I purchased the Kata KT DR-467 Digital Rucksack bag just over a year ago for a trip my wife and I were taking to New Orleans. I blogged my impressions of the bag shortly after my trip but felt that a more in depth review needed to be done. So, after a years worth of use here is what I think.
This is still my favorite bag. 90% of the time this bag is what I am using to haul my gear around. As I said in my previous post, this bag just matches my personality. I find it to be very comfortable and stylish but in a manner that doesn’t stand out. The material used to manufacture this bag is very light weight and durable. The bag shows absolutely no signs of wear after a year of daily use. Granted I have been told that I baby my belongings.
The best feature this bag sports is definitely its yellow interior. I have lost absolutely nothing inside of this bag. A phenomenon that occurred quiet frequently with other bags I have used. The black accessories, lens caps, cable cords, etc all jump out against the bright yellow.
The upper portion of the backpack has an incredible amount of space available and more than I thought it would when I was performing my online evaluations. I usually tote my speedlight, extra batteries, remote trigger and cleaning cloth in this area. Depending on weather this compartment tends to be where I will also throw my hat, gloves, rain cover. The cell phone compartment can easily stow a smart phone, more often then not I usually have my wireless remote and business cards there. I have never used the three pen holders and wish this were a compartment similar to the one intended to hold the cell phone. In fact I wish that the compartment on the right side also had a security strap keep items from falling out when the bag gets laid on its back. The top most back part of this area tends to usually be dead space. Having a zippered net compartment here would also be a nice addition.
The three front compartments were a nice touch and contain a surprising amount of space. With my initial inspection of the bag I thought they would be handy for paper, notepads, small odds and ends. I pack all my extra memory cards in one of them. My speed flash stand, camcorder remote, Camera rain poncho, and charger for my phone in the center. Extra batteries in the other side. They provide easy access to all the small stuff that needs to be stowed.
The laptop storage area has an interesting design where the opening is behind where the shoulder straps connect to the bag. When viewing images of this online I was initially concerned with how difficult it might be loading and unloading the laptop with this configuration. Fortunately the shoulder straps fold forward easily and stay in that position with no effort making them unobtrusive and making it extremely easy to access the laptop. The compartment itself holds up to a 17″ laptop and engulfs my 15″. I have heard of a few people who are placing both their laptop and iPad into this area. The padding seams to be sufficient enough for normal wear protection. The only negative thing I can say about this portion of the bag is it loses a lot in the way of comfort when the laptop is inside. Typically this isn’t a huge problem for me as I tend to not travel often with my laptop, and when I do it is usually only in the backpack from point A to B.
The bottom compartment contains adjustable padding for creating custom sized compartments for different pieces of gear. I left mine set basically the way it came adjusting only the center front space to allow for the diameter of my lens. I really like the way this section “pops” open at close to a 45 degree angle when unzipped. This feature makes it easy to get the gear stored here. I think this compartment needs to have about a half inch to an inch more height. After placing the camera into the bag in this position you need to lift the upper half of the bag while closing the lower compartment area. This appears to only effect the lip of the zippered edge as it wasn’t difficult to close the bag and I didn’t feel like I was forcing it shut.
The small mesh bag on the side of the backpack is about worthless. The pictures on their website show it holding a can of compressed air. I don’t know any photographers who use compressed air and can’t think of any reason I would carry it around with me. I tried to put both a bottle of water and a 20 drink in it while out in NOLA, but the elastic wouldn’t stretch enough to fit. I suppose you might be able to pocket one leg of your tripod into it but haven’t had the time or need to try this yet. A smarter use of this pocket would be to hold the rain poncho and have it attached for a simpler deployment. The poncho only fits one way which could cause a delay while implementing, this could be an issue if you needed to put it on quickly. Update – There is now an updated version of this bag, the Kata DR-467i Digital Rucksack. This version adds an additional strap near the top of the back allowing you to attach and secure a tripod or mono pod.
Overall I am extremely happy with this bag. It suites my daily needs very well and has held up extremely well. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this bag to anyone.