Kata HB-205 & R-102

Nikon D700 DSLR

Kata HB-205 Hiker Rucksack

A brilliant rucksack this and incredibly versatile as you will see! It has the usual Kata high quality construction so should stand the test of time and it looks great as well. Outside one big zipped external pocket will take a few small accessories and a tiny laptop like a 10” but nothing bigger; there are also two side mesh pockets that will take a water bottle or flash ort a small wide angle lens. Inside it is surprisingly large and in my tests I managed to load it with the following by re-arranging the supplied dividers:

Normal Day Out

  • Canon EOS 1Ds MK2 with 70-200 f2.8L IS lens and 1.4x teleconverter attached
  • 100-400mm lens
  • 24-70mm f2.8L lens and hood
  • 3 small extra compartments for spare batteries, flash, downloader etc

Taking a Bigger Lens

  • Canon EOS 1Ds MK2 with 300mm f2.8L IS lens attached (hood reversed)
  • 70-200 f2.8L IS lens and 1.4x teleconverter
  • 24070mm f2.8L lens and hood
  • Space for downloader etc but not as much as above

Taking an extreme lens!

  • Canon EOS 1Ds MK2 with 300mm f2.8L IS lens attached (hood reversed)
  • 500mm F4L IS lens with hood reversed (unbelievable!)
  • No more space inside but plenty in outside pockets

As you can see an incredibly versatile rucksack with is vital in these days of ever changing kit! For a normal day out you can really load it and even if you take a larger lens like a 300mm f2.8L IS you can still fit a lot inside. But the real surprise for me came when I tried to fit in the 500, which is usually impossible. With the hood reversed (and with a neoprene end cover not the supplied one) I could fit in the 500 and have the 300mm f2.8L IS attached to the 1DS Mk2 body right next to it! Ok so it is tight, but it is certainly possible, and I can still fit in the odd battery and downloader in the outside and side pockets. And the best thing is that it is perfectly within cabin baggage size and does not look too heavy! A great all-purpose rucksack.

Kata R-102 Rucksack

Kata R-102 Rucksack

Asmaller rucksack than the HB series but one that is made for the normal average photographer to take what they need on a day shoot or a holiday. The outside has a brilliant quick access flap which unzips to reveal the camera and lens inside ready to be used. Also on the outside are two small zip pockets which are perfect for spare batteries, even the large ones for the Canon 1D series of DSLRs. Inside the rucksack opens into a series of performed compartments, which can be moved but I would advise against it as they are designed for one purpose, to hold a DSLR with a decent lens attached and still have space for a few accessories around the outside. Here is what I loaded into it:

  • Canon EOS 1Ds MK2 with 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens and 1.4x teleconverter attached (also fits the 100-400 range of lens).
  • 24-70mm f2.8L lens
  • 100mm macro lens
  • Space for batteries, cards, downloader etc

If you use another brand of camera then please substitute similar lenses in here. The central compartment is shaped to take the DSLR / Lens combo mentioned above, which is all that most photographers will need. The rucksack is made with all the usual Kata design feature and looks damn good too. It has a good padded harness but no waistbelt since you will not need one with the kind of loading that you will be putting inside. In short a good rucksack to take a simple DSLR / lens combo for most applications and well within cabin baggage size. The great feature of this (and the R-101 and R-103) is the external quick access flap which saves you having to open the entire rucksack to get at your camera.


This review is the copyright of Andy Rouse Wildlife Photography Ltd and Wex Photographic Ltd. No part of this review may be emailed, quoted or in any other way reproduced without the written permission of Andy Rouse. All opinions expressed are those of Andy Rouse and no third party has been consulted.

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