An In-Depth review of the New F-Stop Guru Photo Pack

F-Stop Gear has added a new pack to the Mountain Series lineup, called the Guru. In this review, I will run through all the bag’s features and show you a ton of photos of it and how I pack it.

Guru Backpack Sizing

As you would expect, the Guru is designed and manufactured to the high standards we have come to expect from the other packs in the Mountain Series lineup. The main difference is that the Guru is currently the smallest pack of the series with a 25L capacity. This compares to the 37L of the Loka and the Ajna, 50L of the Tilopa, 70L of the Sukha and 80L of the Shinn.

Left to right: Satori (now discontinued), Tilopa, Loka, Guru
Left to right: Satori, Tilopa BC, Loka, Guru
Left to right: Satori, Tilopa BC, Loka, Guru
Satori EXP (discontinued) Vs. Guru

Which ICU For the F-Stop Guru?

The F-Stop ICUs (Internal Camera Units) have always been a vital component of the Mountain Series packs. The Guru is designed to work best with the Shallow Medium, Shallow Small and Pro Small ICUs. These all leave plenty of additional space in the bag for people who want to carry a few extra items with them, such as food or clothing.

In addition to the ICUs in the above diagram, the Slope Medium ICU also fits well in the F-Stop Guru 25L. This ICU is always a popular, versatile option, taking up as much vertical space as the Shallow Medium but giving greater depth at one end for accommodating a pro-sized camera or a camera with a grip.

Small Pro ICU Packing Examples

F-Stop Loka backpack and ICUs
F-Stop Loka backpack and ICUs
Small Pro ICU with 300mm f/2.8 lens

Medium ICU Packing Examples

Slope Medium ICU
Small, Medium, Large ICU. Note that Large does not fit in the Guru and is in the photo for scale only.

F-Stop Guru Backpack Features

  • Lightweight and abrasion-resistant 210D nylon shell with polyurethane (PU) and water-resistant (WR) coatings
  • 15″ laptop pocket with organizer
  • Lightweight articulated EVA-padded hip belt and shoulder straps
  • Tripod straps on both sides
  • Rear access panel
  • Top zipper access
  • Front zippered pocket for rain layers
  • Mesh side pockets

In addition to a 15″ laptop pocket, the Guru also features a comprehensive organizational pocket in the front with multiple internal zippered pockets and slots for accessories. The bag’s small size, inconspicuous looks and excellent organizational features make it a great backpack for a day in the city, a roomy bay for school books or an all-day mountain bike adventure.

Guru Pricing

  • $199 for the shell
  • $289 for the Essential Kit (Bag+rain cover+Shallow Small ICU)
  • $459 for Elite Kit (Bag+rain cover+Shallow Small ICU+Shallow Medium ICU+Accessory Pouches and Straps)

Now please scroll through the 50 photos below, which detail every part of the F-Stop Guru 25L.

Optional rain cover can be stored in the secret pocket on the base of the pack.
The rain cover is an optional addition.
Another optional addition is the waterproof bladder holder which attaches to the inside of the bag to keep potential water spills away from your camera gear.

Added Versatility – Gatekeeper Straps

The versatility of the F-Stop packs has always been a critical feature. You can choose how much camera gear you want to carry in your bag by picking the size of the ICU when you place your order. Perhaps you want just a camera and a lens to take on a weekend trek, or maybe you want to carry a 10-lens arsenal for a huge one day shoot. Both are possible with the proper selection of ICUs. F-Stop was the pioneer of this form of outdoor photography back.

With the Guru, f-stop has introduced a new feature called the Gatekeepers. Durable nylon straps with quick-release buckles. The spring-loaded clips allow easy release of the straps to re-position them to one of several different mounting points on the pack.

If you would like to carry extra gear on the side, no problem, move the Gatekeepers. Or, if you want to keep the bag looking sleek, remove them altogether. The choice is now yours. This new feature will also be included in all future Mountain Series packs.

The new Gatekeeper attachments are now an integral part of the Guru’s versatility.
Position them across the front of the pack………
Or move them onto the sides of the pack. Extra Gatekeepers can be purchased from F-Stop if you want to add more.
And Gatekeeper mounting points are located all around the pack to customize your attachment points to the gear you want to carry.
The hose from your water bladder can be secured behind this mesh.
Sternum strap and water hose holder details
A zippered font pocket is useful for small clothing layers, gloves or snacks.
The left-hand hip belt has Molle loops to attach modular accessories from F-Stop or other popular brands such as Think Tank.
The right hand hip support features a small pocket suitable for your sunscreen, or a small point and shoot camera.
A Pro Small ICU is in the Guru in this shot.
Slope Medium ICU in the Guru
Back panel pocket.
This image shows how much room is left in the Guru when a Small ICU is installed.
And here we have a Medium ICU installed in the Guru.
SD card holder not included.
Whilst not specifically designed for it like the Tilopa, there is room to take this pack backcountry skiing.

Guru as a strobe kit bag

I was asked this question a few times, so here is the pictorial answer. Is the Guru a good pack for carrying a strobe pack and head, particularly an Elinchrom Ranger or large Profoto pack? The answer is yes.

Elinchrom Ranger pack inside the Guru
Plenty of room in the front for all your pocketwizards and the necessary cables and other gizmos
Room for a strobe head and the Ranger pack
The head cable can be neatly folded into the interior front pouch.

Conclusion

The F-Stop Guru is a rugged and highly versatile bag that is a welcome addition to the Mountain Series. In particular, I like the way it straddles the line between mountain pack and capable urban daily carry pack. The other Mountain Series packs would be too large and rather conspicuous on a day in the city. But the Guru easily handles these sorts of duties with style.

Where to Buy

Photo of author

Dan Carr

Professional photographer based in Yukon, Canada, and founder of Shutter Muse. His editorial work has been featured in publications all over the world, and his commercial clients include brands such as Nike, Apple, Adobe and Red Bull.

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