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Archive 2012 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review
  
 
ssc45
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


Does anyone have a 32L Bataflae? I have read the "reviews," but would like to hear from anyone who has bought one. I have a TT streetwalker HD and it is a great bag, but it is not big enough for what I want. I currently carry two backpacks when I head off to take pics.- beach, desert etc. I want to fit all my gear in one bag, with lens mounted to both bodies.

Thanks, for any feedback.

Cheers, Steve

Edited on Dec 19, 2012 at 06:43 AM · View previous versions



Dec 02, 2012 at 10:51 PM
sjms
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


Saw it at photo plus. A substantial upgrade to the previous version. Better harness and access. still minor design items that could be easily addressed. this is my opinion of course.


Dec 02, 2012 at 11:52 PM
ssc45
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


Thanks, sjms. It seems like no one has this bag or real world experience with it. I guess I will try it. I hope it doesn't become another so so bag in my growing bag collection.

Cheers, Steve



Dec 04, 2012 at 03:41 PM
sjms
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


I had the original. it was definitely below this one


Dec 04, 2012 at 03:48 PM
ssc45
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


SJMS, what is your opinion on the original? What minor items need to be addressed on the Bataflae?

Cheers, Steve



Dec 04, 2012 at 03:51 PM
sjms
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


The harness was a bit too minimal.
The opening was limited.
Both resolved.

Could use a bit more compression strapping



Dec 04, 2012 at 08:05 PM
ssc45
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


After waiting and so looking forward to the Bataflae, it arrived. I have had some concerns about most of the reviews. It seemed like many--not all-- of the reviews were not done by folks who actually bought the bag. It is also aggravating that I could not go to a store to look at the bag prior to purchase.

Upon opening the box, the bag was housed in a dust bag. A nice touch. The rain cover is contained in a zippered pocket on the front of the bag and was easy to deploy. The bag was very light for its size. The harness was tucked away, so there were no hanging straps-another plus. It could be deployed with minimal effort. The top handle was sturdy. The interior had many dividers and was capable of holding an enormous amount of gear. For me, that is where the positives came to a conclusion.

Had I been able to inspect this bag prior to purchase, I would not have bought it. It is being shipped back for a refund. Here are some of my thoughts:

-Side handle. Why they have it at an angle is beyond me. It was stupid. In trying to carry the bag with the side handle, the bag sits at an angle and hits you in the leg and knee. To keep the bag from hitting yourself, one has to twist your wrist to an uncomfortable position.

-Side pockets. These are almost worthless for me. They are an opentop mesh elastic. They provide no protection from the elements. If they are only to be used for a tripod, then so be it. I use the side pockets on my backpacks to store gear--usually tools etc. I want these items protected and zippered and not able to fall out. I can also use them for tripod as TT has the zippered pouch with an elastic opentop pouch.

-The top pockets. They were difficult to access and you can't see what is in the bottom. The pockets need to have the zipper go around the bottom. I will show pictures. In other words, they do not open all the way.

-The new buckle. This buckle seems like a weak link. I predict they will upgrade the buckle as it seems like it will not hold up. This is just a guess.

-The top flap. When the top flap is opened completely, there is approximately 1.5 inches of material securing the flap to the main bag . I am opening my bags constantly when taking pics and I don't see how this small bit of material is going to last. Plus, the flap flops all over the place. It twists 180 degrees and in trying to work with it in the wind was a joke.

-The center spine. The bag has a center spine with velcro on top. The flap has a velcro strip. In working with this, the flap has to be aligned with the spine or the flap is crooked. It was constant correcting the flap to get it aligned.

-Butterfly. This is their claim to fame, however, when using it as a butterfly and opening one side, it will not stay open. You have to use one hand to hold it open in order to get gear.

-A minor issue is that when the harness is stowed, and the bag is on its back, the contour of the harness causes the bag to rock back and worth. The back is not flat but half round.

-Lastly, the way the zippers are designed for the top pockets, they leave a gap. not good for dusty places. This is also a problem for the zipper for the main compartment. To completely get rid of the gap, you have to unbuckle the buckle and then bring the zippers together and then rebuckle the buckle everytime you open the bag.

