Think Tank Mirrorless Mover Backpack Reviewed

The Think Tank Mirrorless Mover Backpack is an affordable addition to the brand’s camera bag lineup designed to hold a modern mirrorless camera kit and your daily essentials. The customizable internal layout includes a horizontal divider to separate camera gear from non-photographic items, and a spacious 5-liter front pocket contains a 14″ padded laptop sleeve.

On paper, the Mirrorless Mover Backpack ticks a lot of boxes for a sub-$150 camera bag, so I was keen to get it in my hands to see how they’d done it. In this review, we’ll examine all the bag’s features, find out what it can carry, and compare it to Think Tank’s other recent entry into the sub-$150 camera bag price bracket, the BackLight Sprint, which I reviewed earlier in the year.

Disclosure: Think Tank Photo sent me the Mirrorless Mover Backpack for this review. No money changed hands, and they were not allowed to see the review before it was published. If US readers buy through their store links on this page, I may make a small commission.

Mirrorless Mover Backpack Specifications

think tank mirrorless mover backpack colors
The Think Tank Mirrorless Mover Backpack is an 18L camera pack available in four colors.
  • Exterior Dimensions – 11” W x 16.5” H x 9” D (28 x 42 x 23 cm)
  • Internal Dimensions – 10” W x 15.5” H x 4.75” D (25 x 39 x 12 cm)
  • Total Volume – 18 Liters
  • Front Pocket Volume – 5 Liters
  • Weight – 2 lbs. 13 oz (1.3 kg) including all dividers and rain cover
  • Materials and Hardware – Poly 600D PU Material, Poly 1260 Ballistics, P200D Liner, P70D Taffeta, 340g Airmesh, YKK® RC zipper, 3-ply bonded nylon thread, Durable water-repellant (DWR) coating
  • Price – Review time price $149.95 – Check current price.

Key Features

  • Full front panel access to view, access, and organize all your gear
  • Large 5-liter front pocket fits a light jacket and/or other personal items
  • Flip-top lid with magnetic closure provides quick access to front pocket
  • Dedicated foam-protected sleeve fits most 14” laptops
  • Zippered security pocket in front pocket with clear material to see contents
  • Expandable side pockets and locking compression straps for water bottles and/or travel tripod
  • Padded shoulder straps with adjustable sternum strap
  • Anatomical back panel design
  • Lumbar pass-through fits Think Tank Pro Speed Belt (not included)
  • Tuck-away waist stabilizer strap
  • Flat base allows bag to stand up on its own
  • Weight-centered top grab handle
  • High-quality YKK® RC zippers
  • Seam-sealed rain cover included

What Fits?

Think Tank always does a fantastic job of including a range of possible gear load-outs in its product shots–I have included them below. It would be pointless for me to recreate near-identical images, so I like to concentrate on assessing the largest lenses that will fit into a bag. Often, it is our largest lens that defines the bag we buy, and I field a lot of, “Will lens X fit into bag Y?” questions via email.

With an internal height of 15.5″, the Think Tank Mirrorless Mover Backpack can easily hold a standard-size 70-200mm f/2.8 with an attached camera body. If you want to have the lens ready to shoot, there’s plenty of room to keep the hood on the lens in the forward-facing position. The same goes for all 100-400mm lenses and the Canon RF 100-500mm lens. Likewise, for lightweight primes like the Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5, Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3, and Sigma 500mm f5.6. The (relatively) lightweight Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 does not fit in this bag.

Moving on to larger telephoto zooms, I tested the Sony 200-600mm G, the Nikon Z 180-600mm, and the Canon RF 200-800mm in the Mirrorless Mover Backpack. All three lenses fit comfortably with or without a camera body attached and the hood reversed. Even with one of these large super-telephoto zooms on board, there is still room for one or two more lenses and a second camera body.

Though they fall within length specifications, the Mirrorless Mover Backpack is not deep enough to accommodate the diameter of the Sony 300mm f/2.8, the Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8, or any 400mm f/2.8 lens. It probably goes without saying, but you won’t fit a 600mm f/4 in there, either.

The Mirrorless Mover Backpack is not deep enough for a pro-sized body like the Z9, R3, R1, or any standard camera body with an attached grip. If you need a Think Tank bag with the depth for a gripped or pro-sized body, I suggest you check out the Think Tank FirstLight backpack or the BackLight 45.

