Safely carry all your camera gear outdoors, in this compact and durable digital SLR camera bag.
By Dan Sanchez
When you take your camera equipment on any outdoor excursion, there’s always a risk of damage. But once you make the commitment to carry that extra load, you want some reassurance that your camera gear is going to be protected. We found that the Mountain Smith Tour FX camera bag offered lots of protection from the company’s 450d ReDura PET outer shell. ReDura is Mountain Smith’s proprietary recycled fabric, manufactured from post consumer PET bottles. The ReDura outer fabric is combined with 840d nylon ballistic reinforcements and a 210d Poly Liner, making the Tour FX camera bag eco-friendly and able to withstand lots of abuse.
Although we would have liked to have seen more impact absorption cushioning around the camera sides and base, the Tour FX does offer a multitude of pockets that are excellent for carrying extra batteries, lens filters, memory cards and more. We especially liked the waterproof pouch in the top compartment, which is easy to access items without opening the main camera compartment.
The Mountain Smith Tour FX camera bag is made for a digital SLR camera and accessories. It has a clam-shell design that many outdoor photographers find easy to strap to their waist and have quick access to lenses and other gear. The waist belt is only slightly padded, but it does save on weight. We liked the fact that it’s wide, and has compression load adjustment straps that do a great job in keeping the weight snug against your hip and lower back.
You can tuck away the waist belt and use the detachable shoulder strap that has a thick pad that doesn’t constantly slide off your shoulder. Both the shoulder pad, waist belt and padded lumbar pad feature an air-mesh foam that’s comfortable and dries quickly.
The main compartment of the Mountain Smith Tour FX camera bag is roomy enough to fit a D-SLR body, two lenses, and a flash. The padded compartment dividers are adjustable and if you have a lens that’s a little too tall, the upper portion of the main compartment has an expansion zipper that adds nearly two-inches to the bag’s height.
Another great feature of the Mountain Smith Tour FX is the many compression straps that allow you to carry extra gear around the outside of the bag. At the bottom for example, two straps hold a small tripod securely and a side mesh pocket can carry a 22 ounce water bottle. A zipperred compartment on the face of the bag also has pockets for extra gear, while an adjustable bungee cord and two corner loops can be used to attach other items to the bag when necessary.
The bag’s rain cover tucks nicely in a pocket at the bottom and large zipper pulls make it easy to reach behind and unzip compartments to access equipment without losing site of your subject. We really liked the short handle strap just below the main compartment opening, that makes it easy to grab the camera bag out from your car; especially when you have the shoulder strap detached.
The Mountain Smith Tour FX also features urethane coated YKK zippers and Bar tack reinforcements. We found it easy to use and it held our camera equipment secure enough so that we felt confident it would be safe. While a full backpack designed camera bag offers the ability to carry other hiking gear, such as clothing, snacks and more, the waist-pack design of the Mountain Smith Tour FX bag does offer the advantage of greater mobility and quicker gear access.
The Mountain Smith Tour FX weights 2lbs 12 oz and has a volume of 730 cu.in. It measures 14″ x 12″ x1 6.25″ (exterior dimensions H,W,D); 13.25″ x 11.25″ x 5.5″ (interior dimensions H,W,D) and retails around $50. For more information, visit www.mountainsmith.com