Mountain Light by Alex Strohl Camera Backpack Review
Some camera bags are heavy even when empty. The Mountain Light is at the other end of the scale, but does the weight-saving sacrifice protection?
In an effort to find a bag that will suit my adventurous spirit, I came across the Mountain Light by Alex Strohl camera backpack
This bag checks a lot of boxes when it comes to being lightweight, flexible, and ready for a variety of outdoor missions.
I’ve been a professional photographer for over a decade shooting outdoor sports, and it seems that someone is always coming out with a new backpack that will be the one solution to all your needs.
Refreshingly lightweight, stylish and durable camera backpack for all-day outdoor adventures.
The reality is you’re likely going to need more than one bag to be able to meet the demands of all your photoshoots.
What I love about this camera backpack is the adjustability and flexibility of the system. There are a lot of features that make it adaptable to a variety of situations.
Not to say that this will be the only camera bag you ever need, but it will likely suit you in a wide array of conditions.
Read on to learn more about the Mountain Light by Alex Strohl and why I think you should consider it for your adventurous outings with a camera!
Mountain Light by Alex Strohl Camera Bag Review | Specs
- Adaptable Accessories
- Flexible Design
- Lots of features
- Dedicated Camera Zipper Access
- Only One Volume is Available
- Small Camera Access
- Minimal Camera Gear Storage
- Total Weight: 2lbs, 6oz (1.08kg)
- Core Backpack: 2lbs, 1oz (0.93kg)
- Volume: 45L
- Drawstring Top Closure: Adds an extra 10L of storage
- Height when fully packed with brain: 31.5″ (800.1mm)
- Circumference: 37″ (939.8mm)
- Back Width: 10.5″ (266.7mm)
- Material: 210D Waterproof Cordura™ Ripstop (Nylon 6,6)
- Frame: Steel
- Zippers: YKK
- Hardware: Aluminum
Build & Appearance
My first impression of the Alex Strohl Camera Backpack was how lightweight and well-designed it is. I love the incorporation of features suited to so many different types of adventures.
The bag is lightweight, but the ripstop fabric also feels very durable and rugged. You may not want to use it as a haul bag or drag it through a sandstone canyon, but it feels more than adequate for years of adventures.
The camera unit fits securely in the bottom of the pack and has just enough padding to give me the confidence that it will protect my camera gear.
The camera insert is a stiff inner piece that will give your body and lenses a safe home while hiking through rugged terrain.
I also love the stylish design of the Mountain Light backpack. It has a modern feel and sleek design taking hints from modern running vests and top-of-the-line backpacks.
There is a bright blue option as well as a classic black option if depending on how loud you prefer to be with your color choice.
When it launched, it appeared to also have a yellow option, but it seems to be unavailable. I also think yellow would be a poor choice because it would quickly show any dirt.
Overall, I think this bag is well thought out, and the stylish design will be in my kit for many years on adventures, big and small.
This camera bag has no shortage of exterior features. Starting with the essentials, it has front camera access, a removable top pocket (brain), and a removable camera loader.
Front camera access has become essential to me because I often find myself setting my bag down in the snow or dirt. I never want to have to flip the bag over to access equipment and end up with that snow or mud on my back the next time I put the bag on.
Secondly, the removable top pocket makes the bag flexible. If you want quick access, remove the brain, and you’ll have a simple flap & cord closure. If you’re carrying small accessories that you want accessible, keep the brain attached.
Third, I really liked the flexibility of the external camera loader. It can be attached in a variety of ways to the bag with the existing straps or with something like the peak design camera clip.
I love the flexibility of the camera carry on the Mountain Light. You can go simple with a camera clip, slightly more protected with the mountain light camera loader, or fully protected with quick back panel access.
In addition to the core features, this bag has a variety of small touches that make it easy to use.
The shoulder straps have large stretch pockets big enough for soft flask water bottles or a phone, or other accessories. The ergonomic shoulder straps make accessing these a breeze.
