ThinkTank Urban Approach 15 Backpack - Joe Ng
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2017-03-15

I planned to attend the 2017 CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging show (the largest exhibition in Asia) in Yokohama, Japan 6 months ago. I’ve missed the Photokina due to my assignments commitment in last year so I’ve planned ahead to free up my schedule in February. When it comes to packing up my gears, I was looking for a smaller backpack that is big enough to carry my Fujifilm gears and small enough for carrying around in the crowd Tokyo metropolitan areas.


My eyes were landed at the ThinkTank Urban Approach 15 that is the only backpack model in their Urban Approach series. The other two models, Urban Approach 10 and Urban Approach 5, are messager bags, and thus a completely different design. The Urban Approach series from ThinkTank specifically designed for mirrorless cameras, is a good example of a bag that meets all of these requirements. I’ve been testing it since my trip to Japan in February and have been carrying it everyday while my stay in Japan.


The Urban Approach 15 backpack black matte exterior is made of water-repellant ballistic nylon that, throughout my trip experience, dries quickly and is so easy to clean. I’ve put the bag on numbers of wet and dirty places and it still looks as good as when I first got it. The only mildly decorative feature is the black leather strip with the metallic ThinkTank logo on the front panel. Everything else about this backpack is minimalistic and discreet so I can blend into the crowd on street easily.

The Urban Approach 15 is designed specifically to hold a complete mirrorless camera system, as well as a 15” laptop and a 10” tablet, smartphone, and extra space to maximize gear and personal items. There is an unlimited mirrorless combinations you could carry around with it. With the pre designed foam dividers in place, you can easily fit two camera bodies and 5-8 lenses depending on their size. Below I’ve showed you how I packed my stuff its maximum capacity.


Fujifilm X-T2 camera body

Fujfilm X-Pro 2 camera body

Fujinon XF14mm lens

Fujinon XF23mm lens

Fujinon 56mm lens

Fujinon XF50-140mm lens

Fujinon XF1.4x teleconverter

Fujinon Macro Exten Tube MCEX-16

Metz 44 AF-2

Lee Seven 5 Filters and filter holder

13” Mac Book Pro

WD 1TB External hard drive

Memory cards and holder

Batteries and holders

Power adapters and batteries chargers

On-ear headphone

Air pump

From the pre designed foam dividers layout (see the photo below) shows that a Sony A7 mounted with a 70-200mm lens could fit into the bottom half compartment. However I found out that the Fujifilm X-T2 mounted with the 50-140mm lens is a bit longer than the Sony combination. I have to build my own layout to fit my X-T2 with the 50-140mm lens at the bottom. As you can see from the photo, the one of the longest original form dividers is still not long enough to cross from left to right side. So I have to teh extra form dividers to connect and hold it like a sandwich. It might not look pretty but it works for me.

Conclusion

I am happy to say that the Think Tank Urban Approach 15 is a backpack I’d highly recommend to any mirrorless user. In addition to a discreet appearance and a sturdy construction, it is made of easy-to-clean water resistant material that does exactly what it needs to do: protecting your gear. It is a right size for daily commute and it’s incredibly comfortable with its easy adjustable padded shoulder straps even fully loaded.


What I like about the Urban Approach 15:

- Sturdy weather repellant design that is easy to clean

- Discreet appearance and professional feel

- Comfortable padded contour shoulder straps

- A good size for a day pack

- Easy to pack and arrange your gear


What I don’t like about the Urban Approach 15:

- I would prefer a slightly larger front pocket with more depth

- I would prefer a built in rain cover at the bottom of the backpack to save some space

- I would prefer to have more dividers in different sizes that can be purchased as options

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