MindShift PhotoCross 13 backpack: protection in a compact size

Think Tank Photo introduced the MindShift PhotoCross 13 backpack, designed to protect your gear from another punishing trip into the wild. It’s the exact size for a day trip.

MindShift PhotoCross 13 backpack: protection in a compact size

Delivering both protection and comfort in a new compact size, the MindShift PhotoCross 13 backpack expands a family of backpacks that started with the larger PhotoCross 15.

Photographers never seem to get tired of solutions to carry their gear, and that explains why companies continue to release new models. I’ve amassed an ample collection of backpacks, shoulder bags, hip or belt packs, and I continue to be excited with some new models, even if, sometimes, I don’t know why or how I would use them. Not this MindShift PhotoCross 13, which from where I see it fits the bill as an ideal solution for those who want to travel extremely light, or anyone who needs a backpack for a day trip.

While I will use a big backpack if I am going to a workshop – I’ve used a large StreetWalker HardDrive V2.0 which I nicknamed “Little School”, to carry gear needed for those sessions – or will pick the MindShift Rotation 180 if I want to “move and shoot”, I love small backpacks for many of my scouting trips, because they are easier to carry and make you pack the minimum gear to get the job done. Now, it is not always easy to get smaller backpacks that are both comfortable, easy to access and offer just the space needed for a day trip. The MindShift PhotoCross 13, with 12 liters capacity – the PhotoCross 15 has 20 liters – seems just adequate and the kind of backpack I would not mind using for one day journeys.

MindShift PhotoCross 13 backpack: protection in a compact size

A compact solution that will help you carry less

Think Tank Photo has two other models in the PhotoCross family that offer similar or even less capacity, but they are sling bags, a solution that I do not like. The PhotoCross 13 (the number reflects the laptop size it can hold) is, as far as I can see browsing through Think Tank Photo collections, the first 12 liters capacity backpack, and a welcome solution, I believe, for those who have waited for a small backpack to protect their gear on outdoor adventures. It will also help you “learn” how to carry less, an important discipline when you carry all your gear on your back.

According to the information from Think Tank Photo, the MindShift PhotoCross 13 fits an ungripped DSLR or Mirrorless body, 3–5 lenses including a 70–200mm f/2.8 detached and up to a 13” laptop. Fully-customizable interior dividers for photo or personal gear allow users to configure the available space the way that better fits their needs. With internal zippered pockets for batteries, memory cards, and other accessories, and a front pocket perfectly suited for filters, snacks or a light layer, the PhotoCross 13 offers plenty of storage options. And of course there’s the ability to carry a tripod or larger jacket with the included straps.

Extra large access point

Available in two colorways, Orange Ember and Carbon Grey, the PhotoCross 13 features waterproof zippers and is constructed from durable, abrasion-resistant materials, including a heavy-duty tarpaulin bottom panel. Wide, body-conforming shoulder straps give superior support for long days on the trail, and the wide, removable waist belt and breathable 320G air-mesh back panel will keep you comfortable and cool, says Think Tank Photo.

“The PhotoCross 13 backpack delivers uncompromising protection and comfort, while offering fast and intuitive gear access,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank CEO and Lead Designer. “As with the larger PhotoCross 15 backpack and PhotoCross slings before it, the incorporation of a waterproof, tarpaulin base and weatherproof zippers and materials demonstrates how Think Tank continues to offer the protection, comfort, and innovation that our customers require.”

Priced at $ 149.99, the MindShift PhotoCross 13 backpack is the solution I would pick if I was buying gear for the Fall and Winter coming next. It’s always important to get a carrying solution that protects your gear when out braving the elements. The PhotoCross 13 is built to withstand the elements, yet comfortable enough to wear on long days in the field, says Think Tank Photo. Another aspect I appreciate is that the extra large side access point gives you complete access to your gear when you’re ready to take the shot.  Backpacks have come a long way since I first started using them.


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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…