The removable waist belt pocket is also a welcome feature. It easily holds a phone, headlamp, and a few batteries for quick access.
This mountain pack also has large outer stretch pockets on the back and sides of the bag for stuffing a jacket or other items like tripod or tent poles. The stretchy side pockets are great for trekking poles or other tall items like water bottles.
Camera bags don’t often mimic all the high-end features of adventure-focused backpacks, but the Strohl mountain light backpack does! No clunky camera bags will be nearly as useful, lightweight or keep your camera gear as safe as the Moment Strohl Mountain light bag.
On the interior of the Moment Strohl Mountain Light backpack, you’ll find an array of features. The taped seams keep everything watertight, further protecting your compact camera unit.
Combine the taped seams with the waterproof Cordura ripstop fabric and you have a very durable bag with easy camera carry.
The camera insert mounts firmly at the base of the bag allowing a plethora of storage capacity for your other outdoor gear. Inside the flap to access the camera insert, you’ll find a small zippered pocket which is great for storing small items like memory cards or batteries.
Although the access panel to the camera insert is smaller than I’d like, I also appreciate the minimalist design which keeps this firmly in the category of ultralight outdoor camera bag.
The reality is you’ll likely only be using this zipper when swapping items in/out of the mountain light camera insert.
During the majority of my time using camera backpacks, I want my camera out of the bag or in a camera loader that will keep it dry but available.
The brain of the pack also has two zippered pockets, one on top and one underneath. From the waist belt pocket to the brain, the Strohl Mountain Light bag has plenty of organization while still being one of, in not the lightest camera backpack on the market.
The expandable drawstring top closure can suit large or small loads of camera gear and outdoor gear.
If you have more camera gear than fits in the camera insert, you can always store another padded camera cube inside the main storage compartment. The only caveat is you won’t have quick access to it.
While all the features sound great on the Stohl Mountain Light bag, they would be useless without the high-quality internal frame. If the bag can’t properly transfer loads to the hip belt through the internal frame, it would be very uncomfortable.
Luckily, I found this bag to carry quite nicely! The waist belt has just enough padding to satisfy my hips.
Sometimes if I have a light load, I like to be able to remove the waist belt to carry with shoulder straps only, but unfortunately, this isn’t an option with this bag. Despite this, you can always clip the hip belt in the back and have a more minimal bag.
At 45 liters, this bag has more storage than most camera bags. However, some may find the camera storage to be a little small. Keep in mind that the camera compartment is a minimalist design, suitable for one camera and one lens, and a few accessories.
If you want to squeeze a little more storage to make it your perfect camera bag, you can always keep your camera in the camera loader and store a second body inside the camera compartment.
The Strohl Mountain Light 45l is designed to be minimal on-camera storage and keep a majority of the capacity for noncamera gear.
If you’re not trying to bring a ton of gear, this is actually kind of a nice balance to allow you to focus on the activity and bring adequate supplies for a proper adventure (backpacking, hiking, trekking, climbing, etc).
Having quick camera access is made possible by the lightweight design of this bag. You can put items like a tent and sleeping bag in the main body of the pack and still have the camera equipment in a separate camera compartment.
If you want maximum camera storage, the Strohl Mountain Light 45l might not be for you but if you want to bring along plenty of adventure gear, this may be the perfect bag.
In addition to the interior, there is also thoughtful external storage capacity making all the little items quickly available.
Stretch pockets on the shoulder straps, sides, and back panel make loading this pack have flexible storage.
Lastly, modular elements like the removable hip belt pocket or camera loader make this bag adaptable.
Ease of Use/Comfort
This bag is surprisingly comfortable for its minimalist and lightweight design. Sure it’s not as plush as your big overnight backpacking kit with big foam shoulder straps but that would also make it significantly heavier.
