Mountainsmith Borealis AT Camera Pack - Recycled Materials

Closeouts. Mountainsmith's Borealis AT camera pack delivers celestial performance on technical day hikes and ski photography outings. It features a dedicated camera and lens pocket, back panel cushioning and a supportive waistbelt.

Average Rating based on 6 reviews
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  • Verified Buyer Reviewed by Jeff H from Texas on Monday, July 7, 2014
    Loaded the bag with 2 lenses, camera body, and flash. Had plenty of room for charger, cleaning, iPad and many other items. Even though this is the old design you can't beat STP pricing.
  • Reviewed by Glen from LA, CA on Friday, June 6, 2014
    When we planned an Alaskan cruise in 2012 to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary, I shopped around for camera pack.. I am a big fan of Mountainsmith products, so naturally I checked out their packs. I chose the Borealis over the Parallax because it seemed bigger and sturdier (you know for all the ruggedness I was going to need on the deck of the cruise ship. ha ha). My thinking was that although I didn't need a a heavy duty bag for the cruise, as long as I was buying one, I should get the best I could find/afford.

    The pros:
    1) The construction of the Borealis is rock solid, as I have come to expect from Mountainsmith.
    2) lots of loops and straps to add extra gear that doesn't fit inside the 2 compartments (3 if you count the laptop slot)
    3) straps are very customizable so you should be able to adjust it to get a comfortable fit
    4) the camera storage compartment is very well padded and fully adjustable. You can even remove it if you don't need it and want to use it as a non-camera backpack

    The cons:
    1) The design of the camera compartment makes it very difficult/awkward to access the camera w/o taking the backpack off (as another reviewer mentioned). I guess this is ok if you are trekking to a destination to take photos and don't plan on stopping to take photos along the way. But if you will need to access your camera/photo equipment frequently, it can be annoying.
    2) The bottom of the pack is sloped, not flat, so the pack doesn't really stand-up on it's own, it tends to fall in the direction away from the back of the pack (the strap side). I guess this is better than falling toward the strap side if you set it down on dirt/water/mud/snow so it keeps the part that touches your back clean, but it would be preferable if is stood upright on its own. My guess is that it was designed that way to ease in the opening of the camera section (for you tropical fish enthusiasts, the camera section opens like an Arrowana's mouth), but, again, I found it annoying.
    3) The zipper for the camera compartment. It is a heavy duty zipper, which is great, but for resistance to moisture, there is a flap that covers the zipper. If you don't carefully roll this flap over when you open the camera compartment, the zipper tends to fray the flap. Perhaps a ticky-tack criticism, but would it not have been better to use a moisture resistant zipper instead?
    4) Although this is listed as my #4 con, it is one of the biggest ones: the capacity of the non-camera storage compartments is very limited considering the overall size of the backpack, but I suppose the majority of the space is used for the camera section. But it was just disappointing at how little usable space there was. There are 2 storage compartments + the laptop slot, the bigger one fits an XL hoodie sweatshirt and maybe a couple of bottles of water. You could cram more in, but just to give you a general idea. I just checked the Mountainsmith website and it looks like they have modified the design since I bought mine in 2012 (which is the model that is pictured here). The new design has a less tapered upper portion which should improve the non-camera storage space significantly (think of a station wagon compared to a hatchback).
    I think if I had waited until now to buy this product, my rating would be a 4 or possibly 5 (if some of my other peeves have also been addressed), but for now, it's a 3. Excellent construction and quality, w/ a less than desirable design and disappointingly small non-camera storage.
  • Reviewed by Glen from LA, CA on Friday, June 6, 2014
    When we planned an Alaskan cruise in 2012 to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary, I shopped around for camera pack.. I am a big fan of Mountainsmith products, so naturally I checked out their packs. I chose the Borealis over the Parallax because it seemed bigger and sturdier (you know for all the ruggedness I was going to need on the deck of the cruise ship. ha ha). My thinking was that although I didn't need a a heavy duty bag for the cruise, as long as I was buying one, I should get the best I could find/afford.

