Shady’s Retro 30 review
About the author: Shady is a burro adopted 25 years ago through the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro adoption program. Although he was born in the wild and had not been handled, he quickly adapted to domestic life and now would happily come into the living room if allowed. He won his Slate Blue Retro 30 in Think Tank’s contest where competitors were asked why they should win the bag. His reason: I look good in blue.
As promised, here I am all decked out in my brand new Slate Blue Retro 30.
I have to admit up front that I’m dictating this; She Who Think’s She’s In Charge won’t let me use her laptop. Something about hard hoofs and computers not made to take a beating. OK, whatever.
Starting from the outside – well, this bag is beautiful. The color is not loud or gaudy and it doesn’t shout “camera bag.” Of course, real photo enthusiasts catch on quick, even before they see the discreet Think Tank leather tag on the back. I’m the envy of the pack string.
The strap is nice and broad and readily adjusts to fit my – ahem – well-muscled neck and shoulders. The cushioned pad keeps it from slipping, even when I’m picking my way down a canyon trail.
But handsome is as handsome does, as my old Granny Longears used to say. So let’s see what’s inside this bad boy.
The hook-and-loop closures hold the flap securely in place, or you can use the “sound silencers” so it flips open noiselessly. And of course it comes with a rain cover. Both are the kind of attention to detail Think Tank is known for.
The padded dividers can be rearranged to suit any collection of gear you want to tote.
At the moment we seem to have a Pentax k10D with battery grip and an 80-250 mm zoom lens. The bag is deep enough to comfortably accommodate the camera with the 7” lens attached if the lens hood is collapsed. With the hood in place, it can comfortably fit sideways.
We’re also carrying a Pentax k100D body with 18-55 mm; a 135 mm lens; and a strobe. There’s plenty of room for all the accessories that She Who Thinks She’s In Charge uses: two polarizers, a graduated neutral density filter, four neutral density filters stacked, four macro filters, step-up rings, cable release, binoculars and a min-tripod. There’s probably more; who can keep track of so much stuff?
Two expandable pockets on the front give easy access for cleaning cloths, a Lens Pen, notebook and pens, a point-and-shoot and extra batteries. A sturdy web loop on each outside end lets her clip on her sunglasses case, a compass or just about anything else you can attach with a carabiner clip, hook-and-loop strap or hay string.
She’ll finish by packing her Think Tank Thin Skin Belt, Speed Changer and at least one lens pouch on top in case she wants to leave me under a nice shady tree while she goes off to get some pictures.
Inside, across the full width of the back, is a zippered compartment where She can stash her ID, money and other people-y type stuff She sets such store by.
Three padded panels provide a flat bottom but can be removed to make the bag completely flexible.
Which leads me to a warning: If you are the undisciplined type (naming no names) who cannot help but stuff a bag as full as possible, you might look at one of the smaller Retro bags, especially if you don’t have a bearer of burdens such as my humble self to carry it!
Now, what puts this bag over the top as far as I’m concerned is the pocket on either end deep enough to store some fresh, long, crispy carrots.
Well, I might make do with one pocketful and let her put a water bottle in the other. Maybe.
See you on the trail!