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ThinkTank Photo – StreetWalker HardDrive Review

Like most of my fellow photographers I’ve gone though many bags over the years. It seems almost impossible to find the perfect one. I have had huge rolling bags I used for travel only, small shoulder bags for walking around downtown streets, small backpacks for hiking, etc. I was never able to find the perfect bag… Until now.

Since I travel quite a bit I have unique requirements. I need to be able to pack a decent amount of gear and carry it though airports, onto planes, to rental cars, etc. I also need to be able to use all of the gear while I’m in the field. Often my trips will bring me to a national park and later on in the same trip, to an urban environment.

I used to carry all my gear in a large rolling camera bag and then either work out of the car or put the gear I needed for that day into a second camera bag, a mid-sized backup, and use that for the day. This meant that I had to travel with a least two camera bags plus a laptop bag plus a suitcase for my clothing! That wasn’t what I would consider a good solution.

About six months ago while hunting for a better solution I came across the StreetWalker HardDrive, a mid-sized backpack from thinkTANK Photo. I’ve been using a few other thinkTANK products for the past three years and I feel they make the best, highest quality products out there. Their bags are designed by photographers, for photographers, and it really shows.

The HardDrive model is the largest in the StreetWalker lineup; they are small to mid-size backpacks meant for use in crowded, urban environments. They don’t look a whole lot like other camera bags on the market. After getting the HardDrive it was no surprise that it was built with the same quality as all their other products, which is to say the very highest.

Once I received the bag and loaded it full of gear I was amazed. It can hold everything I need for even the longest of trips and still it’s small and light enough I can cart it around a city for an entire day. The fact that it can hold a large pro-sized camera body and a 15-inch laptop while being so small truly makes it unique. It should also be noted that this bag meets (at time of writing) all carry-on limits for both domestic and international flights.

What I carry in the bag:

  • Canon 1ds Mk III
  • Canon 5D (with grip)
  • Canon 24-105 4.0 L IS
  • Canon 70-200 2.8 L IS
  • Canon 100-400 L IS
  • Canon 15mm fisheye
  • Canon 17-40 4.0 L
  • Apple 15in Macbook pro

Plus batteries, CF cards, camera remotes, filters, two flashlights, rain cover, etc, etc.

Here is the bag closed:

Here it is loaded up:

I have to say, I have yet to find a bag that can hold everything on the list above and still work well as a bag to carry around for the day. The saying at thinkTANK is “Be ready before the moment,” and their products are designed to be used in the field, and quickly. All their products are designed by professional photographers to meet the needs of working pros.

The build quality is simply amazing, the zippers are larger than most and feel very strong; I don’t think they will ever break. The material is thick and won’t rip or tear, nor do I think it could be cut easily. They give you more inserts then you’ll ever need so you can configure the bag however it suits you. There are outside pockets to store the odds and ends that we all need when we go out shooting. Really one of the most thought-out products I’ve come across. Like all thinkTANK products, this bag comes with a lifetime warranty; thinkTANK builds products to last and stands behind them.

Product Page:
http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/streetwalker-harddrive-backpack.aspx

Top features (from thinktankphoto.com):
“Designed for use in urban and crowded environments, this slim, lightweight backpack also holds a 15” laptop, as well as a Pro-size DSLR and a 70-200 2.8 with hood attached.”
Carry monopods and tripods in the bottom front pocket.
Additional tripod cup for larger tripods.
Pro Speed Belt (sold separately) can be attached.
Contoured harness for men and women with air channel.

Gear Profile

Holds Pro Size DSLR with 70-200 2.8 attached and hood in position ready to shoot. Two side pockets and two stretch pockets.

Photographer Profile

All photographers, from pros to serious enthusiasts.

Technical Specifications

  • ID: 11”W x 18” H x 6-7” D (28 × 46 × 15-18 cm) 
ED: 11.5” W x 19” H x 8.5” D (29 × 49 × 22 cm)
  • 3.8 lbs – 4.6 lbs (1.7kg – 2.1kg)
  • Lifetime Warranty

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3 Responses to “ThinkTank Photo – StreetWalker HardDrive Review”

  1. Sime Says:
    February 2nd, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Hi Christopher, nice write up, thanks. I’ve popped a link to it on the thinkTANKPhoto Facebook page.

    http://www.facebook.com/thinktankphoto

    Cheers,
    Sime

  2. Endz Lim Says:
    February 5th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    nice review, I love this product too, the only downside is, that it’s too big and heavy for a petite guy like me, love it until I put my full battle gear in it, I can only go 30mins walking with it, and it exhaust me alot during photojourn in the streets or hiking, i wish i could bring alot of gear but sadly my body is weak, I occasionally just bring my speed demon with me but I can’t bring my 70-200 with me because it won’t fit, I would buy the speed freak but it’s too big for my body

  3. Christopher Blake Says:
    February 5th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I’m a big guy and I carried then bag full around Paris with me for 12 hours a day for four days without any real issues. For the amount of gear (70-200, 100-400, 17-40 etc etc) it was as good as it gets really. Anything else with that much gear is going to weigh the same or more.

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