Follow Up – Kata DR466i Photography Backpack

I reviewed this backpack in May 2010, at which time, I’d been using it for a while already. So after well over a year of use, I thought it might be time to post a follow up.

Allow me to clarify how I’ve used the DR466i – while it’s designed as a photography backpack, I’ve put it in service as my primary pack. So when I need to fill the bottom compartment with DSLR gear and the top with accessories for a photo shoot, it’s been the bag of choice. It’s also been used extensively as my cycling pack – usually filled to the brim with library books, shopping and Indian food.

Since late May, it’s been on the road with me in daily use as my travel bag (sans camera gear); it’s been on planes, buses and trains and has been dragged up and down the streets of many cities in rain and blazing sun. I suspect that it’s had more hard use and abuse in these two months than most packs like it see in a lifetime. I’ve continuously overfilled it with shopping and supplies and have had to use real force to yank the zips closed, I’ve swung it from side to side over and over, dumped it on every surface from marble to dirt, had it soaked with coke and almost torn apart by security people in Washington DC. I’ve even used it as an impromptu weight training device when I needed to do some core work, which I’m sure isn’t what the manufacturer had in mind for it.

Has it displayed any problems? Nope, not a single one! The handle is covered with dirt, sunblock and general muck and the pack and straps are fading from the hundreds of hours in the sun but there’s barely a scuff on the material and everything still looks ready for another year of the same torture.

So all up then, an impressively rugged and versatile performer, which I’d never have kept if it wasn’t also comfortable. I’ve missed having a better waist strap when it’s been heavily loaded but I’ve managed 10 hour walking days with it with no trouble. When it eventually gives up the ghost, or I need a bigger bag, I know what brand will be first on my list.

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