Having been to Africa a few times , as well as shooting in the desert and other dusty and windy places, having these gaps are not good.

Keep in mind that I spent only a limited amount of time with this bag. These are my initial thoughts based on this limited experience.

Cheers, Steve

-






side handle and pouch.







the only material securing the flap to bag and spine and velcro







flap 180 degrees







gaps and buckle




Dec 19, 2012 at 07:40 AM
ssc45
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


As an aside the gaps are after pulling the zippers as far as they will go. In shooting from the bag and using the compartments, I found that the gaps were larger unless I made sure to pull them as far as I could.





flap and bag







outside pocket




Dec 19, 2012 at 08:06 AM
sjms
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


well, i'm sorry that didn't work for you.

I will say this:
there are no packs out there with zippers that will prevent infiltration of outside material unless they are rollup type closures or essentially pelican cases with harnesses on them (and that can be done. see NRS catalog) but simply the provided rain cover does the job pretty well. there is no happy medium. the zippers used are standard coils reversed to reduce potential damage. these zippers are run off a reel in manufacturer and cut to length and do not have a designed termination point as do waterproof type zippers. this is standard manufacturing. if you reversed the zipps and had them come together be meeting head to head there would still be a hole there and the center. actually their zipper finishing is very good. I have about 3 TT bags that finish close to the same way but not quite as good.

I did work that took me to too many places around the world and the middle east was one of them in the recent past (the red sand is like talc). there is no real method of short of vacuum bagging your stuff and not using it that works if you spend more then a few days out and about. when I got back home some items were tossed others were power washed if they could be.

on the other issues I can tell you there are explanations. but some or none can not get passed expectations so, for you doing the prudent thing was advised.

each pack in its own way is a compromise.

I wish you luck in your quest for the pack that meets your needs

just for fun: the reasoning behind the angled grip is fairly simple. a human standing up at rest with arms down relaxed situation. the hand and wrist will naturally take a 30-45 deg inward 0 stress position. rotate your hand flat like with most luggage and your wrist and foream are now in a stressed position. when weight is applied more so. it was an exercise in ergonomics.








Dec 19, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Mike Pearson
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


ssc45,

Thanks for the review. I have a couple of their older bags and had been trying to wrap my mind around how the new bags would have both the butterfly and the option to fully open. Seeing how it works makes me happy to stay with the older bags. That small strip attaching the top and the need to align the velcro doesn't sit well with me.

I am extremely happy with their older bags though. I don't understand your comment on the angle of the side handle. That is one of the things I really like on their bags. When the 30L is fully loaded it is very heavy. The angle on the handle makes it possible to hold all that weight without twisting your wrist and arm - thus easier to carry. And, the gaps at the ends of the zipper runs is normal for all bags that are not water tight. I have a dry bag for when the elements are demanding, but working those zippers is a real pain in the rear.

It appears that in an attempt to be all things to all folks Gura has produced a less than optimal design. They should stay with the butterfly only. I like it. I think they were trying to keep folks that like the butterfly and add the folks that like the complete open style. I suspect their compromise will not especially appeal to either.



Dec 20, 2012 at 06:30 AM
 

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ssc45
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


Hi Sjms and Mike.

I should have explained the zipper issue a bit better. I am familiar with zippers. However, there are ways to reduce the gap with covers and TT uses them for end run zippers as does gura gear. I was surprised they would allow these end run zippers-vs zippers that come together, (hope I said that right) to not be finished and help to keep out dust. Interestingly enough they use this method on some of their internal pouches. Maybe it is to keep items from being scratched by the zipper. I will post a pic. Also, I will post a pic from TT sw HD from zipper for laptop and the zipper cover to reduce dust etc.
The side handle didn't work for me. I understand the hand rotates at the wrist inward. But for me, the way my wrist sets up it is more natural as if carrying a briefcase. Maybe it is how I am built or that I dislocated my shoulder years ago while playing ball. I think Mike has hit the nail on the head. It is a compromise bag, to please everyone and fails.