    The pros:
    1) The construction of the Borealis is rock solid, as I have come to expect from Mountainsmith.
    2) lots of loops and straps to add extra gear that doesn't fit inside the 2 compartments (3 if you count the laptop slot)
    3) straps are very customizable so you should be able to adjust it to get a comfortable fit
    4) the camera storage compartment is very well padded and fully adjustable. You can even remove it if you don't need it and want to use it as a non-camera backpack

    The cons:
    1) The design of the camera compartment makes it very difficult/awkward to access the camera w/o taking the backpack off (as another reviewer mentioned). I guess this is ok if you are trekking to a destination to take photos and don't plan on stopping to take photos along the way. But if you will need to access your camera/photo equipment frequently, it can be annoying.
    2) The bottom of the pack is sloped, not flat, so the pack doesn't really stand-up on it's own, it tends to fall in the direction away from the back of the pack (the strap side). I guess this is better than falling toward the strap side if you set it down on dirt/water/mud/snow so it keeps the part that touches your back clean, but it would be preferable if is stood upright on its own. My guess is that it was designed that way to ease in the opening of the camera section (for you tropical fish enthusiasts, the camera section opens like an Arrowana's mouth), but, again, I found it annoying.
    3) The zipper for the camera compartment. It is a heavy duty zipper, which is great, but for resistance to moisture, there is a flap that covers the zipper. If you don't carefully roll this flap over when you open the camera compartment, the zipper tends to fray the flap. Perhaps a ticky-tack criticism, but would it not have been better to use a moisture resistant zipper instead?
    4) Although this is listed as my #4 con, it is one of the biggest ones: the capacity of the non-camera storage compartments is very limited considering the overall size of the backpack, but I suppose the majority of the space is used for the camera section. But it was just disappointing at how little usable space there was. There are 2 storage compartments + the laptop slot, the bigger one fits an XL hoodie sweatshirt and maybe a couple of bottles of water. You could cram more in, but just to give you a general idea. I just checked the Mountainsmith website and it looks like they have modified the design since I bought mine in 2012 (which is the model that is pictured here). The new design has a less tapered upper portion which should improve the non-camera storage space significantly (think of a station wagon compared to a hatchback).
    I think if I had waited until now to buy this product, my rating would be a 4 or possibly 5 (if some of my other peeves have also been addressed), but for now, it's a 3. Excellent construction and quality, w/ a less than desirable design and disappointingly small non-camera storage.
    1) as another reviewer pointed out, you pretty much have to take off the pack in order to access your camera which is very inconvenient.
  • Verified Buyer Reviewed by vergoin from IL on Monday, June 2, 2014
    This bag fits all my camera gear with room for my laptop, Ipad and other electronic gear. Only downside is you have to take it off to remove camera. I look forward to use this in Alaska this July.
  • Reviewed by Alaskan Southerner from Missouri on Tuesday, May 27, 2014
    This pack is big. It's so big that by the time I shove everything I want inside, I might as well be carrying a 50lb weight. I think the layout is clever. The camera compartment is large and deep enough to fit a DSLR w/battery grip, and about 4 lenses. The laptop compartment holds a 17" laptop with external and power cable with no problems. The zippers are weatherproofed. Overall, it's a great pack.
  • Verified Buyer Reviewed by Scooter from Snohomish County, Washington on Thursday, May 8, 2014
    Pack seems bigger than its stated capacity, which is a big plus. padding increases stiffness, which holds compartments open while you are digging through them. Camera compartment has velcro dividers which can be customized. Comfortable suspension. Tripod holder is clever and works with large tripods. Access to Compartments is limited however when the tripod is strapped in place. wish it had a hydration bladder pocket. Hip belt pockets are great but could be a bit larger



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