I have been waiting excitedly for the arrival of my F-stop Loka for approximately two weeks. I gave a quick introduction in my previous blog post here.
F-stop are an American company that specialise in the production of professional adventure photography bags.
"At F-stop we believe your camera bag should assist you in getting the perfect shot--not hold you back. That’s why we have created our line of packs and bags with the adventure photographer in mind. Whether you are skiing down the backside of the Alps, climbing in Patagonia, exploring the rain forest in Brazil, or just on holiday our bags will get your equipment there safely no matter the conditions.
* 45 Day Satisfaction Guarantee - return the bag for a full refund for any reason if you are not happy with your purchase.
* 20 Year Warranty - If there is a manufacture defect, we will fix it or replace it.
* Premium Designs - our packs are designed in large part from the feedback we have from working professional photographers, so you can rest assured that we have a pack to fit your needs"
The specifications of the Loka are as follows: Volume: 37 Liter / 2,260 Cubic Inches
Available in three colors; Grey Mist, Foliage Green and Black
Weight: 1565 Grams – 3.45lbs (No ICU)
Dimensions: 12.6” x 23″ x 8.5″ (60cm x 32cm x 22cm) International airline ready!
Internal Compartment Dimensions: 12” x 22” x 8”
Torso Length: 18.5” – Ideal for 5’6″ to 6’2″ (167cm to 188cm)
Aluminum internal Frame for support carrying heavy loads.
Fabric Info: Ballistic Rip-stop Nylon, Abrasion Resistant Nylon Webbing, High Density foam, Heavy Gauge Zippers, YKK Waterproof Zippers, Waterproof Urethane coasted mesh
All of the f-stop bags are designed around 4 different size ICU (Internal Camera Units) The Loka allows the use of the small, medium and large ICU. The larger bags, the Tilopa BC and Satori will also accommodate the XL ICU. Instead of boring you with lots and lots of text, I thought I would try and do this review with as many photos as possible.
My Loka shell, medium ICU and large ICU all arrived in their own synthetic-canvas bags. This is a nice little touch that gives me the impression this company make sure every little detail is perfect. Pictured is the Large ICU.
Once removed from its outer bag the large ICU feels really sturdy and well built.
Inside the dividers are nice and padded and there are elastic Velcros supplied to stop your kit bouncing around.
From the external the Grey Mist Loka really does look the part, it wouldn't look out of place on the rails in Cotswold's or any other outdoor shop.
The whole of the bag is covered in plastic buckles. These allow the bags to really be compacted whilst also alloying the carrying of tripods etc. The base of the bag is also made from a waterproof material which is very handy when standing the bag up.
The top of the bag also has these adjustable elastics for helping to secure accessories and tripods etc.
The rear view of the bag shows off a lot of the features of this bag. This bag is no ordinary camera bag, it is more of a hiking pack that has been redeveloped to allow the bag to carry the ICU's. The main feature of this bag is its rear access. This allows the bag to be effectively theft proof when carrying in public and also stops the rear of the bag getting dirty and damp when removing the camera and lenses.
With the medium ICU, the Loka provides lots of room for other non-camera essentials such as food and clothing. The medium ICU will hold a gripped D7000 and 70-200 f2.8 zoom, 17-50 f2.8 zoom, flash gun, two small primes and a full 100mm ND Grad, ND and 10 stop filter kit, three adapter rings and holder.
The internal flap has lots of storage for little bits such as a map, memory cards and other essentials.
The top flap has spaces for multiple professional size camera batteries and also a clasp for attaching a memory card wallet so it can't be lost.
The front pocket has lots of room for more clothing, reflectors etc or space for a snow shovel if skiing is your thing.
Inside the top flap there is yet more storage for cards, filters etc.
This picture shows off how much more room there is inside the bag with the medium ICU inside.
The bag also has room for a hydration bladder with a pocket inside and an outlet on the side that guide the hose down the bag straps and through the guides.
The left hand side of the waist band has molle attachment for the addition of modular accessories such as a think tank camera holster.
The right hand side has even more space for small essentials. This bag has more storage than you could ever imagine.
The bag also has straps on the sides to allow the attachment of tripods and other modular accessories.
As said above, the bag really is a full fledged outdoor bag and the amount of adjustment straps show this.
In conclusion this bag is extremely well made. The attention to detail is extraordinary, even the sternum strap has an emergency whistle. If you are a landscape photographer, adventure sport photographer or just love getting out into the wilderness F-stop bags are the best there is. The Loka is no exception it is designed to be a small sporty bag that wil enable the wearer to complete any tasks they encounter whether that be climbing up a mountain or travelling cross continent.
Extremely light weight
Incredible amounts of storage
Great attention to detail
The rear carrying strap doesn't instill much faith
The ICU attachment is a bit of a faff