Cheers, Steve





Zipper cover







TT streetwalker HD computer zipper compartment, zipper end run









Dec 20, 2012 at 07:03 AM
sjms
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


ok its a perception but the reality is you open and close it. so how does one prevent material from getting in the bag while one works with it open? we are not talking about one or 2 millimeter sized holes now. that issue, at least for me become fairly irrelevant then. like I said whole pack cover does a more effective job because the dust you are referring to is all over the bag and zipper tape and so on.

reversing the zips is the newest "thing". it supposed to reduce possible damage to the coil and to give a cleaner look. but if you do rub it to a point the stitching that secures the coil to the tape can be opened. they didn't opt for the coating that went over that side of the tape which seals the threading and makes it more resistant to water infiltration.

in the end it didn't float you boat and that's what matters.






Dec 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM
ChrisHA
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review






Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM · View previous versions



Dec 31, 2012 at 11:56 PM
ChrisHA
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


I can appreciate why someone who shoots a lot on beaches and in deserts would have unique dust management needs.

But, here's another viewpoint:

As a wildlife shooter who primarily shoots in open land rovers, I'm very happy with GuraGear's new Bataflae bag albeit I have the 26L model. I really like the new full view buckle feature for in room packing; and, the side opening feature for land rover use. This is the best of both worlds because I never liked using backpacks with full openings in the field - i.e, my TT Acceleration - because of too much exposure to dust and the fact that it takes longer to zip up. For me, those zipper cover/tabs actually slow me down in the field, especially when wearing gloves in cold climates. And in dusty or rainy areas, I prefer using dust/rain covers. I like that it's easier to use TSA locks on the Bataflae as compared to my Kiboko 30L; and, I'm pleasantly surprised at how much the 26L holds. I'm a left hander, so the handle position is a mute point, not something that aggravate me. My only minor issue with the bag is that the reverse zippers take longer to break in and I've added zipper wax which makes them run smoother. I also prefer the shorter zipper pulls from my Kiboko. So, I temporarily switched them for the next trip.

I do not consider this bag less than optimal to say the least. I will always have multiple bags/cases and will use the appropriate bag for a given trip. This bag has a lot of nice features with minimal weight.

Chris
http://www.wildliferhythms.com/
http://chrisprestegardtraveltipcentral.blogspot.com/





Dec 31, 2012 at 11:56 PM
khurram1
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


ssc45 wrote:
Does anyone have a 32L Bataflae? I have read the "reviews," but would like to hear from anyone who has bought one. I have a TT streetwalker HD and it is a great bag, but it is not big enough for what I want. I currently carry two backpacks when I head off to take pics.- beach, desert etc. I want to fit all my gear in one bag, with lens mounted to both bodies.

Thanks, for any feedback.

Cheers, Steve

I got the bag at the end of October and have been pretty happy with it. I had the original Kiboko, as well as the kiboko 30L and made the switch because when Canon redesigned the 1DX, the height of the bag was too high with the L-bracket to fit well in the Kiboko 30L.

The Bataflae is 32L and it looks like most of the extra size is that bit of additional depth and still be lightweight and airline carryon compliant. Like the original Kiboko and Kiboko 30L, the bag is terrific for my shooting style. I like to be ready to shoot and I like having the two separate compartments that can be setup to have both of my bodies (with attached lenses) or additional lenses/flashes ready to go and configured differently, depending on the shoot. The following is the gear i usually have:
Compartment 1:
-1DX with 24-70L
-TSE 24L II
-TSE 17L
-85L II
-filters

Compartment 2:
-5D III with 70-200 2.8L II
-16-35L II
-2 600XT flashes
-2 time converter
-filters

I've also got the flexibility to have the 5DIII attached with the 16-35L or the 24TSE ready to go and have the 70-200L stored sperately.


