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All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

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Gear

Jun 07, 2018

F-stop Dalston & Fitzroy Gear Review: The Perfect Paris Photography & Getaway Bag

These two new photography packs from f-stop are the latest from the famed company and they don’t disappoint.

WRITTEN BY

Lorenzo Fornari

The Fitzroy is a sling style pack and I’ll start off by saying that I’ve never been a big fan of this format simply because putting all that weight on one side of the body, on one shoulder, has never been good for me. I was one of those kids who would let their backpacks hang from one strap to look cool and casual but would, and still do, travel with both straps firmly balanced on my back. Alas, for the sake of science and The Outdoor Journal, I decided to spend a few days around Paris with Fitz and its larger brother, Dalston, to see what they could offer on an urban photo outing.

Fitzroy Sling Style

Perfect for shooting in an urban environment. The Fitzroy allows quick access with its sling design. Photo © Rameen Eggspulher

First of all the Fitzroy, Fitz for his friends, is deceptively small. Within its diminutive looking size, there’s a large removable 11 liter padded compartment with two adjustable velcro dividers giving three sections for camera body and lenses or any combination you heart desires. The sling is wide and well padded and slides well when you slide it from your back to front. There are only two ways into the pack, a roll-up opening on top and a full-length weatherproof zipper on the right side. This layout is a useful design feature for an urban environment where you’re often looking around, distracted, giving little attention to what’s going on in your immediate vicinity and keeps prying fingers from your precious gear.

Talking about the zipper, it has large dual toggles that allow for easy access even with gloves on. The roll-up opening means that Fitz can expand quite a lot and allow you to embark a water bottle, other gear, a sweater, etc. The build is top notch and the waterproof ripstop fabric won’t let in any wayward rain.

The Fitzroy (front) and bigger brother Dalston on my back braving the cold and rainy Parisian weather. Photo © Rameen Eggspulher

After a few days of walking around with it I got used to stowing my camera away and easily swinging it round front rapidly with easy access to it. I liked not having my camera dangling about since it allowed me to enjoy my surroundings more instead of having a trigger finger always ready to snap away and think of shooting. When I did want to shoot, however, it would be a simple and fluid movement to bring the pack front and always at the perfect height to easily access my camera.

Work Table on the Go

In addition to the easy access, having the pack in front creates a sort of work table where I can change lenses safely and quickly and this means having more creative freedom.

Despite it’s small size, the Fitzroy is perfect for on-the-go shoot-and-scoot photography. There’s also a discreet mobile phone pocket in the back lining. Photo © Rameen Eggspulher

Tasteful Discretion

Finally, of note, there are two other discreet zippers parallel to the main one. The outer one is an ample flat pouch with a detachable key chain and inner mesh space for loose objects. The second, much smaller zipper, reveals a small space big enough for a large mobile phone and documents such as passports and even wallet if you should feel inclined to put all your most precious eggs in one basket. Because this pouch is really small and right up against your back, it’s almost impossible to see and hard to access given the small latch so it could actually be better to store smaller objects there than in pant pockets when you’re in a pickpocket-prone place like the Paris metro or some busy bazaar in a far off land. Last but not least, Fitz holds one last up ace its sleeve; two external latches for your tripod. Or yoga mat. Up to you.

Light and Reliable

Despite wanting to hate it, this little bag won me over for how well it performed. And the single sling layout didn’t hurt my back as I thought it would’ve also because this pack weighs in at a paltry 500 grams. A featherweight.

Peek-a-boo. Dalston has big capacity and is really discreet. Photo © Rameen Eggspulher

Dalston’s Superior Size

Dalston also slings forward well and allows full access to your gear. Photo © Rameen Eggspulher

Fitz’s bigger brother, Dalston is made of the same material and has two straps and much larger capacity with 5-6 internal compartments and the same roll-up opening on top as the Fitzroy, allowing for a lot of extra space if you need it.

Fstop camera bags
Dalston (left) & the smaller Fitzroy. Photo © Rameen Eggspulher

Although it doesn’t actually look that much bigger than Fitzroy, the backpack has almost all the things you’d expect from a professional pack of this category. That includes a large pouch against the back large enough for a 15inch laptop and an additional pouch in front with an internal mesh space, detachable keychain, and any other medium sized object you can think of.

Getaway Bag

Unlike the Fitzroy, each side of the Dalston has a large but almost invisible weatherproof zipper that allows you to access the internal padded compartments. The traditional backpack layout means that it doesn’t quite ‘sling’ as well as the Fitzroy but can be brought in front easily and used as a sort of workbench to access your gear through the side zipper.
The roll-up opening up top means that it expands quite a lot. I would even go far enough to say that there’s sufficient space to allow you to make this the perfect gear and clothing combo for a weekend getaway.

Fstop camera bag
Dalston in Paris. Photo © Rameen Eggspulher

The only omission is external straps like Fitzroy for a tripod. Or yoga mat. The straps are padded and comfy and there’s a basic front strap for keeping everything nice and stable whether you’re climbing a fence or even skiing down a slope. Even though the pack is more than twice the size of the Fitzroy, it’s only 300 grams heavier, clocking in at about 800 grams. It’s practically weightless.

Camera bag comparison
Dalston (left) & Fitzroy in a less adventurous studio setting. Photo © Lorenzo – The Outdoor Journal

 

Overall: 4.5 / 5

Pros: They’re light, they’re tough, they protect your gear perfectly, no flamboyant logos that can attract thieves, and they’re incredibly well priced.

