It’s a habit you’ve had since school days: swinging a backpack off your shoulder. Over the years, that weary swing has become embedded in your muscle memory. You’ve graduated to heavier bags and maybe injured your shoulder, yet still you swing the pack by its strap and off your back.
Dayhiking and backpacking will have you performing this action as often as you look at a map or reach for a camera or hand out dog treats or grab binoculars or reach for a bandana or banana.
But thanks to MindShift Gear, we can now do all those things without unclipping our waist belts and dropping the pack. The California company, which initially funded their project on Kickstarter, has made it possible to kick the habit.
All Mindshift Gear packs feature ‘Rotation 180,’ belt packs that snuggle into the main pack and swivel out with an easy pull on the hip belt.
That means you can stash the rotating smaller pack with trail essentials. It’s made especially for photographers (Mindshift Gear was founded by the folks at Think Tank Photo and renowned conservation photographer Daniel Beltra) with removable, Velcro-adhered pads to keep cameras safe. But I stashed mine with snacks, sunglasses, hat, as well as my camera.
I tried it on several Oquirrh mountain day hikes. Admittedly, it took a while to shake the ‘unbuckle and whip it off my back’ habit and adopt the ‘unclip and spin’ move. Even this klutz got it down within an hour.
I could easily spin the belt pack without taking my eyes off the trail. I could grab my camera from the pack without taking my eyes off that soaring hawk. I could grab and hand out dog treats without stopping.
Say what you will about the invasion of technology into our wilderness mindsets. Here’s one technical advance that helps keep your focus where you want it to be.
Aside from the Rotation 180 innovation, MindShift got the simple stuff right, too. There is an open, main compartment for stashing less essential gear (first aid kit, extra layers, extra water).
As we all know, simple things stink when done wrong. Flubbed design features can quickly become pet peeves. As I’ve discovered with other packs:
- Pull tabs that don’t feel good when you pull them and don’t work if you’re wearing gloves.
- Hip and chest straps that fall in the wrong place or rub uncomfortably.
- Zippers that grab and fight.
- Silly, pointless pockets.
My Mindshift rotation 180 Panorama gave me newly formed habits of ease and no pet peeves.
Check out the overnight Cotopaxi pack here.