MindShift Backlight 26L Review

To see my video review of this camera bag, just click play below. If you’re at work or somewhere you can’t really watch a video, feel free to skip the video and read on below!



I only put reviews on this site for products I use on a regular basis. I may try out a new product from time to time, but I won’t put a review up unless it makes it to my camera bag or into my daily or travel routine. I’m also never paid to do these reviews. Certain companies (like this one) may send me products to try but I never guarantee them a review unless I enjoy the product and continue to use it. I do make the products that I review available for sale and when possible I will use an affiliate link. If you purchase the product I will get a small percentage of the sale, which I am truly grateful for since it will support this blog and ultimately, my family. Thank you!

Where To Buy

Amazon: MindShift Gear BackLight 26L Charcoal
Amazon: MindShift Gear BackLight 26L Greenfield

MindShift Backlight 26L Review

backlight-5I recently got a chance to test out the new MindShift Backlight 26L camera backpack. After traveling exclusively with the F-Stop Tilopa bag for the past few years, I had run into several hangups with it, mainly in the way I like to use it on planes. I don’t like to let my gear out of my site if at all possible. I also carry my laptop in my camera bag so I don’t have to carry a separate shoulder bag. The Tilopa was just a little too long to fit under most airplane seats and I got in trouble a few times by flight attendants. Luckily none of them ever made me hand the bag over, but they certainly could if they were in a bad enough mood. So I had it on my mind to start looking for a smaller (ie: shorter) bag when my buddy Brian Matiash told me about this new Backlight bag from MindShift.

Before I used the F-Stop bag, I had a MindShift Rotation 180. It was nice, but I really didn’t care for the rotation feature, because it split my gear into two different places that you have to access two different ways. So essentially it doubled the time it took to access my gear in many occasions, which is the exact opposite of what it was meant to do.

The Backlight was intriguing to me because it’s significantly shorter than the F-Stop bag (nearly 4 inches) so it instantly solved the problem of fitting beneath a seat on an airplane. The only question then was how well it would do on the road. At the time of writing this post I’ve taken it on extended trips to Maine and California and I’ll be leaving on my third trip with the bag to Portland here in a week or so. So far the bag has done great and I’ve been nothing but impressed. Any time I can cut down on size and weight while maintaining performance I’m game. Now let’s take a look inside.

What Fits Inside the MindShift Backlight 26L?


Well, just about the same amount as the F-Stop Tilopa! The internal compartment for camera gear is more or less the same size as the large ICU I had in the F-Stop. Here’s a list of what I keep inside…

That’s really all the gear I need for any trip I take. But of course that’s just the internal compartment. Here’s what else fits in/on the bag…



I love the MindShift Backlight 26L. The search for the perfect camera bag is a never-ending one for sure, but it’s always a great feeling to know you got a little bit closer. This bag does everything I need a camera backpack to do and it does it with an exceptionally well thought out design and superior build quality. I’ll be using this bag for quite a while, at least until MindShift releases something better 😉

If you’re interested in purchasing this bag for yourself, but have some questions or hesitations, feel free to leave a comment below. I’ll answer as soon as I can. Cheers!

  • Steve Hadeen

    Hi James:

    Happy Thanksgiving a day late! Love that you promote the “Peace” above all else. Not that shopping online (the only type of black Friday shopping I do if I do any) is wrong; just setting the priorities.

    Funny enough, I just got done before reading your “5 things” the newest rotation 180 from Mind Shift (34L I think). I actually thought it was quite a good idea and was thinking about it even though I just got another camera bag from a kickstarter company called Tekniq. I’ve always thought the rotating bag would be great to have….and then I read your review. LOL! Sounds like you are saying you spent more time having to access from 2 different locations even with putting your most used equipment in the rotating belt pack. Does that assumption sound about right? Would it be safe for me to assume then that even though the idea is good, it just doesn’t offer enough room for you most used items or….?

    • Hey Steve! Yes, but this of course is just one opinion. There are plenty of people out there who love the Rotation 180 bags. For me though, it just didn’t work because of the constant need to get stuff out of both parts.

  • Jeff Skott

    James, awesome review. At $250 on Amazon, I need to wait to buy this until Spring, but definitely a great bag. I love the fact that you have space for both the Macbook Pro and the tablet as well as all your gear and it still fits under the airplane seat. That says a lot. Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I wish you the best!

    • Thanks a ton Jeff. It is certainly a great bag and you’ll love it! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  • What do you mean be “secure?” The pocket just zips up so that keeps them inside.

  • CBWyatt

    Thanks for the in depth review of the 26l. Now that you’ve had it for a couple months how has it worked for you? I want to be able to use it for travel, and then as my hiking pack for camera gear as well as the normal hiking stuff- food, water, jackets, etc. No one has it where I live to try out the fit or to see how much hiking gear it would carry. I have multiple camera packs, but this one looks promising for travel and hiking.
    Thanks again,