Cons: None although I’d have to nitpick about the curious absence of external straps on the Dalston while the much smaller Fitzroy has them.

Fitzroy: 129$
http://fstopgear.com/products/urban/fitzroy

Dalston: 149$
http://fstopgear.com/products/urban/dalston

Photo Credit: Rameen Eggspulher
https://www.instagram.com/rameen_eggspulher/

 

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Reviews

Oct 18, 2018

European Outdoor Film Tour: Side-Splitting Hilarity

The 18th annual European Film Tour hits its stride, inspiring and cracking up thousands in 300 venues across 15 countries.

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WRITTEN BY

Davey Braun

For my first experience at a European Outdoor Film Tour event, I expected to see short documentary films about inspirational daredevils conquering fear itself and performing at the absolute peak of their sport. What I did not expect was the consistent comedy amidst the extreme in POV. Anyone standing outside the theater would think we were screened an advance release of Pineapple Express 2. Side-split and gut-busted, I returned home pleasantly surprised.

Order tickets here.

Now in it’s 18th year, the E.O.F.T presents a roundup of some of the most outstanding outdoors and adventure films of the year. The inclusion of an experienced host, who introduced each of the eight films over the course of three hours, generated a film festival atmosphere, as if I was attending the premiere of each film.

Launching in more than 300 venues across 15 countries, the EOFT promotes the spirit of adventure. There is no script, no actors and no CGI – only true stories of accomplishment and overcoming the odds.

Luxembourg Screening

With a packed house, the Luxembourg community showed its appreciation for the event. The Luxembourg screening took place at Rockhal, one of the top entertainment venues in the country. Situated in a former industrial site, with megalithic steel structures juxtaposed with futuristic architecture, Rockhal feels like some off-world planet in the Blade Runner franchise. However, the screening room itself did not quite live up to a cinema experience due to its smaller screen, uncomfortable chairs and painfully long concession lines. I’d vote to move the screening to Kinepolis movie theatre next year.

Rockhal, an industrial business and entertainment park in Luxembourg

The EOFT is a family-friendly event with mostly G-rated inspirational content. The only distressing scenes of the entire event were a relatively minor injury and the emotional story of Tom Belz’s struggle with cancer before attempting to summit Kilimanjaro.

The Lineup

From mountain biking in the Arctic Circle, to roller-skiing the length of North America, to world-record paragliding in Pakistan, the film compilation spanned the globe.

North of Nightfall

North of Nightfall started the show. A group of elite mountain bikers travel to Axel Heiberg Island, Canada’s seventh largest island that lies north of the Arctic Circle, in search of bottomless descents.

A to B Rollerski

A to B Rollerski stood out as my favorite. From the flamboyant 80’s fashion to Raimonds Dombrovskis’ bold personality, this is the one I’ll be re-watching every year on a creaky, scratched-up DVD. Raimonds Dombrovskis repeats the longest training run of his biathlon career, which covered 6,700 kilometers from the northern tip of Canada down to the Mexican boder, on rollerskis. As an added bonus, the director traveled to the event to answer questions and speak about the film in person.

Raimonds Dombrovskis rollerskis across North America to train to represent Latvia in the Olympics in biathlon.

Mbuzi Dume – Strong Goat

Perhaps the most inspiring film of the day was Mbuzi Dume – Strong Goat. The film follows Tom Belz’s journey to summit Kilimanjaro one-legged, as Tom’s left leg was amputated when he was just eight years old. Very skillfully and nimbly, and with exceptional grit, Tom uses crutches to traverse a variety of mountainous terrains.

Cancer survivor Tom Belz sets his sights on Kilimanjaro.

8000+

What stunt could be more ambitious or risky than paragliding among the Karakorum mountains in Pakistan for three weeks, alone? Antoine Girard defly maneuvers the upwinds with the aim to set a new altitude record in paragliding above the 8,000 meter mark.

Antoine Girard paraglides through the Karakorum mountains in Pakistan.

Viacruxis

After a 30 minute intermission, the show continued with Viacruxis, a hilarious stop-motion animated film depicting a mountaineering duo wordlessly toiling towards the summit through thick fog, falling rocks and butting egos.

This stop-motion animated film is the only unreal action of the tour.

The Frenchy

It’s impossible not to be charmed and won over by The Frenchy. 82 year old Jacques Houot is still an adamant multi-sport racer who has escaped death more times than you can count on two hands.

82 year old Jacques Houot’s stays young and fit by competing in downhill bike and ski competitions.

The A.O.

The lineup of films was presented as a crescendo leading up to the climactic climbing documentary of Adam Ondra (cue the debate between Adam and Alex Honnold here). Adam devotes himself completely, body and mind to accomplishing the first 9c difficulty level climb. We get a behind the scenes look at the non-traditional methods Adam experiments with to solve such a grueling problem. This film featured some of the most unintentionally funny scenes out of the evening’s lineup, with Adam mentally visualizing the route while groaning on the floor.

Frozen Mind

Feeling a bit out of place, the showrunners screened one more film after The A.O. that was by far the least engaging of the day with cliched narration. Victor de le Rue and Pierre Hourticq navigate narrow crevasses – skiing down with their shovels – in Charmonix.

Snowboard dangerous chutes in Charmonix.

Read Next on The Outdoor Journal: Aqua Negra Film Review: An Introspective Spearfishing Adventure

All in all, the event was highly entertaining and I look forward to making the EOFT an annual tradition.

To learn more about the European Outdoor Film Tour, click here. And order tickets, click here.

EOFT Facebook

EOFT Youtube

Images: European Outdoor Film Tour

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