While i think this bag is the best i've owned, i am finding that for some reason everything seems like a bit tighter fit then the Kiboko. I'm not sure if the redesign caused the width of the compartments to be a bit smaller, or if the switch from the 24-105L to the 24-70L II has caused the slight loss in space (i'm guessing its the former, since, I find that even when the 24-70L is not on the camera, space seems a bit tighter.

There are some things that Gura Gear did a great job on making the incremental improvements in design - the redesigned accessory pockets and the rain cover pocket have improved the storage for accessories. Last time around there was a bit of improvement in the harness system from the Kiboko to Kiboko 30L. This time its the main improvements are the following:
- ability to open the entire top, if required, rather then open the two compartments separately (this is not a big deal for me and I actually don't like this, since when I close both compartments there seems to be a bit of a gap, so I would have preferred they didn't make this change).
-the already mentioned increase in depth and improvements in the accessory pockets.
-ability to have option of having the tripod attached to the centre of the bag, rather then just the side (IMO, while I like the option, I think the strap system is a bit finicky and would have preferred a fixed bungee cord type system, rather then the straps - I'm sure at some point i'm going to lose them.
-the other change is the zipper straps for the main and accessory compartments. WHile I like the improvements in having different colours for the zipper straps, so you know which compartmet you are opening, I have managed to break the zipper loops on both of the main compartments (not sure if i just pulled to hard, or if its a design flaw).

The only other thing I'd say they could improve on is provding a bit more padding to the harness. I do feel that the harness fits and adjusts better then the original Kiboko did.

Lastly, I'd add that their customer service is amazing. I emailed them while I was staying in Banff last week about the zipper loops and they replied back the next day requesting my address and once i sent them my address, they said they would ship out the replacements the same day.

I had a similar experience with the original Kiboko, when one of the harness snaps broke. After contacting them, I was sent replacements and a couple of extra ones very promptly.

THe bag is about a close to a perfect bag as I have found, i use it on my most of my hiking trips and when I want maximum gear. The only time I go with another bag, is when I'm looking for something slightly more compact for cityscapes, in which case i go with the Tamrac Evolution 9 (can also hold two bodies with lenses attached).

Let me know if you have any other questions about the bag.



Jan 01, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Sharona
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


ChrisHA wrote:
I can appreciate why someone who shoots a lot on beaches and in deserts would have unique dust management needs.

But, here's another viewpoint:

As a wildlife shooter who primarily shoots in open land rovers, I'm very happy with GuraGear's new Bataflae bag albeit I have the 26L model. I really like the new full view buckle feature for in room packing; and, the side opening feature for land rover use. This is the best of both worlds because I never liked using backpacks with full openings in the field - i.e, my TT Acceleration - because of too much exposure to
...Show more

I was going to post pretty much the same thing here. I was having trouble deciding which bag, the Kiboko or the Bataflae would work best for me, so I ended up ordering both to test them out. (The 26 and 22L models). The Kiboko was on special for a short period of time and cost almost half as much at the Bataflae so I was hoping I'd like it better. <wink, wink.>

There were indeed things I loved about the Kiboko, outside of the special price, I really liked the laptop sleeve. But the clinchers for me really were the depth, since I moved to 1D series body, and the harness. I am a 5'6, average weight, middle-aged female.... and I need a harness that is comfortable enough to really wear. Trudging through airports and standing in long customs lines (or hiking) with a less than comfy bag will not cut it anymore. I loaded them up and walked around the house, and found that the Kiboko's harness was too bulky for me and not as comfortable. Plus, as someone who dislikes a lot of extra straps hanging about, I was much happier with the Bataflae's stowaway system. The backpack straps are extremely easy to stash away, and the zippered outer flap makes for a smoother, cleaner bag to carry when not using the straps.

As someone who is marginally organized on a good day, I am really excited to get my butterfly-opening bag into the bush. I'm tired of having to open my entire bag to get at things; it's usually too much of a hassle to close it all back up again (especially when you often don't know what else you might need at any given moment). Some dislike that interior pockets don't zip open all the way. I see this as extra protection. With this bag, I'm confident that wayward lens caps and CF cards are unlikely to spill onto the floor of the vehicle when I forget to zip it at the end of the game drive! No, the bag is not inexpensive, but neither is my camera gear.

