I’ve had this bag for nearly four months now, so I’m not sure if that qualifies it as a long term test, but it’s certainly more than a “use it for a week to see if you like it” test. Certainly long enough to list its ups and downs.
The Kata DR-467 is part of Kata’s Digital Photo Series and Kata says it “features a unique TST RIB structural protection for a Digital SLR with mounted lens, 3-4 extra lenses, flash etc. plus a laptop & personal gear. The main compartment holds a Digital SLR in top grip position...” and so on. The reality is, it fits plenty, and like most of us, we’ll cram in as much as we can. It even comes with a 5 year guarantee - you can’t argue with that.
But it’s only a bag right? Yep, just a bag, but a bloomin’ good one. I didn’t want to let that out so early in the review, but I just did.
I’ve had one of these styles by another brand for a couple of years now; I bought it in haste for a plane trip to Jamaica. It was at least double the price of this one and it has sat sadly in the back of my office ever since, holding precisely nothing. It never felt comfortable, it felt worse when loaded with gear, and I always felt in danger of the bag emptying itself on the floor when I just wanted to reach in and grab something. Someone somewhere probably loves that bag, just not me.
So to the Kata, which is why we’re here. I can’t say I was over eager to road test a bag; after all, isn’t a bag just a bag that carries your gear? When I first opened it, the inside was bright yellow, and the eagerness died a little more. (I’ll come back to why the yellow inside eventually got my vote in a bit...) But whatever – I’ve nothing to lose by trying it so I shoved my laptop in the back section and a compact and a few bits in the front and headed for some meetings in town feeling a little dubious about the bag on my back.
I spend my life with at least a laptop and a camera of some sort which gives me just a little neck ache, but by the time I got home again I’d almost forgotten the bag was there. Whilst it’s designed to carry a lot more than I had put in, it felt weightless. Stroke of genius that. Not sure what it is about the straps of the Kata DR-467, but they have a sponge-like effect, not bouncy like a bungee, but just a soft cushioning of the weight of the rucksack.
So I started to load it with 35mm gear, a Digital SLR, a few lenses, the laptop, a few portable hard drives (used to be a couple of hundred rolls of film) and without too much help from Houdini, it all disappeared inside. Most of the time this then just gets slung in the back of the car - but when we arrive at the location, that is when the bag is getting picked up and put down, a lot.
Every photographer will have their own unique set of gear to load, whether your interest is landscape, portrait, or reportage etc, and while it’s unlikely that you’ll catch me trekking up mountains to take pictures anytime soon, if I did however, it’d be with this bag. In the comfort stakes, it’s first rate.
There has to come a little warning of just how much the bag (or any bag) will carry – it is human nature for photographer’s that we cram in as much as we can, and then wonder why it weighs a ton. Trouble is, whilst the answer is staring us in the face, we still can‘t work it out... Simple really: load it, just don’t overload it!
The Kata DR-467 DPS Digital Rucksack has seen the inside of a few planes this year and therefore the inside of a few overhead luggage compartments too. It fitted in nicely each time. Nor was it a burden lugging it around an airport either, or in fact getting it through the security machines.
In terms of protection, the Kata DR-467 rucksack is well padded where it counts, with neat flexible foam dividers to provide holding and padding for your lenses and camera. There’s even a fold out “rain cape” that covers the entire bag if you like standing in a downpour. Needless to say it is of course a yellow “rain cape”. Which brings me back to the yellow interior - bit of a culture shock at first, but one that grew on me quite quickly. Seeing as most things in your bag are generally dark, a bright background makes them so much easier to find... So for now, yellow is the new black, at least on the inside of a bag.
If this bag was Dancing on Ice it'd be a