Do you ever find yourself thinking too much about your gear and not focussing on everything else? It’s hard to be creative and make interesting compositions when you’re constantly thinking about gear. I think the best gear is the gear you don’t have to constantly be thinking about! That’s why I like the F-stop Gear Ajna camera bag. It works with me not against me.
If I’m fixated on the gear I’m using and the equipment I do or don’t have with me, I’m probably not as focussed as I should be on creating. Thats why, for me, the perfect piece of gear is something you don’t have to think about at all. Something that adapts to you, your adventures, and your environment.
I’ve had the F-Stop Ajna camera bag for about 2 years now. I’ve used it as my primary camera bag in a variety of environmental settings. From glaciers inside glaciers in the middle of winter, to dense forested valleys in the middle of summer. I’ve used the Ajna 40l for multi-day backpacking trips, cross-country skiing, kayaking, scrambling, rock climbing, you name it!
My camera equipment is consistently inconsistent from shoot to shoot. The equipment I carry depends on variables like weather, the goal of the activity, whether it’s a passion project or commercial job. I’m constantly changing the ICU (internal camera unit). In my opinion the flexibility with swapping out different ICUs is probably my favourite feature. It allows me to use the same bag but have pre-set ICU for my main three “loadouts”.
I find myself swapping out the Extra large, medium, and small ICU almost every-time I go for this bag. That’s because if you’re shooting outdoors, every single shoot is just so different from one to the next. There’s a massive advantage to being able to quickly change the ICU depending on how much camera equipment you’re bring or how much outdoor equipment you might need to pack. Pick the right ICU for the job, and throw it into your same F-stop Gear Ajna camera bag for all kinds of different shoots!
What’s In My F-stop Gear Ajna Camera Bag?
If there ever was a “typical” camera equipment setup for me, it would probably include the following; I usually only bring one camera body. A Sony A7RIII. The one lens you’ll never find me without, is the G-master 24-70 2.8. I also usually have a Tamaran 17-28 2.8. A Mavic 2 Pro with a larger RC pro controller. A couple spare batteries. Cleaning supplies. A lightweight tripod. GoPro Hero 7. Pocket size Amaran light.
If I’m planning to take any video at all, I’ll also pack a Rode Mic Pro+, extra filters especially neutral density filters. A small LAV filmmaker kit from Rode for more audio options. Depending on how far I’m going into the wilderness, I’ll often throw in a not-so-lightweight gimbal.
There’s a few items that I pack with me on basically every single outing in the mountains. On any given shoot, I will always carry a lightweight Gore-tex rain shell, and a down puffy. Weather is unpredictable and a rain jacket and insulation might be the only thing keeping you alive in an emergency. Then there’s smaller items like a first-aid kit, A gear repair kit, a stainless steel water bottle etc.
I also always have lightweight gloves, two buffs, and a light wool touque. This might vary depending on the location or season. However I always include this when I’m home in the Rockies. It can be 30 degrees in the valley and 0 degrees on the top of the mountain. Even if you’re staying down in the valley, weather changes fast and you can be enjoying a nice summer afternoon one hour, and an hour later be seeking shelter from hail and snow.
Different Use Cases For The F-stop Gear Ajna Camera Bag
Variations to this, or add-ons might include helmets, rope, a tent, hiking poles etc. This all really depends on the specific kind of shoot, and what I’m shooting. There are even sled loops where you can pull a winter sled behind you for longer expeditions. You’ll likely take advantage of the straps on the outside of your bag all the time. Whether it be skis, sleeping pads, an extra water bottle.
What’s great about the Ajna camera bag is that I don’t have to have one bag just for climbing, another bag for snowshoeing, another one for backpacking, I can just change the way I load the straps gear straps and the bag just adapts to whatever it is I’m doing.
The only limitations I can imagine for the Ajna – yet haven’t personally experienced – is the load capacity for multi-day winter objectives like ski-mountaineering, winter backpacking trips, or anything involving the need to carry winter camping equipment and winter layers.
In my experience, I wouldn’t ever be able to have all of my camera equipment and all of the extra insulation and camping gear fit into 40L. In fact I recently got the Sukha 70l for shoulder season backpacking and longer trips in the backcountry. I haven’t had the opportunity to break the Sukha in much yet, but let me know if you’d like me to review that bag next.
The Ajna 40l is anything but a “one trick pony”. Having used the bag for over two years now, I can confidently say that this bag is my “go-to” for almost 100% of my adventures in the Rocky Mountains. If anything, this camera bag is an absolute chameleon.
Photos and words by Ryan Richardson.