Over the years, I’ve used almost every type of camera backpack out there. In 2017 Shimoda came on the market with the Explore series and I backed their Kickstarter.
When I received my first Shimoda bag, it exceeded expectations! I could tell it was very thoughtfully designed and built with exceptional quality.
Now two years later, the next generation of the founder Ian Millar’s line of bags is here: Shimoda Action X Camera Bags.
It’s clear that all the feedback has been incorporated into this awesome new bag. It builds on the impressive design of the Explore series and sets a new standard for adventure camera bags.
The Action X is versatile, easy to use, comfortable, tough, sleek, and carries everything efficiently. It’s also a great alternative to the Shimoda Explore.
Read on to dive into the details or just head over and grab it right here.
Table of Contents
Shimoda Action X 30 Specs
- Size, Shape, and Look of the bag
- Durability and Weather Resistance
- Shoulder Strap Pockets
- Variety of Camera Access Options
- Customizable Camera Cube
- Carries Heavy Load with Ease
- Pockets inside roll top were a little difficult to access
- Limited color options
- Bag is slightly heavier than I would like
- Dimensions: 50cm H x 30cm W x 16cm D (19.7″H x 11.8″W x 6.3″D)
- Volume: 30L
- Weight: 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs)
- Weather Tough Coated Abrasion Resistant Ripstop Nylon
- Weatherproof YKK Splashguard Zippers
- Expandable Roll Top
- Chest pockets for Accessories
- Adjustable Torso Length
- Tripod and Water Bottle Side Pockets
- 15″ Laptop Sleeve
- Versatile Side Straps and Helmet Holder
- Rear and Side Access
- Removable Waist Belt
- Durable and Weatherproof Design
Shimoda Mirrorless Medium V2 Core Unit Specs:
- Dimensions: 30cm H x 29 cm W x 13 cm D (11.8″H x 11.4″W x 5.1″D)
- Weight: 0.5kg (1.1 lb)
- Removable Skin or Packing Cell
- Customizable Foam Dividers
- Quick side access
Build & Appearance
Simply put, the Shimoda Action X is built tough. After approximately 6 months of regular use, it still looks like new!
I love that I never have to worry about rain, snow, or water spilling on my Shimoda Action X backpack. I can set it down in the mud knowing that my gear will stay dry. I even hiked through a river without worrying about falling in!
The quick access on the bag panel means that you never have to worry about laying your bag down and getting your back dirty when you pick it up.
Additionally, for users that like side access, the mirrorless core unit offers a zippered foam panel that rotates away to give side access.
My other favorite feature is the low-key look of the bag – because it doesn’t scream camera bag, I can travel without people knowing that I have multiple cameras/lenses with me.
The Shimoda Action X holds all of my equipment (two mirrorless bodies, 4 lenses, 2 flashes, and accessories), while remaining compact and lightweight.
When I have extra gear with me like a helmet, extra layers, food, water, etc, I know I can rely on the expandable roll top to accommodate everything.
On the outside of the Shimoda Action X 30 camera bag are numerous straps and zippers to hold all your equipment.
Each of the shoulder straps has a zippered pouch. One is great for phone, keys, snack bar, or other quick access items.
The other is expandable and easily holds either a large phone or a water bottle. It could even be expanded to hold a small camera lens.
There are also attachment points for connecting a chest mounted top loading camera case.
The other feature I really appreciated was the removable waist belt. Sometimes you know you won’t be carrying a heavy load or you just want the simplicity of no hip belt. The belt slides right out of the back panel after detaching the velcro.
On each side of the Shimoda Action X 30 are straps/buckles to connect a variety of items (tripod, light stand, skis, etc). I found these to be really handy for stowing the compact light stand that I carry with me.
Finally, the back of the bag is equipped with a large zippered pocket that holds a variety of items. I most often used it for my jacket and a few small accessories.
In addition, the back of the bag also features a helmet harness. I found this very handy for holding a bike, ski, or climbing helmet.
Worth noting is the side access feature on the exterior of the bag. I typically get to a location and lay down my bag to open it, but if you’re looking for quick access to your camera, the side zipper pouch delivers. Combined with the mirrorless core unit, this feature is very handy.
When I’m not out hiking in the mountains, I also really appreciated the carry handle on the top and side of the Action X 30. It makes throwing this bag in an overhead compartment a breeze!
The entire exterior of the bag is weather sealed and the ripstop nylon fabric feels very tough. This bag is ready to take on anything you can throw at it!
The interior of the Shimoda Action X is very sleek and simple. It features a few essential pockets without so many that you forget where things are located.
Inside the main compartment, the camera cube keeps everything organized in padded dividers. Aside from the camera cube, the main compartment features an easily accessible laptop sleeve.
In the top of the bag, you’ll find a roll-top compartment that contains a main compartment and two large zippered pockets.
I loved the expandability of the roll-top but found the zippered pockets to be a bit cumbersome when it came to actually storing stuff. I found that things were better stowed in the accessory pouch so you don’t have to dig through interior pockets to find things.
Inside the back panel pocket, there are two small zippered pockets. These were very handy for storing small items that I wanted to find quickly (headlamp, allen key, tripod plates, etc).
Aside from those simple pockets, the interior of the bag is very basic (which I find to be the best design).
When I want to switch to a larger or smaller camera bag, I don’t like to have to check 15 different small interior pockets to make sure I have everything out of my camera bag. I find it better to use the accessory pouch to store small items so I can grab the whole pouch and move it to a different bag.
Overall, the interior of this bag is very thoughtfully designed!
For me, the Shimoda Action X 30 had the perfect amount of storage. It can take on two camera bodies, four lenses, two flashes and still have room for back-country essentials like layers, food, and water.
The mirrorless core unit fit my Sony Alpha equipment like a glove! The camera body fits nicely, laying flat or on it’s side, so the grip is easier to handle when pulling it out of the bag.
I also appreciated the expandable roll-top design that felt like it could grow to fit those last minute items or stuff in a big puffy jacket if needed.
Ease of Use/Comfort
In the past, I’ve used some camera bags that just don’t carry as nicely as modern backpacks.
The Shimoda Action X series is different. The frame of the bag was sturdy and it comfortably carries 30+ pounds of gear.
There is nothing worse than a camera bag that is uncomfortable after a couple miles on the trail. This bag exceeded my expectations and remained comfortable even after several hours of hiking.
The other critical component is ease of use. A bag is useless if it carries well but is hard to access. The Shimoda Action X 30 made accessibility a non-issue. The large back panel unzips allowing complete access to the main compartment.
The roll-top does take some getting used to, but I appreciated that there is also a zippered access in case you don’t want to unroll/roll the top.
Bottom line, this bag is really comfortable and easy to use!
Value for Money (+Discount)
With all the features and the durability of the Shimoda Action X bag, I think it is a great value. It’s an even better value if you back the kickstarter campaign and save even more.
Based on my experience with Shimoda, I know the bag will last. When one of the buckles on my last bag got closed in a trunk, they sent me a new one for free!
When you go with a top quality bag from a reputable brand, you know that it’s going to be a good buy.
I think that deep down, everyone knows that you get what you pay for. The Shimoda bag is a great example of this philosophy, and you can get it with a 10% discount using the code: SHOTKIT10 at checkout here.
Shimoda Action X 30 Backpack Review | Conclusion
The Shimoda Action X 30 Backpack will be my go-to camera bag for the foreseeable future!
I love so many of the features from the shoulder straps to the durability and look of the bag.
It outperforms all my other bags when it comes to weather resistance and ease of carrying.
If you’re looking for a top of the line adventure-ready camera backpack, look no further than the Shimoda Action x 30!