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Kata 3N1-30 Camera Rucksack - Kata 3N1-30 camera rucksack

By Cliff Smith



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Kata 3N1-30 Camera Rucksack


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The clever part of the design of the 3N1-30 is in the placement of the straps and the position of the zips for the main compartment. The shoulder straps can be unclipped and re-connected either as the twin straps of a rucksack, or by connecting the strap to the clip on the opposite corner it can be worn slung across one shoulder, with the unused strap tucked away behind the back padding. In this position it is easy to swing the back round in front of you, where the side-opening of the main compartment gives quick access to your camera. The compartment opens on both sides, and the internal partitions can be re-arranged for either left or right-handed operation.

The bag can also be worn with both shoulder straps crossed across the chest, which gives the load support of the rucksack configuration, but allows it to be swung around front by simply unclipping one of the straps.

While the swing-around design isn't unique – the Lowepro Slingshot range uses a similar design – the Kata 3N1-30 combines the convenience of this system with the practicality of a well-made rucksack. At £100 it is quite expensive for its size, but since you're effectively getting two bags in one that makes them £50 each, sort of. Sorry, it must be the painkillers.

My only real criticism of the design of the 3N1-30 is that like many current camera rucksacks it has no straps to carry a tripod. Since like most serious photographers I seldom go anywhere without one, this is a bit of a handicap. There is a large D-ring sewn into the front of the bag, but this is mostly cosmetic. I suppose you could tie a tripod onto it, but it would be quite awkward to carry. However the rather nondescript external appearance does have one big advantage; it doesn't immediately scream “I'm a camera bag full of expensive gear! Please steal me!” to every opportunist thief in the area.


The Kata 3N1-30 is a well-made, stylish and cleverly designed bag that is ideal for both keen hobbyist and professional photographers. It has room enough for a large DSLR kit plus other travel items, and its dual-purpose strap system makes it eminently practical for both daily and travel use. If only it had some sort of fastening for a tripod it would be pretty much perfect.

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iain coghill

January 12, 2010, 5:47 am

"My only real criticism of the design of the 3N1-30 is that like many current camera rucksacks it has no straps to carry a tripod."

Perfect to useless in one sentence :(

Sean Groarke

January 12, 2010, 11:40 am

"Since none of the cameras I've ordered for this week have arrived..."

Yeah, like me too, like absolutely NONE of my new cameras have turned up this week either. Don't know WHAT I'll do with myself.



January 12, 2010, 2:30 pm

@Cliff - Any news on when the monthly Photo comp will return?

Peter Aston

January 12, 2010, 2:58 pm

My 3N1-20 (same bag but smaller) came with 2 removable tripod holders - maybe I got the one from your review sample?!


January 12, 2010, 3:48 pm

"If only it had some sort of fastening for a tripod it would be pretty much perfect."

Kata is offering an attachable tripod mount, which you can buy as accessory.

Kata also presented a successor, the 3n1-33 (and 3n1-11/22 for the smaller versions) which has an extra laptop compartment, where a 15" laptop fits in.

I think that the new models are replacing the old ones, but I'm not sure about that.


January 12, 2010, 5:15 pm

Ahh.. nothing says beat me up and rob me quite like a camera rucksack..

Dark of Day

January 12, 2010, 6:32 pm

I've been using a small kata bag for several years now (the ergo-tech Prism-U), it's holding up pretty well after a fair bit of abuse and I love the design, build quality and details. Very tempted by this bag or similar from the kata range, to replace the lowepro compurover I kind of regret buying. (nothing really wrong with it just doesnt work for me) ironically one of the reasons I did buy it was for the tripod holder.

BTW: does/has anyone actually had much of a problem with being "beaten up and robbed" because they had a camera bag on them? i appreciate your chances of being robbed are higher if you're traveling to certain parts of the world, but really wandering about in Britian were every other person seems to have a bag full of laptops and ipods shouldn't be that much of a problem.


January 13, 2010, 12:37 am

@ Dark of Day - I went through a (possibly stupid) phase of photographing East London at night, and never got a second look from the hooded and baseball capped "crew" when I walked around with my well used messenger style Domke shoulder bag. It was a whole different matter when I turned up with a big Lowepro swing bag to photograph the Balfron Tower (the prototype of the Trellick), being eye balled by people on the DLR, bus and while on the street. I ended up being followed around by a gang, who only left me alone when I showed them "the worthless old film camera" inside the bag, which happened to be a Hasselblad 501C/M!

These laptop and camera backpacks look very different to the ordinary sports rucksack, and thieves can tell them apart straight away, even more so after they look in a camera shop to see what the "in" brands are. It doesn't matter what the bag contains, just by identifying them they will be able to determine that it'll probably be worth snatching and finding out later. Crumpler bags are not recommend in London for this very reason, as they are very distinctive and colourful, so can be noticed from a distance and almost always guarantee to contain a win win cargo of either a Macbook or DSLR.

Am I being a paranoid cynic, well perhaps that's what living in Leytonstone and Slough does to someone!

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