It’s no secret that I loved my original MP-3, and made it my “go to” camera bag when I had to bring my wildlife photo gear somewhere and needed to make efficient use of space – particularly for trips involving small planes or a bit of hiking. So it was great news for me when Moose Peterson teamed up with Think Tank’s MindShift brand to produce a new, improved, version. I’ve been using it for a while now, and am very impressed. It retains the flexible design of the original, but offers improved shoulder straps, an even more-rugged build quality, and a few other nice touches.
A pack for Sports and Wildlife photographers
The MP-3 is designed around accommodating a long-lens style of photography. The single section on one side is plenty for a pro-gripped DSLR and attached 200-400 (or similar lens). If you need even more room, then consider the longer Mind Shift MP-1 v2. The other side is split into two compartments for your backup body, other lenses, teleconverters, and other accessories. Velco dividers more in keeping with traditional Think Tank bags than MindShift bags make it easy to configure the pack for just about any combination of gear. There are also some internal zippered filter compartments, both in the flaps and removable. Those are especially handy for card wallets, filters, flash cables, and other small items. There are handles all over the place, so its always easy to pick up (in addition to the excellent shoulder straps, of course). The side pocket can be used for a tripod, or for a water bottle (or similarly-sized item).
Sample loading of the MP-3 v2 with Nikon gear. A 400/500/or 200-400 can be fit mounted,
but if you have a 600 f/4 you’ll either need to detach it or get the larger MP-1 version.
Sample loading of the MP-3 v2 with Canon gear
The three flap design with the “Moose Ear” self-closing flaps is ideal for shooting from vehicles. It’s easy to reach over, grab the camera and lens combo you need. When you do, the flap closes and keeps dust and moisture out. Even with their large carrying capacities, all the Moose packs are designed to fit in the overhead compartment, even on small, regional jets that are so common. The backpack strap design is one of the very best I’ve seen. It can be completely hidden, or you can use one strap or both straps, and even an optional waist belt. The v2 straps are much better than the original, and the actual back padding is also much improved. When getting on airplanes, I do what Moose does and just throw the bag over one shoulder with one strap, helping to make it look carry-on friendly.
Is the MindShift MP-3 v2 right for you?
If you need to carry the most gear, especially if you have at least one long lens, in the smallest space, the MP-3 is the right pack for the job – especially if you have the unique needs of a wildlife or long-lens action photographer. You can see that even after a decade of use my original MP-3 pack (pictured to the right) has held up perfectly, and the new version is even sturdier. There are some important caveats though, so before pulling the trigger on one:
First, this is not a roller bag. So if you need the help of wheels to get through airports, you’ll either need to have a separate trolley or look at something different, like my personal favorite, the (), or the new, and commuter-friendly, . Second, it doesn’t have a laptop compartment, so if you’re planning on doing your image processing on the road, you’ll need a second bag or pack. Finally, the MP-3 is quite deep. This is perfect I you have full-size DSLRs (like the Nikon D3, D4, or D5 family, or the Canon 1D family) – it is longer and deeper than Moose’s original to keep up with the growing size of pro DSLRs – but it may be a bit of overkill if you only have smaller cameras like the D750, D810, D500, or similar. The depth means you can stack most lenses or other accessories two deep – but make sure and put something soft between them.
Important TIP: The “self-closing” flaps of the MP series of packs are great for keeping out water, dirt, and dust when working in tough conditions. However, the flaps don’t magically zip themselves. So when you go to pick up your pack, remember to check that the zippers are all closed! Otherwise you’ll wind up with some of your expensive gear on the ground before you know it (I speak from experience).
Another Important TIP: For convenience, it is great to leave your primary DSLR attached to your long lens when you pack. In the field, that’s a great time saver. However, one of the weakest points of any long-lens system is the camera / lens mount point. So when I travel, I try to detach my long lens, just in case the bag gets knocked over or dropped.
You can ($279 for the MP-3, $199 for the smaller MP-7, and $349 for the larger MP-1). If you use our link it really helps us out (as that way we get lots of chances to review all their latest new gear for you), and helps support our site. Thanks!
- Original 1998 ‘Moose Ears’ design with auto-close compartment flaps protect the interior from dust, spray, wind, etc.
- Three compartment system allows you to keep lenses attached providing the quickest way to access gear
- Tuck-away harness system with removable waistbelt easily allows you to streamline your bag when loading it in a train, plane or automobile (MP-1 & MP-3 only)
- Sized for carry-on*, allowing you to get the maximum amount of gear on the plane
- Long glass carrying solution with body attached
- Tripod/monopod mounting system on side and front
- Flap guard protects front zippers
- Seam-sealed rain cover/drop cloth included
- Highest quality RC Fuse YKK zippers, 600D and 420D nylon construction for long-lasting durability and strength
- Dual density foam padded shoulder harness, cushioned with air mesh
- Zippered side pockets fit full-sized flashes (MP-7 only)
- Includes two removable zippered mesh pouches for accessories
- Stretch water bottle pocket fits 32 oz. water bottle
- Internal zippered mesh pockets under each ear flap
- Zippered top pocket (MP-1 & MP-3 only)
- Padded handle on top; webbing handle on bottom
- Padded handle on right side (MP-1 & MP-3 only)
- Robust zipper pulls are easily gripped with or without gloves
- Adjustable dividers for different camera case configurations
- ID/business card window slot on top
*Check with your airline for current carry-on requirements
- 3 gripped DSLRs with lenses attached, 1–2 additional lenses and 1–2 flashes and accessories
- OR 3 gripped bodies and 1 ungripped body detached from lenses, 4–5 standard zoom lenses, 1–2 flashes, a 2x teleconverter and accessories
- Maximum lens size: Holds 600mm f/4 detached or 500mm f/4 lens attached to a gripped body
Moose Peterson demonstrating the new MP-series bags