F-Stop Modularity

In an October blog post we highlighted F-Stop camera packs as being superior for adventure photographers like us. In this post we’ll take a closer look at the Internal Camera Units (ICUs) that are an essential part of an F-Stop camera pack setup.

The ICU is the heavy duty foam padded case that keeps camera gear safe and  organized inside the pack. If you recall from the earlier post, F-Stop designs their packs to be compatible with a series of Internal Camera Units (ICUs) that are sold separately so that the user can tailor their setup towards specific needs. These units then fit within the body of whichever pack you choose.

F-Stop recommends beginning your hunt for the correct ICU by considering first the size and number of camera bodies you are using. Then add the number of lenses, and you will have a good idea of what ICU you’ll want to go with.

Having this kind of flexibility allows for easy and individualized storage, stacking, and even switching out one for the other if you have a large amount of gear intended for different shooting circumstances.

So, perhaps more than one ICU will be necessary.

For instance, if you have a series of lenses and a camera body for your landscape shoots, you might store all of those in an orderly fashion in one ICU. Then, when the time comes for your Backcountry Journeys Monsoons of Grand Canyon Country trip, you’ll just grab your Landscape ICU and you’re essentially packed.

Then, in another (slightly larger) ICU, you might have your 100-400mm telephoto, 16-35mm wide angle, as well as your macro lens and flash for wildlife pursuits, like the Brown Bears of Katmai adventure!

Your packs can be completely filled by ICUs, or you can use one that allows for added space for other things you may need to have with you such as clothing, gloves, snacks, whatever it may be.

Perhaps you prefer to always carry your entire set up in one ICU. If you have a serious amount of gear, the Pro Large is one of F-Stop’s most popular sizes. This ICU offers an ability to store multiple bodies and lenses ranging from primes to telephotos.

Pro Large ICU

The Medium Slope is dubbed a ‘performance oriented’ ICU, and is designed specifically for gripped bodies with attached optics. This ICU is also fashioned to rest the attached glass and body in a level manner and so the bulk of the weight sits closer to the your back. This is an easy detail to underestimate, but is important, as anyone who has ever carried a heavy pack around for hours at a time will tell you.

Medium Slope ICU

Other options are available, as well, and F-Stop’s website is convenient and easy to follow as it talks you through how to choose.

Pro XL

 

Regardless of which ICU you deem right for you, a good camera pack setup is essential to protecting, organizing and carrying your photography investments, which as we all know are typically substantial. Why would we want to invest tens of thousands of dollars on something and then carry it around in a bag that doesn’t protect it? Or one that doesn’t fit well, or gets things unorganized? We wouldn’t

Many companies are more than likely doing good work with regard to providing good pack options, however, we at BCJ have found F-Stop to be doing it the best, and highly recommend looking into their pack systems. We hope this closer look at F-Stop’s ICUs will be helpful, if you do.

 

Kenton Krueger
Content Manager
Backcountry Journeys
www.backcountryjourneys.com

Kenton Krueger grew up and spent the first 33 years of his life in the corn country of Omaha, Nebraska. After studying aviation at the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Aviation Institute, he “conned” his way into the newsroom at the award-winning Omaha World-Herald where for 3+ years he wrote and photographed news articles on a variety of topics such as community events, travel and even mixed martial arts for the sports department. Yet something was missing. While on backpacking trips to Grand Teton and Grand Canyon National Parks in the mid-2000’s he was quick to realize that the wild lands of the western United States stoked a fire in his heart like nothing else could. This realization led to relocation to Flagstaff, Arizona, and he hasn’t looked back. He has spent the past several years guiding guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

 

 

Comments

4 replies
  1. Bob Panick
    Bob Panick says:

    I really like my f-stop bag. One of the biggest differentiators to most camera bags is that it can hold a hydration sleeve and also have room for carrying layers of clothes you aren’t wearing or lunch. Most (but not all) of the zippers are watertight so you can go without a rain cover. If you do need the rain cover, you can still access the camera gear by setting the bag down and accessing everything from the back access without removing the cover. The cover in this case keeps the bag clean while its sitting on the ground.

    There support for issues with the bag has been really good too.

  2. Greg Waddell
    Greg Waddell says:

    I bought my first f-stop backpack about 6 years ago and another a year later. I love the system. One of the issues back then was lack of inventory. My last pack took several months to arrive. Have instocks improved?

  3. Steve Wilson
    Steve Wilson says:

    I have two fStop bags: 32L Lotus and 25L Guru. I also have two ICUs: Medium Shallow and Small Pro. One key factor to remember when selecting your ICU is whether you will pack lenses on their side or slide in. Larger primes like a 50mm f1.4 or 16-37 f2.8 are long. They fit nicely in the Small Pro because it is deeper than the Medium Shallow. I find with the Small Pro I can fit my Sony A7Rm3 plus three primes in the Small Pro. I just returned from a trip to Death Valley using the Guru and Small Pro and took: A7Rm3 body, 24-105 f4, 50 f1.4, and 16-35 f2.8. No extra room in the ICU for accessories, but camera and lenses were well protected. I love my fStop bags and ICUs.

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