Shimoda Women’s Series Tested – Camera Packs With Comfortable Shoulder Straps for All

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Alongside the Action X v2 pack launch, Shimoda unveiled a new Women’s Collection of camera bags based around the Explore v2 and Action X v2 packs in their lineup. We have individually reviewed the standard Action X v2 series of packs and the also-new Action X70 HD. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the new Shimoda Women’s Collection. We’ll discuss the differences between the standard versions of these bags, the bespoke women’s versions, and the various other options that Shimoda provides for women to get a comfortable fit with any of their photography backpacks.

Shimoda Women’s Collection Camera Bag Lineup

Shimoda Women's Collection
The Shimoda Women’s Collection

The Shimoda Women’s Collection comprises five Teal-colored camera packs based on the Explore v2 and Action X v2 packs. It includes:

A previous article has discussed the difference between the Shimoda Explore v2 and Action X v2 packs. There’s no need to go over that again. What is essential to know is that the Women’s Action X and Women’s Explore packs feature identical, bespoke women’s specific shoulder straps. The Women’s Action X v2 packs also feature the Air Mesh back panel and shoulder strap padding from the Explore v2 series. This is distinct from the standard version of the Action X v2, which uses high-density EVA foam padding. Aside from those two changes, the Shimoda Women’s Collection packs are the same as the regular versions.

Pack Specifications

Women’s Explore 25 v2Women’s Explore 30 v2Women’s Action X25 v2Women’s Action X30 v2Women’s Action X40 v2
Weight (shell)3.5lb / 1.57kg3.6lb / 1.65kg3.9lbs / 2.01kg4.2lbs / 1.9kg4.6lbs / 2.1kg
Outside Dimensions (in):10.6W x 18.3H x 6.6D in.11.6W x 20.3H x 6.6D in.10.6W x 18.9H x 6.7D in.11.8W x 20.1H x 6.7D in.11.8W x 20.9H x 7.9D in.
Outside Dimensions (cm):27W x 46.5H x 17D cm29.5W x 51.5H x 17D cm27W x 48H x 17D cm30W x 51H x 17D cm30W x 53H x 20D cm
Inside Dimensions (in):10.2W x 17.9H x 6.2D in.11.2W x 19.8H x 6.2D in.10.4W x 18.7H x 6.3D in.11.6W x 19.9H x 6.3D in.11.6W x 20.7H x 7.5D in.
Inside Dimensions (cm):26W x 45.5H x 16D cm28.5W x 50.5H x 16D cm26.5W x 47.5H x 16D cm29.5W x 50.5H x 16D cm29.5W x 52.5H x 19D cm
Max Laptop Size14″16″14″16″16″
Compatible Core Units Small Mirrorless Small Mirrorless / Medium Mirrorless / Large MirrorlessSmall MirrorlessSmall Mirrorless / Medium Mirrorless / Large MirrorlessAll Sizes

Shimoda Women’s Collection Straps

The standout feature of the Shimoda Women’s packs is the shoulder strap. The straps curve away from the chest area, while dual sternum straps eliminate awkward pressure points. To further help adjust the packs for all shapes and sizes, they feature adjustable torso length and a clever adjustable hip belt that allows you to reposition the hip padding for those with smaller waists.

The bags all feature a side camera access flap in addition to the rear back panel access.

Core Unit Choices

Shimoda’s Core Units allow you to customize the camera carrying capacity of their photograph packs. Each Shimoda Women’s pack comes with a Core Unit, but many people buy additional sizes to suit specific needs. They are available in three depths (Mirrorless, DSLR, and DV) and various sizes from Small to XXL. The naming of the Core Unit depths can be confusing, so let me summarize what they can hold:

  • Mirrorless Core Units – For mirrorless cameras or DSLRs
  • DSLR Core Units – For gripped mirrorless cameras, gripped DSLRs, or pro-sized DSLRs/Mirrorless (Canon R3, Nikon Z9, etc.)
  • DV Core Units – For super-telephoto lenses or large cine cameras.

Not all Core Units fit in all of Shimoda’s packs. Below is a list of Core Units compatible with the Shimoda Women’s Collection packs. Core Units in bold are the ones that are included with the pack as part of the kit. You may wish to buy one or more additional Core Units to tailor your camera kit to different missions.

