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Accessories Reviews

Camera Bag Review: Gura Gear Kiboko

Mike Hagen (Mike_Hagen) on April 8, 2013


Keywords: other, bags, non_nikon, product, articles

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Camera bags and photographers. Sometimes I think we go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Other times, I think we go together like oil and water. Picking the right camera bag for every situation is pretty near impossible and that’s why I have an entire closet devoted to just camera bags. Small ones. Big ones. Medium ones. Waist bags. Shoulder bags. Backpacks. Black. Green. Yellow.

Name a bag and I’ve probably tried it or owned it. A few years ago, I finally came to my senses and realized that the perfect camera bag doesn’t exist. There isn’t one bag that serves all purposes. Therefore I’ve resigned myself to buying specific bags for specific tasks. I have a bag for street photography, one for hiking, one for travel, one for events and another for sports.

During one of our Nikonians Academy past photo safaris to Tanzania, a participant brought along a bag called the Kiboko by a company called Gura Gear. He used the backpack on each day of the trip and I was smitten. I had to get one for myself and finally bought one a couple months later. I’ve been working with the bag in preparation for our next photo safari to Tanzania.

I’ve taken the bag on international flights from the USA through Paris and into Switzerland. I flew on the small regional jets as well as the large Airbus A340 and the Kiboko fit perfectly fine in both planes. I had the bag loaded with over 50 pounds of gear and I didn’t have a single problem in any of the airports.

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I also took the Kiboko on a week-long Nikonians Annual Photo Adventure Trip (ANPAT) to Olympic National Park in Washington State. During this trip, it rained a lot and we did quite a bit of hiking through the forests. To combat the rain, the Kiboko has a built-in rain cover that is super easy to deploy. For the long hikes, the Kiboko’s harness system was extremely comfortable and I never had any back or shoulder issues – even after wearing the bag for six days of shooting. I happily continue to use this bag for ANPATs.

 

 

One unique design element of the Kiboko is the bag splits down the middle, so you can store a long lens on one side with the camera attached and another lens/camera combination on the other side. The concept is that you can quickly access the lenses by unzipping the long pocket and then put them back to protect them from the dust or the rain. This is how I will use the bag when I’m in Africa. On one side of the bag, I’ll put a Nikon D300s with 200-400mm f/4 and a 1.4x Teleconverter.

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On the other side of the bag, I used a Nikon D700 and now a D800 with a 70-200 f/2.8. I’ll also have a smaller DSLR with a 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle lens attached.

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These three cameras will all be readily accessible so I can quickly remove the camera, take a photo and place it back into the bag, never having to remove lenses.

(9 Votes)
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Mike Hagen Mike Hagen (Mike_Hagen)

Gig Harbor, USA
Admin, 147 posts

19 comments

Georg Albert (Zaphod Beeblebrox) on October 1, 2013

Thanks Mike. Seems to be really good stuff. I'll have a look at it.

Philip S Johnson (PhotoPhilip) on May 12, 2013

I, too am looking for the "perfect" bag. That, to me, is a bag that will serve, protect the gear and NOT advertise that it has a lot of expensive gear in it!

Andy Biggs (andybiggs) on May 5, 2013

Great review, Mike. Very much appreciated. I worked hard on launching Gura Gear with the original Kiboko bag, and I love seeing folks in airports with one. I always go up and say hello and see if they are enjoying this and other products from Gura Gear. All the best- Andy

bill caskey (wapiti) on May 2, 2013

I have used the 30L for about 1 1/2 years and can recommend it without reservation.

Zita Margit Kemeny (zkemeny) on April 29, 2013

Looks a good bag.

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on April 19, 2013

The bag reviewed was the Kiboko 30L. The Bataflae 22L and 26L bags have several improvements over the Kibokos, aside from even better materials: they can be open completely or using the butterfly one-side openings. Also, they can take up to big pro cameras with L-Brackets. More details on what they can fit can be found now at the PhotoProShop.

Peter Edwards (surfer623) on April 11, 2013

Like you am am a bag collector,but no more! After buying the large Kiboko and using it for the last 3 months I am completely sold. It holds all my kit and is extremely comfortable. I am 6'3" and most bags are too short to be comfortable for long. The large Kiboko is no longer stocked being superseded by the Bataflae but I am sure it's as good. Worth every penny including the charges to import to the UK,which made it a very expensive bag! I look forward to seeing them in the Photoproshop.

Danny Levenson (TiggerGTO) on April 11, 2013

Hal, the Bataflae can be opened using the butterfly access, or the whole top flap can be pulled down similar to a traditional camera bag. The Kiboko flap is permanently fastened down the middle, so it can only be accessed via the butterfly access.

Danny Levenson (TiggerGTO) on April 11, 2013

I bought a Kiboko a little over a year ago and absolutely love this camera bag. To answer another poster, yes, I can fit my D800 with my 200-400 (original model) mounted. I am seriously considering getting one of the smaller Gura Gear bags for when I'm not hauling my big glass around.

Judith Bordyn (jbordyn) on April 11, 2013

so glad for your article. I thought I had so many camera bags because I am a female! Just like lens, one just does not always work.

Hal Wyman (halwyman) on April 10, 2013

Mike, any idea how this bag differs from the Bataflae 26L which is identical in exterior dimensions?

John Allman (Bodger) on April 10, 2013

Mike: Is this the 22L+ version that accepts the Nikkor 200-400mm mounted to a body? Thanks, John

Bruce Harlick (Foxbat) on April 10, 2013

That looks like a nice bag! I really do need to cure myself of this bag habit I have though.

Robert Fedder (daswolfe) on April 10, 2013

Good Review I bought mine on recommendation from tour directors for my trip to Africa last year. Like you had it jammed to the gills. I had no problems with airports or customs, it even made the trek up Volcano's national park five times to visit the gorillas. No pains or back problems and as you stated access is great. You forgot to mention that the acess flaps also have stowage in them with seperate zippers, and mesh pockets on the insde for even more stowage. Good luck in November.

Dino Cardelli (DinoCardelli) on April 10, 2013

Nice review; however, for most of my street and travel photogrpahy..I carry a simple green old army style backpack and carry my lenses inside...along with other stuff... I don't want anything that calls out and say Photographer on the bag....the less fancy, the better for me !!! If I'm out at a model shoot or for $$ different, I carry top end Pelican cases... dc

David Hays (haysys) on April 9, 2013

I own this bag and it is tough and versatile! It was my single camera bag for our recent Tanzanian Safari, but I use it as a carry-all for most all of our photo outings as well. The only real danger is loading it to the point of being too heavy.

George Chapman (Icemann) on April 9, 2013

Thank You I just found my next camera bag.I too have more camera bags then I will admit to.Very good review Thanks again

Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) on April 8, 2013

I, too, go through camera bags like my sweet wife goes through purses. Excellent article. I'll look carefully at this bag.

Bill Malloch (polarpics) on April 8, 2013

Great review. I'm trying to choose a new bag right now and this is timely.

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