To celebrate the 100th anniversary of our great National Parks, we headed up to Sequoia Kings Canyon with all of our gear in tow, including the new Tamrac Hoodoo 20 bag.The average day hike, especially when traveling to a National Park, is often the perfect opportunity to work on your photography skills and capture the breathtaking environment. Why was the Hoodoo 20 on our list for this trip? To be honest, we always try to travel light. Unless a contracted assignment is on the line, we strive to do everything with as little photography equipment possible.
Tamarac Hoodoo 20 Specs
- External Dimensions – 29.5 x 43 x 15.5 cm (11.5 x 16.5 x 6 in)
- Internal Dimensions – 29 x 42.5 x 15 cm (11 x 16.5 x 5.5 in)
- Weight – 1.3 kg (2.8 lb.)
- 2x PU coating
- Optimized lightweight foams
- YKK® zippers
- Waxed canvas and ripstop fabrics
- Absolutely NO PVC
The dimensions above show that the Tamrac Hoodoo 20 is a pretty small camera bag and it really does feel this way on your back. Our main hike in the park took us through Giant Sequoia lined trails for nearly five hours straight. The beauty of the scenery alone is enough to free your mind of a heavy backpack, but fortunately Tamarac designed the Hoodoo to truly disappear while in use. Nearly every camera bag manufacturer likes to throw this line somewhere in the product description yet they can’t truly guarantee it. We can say with confidence that this bag was never a burden in terms of fit and feel, even while our legs were at their weary end.
At 2.8 pounds, this bag isn’t as light as our more technical gear yet even the packed weight wasn’t an issue at any point. Throughout the main hike we carried a Canon 5D Mark II with a 16-35 lens as well as a Sony a6000 with its kit option lens. Throw in a wind shell with miscellaneous lunch items and you’d expect this smaller bag to be over capacity. Again, this simply wasn’t the case. It’s so well balance in design that the entire unit disperses its weights evenly and comfortably.
The real inspiration behind the Hoodoo 20 from Tamrac is its simplicity in design. You don’t have to fear an awkward and bulky fit. Instead, you get an ergonomic shape that sits in place at the shoulder line and just above the waist. A chest strap is included as well, just in case you are planning for a more active trail experience. In a similar fashion, the entire bag is constructed from waxed canvas, which was strong enough to withstand the large amount of tree hugging that was going down. Anything for the shot, right? Simply put, dirt and tree contact was not an issue for this camera bag. It proved to be a true trail bag that was intended to be used outdoors.
When searching for the best camera backpacks for hiking, we find value in the predictability of how a photo bag will fit. What’s refreshing about the Hoodoo 20 is that it really doesn’t fit much different from a regular day bag or even school bag. The rear panel has two strategically placed padding strips that run from the shoulder down to the waistline. In between the two padded areas is a welcomed channel for air flow up and down the spine region. Other than that, the only other padding can be found on the straps themselves. It’s much lighter here than on the back panel and seemed to work great through the entire weekend. Again, the minimalistic approach kept us from dealing with distractions and frustration.
Backpack Storage and Compartments
- Removable camera module for compact DSLRs, lenses, flashes, etc.
- Top portion holds a jacket, lunch, personal items, hiking gear, etc.
- Optimized lightweight protective foams
- Waxed canvas and durable ripstop fabrics
- Protective laptop sleeve
- Organizer pocket with key fob strap holds personal items
- Protective foam dividers are fully customizable for your gear
- Water resistant 2x PU coating
- Fully adjustable ergonomically designed shoulder strap
The best way to describe the Hoodoo 20 from Tamrac, is a traditional day bag with a traditional camera shoulder case inside of it. The inner case, that can be completely removed and carried separately, holds a compact DSLR body and 2-3 lenses as well. We chose to stuff it with the Canon 5D Marl II and two lenses for all day versatility. With just our Sony a6000 in the same compartment we can fit another two lenses with ease or a second mirrorless camera body. Just behind this sturdy camera compartment is a sleeve that secured our 13” macbook and iPad.
The inner bag is padded well and has a more structural skeleton to withstand an impact. The compartment dividers are also attached by way of velcro, allowing for customization to fit your kit. With the main camera and lens case in place, we still had another third of the bags volume left for a ton of snacks and extra jackets. To make your gear accessible at a moments notice, the inner and outer zippers line up. Sure you do have to get through two zippers to get to the camera but that’s what makes the Hoodoo 20 so versatile. The main upper zipper also opens nice and wide for easy loading for on-the-go adventures.
When looking for an everyday backpack that can confidently carry a compact DSLR and two lenses, the Tamrac Hoodoo 20 is a truly capable option. Its minimal design omits hydration features but compensates with a very comfortable fit for long hours on the trail or in the city. This camera bag is well balanced with weight distribution and sits securely on the ground when empty or fully loaded. It’s bags like this that force you choose your favorite gear while focusing on the subjects that you are shooting rather than the technology in your kit.