The Kiboko 22L+ Is One Of The Best DSLR Backpacks Around — But It'll Cost Ya [Review] | Cult of Mac

The Kiboko 22L+ Is One Of The Best DSLR Backpacks Around — But It’ll Cost Ya [Review]


As pro as they come: Gura Gear's Kiboko 22L+ Camera Backpack
As pro as they come: Gura Gear's Kiboko 22L+ Camera Backpack

Gura Gear’s Kiboko 22L+ ($379) can gulp down multiple DLSRs, two or three lenses, your multitude of other photo accessories, and oh yeah, a 17-inch Macbook Pro, but still fit in the overhead bin of almost any aircraft in the world.

But its tricks don’t stop there.

The Good

From the first time you fondle it, Gura Gear’s 22L+ feels like it’s ready for war. Its outer shell is wrapped with the same stuff they use in boat sails, and has some kind of threaded reinforcement that reminds me of those wire-strung security windows you see in schools and prisons. Its riveted-on handles are thick, and feel nothing short of industrial-strength. Stress points are well reinforced; zippers close and open with confidence; it’s clear Gura Gear designed this bag to last a while.

But it’s also obvious that durability wasn’t Gura Gear’s only motive when designing the 22L+ — their attention to its little features reaches near Jobsian proportions. Like this: the straps on this bag are more adjustable than some mountaineering backpacks I’ve owned. And the shoulder straps aren’t just padded foam, they’re a cozier, more conforming memory foam.

And here’s another brilliant feature: not only is its waist strap totally removable, but the 22L’s nylon adjustment straps feature little velcro strips that keep free-swinging lengths nicely rolled up and out of the way – all bags should have this!

And though it may not look like it, the Kibiko 22L+ also contains ample storage space. You could easily fit two DSLR with mid-zooms attached, 2-3 other lenses, and even some flashes and other accessories inside its well-padded interior. Oh, and for those real men out there, the 22L+ can also store away a full-sized Macbook Pro. Yes, not just that puny 15-inch model, the full 17-incher!

All that, and the 22L+ still meets international carry-on requirements, so you can stow it in the overhead bins of almost any aircraft, you jet-setter, you.

I also like the 22L’s butterfly flap system, which allows you to quickly access its main compartment from two flaps that open from the middle of the bag. That’s much better than having to hoist a big regular bag flap into the air every time you need to grab something. The butterfly design is a smart touch that makes accessing your gear faster.

The Bad

There are really only two negatives I can think of when it comes to Gura Gear’s 22L+.

First, at almost $400, this camera bag is more than the price of some camera lenses. That’s going to be hard to swallow for some photographers, who as a group, can often be, well, frugal.

Second, I experienced some comfort issues with the 22L+. That surprised me since the bag is so adjustable and has those fancy memory foam shoulder pads. Now, this issue will probably go away once the bag has been properly adjusted and breaks in a bit, but it surprised me nonetheless. Regardless, out of the box, the 22L+ was less comfortable to wear than other bags I’ve tested.

The Verdict

There are camera bags, and then there are CAMERA BAGS. Gura Gear’s Kiboko 22L+ is definitely in that latter category. It’s one of the best bags I’ve ever reviewed, and worthy of the high-praise so many shooters normally pour upon it. It’s a bag for those who need to carry their glass, gear, and laptop across the urban landscapes and airports of the world. It’s a bag that, even when crammed in coach, will give your gear a first-class ride.

[xrr rating=90%]