Crumpler Karachi Outpost Backpack

Sometime back in May or June I decided to try a different approach for my
photography business. Rather than the traditional portrait stuff, I
decided to see if I could make a nickel selling action shots. So far my
little endeavor (iphotsports.com) seems to be paying off
pretty well. Anyway, getting round to the point, in order to properly
shoot action shots, I had to purchase a digital SLR (Canon 20D), lenses,
and other accessories. I very quickly found that I was outgrowing my
Roadwired Photo/Video Bag.

After looking around at potential replacements, I decided that what I
needed was a camera backpack. The folks at Crumpler
had just the ticket in their Karachi Outpost backpack. Before I go on
about the backpack, I would like to talk a bit about Crumpler’s rather
unique website.

The site is interactive with an interesting, to say the least, soundtrack.
This is certainly the only site that I have ever visited that provides the
visitor with a way to fling mud (at least I hope it is mud) onto their
page. You just press the button in the lower right hand corner. Press it
repeatedly and the site will look like this.

Of course, none of this serves any useful purpose, but it is fun. You pull
the chain on the right side to reset and start all over. I found the
overall design of this site to be so unique that I ended up visiting the
site of the ad agency (The Sputnik Agency) that
‘handmade’ it. I ended up killing an hour or so downloading video clips
from some of their TV commercials (the commercials for the Predator
Australian Rules football shoes by adidas were a scream). OK, so now that
I have completely bored you to death — on to the review!

Now I am REALLY going to start writing about the Karachi Outpost
photo/video pack. First, let me show you a couple of shots of the bag.
Here they are as modeled by my son at the “Run Like Hell” 5K run in
Indianapolis last Halloween.


A fine looking individual, but enough about my son. The bag looks pretty
solid, too. The firmly padded shoulder straps set nicely on the shoulder.
Note the cross strap which ties the two straps together across your chest.
There are also handy d-rings for clipping small accessories.


On the opposite side there is a fixed band, as well as an adjustable band
with buckle that could be used to stow a tripod or possible to slip over
the extendable handle of your suitcase at the airport. Speaking of
airports, Crumpler states that this bag will fit all but the smallest
overhead compartments.

The two zippers you see a little over midway on either side of the bag
allow access to the expandable pockets on the exterior of the bag. These
pockets are fairly thin-walled (no padding), so they are not suitable for
fragile electronic gear. I stow small items like my mini tripod in these.

Now lets talk about the zippers. Inside and out, this bag has the
sturdiest most durable zippers that I have ever seen. The pull tab feels
solid in your hand and sports the Crumpler logo.

One more external detail before we move inside. The ‘back’ side of the
pack — meaning the surface that presses against your back when wearing
the pack, is very nicely padded and includes what Crumpler calls a “spine
slot” which basically prevents any pressure from being applied to your
spine. Your nervous system will really appreciate this feature. This
padding will also help to cushion the equipment inside when the pack is
off your back.

Let’s take a peek inside (you have been so patient). Here is the inside as
configured for my equipment. Like most photo/video bags, the layout is
customizable using the included velcro panels and compartments.

In fact, you can actually removed the entire inside compartment —
effectively converting the Karachi Outpost into a simple backpack.


This removable compartment is heavily padded to augment the padding built
into the backpack. I actually had the whole works, fully loaded with my
camera and accessories, roll out of my van and onto the blacktop shortly
after I started using the pack and I was not even worried about damage.
This pack makes me feel very secure about my equipment.

Here is a picture of the pack fully loaded. Note the heavy mesh cover over
the main compartment. This keeps the individual pieces in their proper
compartments.

This mesh cover comes with a double zipper of the same heavy construction
as the zippers on the exterior of the bag.

The bag comes with two dividers with flaps to help hold their contents
(you can see them on the right side of the photo below.

On the left side of the photo above you can see the internal zippered
compartment, although it is partially obscured by the cap of my Lumisphere
flash diffuser that my friend Lee out in New Jersey provided. The zipper
on this compartment is a smaller version of the heavier zippers found
elsewhere on this bag. I keep all of my smaller items in here.

As if carrying all of you photo equipment wasn’t enough, the Karachi
Outpost also comes with a laptop sleeve large enough for a 17″ laptop.

As you can see, the laptop sleeve is removable and includes a six pocket
organizer.

The sleeve is held in place inside the lid of the main compartment by a
velcro loop strap and large velcro patch.

To give you a sense for Crumpler’s attention to detail, the large velcro
patch used to secure the laptop sleeve has a velcro flap to cover it when
the laptop sleeve is not in use.

Here is a shot to give you an idea what the Karachi Outpost photo/video
pack can carry (Minus the Canon 20D I used to take the picture).

