Daniel Groves

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Your Questions on the F-Stop Guru UL

Published: 4 April 2018 · Tags: technology, camera, gear

Questions and answers about the F-Stop Guru UL

It was in May last year that I published my review of the F-Stop Guru UL adventure camera pack. I’d been using it to shoot for about 6 months, covering how I use it in partnership with some of my Peak Design gear.

Over the last 9 months or so I’ve receievd a heap of questions on the pack, so I’ve picked a few of the more common ones to answer here.

1. Do you use the backpack on your bike, or do you place the gear on your bike?

In short: it depends.

There’s there a couple of factors I considor when decided how to carry a camera on the bike. The biggest factor in this decidion is if I’m predominantly on-road, or off-road. If I’m mostly riding off-road I’ll be running my bikepacking setup like that featured in Gearless, which has no space for equipment like my camera. In that scenario I’ll be using the F-Stop pack, with the weather-cover fitted, and keeping it as light as possible to maintain maxiumum comfort.

If I’m doing a long-distance road-tour such as Eurovelo I will be loading the camera onto the bike. In this scenario I have a Ortlieb bar-pack with a ICU designed for small mirrorless cameras. This worked well for my 4000+km tour across Europe, but would be usless for anything bigger than my Fuji.

2. Should I ge the Guru or the Mindshift/Think Tanq/some other equivalent?

In short: I don’t know.

I’ve not really tied that many camera packs, and probably haven’t tried the specific one that you’re asking about. However, feel free to get in contact and check, I’m always happy to help.

If you work for any camera-pack companies and can arrange for any trail packs, then please let me know. I’d love to try your pack out!

3. I’m short/tall/average, will the Guru fit?

In short: probably.

I’m 6’ 4”, or 193cm. It fits me fine, and has loads of adjsutment so it will fit people significantly shorter, or a little taller, fairly well. The bag comes in at 48.5cm tall, so take a measurement from your wasit to your shoulder, and as long as you’re a little longer than that you should be fine.

4. I’m skinnier/wider than average, will the Guru fit?

In short: yep.

I’m a 30”/76cm waist and I could shorten the waist-band loads yet, and I’m probably going to trim it on mine at some point because it’s way too long for me! Fully extended the wasit bad has a circumference of 133cm.

5. Is it really worth the money?

In short: for me, yes.

I won’t delve into the details of my choice, I already covered that in my original article.

6. Will my kit fit?

In short: it depends what you have!

The small-shallow ICU is perfect for me to fit:

  • Filters
  • Three lenses (23mm F2, 12mm F2, 18-55 F2.8)
  • X-T1 Body
  • Camera straps
  • Spare SD Cards
  • 4x Batteries
  • Remote shutter cable
  • Cleaning kit

It’s taken some careful organisation to get all that in, and I rarely actually use my Medium-Shallow ICU right now.

The Medium-Shallow ICU is deeper than the Small-Shallow. The Small will take the X-T1 body perfectly, while the Medium gets the same fit when the battery grip is fitted — that’s not to say it’s too big without the grip — it’s not, it’s fine. I’d avoid fitting the grip with the Small ICU, though.

Alongside everything I would normally take in the Small ICU, I could probably drop a 50-140 and something like a 16-55 into the Medium ICU, with some careful packing.

 alt: My kit in the small-shallow ICU inside my Guru after a recent shoot.
My kit in the small-shallow ICU inside my Guru after a recent shoot.

7. Where did you get your’s from?

In short: F-Stop directly

At the time you could specify for your order from come from the EU warehouse and pay in Euros. I did this, but it doens’t look like they do this anymore.

8. How’s it holding up now?

In short: fine

I managed to poke a small hole in one piece of mesh, and it’s looks a lot more used, but it still looks tidy and every bit as good on day one.

9. Any regrets?

In short: I should have orderded a pair of Gatekeepers, a raincover, and maybe a ICU Gate.

I’ve been using an Osprey rain cover on mine, it doens’t fit half as well as their own appears to, but you’d expect that given the official one is designed for the pack speciifically. I should’ve got a pair of [gate-keeper straps][Gatekeeper] too, so I could strap a sleeping-bag to the outside on the odd occasion I wish to. Finally the ICU Gate would be pretty handy to keep things like batteies wheere I want them.

10. Would you buy it again if it broke tomorrow?

In short: yes!

I’d quite like a Loko UL to go alongside it, though.

And that’s it!

That’s probably the 10 most common questions I’ve heard over the last nine months, if you’d like to ask something specific, or jsut want to say Hi! feel free to drop me an email and I’ll get back to you, or grab me on any of the social networks below.