I was lucky enough to get my hands on the latest release from F-Stop bags, the 70 Litre SUKHA hiking bag. This bag is designed for longer distances and time adventures with the ability to carry enough equipment for at least a few days out in the wild.
As people would know I hike a fair bit, well actually a lot. With my Overland Track tours running a couple of times a season, workshops at Cradle Mountain which contain lengths of exploring and my free time hiking around this beautiful state of Australia, I cover some serious kilometres.
So to have a camera bag that also allows me to carry most, if not my entire camera equipment is a very good thing. I have previously owned the TILOPA bag from F-Stop which is a 50litre bag, great for a long day adventure or short overnighter, but really limited to doing longer trips… enter the SUKHA.SIZE
My normal hiking packs are anywhere from a range of 60L to 75L so this SUKHA bag at 70L fits in very nicely to the size of bag I am used to carrying. It has loads and loads of internal space (70L) and then has some great external storage compartments also. Each side has a good-sized zipped compartment, suitable for extra food or clothing, or even your small tent without poles.
The front of the bag has another large compartment, which would be perfect again for extra clothing or more provisions for your adventure. On top of the bag there is also another deep compartment available for even more storage. Easily I feel this bag has the same storage volume as my other branded hiking packs/bags.
For those that aren’t familiar with the F-STOP brand of bagging, they have a brilliant addition to their incredibly well made products. It’s called an ICU or Internal Camera Unit. This is a separate, camera-bag-like insert that slides perfectly and effortlessly into the internal compartment of the bag. These ICU’s are similar to the inside of your camera bag with adjustable and completely customizable compartments to safely store all your camera equipment, or any other equipment for that matter.
On top of this amazing ICU setup is the ability, thanks to the cleaver design from F-STOP, to allow you access to the ICU from the back of the bag. So no need to open up the entire bag, shuffle amongst the other gear to get access to you camera gear. It unzips from behind the back of the bag allowing instant and easy access to all your gear. Brilliant!
This ICU setup makes exploring and photographing so much easier than if you were to use and normal hiking pack; A simple idea, done very well.
I’ve said for many years now the I rate highly these bags in regards to the F-STOP range. They are simply brilliantly made bags. The quality of the bag is instantly viewed from when you first open up a zip, or tighten a strap. Everything just works well without hitch or snags. The material used on these bags is a water and weather resistant material and I’m confident that if worn out in the rain and snow this bag will keep all my gear inside dry and away from the elements. This makes it perfect for down here in Tasmania where the weather can change on a dime.
The overall weight of the bag is a very welcoming relief. Overall the bag empty weighs in at around 2kg, which for a 70L bag is in the lighter range of the weight for this sized bag.
One thing I have felt has been improved since my last F-STOP bag purchase is the zips. The new bag just feels like the zipping systems used are sturdier and certainly freer moving. It’s a welcome upgrade from my other 5years old F-STOP bag.
One of the most important factors of buying a large 70L-hiking bag is easily the comfort of the bag on your back. Covering large distances you need your bag to become part of you and your way of walking and exploring. If a bag doesn’t feel or fit right your adventure will be one of misery and potential damage to you and your body. It is always a relief when you try a bag on for the very first time and it just feels right. Well this bag gives you that feeling straight away.
The SUKHA has the some of the best harnessing on a bag I have experienced; easily up with the bigger brands of hiking backs. I think F-STOP has done a great job in ensuring that the bag fits and works like a traditional hiking bag. Super soft shoulder strapping and a fully adjustable harness system ensure that you can get this bag fitting like a glove for days on end out in the wilderness.
The waste strap is easy to adjust on the move and free flowing with its adjustments so that there is no need to stop, reset, and go again. The shoulder straps also have easy to adjust tabs to ensure that you can continue moving without having to stop to adjust the whole bag. This is very important when moving out in the field. Your bag will move and sway as you walk and climb, but having the harness system so easy to adjust on the run is perfect and a great example of F-STOPS attention to detail.
As with all good hiking bag brands F-STOP have also added in the extra bits that work. There is room for your water bladder and access via an output section for your hose to run out. The chest strap has the essential whistle on the clip to allow you to be found easier if you become lost. Another great addition to the bag is the addition of metal clip rings, to allow you to clip on addition gear such as a snoot bag or GPS unit for even easier access.
Out of the multiple hiking bags I have worn and tested over the years I really do feel like the F-STOP bags are up they’re with the most comfortable and better built bags. Every inch of the SUKHA bag has quality written on it and you can smell the intelligence used to design these bags, especially from a photographers point of view.
This is a complete hiking, multi day bag, one that I intend to use extensively on my multi day adventures over the coming months. I have currently worn this bag across a total distance of 30km thus far and it just works; It fits comfortably, allows easy access to my gear and has plenty of room for my tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, along with food and clothing.
RRP for this bag is around the $400 AU price mark but Digidirect are always cheaper.
Well-done F-STOP Gear for designing another great product.
And a very special thanks to digidirect.com.au for the access to the bag to review.
To see a video review and more hands on account of this review please visit YouTube Channel