Mountainsmith “Descent” Shoulder Camera Bag Review

Fstoppers Mountainsmith “Descent” Shoulder Camera Bag Review

So you’ve invested obscene sums of money in top-notch gear, but you’re still carrying it around in a clunky shoulder bag. Golly—opines Mike Wilkinson, in this review—that just doesn’t make much sense. [Here] is the bag that you ought to be using.

Designed by Andy Mann in conjunction with Mountainsmith, this shoulder sling pack (The Descent) is one of a whole line specifically tailored for field work. Mike tested it out on a two-week trip on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, shooting stills and video footage for Clear and Cold Cinema’s Michigan Ice Film project. Mike was favorably impressed, to say the least. Given that the project involved hanging from mountainsides and shooting with half-frozen hands, he needed a bag that would be there for him. And it was.

As Wilkinson enumerates the gear that he carried with him, the Mountainsmith Descent pack begins to sound something like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag: considerably bigger on the inside than the outside. (There was room for two bodies and multiple lenses, with associated gear.) He liked the removable dividers and the rugged but light and flexible structure. He was also a fan of the top and side handles, gear loops, zippered compartment, color-coded mesh pockets, and the way the shoulder sling worked. Several days of snowy shooting proved it to be water resistant, as well, and it came equipped with a little rain cover.

Mountainsmith “Descent” Shoulder Camera Bag Review

Mountainsmith “Descent” Shoulder Camera Bag Review

For the kind of work Wilkinson was doing under challenging conditions, the pack proved ideal. Equally good for both hauling and using his equipment, it gave him the ready access that he needed while suspended from ropes, as well as hiking, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Switching from video to still camera in midair proved a breeze, and he never had to use the slings and carabiner he’d brought to secure the pack to his harness.

The Mountainsmith Descent isn’t just for rugged shoots, he notes; it would be a perfectly serviceable day-pack when you’re carrying minimal camera gear and want to use the extra room for water, snacks, etc. Reasonably priced at $90.00 on B&H.

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