Mirrorless Mover Backpack Design and Features

Main Front Pocket

Lifting the flap on the front of the bag reveals a 5L zippered compartment for storing quick-access items such as a rain jacket, USB battery pack, or headphones. When released, the front flap is secured with magnets. Think Tank says that the magnetic flap allows you to leave the front pocket unzipped for faster access to items stored in the front pocket.

Internal Zippered Pocket

Inside the large front pocket is a small zippered pocket with a key clip. I use this key clip to secure my precious memory card holder. The pocket is also large enough for a few small tools or spare camera batteries, and the transparent design gives you some indication of what’s inside.

Key clip

Laptop Pocket

Inside the bag’s 5L front pocket is a lightly padded laptop sleeve that can hold a 14″ laptop or tablet. The bottom of the laptop sleeve is slightly elevated from the true base of the bag to ensure your computer doesn’t take a knock if you put the bag down too quickly onto the ground.

Camera Access

The Mirrorless Mover Backpack features zippered front-panel camera access. As we have seen in larger Think Tank bags like the FirstLight Series, front-panel access is an efficient way to provide the largest possible access hatch to your gear. Compared to back-panel access camera bags, like those in the BackLight series, a downside to front-panel access bags is the easy entry afforded to potential thieves. The YKK RC zippers on the Mirrorless Mover’s front-panel zippers are not lockable, so I would caution against using this bag in busy urban areas or on packed public transport.

Also noteworthy are the zipper’s small gauge and small zipper pulls, presumably to keep the costs down. While I know there must be sacrifices to get to the sub-$150 price point, it was notable that the identically priced BackLight Sprint backpack reviewed a few months ago had a significantly smoother, much larger gauge zipper for camera compartment access. I found getting a smooth pull on the Mirrorless Mover’s zipper was much harder.

Internal Dividers

This backpack includes a moderate number of interior dividers. In particular, Think Tank highlights the inclusion of the divider that runs horizontally from one side of the bag to the other. This divider can be used to split the bag in two, separating your camera and non-photographic gear.

Side Pockets

Both sides of the backpack feature pleated side pockets that fold and adhere to the bag’s side with hook-and-loop when not in use. Above the side pockets on either side is an adjustable nylon webbing strap to secure externally mounted items.

Tripod Carry

A small travel-sized tripod can be carried on either side of the backpack, with legs in the side pocket and the nylon webbing strap for security. Anything taller than a travel tripod will feel awkward on a bag this size.

Water Bottle Carry

Either of the bag’s side pockets can hold a small water bottle or a taller, skinnier coffee mug. However, the pockets are not large enough for a 2L Nalgene.

Shoulder Straps and Comfort

The shoulder straps and back panel are made from an aerated mesh. The shoulder straps are relatively thin but wide enough to disperse the weight of a moderate load while carrying it for a couple of hours. As with many aspects of this bag, the materials and hardware feel cheaper than a typical Think Tank bag, so you should not expect to get something that feels as good as a BackLight 26 that costs twice as much.

Sternum Strap

The harness includes a basic, lightweight, adjustable sternum strap. The strap can be moved up and down on the bag’s shoulder straps to accommodate different chest sizes.

Waist Belt

The nylon waist belt stabilizes the load while moving quickly or traversing uneven ground. Unlike a more fully featured (expensive) hiking-style camera pack, the belt doesn’t feature any padding and isn’t designed to transfer the bag’s weight through your hips.

Lumber Pass-Though

Optional belts. Pro Speed Belt and Skin Belt.

If the basic stabilizing hip belt isn’t enough for your adventures, the Mirrorless Mover Backpack features a pass-through on the bag’s lumber support to fit an optional padded Pro Speed Belt or the Think Tank Skin Belt.

Rain Cover

The backpack includes a seam-sealed rain cover. Unusually for a Think Tank bag, the cover does not fold into a small bag, making it slightly messy to store among your camera gear and personal items. Stuffing it to the bottom of the bag’s front pocket was my best solution.

