This always happens to me: Shimoda Design Action X70

My Explore 40, fully loaded plus a 20L dry bag, for an overnighter near Leavenworth, WA

So, 2 full months after I bought my Shimoda Design Explore 40 backpack, they opened a Kickstarter for a new line of packs. Called the Action X series, they’re basically a collection of improvements, many of which were universally requested by owners, including myself.

I had 30 days to return or exchange my pack. It’s obviously long beyond my return period but not so much that a quarter has passed by. I feel like I’m finally just getting on with my pack when they release a new one that I know I’d be happier with.

As for the Action X, I’ve put myself in on the Kickstarter. The price is just too good to pass up when you consider I was planning to buy an Explore 60 next spring to better facilitate the backpacking adventures I’ve been going on. I went in on the X70, which will pretty much double my current carrying capacity from 40 to 80 liters.

Some of the best features: it comes in black, a more rugged outer skin, removable divider between camera and storage, roll top design, thicker shoulder pads, removable/swappable belt, dual side pouches, larger phone pocket, a few more internal storage pockets and an enlarged main door that fits 15″ laptops. All this on top of the current feature set. This should allow me to fit the contents of my 20 liter dry bag into the main compartment, leaving me room to add more gear when necessary. The dual side pouches also allows me to carry my systematic tripod on one side and my 2-person tent on the other, for a balanced load. Now I’ll be able to strap a proper bedroll on the top or bottom without a loaded, 20 liter dry bag getting in the way. Sized up, it should be around the same size as my class-A duffel bag.

The Kickstarter is promising delivery around December. Considering they’ve established themselves since their first Kickstarter, I expect them to be timely on delivery as the funding round was probably more to give themselves an idea of how many of which sizes to order for distribution so they don’t get stuck with excess stock.

Along with the bag is an accessory they call “Top Loader,” which is basically a belt-worn camera case. It has provisions for dividers and a zipped extension on the bottom. It looks like the ideal case for my 100-400mm lens and to hold my camera on my chest while hiking should the shoulder straps not work with my Peak Design Capture Clip.

BTW, I’m in no way sponsored by Shimoda Design. I’m merely an owner and have been evangelizing it because of how great it is. Because of my back problems, I went thru pack after pack that caused me nothing but pain and temporary paralysis. The Shimoda Explore 40 was a revelation for me, with the custom torso sizing allowing the belt to rest in the right spot and take more of the load as opposed to my shoulders and back. The rigid, internal frame also helps prevent hot spots forming along my spine as the frame helps keep the pack mostly off my back. And last but not least, being large enough for me to take part in things I physically was unable to do with other packs, things I haven’t done since my first major back injury, like backpacking. It’s an excellent camera pack for backpacking and hiking and I can’t recommend it enough.

So yeah, I’m a little miffed that I have to buy a second pack and get it sooner than previously expected, but at least I’m able to get it at a huge discount. Hopefully I can still swing a Fujifilm GFX 50S, and a couple of lenses, like I was originally planning to buy this off-season. Or maybe this will force me to settle on a Nikon Z7.

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