Note: This bag is no longer manufactured. For its closest replacement in the MindShift Gear range, please read my review of the new MindShift Rotation 22L backpack.
MindShift Gear has just launched a new pack in their Rotation 180 lineup, the Trail. I’ve had one of these packs for a few days now so I’ve put together an exclusive first look video which you can watch below. The Trail is a lightweight 16L pack designed for outdoor adventures with a minimalist camera setup. Many readers will be familiar with the Rotation 180 series, but if not, you might also want to check out the review of the R180 Pro and the R180 Panorama.
Exclusive First Look Video
I’m a huge fan of the rotation system so it’s great to see it filter down into bags of different sizes. I like to keep a camera with me as much as possible, even if it’s just a body and one lens. The R180 Panorama was too much camera bag for that, but the Trail fits the bill perfectly. I haven’t spent enough time with the bag to draw a full conclusion though. I’ll be publishing a longer review in the coming weeks but already I can see this bag getting more use than my Panorama does. I love the elasticized stuff pocket on the front, and the top loading hydration system works so much better than the side pocket on the Panorama. Since I have the R180 Pro for those days when I want to take a ton of gear with me, perhaps the Panorama was just a little too close to that in size for me. The Trail on the other hand, serves a totally different purpose for me. A simple lightweight one lens kit.
- Rotating beltpack for accessing trail essentials: compact DSLR or mirrorless camera system, 8” tablet (iPad mini), binoculars, maps, guide book, energy bars, food, and more.
- Dedicated zippered hydration compartment fits any 1.5 liter reservoir or a 2 liter CamelBak
- 2 bags in 1: Removable beltpack can be worn on its own for traveling light
- Backpack holds jacket, layers, hat, gloves, lunch and more
- Front stretch pocket provides flexible carrying options for quick access
- Small tripod carries easily on the side panel
- Top pocket for quick access to small items
- Mesh stretch pocket fits a water bottle
- Bike-light attachment
- Beltpack compression straps
- Lightweight materials
- Breathable padded airflow harness with adjustable sternum strap
- Optional rain cover (sold separately) functions with rotation technology
Beltpack Gear Profiles
- Hiker: Mirrorless camera, iPad, GPS device, smartphone, radio, headlamp, knife
- Bird Watcher: Binoculars, iPad, bird watching book, map, bird list, voice recorder.
- Mountain Biker: GPS, GoPro, cell phone, map, energy bars, bike tools, banana, sunglasses
- Skier: Energy bar, flask, lip balm, trail map, hand-warmers, liner gloves, sunglasses
Beltpack Camera Profiles
- Sony a7 with 28–70mm kit lens attached + 55mm f/1.8 + iPad mini
- Nikon D5300 with 18–55mm kit lens attached + 75–300mm + iPad mini
- Canon Rebel t5i with 18–55mm kit lens attached + 75–300mm + iPad mini
- 1-3 GoPro cameras, LCD back, remote, batteries, SD cards, various mounts and adapters
- Fits a light jacket and an extra layer, hat, gloves, food, sunscreen and more.
The R180 Trail is $179.99.
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18 thoughts on “MindShift Rotation 180 Trail – First Look”
So glad to see this review Dan! But now I’m on the fence vs. the Panorama Help me out. I’d love this pack for the smaller size. I already have a Guru and a Loka, but really want the rotating belt pack for SKIING, which is 90% of my use. I use an Oly E-M1 with 12-40 PRO lens, but will probably add the new 40-150 PRO which IMO would be a killer skiing combo. Mostly Western resort lift-accessed, but often with some OB hiking, or cat skiing. My biggest concern with getting the Trail 180, which I am considering is how securely I could strap on a pair of DPS Wailers while I’m hiking someplace like Silverton. Will this pack cut it or should I go for the Panorama? Oh, and will this fit a standard size AVY shovel inside somehow?
Sorry for the delay…..been away shooting for a couple of weeks. No I would not recommend the Trail for a shovel or attaching skis. It’s not beg enough for that at all. You’ll be better with the Panorama.
Dan, are you able to comment at all on whether the rotating hip belt sits high enough to accommodate wear/use while wearing a climbing harness? Climbing photography is logistically challenging and I love the idea of being able to rotate the pouch to access additional gear and change lenses while on a climb…I just wonder if it’s actually possible to wear with a harness. Thanks for any input you may be able to provide!
Good question….. I’ll give it a try later with my harness. Stay tuned.
I can confirm that I was able to easily use this pack whilst wearing my climbing harness. Although it does beg the question….. since you cannot easily access the contents of the top half of the pack whilst climbing, why not just remove the belt pack and use it on it’s own? Either way, it’s an option. I guess if it was a long multi pitch ascent there could be a use for having the whole pack with you. Let me know how you get on with it A.J and if you do decide to buy one, I’d greatly appreciate it if you could clikc through one of the links here on my site. Thanks!
Thanks for the quick test and reply! For single pitch stuff, I do think the belt pack would be sufficient. I currently use a LowePro Slingshot up on the wall and end up stuffing it in my regular climbing pack with some gear and a rope on top. One of the larger Mindshift packs (probably the Panorama) would allow me to use one bag for everything (multi-pitch climbing, hiking, skiing, etc.). I’ll be picking one up before I take any winter trips, so I’ll be sure to use an affiliate link. Thanks again.
Appreciate it! Thanks!
Dan: Thanks for the review! So far, yours is still the only review online.
For the belt pack, is it possible to fit a Fuji X-T1 with lenses like 35mm f/1.4, 56mm f/1.2 and 55-200mm?
Gosh that’s tough to say since I don’t own those. I Think you’d be fine with the camera and the two primes. Or the zoom and one of the primes. I think that all of them would be pushing it though…. sorry I can’t give a definitive answer!
Dan: Thanks a lot for your prompt reply! I am thinking to get a pack for a 3d2n hike in the mountain. It seems like the trail would only have enough space for a 2d1n trip? I am also thinking of the panorama but the location for the reservoir seems to be sub-optimal.
What are you sleeping in for you “N”? I don’t know where you would put a tent or sleeping bag on the Trail. Even the Panorama would be tricky. They aren’t really designed with that in mind.
I was thinking to hook the tent and sleeping bag under the bag. They can be quite compact, measuring slightly more than half a meter in length.
I don’t think it’s the best use for such a bag though. Why sacrifice comfort? Why not use something that’s designed for carrying that stuff? It would be fine on the R180 Pro because that has the support and padding to make it comfortable. But I personally wouldn’t use either the Trail or the Panorama for that kind of thing.
That makes sense. Thanks a lot Dan! I am looking forward to testing these packs in the store. They’re no where to be seen in Hong Kong yet.
May I ask, whether the bag sits on your shoulder or your hips? I guess when you have the camera at front, then all remaining weight is on shoulders, but how about, when you have it in default position? Thank you very much for answer. Does your shoulders hurt by the end of the wohle-hiking-day?
There’s enough width of waist strap to take the weight if you want it to, for an average size man. Since the volume of the bag is very small, I do not think it is uncomfortable after a day of hiking, no. It’s very hard to load this bag too heavy because it is quite small.
Thank you very much for your answer. It helps me to decide. I am the master in loading bags very heavy:))
Haha. In some cases then it’s good to limit your pack size because it forces you to pack lighter 🙂