I mostly wanted to post this as I really appreciate the original review and thought it would help to add another voice to the discussion. The only thing I would add to the original poster's review is regarding the small piece of fabric attaching the lid to the bag when it is fully unzipped: I am pretty sure that this new feature is intended for easier packing, providing a gut check, if you will, to make sure you can see and ensure you've got everything you need. And, I believe I read, it's for those times when you're in the studio and need to access the whole lot. It is my understanding that fully opening the bag in the field on a regular basis was not the intent of the design, and further, that these bags truly are designed more for travel and adventure photography than studio work. As a side point, when it was fully open, I was able to slide my Macbook Air in there, on top of my gear. Since I wouldn't take it out in the field, in theory I could get to and fro with the laptop in this bag. It's just not a dedicated pocket.

I would also second the mention of Gura's great customer service. You can set up an email account on their site, and they actually respond to questions and communicate with you. They pay shipping and return shipping, as well. Hard to beat that!



Jan 07, 2013 at 06:23 PM
jestork
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


Your concern about the flap being able to twist is somewhat misplaced - you didn't read the instructions Gura Gear included. To open the bag as a butterfly, keep the buckle snapped, and open the zipper on either, or both sides fully, and you can open the flaps as a butterfly. No, they don't stay open, but I see that as a plus - after I have removed equipment it helps to keep dirt out. If I need it to stay open, that is when I unsnap the buckle and open the entire flap. Now if you had read the instructions, you would have noted that when you open the bag in that fashion, you only open the zippers to the lower corner - not all the way to the middle of the bottom. If you do that, the flap is attached all the way along the bottom of the bag, and will not twist, but opens nicely, stays open, and provides access to the entire interior.

The big plus for me is the very light weight empty - much less than other bags. This bag was really designed for extensive travel - with current weight limits for airlines half the limit is sometimes taken up just with the bag. I find it works very well with my longer lenses. And I agree with others - no one bag can be perfect - that's why I have several, and pick and choose the appropriate bag for the appropriate job.



Jan 07, 2013 at 09:58 PM
ssc45
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


Good to see that the bag works for folks. It just didn't work for me. For the way I shoot, especially bouncing around in the back of a landcruiser in Zim, Namibia or SA just would not work.

To Jestork, before you "assume" anything, let me say I read everything that came with the bag. No where in anything I had did it say to only partially open the bag. I got my bag via amazon if that means anything. I do understand what you are saying, but it does not work with how I shoot.

Cheers, Steve



Jan 07, 2013 at 11:30 PM
OBXGuide
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


I know this is an older post at this point, but this kind of detailed discussion was been really helpful and eyeopening in my search for "the ideal backpack" for big glass, with the 32L on the top of my list. I want to thank all of you for your input and thoughts. These are the kind of details you do NOT get in any normal review, and I mean this review and discussion got down to the real nitty gritty. Thanks much.


Aug 26, 2013 at 07:58 PM
powaysteve
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Gura Gear Bataflae--Review


I also have the Battaflae 32L and it has been excellent. It is one of the best bags I've found if you are carrying a big lens.

In one side of the bag I have:
gripped Canon 7D
Canon 200-400 f/4 1.4X
two thin pouches with filters and straps on either side of the lens
Two more pouches with gear and manuals in the butterfly cover

On the other side of the bag is:
gripped Canon 5D Mk III
Canon 24-105 f/4 IS
Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS II
extra batteries
two pouches with gear in the butterfly cover
rain cover
Canon 1.4 EX III extender

All this came out to 32 pounds with a water bottle in one of the outside pockets. I have hiked with this for 3-4 hours in 100 degree weather and it was very comfortable. When I got home no shoulder or neck pain at all and I am 67 years young.

Obviously there is no perfect backpack but this one comes closest so far for me. It's not quite as comfortable as the F-Stop Loka I had previously but the Loka would not hold all that gear or the 200-400 with body attached.




Aug 27, 2013 at 01:21 AM
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