I am heading out to Nepal in a few months' time for a couple of weeks of sightseeing and trekking through the Himalayas. Weight is obviously an issue, walking up to eight hours a day at high altitudes is tough. If i took all my camera equipment, the large bag for it, and a tripod, I'd be carrying around 15kilos of equipment every day. That is a pretty serious load to carry. After consulting with the ever knowledgeable Esper I looked into the Kata 3N1-22. Kata do a range of bags in their 3 in 1 series, I opted for the middle sized 22, which comes with a netbook/ipad pocked. Which is perfect for what I'm looking for. The bag itself has a particular advantage over other camera bags because it has a large(ish) top pocket which can be used to hold assorted things, such as water for a long trek! The bag allows me to take everything I need, the 17-40mm for landscapes, the 50mm Prime because it's just an awesome lens, and the 70-200mm with the extension tube for when I'm in the wildlife parks and want to get some close-up shots of the animals without risking being too close to a Rhino.... I'm also able to pack a flash and attach a small tripod to the bag. The whole thing comes in at 6.9 kilos. Under half the weight of the original load. It does mean leaving the Macro lens behind and the 28-105mm (which is a painful choice to have made) but in the end, both of those aren't needed. Macro is wasted with beautiful vistas and most of the range of the 28-105mm is covered by the other lenses in my kit.
The reason it's called the 3 in 1 is the way it can be carried. As a standard rucksack, a sling bag from one shoulder to the other hip, and an X set-up, overlapping the sling approach for longer, more comfortable carrying, but allowing relatively quick access to the main camera body even so.
Once the bag arrived, I quickly filled it up and decided to take it about town. I headed into Richmond for some shopping, and on to the Thames Pathway. I stopped, surprised at the fact the Thames had overflown and was now reaching the bottom of the street! I swung the bag around and was easily able to access the camera and even swap lenses for a few zoomed images. Managed to get a few nice images of the water and the minor chaos it caused, having covered benches and other traditionally landlocked things. Naturally this didn’t impede Londoners from getting their pints and enjoying the sunshine!
All in all, I'm impressed with the Kata bag, the quality is excellent and it manages to be a small, compact package that stores a lot of equipment. It was comfortable to carry, though I will need to try it on a longer journey to be certain I can manage. I suspect that it will end up being used as my regular day bag when I know I'm going to want more than just the very basics.