F-stop Loka Backpack

F-Stop Loka

F-stop Loka, Blister Gear Review

F-stop Loka

Volume: 37-liter / 2257 Cubic Inches

Weight: 1.56 kgs / 3.45 lbs (No ICU)

Dimensions (in): 8.5 depth x 12 width x 22 height

Dimensions (cm): 21.6 depth x 30.5 width x 55.9 height

Features:

  • DWR-treated, 330D Double Ripstop Nylon with 1500mm Polyurethane coating
  • Enhanced EVA-padded hip belt, EVA-padded shoulder straps, and internal aluminum frame
  • Jersey laminate EVA-padded back panel
  • YKK® heavy gauge zippers
  • Duraflex® buckles
  • Hypalon® zipper garages
  • Heavy-duty, industrial cross-stitching in key areas

MSRP: Shell Only (No ICU) – $279 / Shell + 1 ICU – $339 / Shell + 2 ICUs $399 / Shell + 3 ICU’s $449

Test Locations: Skiing: Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Utah backcountry. Backpacking: Havasupai, AZ. Mountain BIking: all over the Salt Lake valley, Park City, southern Utah. General Travel: Costa Rica.

Days Tested: ~50

Before I started using the F-stop Loka, I hadn’t invested that much thought into camera-specific packs, and I certainly never regarded them as an essential piece of my camera kit. But this may have been because I had only used camera bags that hadn’t had much thought put into them…

Over the past several months I have taken the F-stop Loka on many adventures and assignments. I’ve taken it skiing (both inbounds and backcountry) and mountain biking; I’ve taken it on short hikes and multi-day backpacking trips; and I’ve used it to transport valuable camera gear. It has not once let me down, and I’ve only found a few minor ways in which it might be improved.

F-stop describes their Loka model as “the ultimate camera bag for the hard-working day shooter.” The Loka is positioned in their Mountain Series lineup between the Guru, a lighter and smaller day pack, and the Tilopia BC, a higher-volume pack designed for overnight trips or those needing to carry more gear. (See Blister’s review of the F-stop Tilopia BC.) All of the packs in the F-stop Mountain Series are designed with a focus on rugged, outdoor use.

F-stop Loka, Alta Ski Area, Blister Gear Review

Dan Finn shooting at Alta Ski Area.

Materials / Construction

I am generally pretty hard on my gear, and the Loka has endured some rough conditions including snow, dirt, dust, and mud, and handled it all very well. The Loka is built with very sturdy materials that should continue to handle this abuse for the long haul. The majority of the pack material is made of 330D Double Ripstop Nylon with a 1500mm Polyurethane coating. The bottom of the pack is made of a rubber-like material that feels quite thick and rugged.

While the pack is not entirely waterproof, it comes pretty close, and YKK Aquaguard zippers and a DWR coating help fend off most moisture. Should you need to take it out in torrential downpours or really wet environments, there is a rain cover that can be added, and that stores in the dedicated rain cover pocket at the bottom of the pack. I never had to use the rain cover, and I never had any issues with moisture getting to my camera gear.

Fit

I used to think that my previous camera pack, the Dakine Sequence, was a pretty good camera pack. But the Loka is better in every way possible, especially the fit.

I never felt like I trusted the Sequence in activities where I really needed to, namely skiing or biking. I was always very aware that it was on my back and loaded with gear. Every bounce or undulation in the snow or bike trail reminded me of what was on my back, which was always both distracting and nerve racking.

With the Loka, I’ve had a very different experience: sometimes I forget the pack is there, and I am not constantly thinking “don’t crash, don’t crash, you have thousands of dollars on your back.” Instead, I frequently forget to buckle the waist and chest straps, and the pack still feels very secure with these undone. Plus I’m not constantly stressing about the gear I’m carrying with me.

F-stop Loka, Blister Gear Review

Dan Finn, with the F-Stop Loka, Guacamole Trail, Virgin, Utah.

0 Comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*