The Mountain Light Pack strikes a balance of sleek design and comfort. The back panel has nice padding and the waist strap is comfortable with the majority of loads.
With the camera loader, this bag makes camera gear readily accessible. I especially liked setting up the camera loader as a chest rig so I can have the camera centered on the shoulder straps and still have access to the shoulder pockets.
Quick zipper access to the camera insert will make changing lenses fast, yet it’s small enough that it forces you to bring only what you need.
At around 5’8″ (172cm), I find the Large torso length to fit nicely. I would recommend using the sizing guide to make sure you get the correct size that will fit more specifically your torso length.
How I Tested the Mountain Light Backpack
Because this bag is so flexible, I’ve been testing it on a wide variety of hikes and adventures. It suited me quite well on a backcountry skiing outing as well as several day hikes on my local mountain trails.
I love the adaptability of carry options with this bag. I can quickly adjust the key features to make it comfortable to carry low fuss. The rugged custom materials showed almost no signs of wear after several months of regular use.
This bag allows fast capture and minimal hassle!
If you want a bag that is adventure focused with thoughtful features, check out this bag. It is the lightest outdoor camera bag I own, and I love
As far as adventurous camera bags, there are a lot of choices. When it comes to a high-quality bag with a front camera zipper, the main brands I would look at in priority order are: Shimoda Designs, F-stop Gear, and LowePro.
There may be some brands left off that list but those would be my go-to choices. While I own several Shimoda Designs bags and love their quality/design, they are heavier and more camera gear-focused than the Strohl Mountain Light bag.
If you want something lightweight and versatile that is well suited to hiking, the Strohl Mountain Light is likely the best choice! Additionally, it is an excellent value. More on that below.
Value for Money
For less than $250 (on sale), you can get the entire kit: bag, camera insert, and camera loader. This is a tremendous value considering the quality of this bag.
With other bags, you’re looking at $300+ for just the bag. If you want a kit with a camera cube and camera case, you’re looking at $400+. I’m not sure how Moment is able to offer such a great deal on this backpack, but it is impressive.
Even for just a hiking bag of this quality without the camera-specific features, you’d be looking at $200+, which makes this bag well worth the price.
For high-quality features like stretch pockets, side straps, attachment loops, and quick access zippers, this bag is a great backpack for a wide variety of activities!
Does this bag come with accessories?
If you order the kit, this bag will come with the camera insert, camera loader, and the main backpack. There is also a small metal piece to attach the camera case to a Peak Design camera clip-style mount.
How much gear does this bag hold?
The bag holds one camera body, two lenses, and a few accessories. It will also hold enough outdoor gear for a minimalist overnight adventure.
Is the bag waterproof?
While the fabric is waterproof and the seams are fully taped, don’t expect to submerge this bag. It stands up well in the rain/snow but don’t plan on taking it whitewater rafting ;)
Does the bag have attachment points for accessories?
Yes. There are numerous ways to add quick-access items to this bag such as the shoulder strap attachment loops. There are ice axe loops for mounting your ice axe and shoulder strap pockets for soft hydration flasks or other small items.
Alex Strohl Camera Bag | Conclusion
This bag is exactly what I would have loved to use years ago when I was doing a lot of backpacking with cameras. It is the perfect balance of a small amount of camera gear and lots of outdoor equipment.
The minimalist yet feature-rich design is well suited to moving quickly in the mountains and having a quick access zipper to get to all your camera gear.
The ability to customize the carry options as well as the scale of the pack is nice when you photograph a variety of sports & activities. I love the ultralight design, especially when I am carrying a heavy camera body and several pro lenses.
Stash your tent poles, trekking poles, and tripod in the outer stretchy pockets, and go out for an adventure! This bag won’t slow you down or weigh you down.
Thanks to Alex Strohl and Moment for collaborating to design a nearly perfect hiking camera backpack. If you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment below.
Refreshingly lightweight, stylish and durable camera backpack for all-day outdoor adventures.
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