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Think Tank Photo Rotation 360º backpack review

October 24, 2009

I get a lot of questions about my Think Tank Photo Rotation 360º backpack from other photographers. “Is that that crazy backpack that spins around?”, “does that thing really work?”, etc. I also read a “review” recently of the “new” Rotation 360º backpack that was written by someone who apparently used the pack once and wrote their impressions. Based on these factors, and the fact that I’ve used my Rotation 360º pack for two years now, I figured I would write a review of my own.
Here’s what I normally carry in my Rotation 360º. IMG_2167 (NOTE: I recently began traveling with two camera bodies, so I added a Think Tank Photo digital holster to the side rail of the pack to carry the additional body with the lens attached. I used to carry two lenses in the belt pack.)
Top Compartment:
Nikon D700 with 24-70mm f/2.8 attached
Nikon SB900 flash
50mm f/1.4 lens
Hoodman Loupe
Rocket blower
Shoulder strap for belt pack

Belt Pack (the part of the pack that rotates)
16-35mm lens
Canon G3 IR camera
X-rite color checker passport (replaces the Whi-Bal I’ve been carrying)
Cokin filter holder and filters
camera remotes, wireless and corded backup
lens pen, extra battery, etc
AND a Nikon D300s with 70-300mm VR lens and a Think Tank Photo Pixel Pocket Rocket in the holster on the rail.

I keep my Sekonic meter, pen & pad and various cleaning supplies in the outer back pocket.

My tripod is not pictured, but it travels comfortably attached to the back of the pack.

This is how I pack my Rotation 360º when I travel. It fits easily n the overhead bins on most planes and offers protection for my gear. If I get stuck in the rain, I can use the included rain covers and all of my gear stays nice and dry. Take my word for it, the rain covers work beautifully! The shoulder straps are very comfortable and the sternum and waist straps do a great job of stabilizing the load. The pack is built with a rigid frame so that it stands upright, even when the belt pack is removed! There is a “rail” on the right side of the belt that accepts Think Tank’s modular accessories. I usually have either a camera holster or a small accessory pouch attached to mine.

Shooting.
When I’m shooting with the Rotation 360º it gets even easier to wear. I remove the camera and Hoodman loupe from the top compartment and sling them over my shoulder and around my neck respectively. (The Rotation 360 includes a Think Tank camera strap that is built with metal rings that clip onto the shoulder straps of the pack.) There is also no good way to access your tripod without removing the pack, so I sling that over a shoulder as well. I also usually carry my light meter in a pocket I can reach. Now Virtually everything I need to shoot is within easy reach by simply unlocking the belt pack and rotating it to the front. I don’t have to take off the pack and set it down to change a lens, grab a filter, etc., but I still have the benefit of rain protection for all of my gear if the weather turns bad. Without the camera, lens and tripod the pack is very lightweight.

If there is no chance of rain, especially in hotter climates, I use the Rotation 360º a bit differently… Since the top compartment of the pack is pretty much empty when I’m shooting, I leave it at the hotel and just use the belt pack. The Rotation 360º comes with a shoulder strap to attach to the belt pack that makes it very comfortable and easy to wear. You give up the rain protection offered by the top compartment, but it’s cooler, lighter and all of your gear is still within easy reach.


The Think Tank Photo Rotation 360º backpack is an extremely well made piece of equipment that works as advertised. I have lots of different camera bags, but this is the one I reach for most of the time. I didn’t get into the details and specs too much because the Think Tank website has plenty of pictures and descriptions of the many features of this great backpack. This is simply my real-world experience.

If you’re interested in Think Tank Photo products, use this link to receive a free gift at check-out.

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