The overall dimensions are as follows:
15x22x12in [external] 10.5×15.5×1.5in [laptop sleeve]
38x56x30cm [external] 27×39.5x4cm [laptop sleeve]

Materials: Water resistant 1000D Nylon shell & 420D Ripstop Nylon lining

I have now been using this backpack for over three months (as Julie has
been reminding me on a daily basis for quite some time — “Where’s my
review?”, she asks). For my purposes, this is the perfect solution. I
carry everything I need to do professional photographic work on my back,
excepting a method for printing. There is actually room in there for one
of these new mini portable printers, but I don’t have one. Julie?

The pack provides excellent padded protection for valuable camera gear,
looks nice. As an added bonus, it does not ‘look’ like a photo/video bag,
which should reduce the chance of theft. I carry a pretty heavy equipment
load comfortably (yes, I sometimes carry it myself rather than using my
son as a pack mule) with the Karachi Outpost bag. I highly recommend it.

List Price: $350.00AUD -> $260.00US Dollars as of 28 Nov 2005
Available in Dark Brown/Light Oatmeal/Oatmeal or Gun Metal/Black/Mid Grey
Julie found it at Adorama for $225.00

Bonus pic of my son and I in costume at the “Run Like Hell” halloween 5K
run in Indianapolis.

 

Product Information

Price:
Manufacturer:Crumpler
Pros:
  • Excellent protection
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Large capacity
  • Stylish
Cons:
  • None
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, Gear, Laptops and Gear

{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Julie November 29, 2005, 3:19 am

    Post your comments on the Crumpler Karachi Outpost Backpack review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/crumpler_karachi_outpost_backpack

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

    1
  • moldor November 29, 2005, 4:18 am

    I think I have found the perfect bag – while my photographic needs are miniscule compared to William’s, I usually end up being Photographer du Jour at all of my daughter’s school events , and need to carry a Fuji S1 Pro, 35-75mm lens, Sony TRV-11E video camera, various acoutrements, and my 17″ PowerBook, all of which looks like it will fit comfortably in this bag.

    One question: how well padded is the laptop sleeve ? I have a Crumpler School Hymnal for it at the moment, so if that would fit inside the sleeve to give me added protection I would do that – only if the “bare” sleeve is insufficiently padded.

    jon

    2
  • elox November 29, 2005, 4:47 am

    Sounds like a great bag. Any feeling how it would handle a small Mamiya M645 kit (camera/lens, 3 lenses, adjustable shade, flash)?

    I have been looking at the Keystone, which is just slightly smaller, for travelling.

    3
  • moldor November 29, 2005, 4:57 am

    elox wrote:

    Sounds like a great bag. Any feeling how it would handle a small Mamiya M645 kit (camera/lens, 3 lenses, adjustable shade, flash)?

    I have been looking at the Keystone, which is just slightly smaller, for travelling.

    No idea – but damn, that’s a heavy camera to be carrying about…..

    4
  • williamray November 29, 2005, 1:13 pm

    moldor wrote:

    One question: how well padded is the laptop sleeve ? I have a Crumpler School Hymnal for it at the moment, so if that would fit inside the sleeve to give me added protection I would do that – only if the “bare” sleeve is insufficiently padded.

    I think you will find that the padding in the sleeve is quite sufficient — especially since it is enclosed within a well padded backpack shell. As I said in the review, I had the pack roll out of the back of my van and hit the pavement and I barely even flinched.

    5
  • williamray November 29, 2005, 1:17 pm

    elox wrote:

    Sounds like a great bag. Any feeling how it would handle a small Mamiya M645 kit (camera/lens, 3 lenses, adjustable shade, flash)?

    I have been looking at the Keystone, which is just slightly smaller, for travelling.

    I think the Karachi Outpost could be configured to hold all of the equipment you list (and probably more). It is Crumpler’s largest bag, so if it won’t carry all of it, you will have to look elsewhere. I am not familiar with the Keystone, but if it is only slightly smaller, it would probably get the job done. Maybe you could email Crumpler with your equipment list and ask for a recommendation?

    6
  • claytor November 29, 2005, 1:55 pm

    So this is slightly unrelated to the crumpler bag (it is a great review and is making me seriously consider adding it to my Christmas list) when you click on the DSLR link in the article it takes you to the nikon site. I am starting to think about a DSLR and was wondering if you are planing to do a review of how you made your decision. I have been a longtime Nikon fan and love my F100 and am trying to decide which DSLR to go with.

    7
  • williamray November 29, 2005, 2:41 pm

    claytor wrote:

    So this is slightly unrelated to the crumpler bag (it is a great review and is making me seriously consider adding it to my Christmas list) when you click on the DSLR link in the article it takes you to the nikon site. I am starting to think about a DSLR and was wondering if you are planing to do a review of how you made your decision. I have been a longtime Nikon fan and love my F100 and am trying to decide which DSLR to go with.

