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ThinkTank StreetWalker Review

Overview

The ThinkTank StreetWalker is a slim and lightweight backpack designed to carry photographic equipment in crowded urban areas. It has a narrow profile and curved top to reduce chances of knocking objects down. The standard StreetWalker version is reviewed here. ThinkTank tank also makes a larger Pro version and an even bigger HardDrive version which adds a compartment for 15.4" laptops.

ThinkTank StreetWalker

The basic StreetWalker measures 9.5" wide by 17" tall and 6" deep, making it qualify as a personal item for travel on most airlines. As these requirements change, do check before flying. As far as camera backpacks go, the StreetWalker is certainly one of the most compact. Like all ThinkTank bags, this one is made of very sturdy ballistic nylon with sturdy metal zippers.

The main compartment of the StreetWalker measures 8.5" x 16" x 5.5" which is sufficiently large for a high-end DSLR without a vertical-grip but with a 70-200mm F/2.8 lens and hood in position. It can up to six extra lenses, depending on their sizes. Alternately, it can also fit two medium-sized DSLRs with several lenses. Additional compartments for small accessories surround the bag.

All StreetWalker camera bags call also carry a tripod or monopod on the outside. This is possible by two straps which maintain the tripod center on the backpack with two legs in a pocket to keep it from slipping down.

This backpack has a flexible system of accessories:

  • Optional tripod and monopod straps, as already mentioned.
  • Removable seam-sealed rain cover.
  • Removable waist-belt for additional support.
  • Removable chest-strap for tighter fit and less movement.
  • Eight moveable padded dividers.

The larger models are also compatible with the ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt system which is designed to hold photo gear highly accessible.

The ThinkTank StreetWalker is available from Amazon.

Review

As a photo backpack, the ThinkTank StreetWalker is designed to maximize the comfort of carrying photographic equipment. Its slim vertical design gives it excellent balance and makes it feel light, even fully loaded. Those used to other styles of camera bags such as shoulder bags and belt-packs will probably be surprised of how light the StreetWalker feels. Its completely symmetric design evenly distributes weight on both shoulders and, with the optional waist-belt, on both hips as well.

ThinkTank StreetWalker

ThinkTank managed to make the StreetWalker backpack exceptionally comfortable. The shoulder-straps are filled with soft cushiony foam and the under-side is covered in breathable Nylon mesh. Below each shoulder strap is a contoured pad, also covered in the same nylon mesh. A space left between the pads allows airflow to whisk-off humidity and sweat. At the base of the pad is a cushiony area which acts as lower-back support.

The hallmark of ThinkTank products is their high build quality and the StreetWalker is no exception. The outer shell of the bag is made of tough ballistic nylon which has a high quality feel and an inconspicuous matt finish. The main compartment zipper is broad think could and RC-Fuse YKK metal zipper. The zipper is unpainted to avoid degradation from frequent use. A tough reinforced handle at the top allows the bag to be moved easily, while its reinforced bottom makes it stand in place while supporting the entire equipment weight.

The external compartments each have medium-sized medial zipper with pulls for quick access. The same type of zippers is also used in all internal zippered-pockets. The removable belt and chest straps are both made of sturdy nylon and close with quick-release clasps made of high-grade plastic. The belt attaches to the bag via two rectangular plastic loops.

The main compartment is largely rectangular and easy to configure. There is one major L-shape divider to split most of the space in two spaces. One space is there to fit unmounted lenses and miscellaneous items. The other holds the camera with lens mounted. As shown below, with a bit of a squeeze a second mid-size DSLR can fit there too. Here we have two DSLRs with bright zooms mounted, plus 3 additional lenses, chargers and the provided rain cover. For a single-DSLR setup, ThinkTank shows a Nikon D7000
Nikon D7000
with five lens and add-on flash making an easy fit.

ThinkTank StreetWalker Interior

The movable interior dividers a made of soft light foam and come in three sizes: Three large ones for the large camera side, three medium ones for the lens side and a small one to split the space at the top of the bag and prevent objects from falling into the camera space when the camera is removed. These dividers are less thick than usual but protect equipment sufficiently well while walking or moving in a vehicle.

The interior comparment opens completely to make filling the bag very easy. Inside, the main flap features two transparent plastic pockets with zippers of small accessories like batteries, memory and remote triggers. On the outside, the flap shows two nylon zippered pockets. The lower one is there to hold the legs of a tripod but can be used for small items instead. The higher one a number of small compartments to hold pens, cards and compact items.

A transparent business card pocket appears at the top of the backpack for easy identification. Each side also features a indentical slim vertical pocket. A mesh prevents things from accidentally falling out when opened. These pockets do not open su much which makes them less useful than ideal. However, they each have an unclosed stretch pocket on thge outside which can be used to sequeeze in a small water bottle or other slim item.

Above all, what a camera backpack has to do is feel comfortable. It also has to support the equipment well and make the photographer's movements unincumbered. Luckily, the ThinkTank StreetWalker excels at all of these. The combination of narrow design and soft padded back with airflow channel make it feel much lighter than it is. The bag is completely well balanced and its built quality is top-notch, providing peace of mind while wearing it. The centered tripod placement also keeps things well-balanced from side-to-side, although a heavy tripod will pull backwards a bit.

For those looking for a camera backpack, the ThinkTank StreetWalker is absolutely worth a look. Do not forget that there are two larger models following the same design. The Pro lets in larger equipment and the HardDrive model adds a laptop compartment for a 15.4" laptop to the Pro size. Check these out at Amazon.

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