Small, Medium, and Large Mirrorless Core Units

Compatible Core Units

  • Women’s Action X25 v2 – Small Mirrorless
  • Women’s Action X30 v2 – Small Mirrorless / Medium Mirrorless / Large Mirrorless
  • Women’s Action X40 v2 – Small Mirrorless / Medium Mirrorless / Large Mirrorless / Medium DSLR / Large DSLR
  • Women’s Explore X25 v2 – Small Mirrorless
  • Women’s Explore X30 v2 – Small Mirrorless / Medium Mirrorless / Large Mirrorless

Shimoda Women’s Shoulder Straps

What if you don’t like the Teal color of the Women’s Series bags or want a pack size that isn’t offered? That’s where Shimoda’s Women’s Shoulder Straps come in.

Aside from the Women’s Series bags already mentioned–fitted as standard with a women’s specific strap– Shimoda also makes a standalone series of women’s shoulder straps that can be used to convert other colors and sizes of Shimoda packs to a more female-friendly shape.

There are three main reasons you would buy one of the women’s straps instead of one of the Women’s Series bags: First, it broadens the range of available backpack sizes. The Women’s Series bags are available in the most-popular 25L and 30L sizes for the Explore v2 and 25L, 30L, and 40L sizes for the Action X v2. If those sizes don’t suit your needs, you can buy a regular Explore 35 v2, an Action X50 v2, or an Action x70 HD and then fit it with one of the Women’s straps.

Once you’ve chosen a type of strap, there are three color options: Black, Army Green and Yellow.

The second reason you might consider going down this route is if you prefer to have an Explore v2 or Action X v2 in a color other than the Teal that is exclusive to the Women’s Series. Since the women’s straps are available in Yellow, Black, and Army Green, you can choose a regular Explore v2 or Action X v2 in any of those colors and convert it to fit your body. Or you can mix things up with a combination, like pairing a yellow strap with a black pack.

The third reason you might choose the Women’s Strap instead of simply buying one of the Teal Women’s Series bags is if one of the optional straps better fits your body shape. All of the Teal Women’s Series bags come pre-fitted with a women’s specific strap designed to fit most people. However, choosing a separately purchased women’s strap opens up those three different sizing options.

While all these options make choices a little complicated, and while I wish the Women’s Tech, Simple, and Petite straps were also available in Teal, it’s better to have an abundance of choices than a shortage of options. The downside to doing things this way, instead of simply buying one of the Teal Women’s Series packs, is that you must buy the pack and the Women’s strap separately. Although the Women’s straps are a very reasonable $34.99, this cost must be factored into your overall decision. Are the additional color choice or sizing options worth the extra cost? For some, they will be.

Hiking in Alaska with the Shimoda Women’s Action X30 v2.

Where to Buy + Save 10%

Shimoda Designs has offered Shutter Muse readers a 10% discount on anything purchased through their online stores. US, Canadian, UK, French, or German residents should use the discount code ShutterMuse10 after clicking here to access the store. Australian readers should use the same code on the local Shimoda distributor’s site, Maxxum, instead.

I recommend shopping directly with Shimoda, if you can, to take advantage of that 10% discount. However, using one of our other links is always appreciated if you can’t do that. Shimoda doesn’t ship directly to Canada, so fellow Canadians should buy from B&H Photo using the links below to take advantage of their free shipping and easy pre-paid duties.

Shimoda Women’s Series Camera Bags

The Women’s Series packs come in the Teal color and include women’s specific shoulder straps and a Core Unit.

Regular Action X v2 Series

If you’d prefer an Action X v2 in a color other than Teal, women can buy the regular bags in Yellow, Black, or Army Green, and add on the optional Women’s Shoulder Strap.

Regular Explore v2 Series

If you’d prefer an Explore v2 in a color other than Teal, women can buy the regular bags in Black or Army Green and add on the optional Women’s Shoulder Strap.

Shimoda Core Units

The Shimoda Women’s series packs come as a kit with an included Core Unit. Many people like to buy an additional Core Unit to tailor their camera carrying options to different missions. If you choose the “shell only” option of one of the regular bags, you must choose at least one Core Unit.

Shimoda Pack Accessories

Photo of author
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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