of pockets and dividers that keep things sorted.
First, the belt-pack has nicely padded compartments for your camera as well as Velcro dividers that can be adjusted to hold a camera and a lens separately. Additionally, the belt-pack has a sleeve-style pocket for holding filters or other flat items.
These features seem very thoughtfully designed and I’ve been happy with the capacity.
Depending on your expectations, the belt-pack might feel a bit small at times. It really only holds one camera and one lens, which was adequate for my purposes – but if you like to take a large kit, I’d suggest planning to pack some in the main compartment of the pack.
In that scenario, a soft jacket or an additional padded camera cube would be useful.
On the lid of the belt-pack is a mesh pocket that can hold batteries or other small items. It has velcro all the way across the flap so it can secure small items like SD cards or tripod wrenches.
My only complaint with accessing the interior of the belt-pack is the zipper. At times it feels a little tricky to round the corners.
Having a slightly heavier zipper might make opening/closing the beltpack a little smoother.
Inside the main body of the rotation180° Horizon, there’s minimal organization. A stretchy pocket keeps things secure like filter cases, first aid kit, or other hiking-related items.
Personally, I like the simplicity of the inside of the bag. If there are too many pockets I tend to lose things.
If you like a lot of internal organization, I highly recommend checking out some accessory pouch inserts. Using stuff sacks or accessory pouches is a more versatile way to stay organized inside your bag because it allows you to quickly transfer items to another bag.
Inside my bag, you’ll often find at least one or two pouches full of smaller items that group together nicely – like a camera accessory pouch that contains lens cloths, tools, spare memory cards, batteries, tripod plates, and other small extras that I don’t need readily accessible.
The interior of the rotation180° Horizon is great for storing all my kit for a day of hiking and photographing outdoors.
More details on the storage capacity are below, but overall I was very impressed with the performance of this bag. The interior features it offers make storing and accessing my equipment very smooth.
The capacity of the MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon is listed as 34 liters. After using this bag, I found it to be sufficient for a full day outing in the summer.
In the winter when I tend to take more layers, it forced me to pack a little lighter.
Without including the volume of the backpack, I would estimate the interior of this backpack to be closer to 20 liters.
Inside the belt-pack, it’s easy to store a lens and a professional size camera body with mounted lens.
My regular day hiking kit consists of one camera body, two lenses, lunch, clothing layers, headlamp, first aid kit, water bladder, and a camera accessory pouch. All of these items fit easily into the pack in an organized fashion.
With a normal bag, all of these items would be in the main compartment of the backpack which means I have to carry my camera around my neck on a strap or stop and remove it from the bag every time I see a composition.
With the rotation180° Horizon everything is organized and I don’t have to worry about accessing my gear!
Ease of Use/Comfort
This bag was truly awesome to work with.
Initially, I was unsure if the rotation system would feel clunky or functional. After having used the bag, I found it exceeded my expectations!
The rotation feature is very smooth and feels natural once you get the hang of it.
The magnetic buckle that keeps the belt-pack in place is very easy to use! I also think the system is surprisingly easy to put back once you’re done taking photos.
Without any equipment in the bag, it weighs in at just under 1.8 kg (4 lb). Although this isn’t super light for a 34-liter pack, it is relatively light for a camera bag with so many features and functions.
I am very satisfied with the carrying capacity of the rotation180° Horizon, something I can’t say for some other 2k (~4lb) non-camera-specific day-packs I have.
In terms of comfort, I thought the belt-pack function might decrease the quality of the waist belt. Despite my concerns, this pack feels great on the hips and distributes the load quite well.
Value for Money
At under $200, this pack is an excellent deal!
Many people pay that price for a quality hiking day-pack but the MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon offers the added functionality of the camera belt-pack system.
If you have a passion for hiking and landscape photography, this bag makes a great combo. It’s built to last and will securely hold your equipment while exploring.
The real value of the rotation180°’s belt-pack system is when you’re traveling in places where setting down your camera bag is inconvenient. If you hike in muddy or wet terrain, this bag makes your camera accessible while avoiding setting it down in less than ideal conditions!
If you want to carry a lot of camera gear, you may need to plan on putting some of your kit in the main compartment, in which case you might want to purchase some additional lens or camera cubes.
Overall, this bag is a great buy, especially with its high-quality features and design.
MindShift Gear rotation180° Horizon Review | Conclusion
The MindShift Gear Rotation180° Horizon is an innovative solution to camera-carry.
I love how the system makes your equipment accessible with a quick belt rotation while allowing you to have the weight properly distributed on your back while hiking.
If you want a high-performance bag that offers great value for money, you can’t go wrong with the rotation180° Horizon. It’s thoughtfully designed and has nice color choices available.
It will keep you and your equipment comfortable on long hikes. The rotation system might seem a bit strange at first, but is a very slick design that solves the problem of setting down your camera bag in wet/muddy conditions.
I’ll be using the rotation180° Horizon as a day hiking bag for summer outings where I want the ease of quickly accessing my camera!
- Innovative rotation beltpack design
- Quick access to camera gear
- Tripod carry system
- Water bladder pocket
- Comfortable and carries well
- Minimal camera gear storage
- Beltpack zipper could be bigger/tougher
Clever rotating design means your gear is always just one quick move away.
This pack looks awesome, but I have two complaints with your information about the pack in the article. You say the price is under $200, it’s $259 and you say raincover is included, it’s not, it’s an extra $25. Now we’re basically at $300. Great pack, but affordable? Not so much. Appreciate the rest of the info, just wanted to point these issues out to you so you an hopefully correct for future readers.