F-Stop Tilopa BC Backpack

F-Stop Tilopa BC Backpack, Blister Gear ReviewF-Stop Tilopa BC (Back Country)

Size: One Size

Large Internal Camera Unit (ICU)

Volume: 48 L / 2,929 Cu. In.

Weight 1,795 Grams / 3.95 lbs. (without ICU)

Dimensions (height x width x depth): 12 x 22 x 10 in. / 30 x 55 x 25 cm

FEATURES:

  • Aluminum Internal Frame
  • Hypalon a-frame ski carry straps
  • Urethane coated 330D double-ripstop nylon
  • Internal Camera Unit (ICU)
  • Compression Straps
  • Snowboard/Tripod Carry
  • Vertical Ski Carry
  • Waterproof zippers
  • Hydration Capabilities

MSRP: $405 (Includes Pack and Large ICU)

Photographers love gear, and packs are an essential part of ensuring our equipment makes it around the world in one piece. Any good camera pack will get your gear from A to B, but in my mind it takes a little more to make a pack great.

Three things I look for to make this distinction are functionality, comfort, and weatherproofing. During recent shoots in the waist-deep powder of Niseko, Japan, hiking the ridge at Taos Ski Valley, and in the humid Caribbean climate of Nevis, I found the F-Stop Tilopa BC pack was exceptional in all three categories.

My first day testing the Tilopa pack was a February day in Niseko, Japan—in full whiteout. I dropped into two-plus feet of powder at the top of Niseko NoSawa, hoping to position myself below the riders set to charge through a birch grove. As I barreled toward the trees, I suddenly dropped into a dip, yard-saled, flipped a few times, and found myself digging toward the surface.

(Full disclosure, I’m far from the strongest skier on the BLISTER roster.)

Embarrassment aside, I was worried about my gear. But after a quick inspection, I saw that it was fine. No snow got in the pack, and everything was in place, thanks to the Tilopa’s well-designed Internal Camera Unit (ICU) and the stabilizing waist and shoulder straps, which kept the bag secure during my aerial display.

This bag and I were off to a good start.

F-Stop Tilopa ICU, Blister Gear Review

The F-Stop Tilopa with Large ICU (click to enlarge).

F-Stop’s packs, including the Tilopa, are divided into two parts: the outer shell with its handy features (which I’ll discuss more below), and the ICU, the self-contained insert for stashing cameras, lenses, etc. The ICUs are available in a number of sizes, which allows some flexibility in how much space is dedicated to camera gear and how much is dedicated to other items. (By the way, F-Stop has an incredibly helpful website that displays dozens of possible configurations and provides a very good sense of what will and won’t fit in this bag: F-Stop Tilopa BC.)

Although I always use the large ICU that came with the Tilopa, filling it with camera gear, this is still a very versatile pack for someone who might have only a small amount of camera equipment and wants to haul other gear into the backcountry. Compression straps also make it easy to adjust the depth for things like airline carry-on size restrictions.

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