Compared to The BackLight Sprint

Another recently reviewed camera backpack from Think Tank Photo is the 15L BackLight Sprint. While many bags are in the Think Tank catalog, this one stood out as a potential alternative as it shares the same $149.75 price point as the Mirrorless Mover Backpack.

Comparing the two bags, the BackLight Sprint is slightly taller than the Mirrorless Mover Backpack but not as wide. It has stretchy side pockets that can handle larger water bottles, and the overall design aesthetic is a bit more outdoorsy. In terms of carrying comfort, the BackLight Sprint had a slight edge in my testing due to the taller shape that kept the bag’s weight closer to the line of my spine. The BackLight also features a padded hip belt, compared to the unpadded belt of the Mirrorless Mover.

With a more urban-centric design, the Mirrorless Mover Backpack includes a dedicated padded laptop sleeve for up to a 14″ laptop and ample room to carry a tech pouch and a tablet in the front pocket alongside a lightweight rain jacket. Access to your camera gear is through the front of the bag on the Mirrorless Mover, whereas the BackLight Sprint’s access is through the back panel.

Considering the Mirrorless Mover Backpack and the BackLight Sprint are priced the same, I found the latter to feel like a much more expensive product. If you don’t need the laptop sleeve in the Mirrorless Mover, it’s definitely worth exploring this alternative option in more detail by reading my Think Tank BackLight Sprint review.

Mirrorless Mover Shoulder Bags

If you like the style of the Mirrorless Mover Backpack but prefer a shoulder bag, you’re in luck. Think Tank also has a range of Mirrorless Mover Shoulder Bags featuring the same colors and materials. You can read the Think Tank Mirrorless Mover Shoulder Bag review for more details.

Conclusion

With the Mirrorless Mover Backpack, Think Tank Photo delivers a no-frills but stylish camera pack for those on a tight budget. If you want a colorful camera bag for a mirrorless kit, a 14″ laptop, and a few daily essentials, this might be the right bag, but it won’t be for everyone.

I appreciate that Think Tank is trying to add more products at lower prices in its catalog. Still, long-time brand fans should know that hitting this sub-$150 price point doesn’t come without sacrifice. Some materials and hardware used on this bag are noticeably cheaper than I’m used to seeing on Think Tank products. That’s just the honest truth. This feels like a bag designed for a different market, and if you’ve already got a well-established Think Tank bag collection, this bag might not be for you.

Not too long ago, I also reviewed the Think Tank BackLight Sprint backpack, priced at the same sub-$150 price point as the Mirrorless Mover Backpack. After testing that bag, I came away thinking that it was a great deal, and I didn’t get quite the same sense that so many corners had been cut to hit the price point. I found the BackLight Sprint to have better zipper pulls, a larger gauge on the main zipper, a padded waist belt, thicker shoulder strap padding, a nicer sternum strap buckle, and the same great, elasticated side pockets found on all the other more expensive BackLight bags.

In my review of that BackLight Sprint, I praised the Think Tank designers for maintaining the brand’s essence and quality feel while somehow magically hitting that new low price point. I still don’t know how that managed that, but I’m not getting that feeling with the Mirrorless Mover. As someone who has tested many (most?) of Think Tank’s bags, I can see and feel where money was saved on this bag, and the result is a bag that doesn’t give me the usual fuzzy, “I want to take this bag on an adventure right now” feelings.

If I had to guess, I’d say that the added manufacturing complexity of the front pocket and laptop sleeve on the Mirrorless Mover Backpack–something not found on the BackLight Sprint–needed offsetting with some cheaper hardware and interior material choices. So there’s your choice for cheaper Think Tank camera backpacks: If your budget is $150 and you need a laptop sleeve, you’ll need to choose the Mirrorless Mover. However, if you don’t need the laptop sleeve and the 15L size is right, I recommend checking out the BackLight Sprint instead.

Where to Buy

US Customers who click this link get a free gift when they spend over $50 in the Think Tank/MindShift online store. For more details or if you have any issues, see this post.

As always, using our links for your purchases is appreciated. Of course, US readers should shop directly with Think Tank to take advantage of the gift you get when spending over $50. Canadian readers should shop with B&H Photo as they offer free shipping and the option to pre-pay the tax and duties. This results in a better final price than buying from Think Tank distributors in Canada.

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.

Featured Posts

You may like