    For me it came down to frame speed and high iso noise level. The Canon 20D can shoot 5 frames per second and the buffer holds up to 20 frames. This camera also allows you to shoot as soon as a picture clears the buffer, so you don’t have to wait untill all 20 pictures are transferred to the card. The noise is not bad even up to 1600 ISO and I can live with the amount of noise generated at 3200 ISO. Basically, as far as specs go, I thought that the 20D was the 2nd best camera on the market for action photography when I bought it. The number one camera, in my opinion, was the Canon 1D Mark II, but the price tag was around $4500 for the body. Definitely a better camera for sports in more ways than just raw speed, but not three times as good.

    I know that Nikon has some pretty good Digital SLR’s, too. Since I was starting from scratch, I had the luxury of choosing what I thought would be the best camera with no regard for existing lenses and accessories. I assume you have built up a set of Nikon extras which will probably make it hard to walk away from the brand — even if you wanted to and it sounds like you are happy with Nikon.

    Just carefully compare specs and price. Make sure your existing lenses and accessories will work with whatever body you choose. You may find you have to contact someone at a store to get answers because both Nikon and Canon have serious information deficiencies when it comes to their websites. Nikon is probably a little stronger on that front and they do have a decent user bulletin board, but I have come up empty on both the Canon and Nikon websites when I needed specific information in the past. I have had better luck using http://www.bhphoto.com for information and their phone sales personnel are extremely knowledgeable.

    8
  • elox November 30, 2005, 12:18 am

    moldor wrote:

    No idea – but damn, that’s a heavy camera to be carrying about…..

    No, that is the light one:-) My other (seldom used) kit is all older 35mm, mostly metal, and fast prime lenses. My preferred camera is an RB67, but with several backs and lenses, the only thing that makes sense is a rolling case.

    JeffW.

    9
  • moldor November 30, 2005, 3:33 am

    elox wrote:

    No, that is the light one:-) My other (seldom used) kit is all older 35mm, mostly metal, and fast prime lenses. My preferred camera is an RB67, but with several backs and lenses, the only thing that makes sense is a rolling case.

    JeffW.

    Or one with its’ own Prime Mover !! The RB67 is noce, but those prisms… !!!

    10
  • Taj January 26, 2006, 3:44 am

    I have a Toshiba laptop with a 17″ screen the external dimensions are
    16.5x12x2. Will the sleeve fit?

    11
  • Jenn December 27, 2008, 8:47 am

    Great review and the photos were very helpful. This review helped me make my decision on a bag purchase since I live in an area with no camera store besides Ritz. I can’t believe that three years after this review was written there still isn’t a better photo/laptop on the market.

    12
  • Julie December 27, 2008, 10:03 am

    Jenn:
    I think Bill still uses this bag… I’ll have to see if he’ll respond to your comment. He might have some other suggestions for you.

    13
  • Bill December 29, 2008, 9:54 am

    Jenn,

    I still use this bag almost every single day. Can’t believe it has lasted well over three years now. Time flies when you are having fun!

    14
  • Bill September 9, 2009, 11:53 am

    I have now reached five years of continuous use. My gear has actually expanded somewhat since the beginning. I now carry two Canon SLRs (30D and 50D), 70-200f2.8 IS L, 100-400f4.5 IS L, 24-70f2.8 L, 17-40f4 L, 580 EX Flash, Light meter, remote control, lumisphere flash diffuser, 67MM Expo Disk, 67MM Circular polarizer, numerous flash cards, batteries, etc. I no longer carry the laptop in this bag, but all of the camera gear fits in there comfortably.

    Love this bag.

    15
  • scott December 8, 2009, 12:07 am

    You look like Rutger Hauer. I would not pick you up if you were hitchhiking…possibly with the wig…but doubtful.

    16
  • Michael January 4, 2011, 1:05 am

    the karachi outpost you have, is that a medium or a large?

    17
  • Bill Ray January 7, 2011, 10:38 am

    Michael — pretty sure I have the large version. Don’t know how to verify this, though….

    18
  • William Ray June 5, 2012, 7:15 am

    Just one month shy of my Karachi Outpost’s seventh birthday, I experienced a zipper malfunction. Fortunately, the dual zipper design allowed me to continue to secure my gear in the case and complete the job I was on without having cameras and lenses falling out all over the place. When I got home, I sent Crumpler an email regarding the issue through their website (crumpler.com). Megan responded in about an hour and she quickly promised to repair or replace my bag — never mind the seven years of very heavy use. I would have strongly recommended this bag even without the lifetime warranty and excellent customer service. Given the warranty and fine reps like Megan at Crumpler, it is even easier to do so.

    19

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