Think Tank Trifecta photo day pack Field Tested: A winner for those who want an accessible field bag

Think Tank Trifecta photo day pack Field Tested: A winner for those who want an accessible field bag

Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of Think Tank’s now-discontinued Sling-O-Matic easy-access field pack. I love the way I can get at my camera and lenses in any situation without putting the bag down. That’s critical in many nature photography situations, including when in marshes or even in crowded public places. Fortunately, Think Tank has come up with a new bag that gives me much of this same freedom, while adding the versatility of being a true backpack – The and . I field-tested a Trifecta 10 on my Alaska bear photo safaris this year, and was quite pleased…


Trifecta 10 Essentials

The can carry an array of gear, with specifics dependent on how you organize the dividers. For starters it has a rear-zipper-accessible tablet compartment (a 10-inch for the Trifecta 10, and an 8-inch for the Trifecta 8). The inside divides nicely into a left and right side, which in turn can be split into thirds for small stuff like rain covers, teleconverters, filters and sundries. Or in halves, which will fit a camera body with small lens, or a stuffable layer of clothing. Finally, for use with a longer lens like a 70-200mm f/2.8 you can leave one of the sides as a single compartment, and keep it attached to a camera body. The Trifecta 10 is designed to do this with DSLR-sized gear, while the Trifecta 8 is best-suited for mirrorless cameras. There is also a convenient, top-accessible, compartment for miscellaneous items, and an elastic pocket on the outside.

In my case, I already had my primary lens, a Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8, on my primary camera body, my , tripod-mounted and kept with me. So the Trifecta 10 stored my backup body, a full-spectrum-converted Nikon DSLR with mid-range zoom, next to my compressible jacket liner. On the other side it fit my Teleconverter, my sunscreen and insect repellant, the Trifecta’s raincover, and had room left over. I used the rear-accessible area for my Aquatech lens and camera rain cover, since I didn’t need a tablet in the field this time. The top compartment held my lightweight rain jacket. I stuffed a water bottle in the front elastic pocket.

Using the Trifecta 10 in the field

The pack is remarkably light, and the backpack straps are excellent, so I had no problem leaving it on my back for entire days when I was in the field. The included rain cover fit nicely over the pack, and was easy to get on and off (although of course you can’t access the contents of the pack with it on – except through the rear zipper that is on the same side as the backpack straps.

Unlike a pure messenger-style bag, you need to slip the Trifecta models off one shoulder or the other to gain access to the sides. Once I remembered which items I had in which side, this was pretty easy, especially if I kept the backpack straps fairly loose.

Besides being a great option for those who leave their long lens mounted, I think the Trifecta could also be perfect for travel photographers on trips like our . You can stash a tablet or guidebook, jacket, water bottle, and of course a solid array of travel photography gear.



Should you buy a Trifecta 8 or Trifecta 10?

It is hard to find a good pack that works well in the field without having to come off completely and be set on the ground. The Trifecta bags pass that test. There are also not many field packs that allow for both photo gear and “other stuff” the way the Trifecta does. Plus it gives you a dedicated tablet slot – increasingly important as more and more photographers rely on tablets instead of laptops for viewing and even editing their images. So if you need a lightweight field pack that accomplishes those objectives, it is a great product. That said, it is not huge, so if you need to transport a lot of gear, or pack a truly long lens, it may be too small for your needs. Think Tank provides handing packing examples on their site and with the pack that will give you an idea of what is possible.

As far as choosing between the models, Think Tank has clearly positioned the for mirrorless camera users. However, if you also happen to have a 10-inch tablet, you’ll need the larger , the same as if you are a DSLR-carrying photographer.