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Tripod backpack from KITE OPTICS

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Old Wednesday 5th September 2018, 15:19   #1
Hank Y
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Tripod backpack from KITE OPTICS

Hi everyone,

I find this backpack very interesting:
https://www.kite-viato.com/

It's called 'Viato' and it offers much more storage space then a scopac.
Has anyone see or used it?

Greetings,
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Old Sunday 26th May 2019, 17:04   #2
lestat
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Saw one yesterday. Seems very interesting. Apparently it's a Belgian company. I'll probably pick myself a copy upcoming week. I've no experience with scopac, but this bag is very well padded, like a proper backpack, it seems sturdy and is waterproof. According to the salesperson it's a bit hard to fold the tripod legs, so expect to carry around the tripod open.

I'll update this 'review' once I've had some field experience with it.
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Old Sunday 26th May 2019, 17:27   #3
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"Scopac" and similar products were originally designed to carry a spotting scope on a tripod to free up your hands. Then bags and pouches were incorporated to carry food, drink, etc. This one shows a camera mounted series of photos in the advert and binoculars being carried inside the unit so perhaps marketed for a " togger " rather than a birder. Further evolution of the tripod strap / carrier?
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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 15:50   #4
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So when you write " togger " with quotation marks the meaning sadly gets lost to me. You'll have to excuse me since English is not my native language, would you care to explain?

Our national birdwatch/protection center sells them, the Dutch equivalent of the RSBP, so I'd figured it's catered towards birders...

The company Kite Optics specializes in optics including binoculairs, monoscopes, telescopes and stuff around nature watching. I can't find anything related to cameras, though I can see why they advertise with photogear since that's the larger market. (especially in smaller countries like the Netherlands and Belgium)
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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 16:37   #5
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"Togger" is a term given to someone who is far more interested in taking a close up photograph (shortened to tog) of a bird than seeing, studying or even identifying the subject, usually at the bird's disturbance or annoyance to other birdwatchers. My apologies.

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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 20:49   #6
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I see, thanks for explaining. Though how one gets from 'taking a close up photo' to 'tog' is beyond me

Guess I'm the odd one out, I've gone from the combo binocular & camera to binocular & telescope nowadays. Well to be hones I'm just looking for a good way to haul the tripod around as comfortable as possible without having to go through the hassle of packing/unpacking every 5 minutes, extending and retracting tripod legs and keeping the hands free for the binoculars.

The Dutch 'rspb' centre had only two models, a very basic own brand bag and this kite one, which had nice padding and waterproof materials. Since I have to carry meds with me everywhere I go, this seemed like the better option. But if there are other kandidates out there to consider I'd be more than happy to hear about them.
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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 21:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
"Scopac" and similar products were originally designed to carry a spotting scope on a tripod to free up your hands. Then bags and pouches were incorporated to carry food, drink, etc. This one shows a camera mounted series of photos in the advert and binoculars being carried inside the unit ………………………………..
I have something similar to a "scopac" but the space for taking along extra items is extremely limited. So I very often leave it at home as I need to carry a small backpack instead.

It looks like this viato type has space for a small jacket, plus some lunch and drinking, in addition to a compact camera. So this may well be what I need. Unfortunately, I have not found any info on the weight for this new tool. It becomes important when packing for a trip abroad. Likewise, the price is not that easy to find. On a US website, I found a price of about $220, so that gives at least an indication.
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Old Tuesday 28th May 2019, 21:25   #8
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I think the price is likewise around here. Going between 200€ to 250€. (advised price 235€)
Some specs from the manufacturers site:
size: 15 litre
weight: 1,04 kg (from the french review linked on the manufacturers site)
dimensions: 42cm (h) x 37cm (width at base) x 10 cm (width at top)

Most reviews (the few that are out yet) mention the waterproof, sturdy material and the high quality feel. Though since it's hard to tell if they're sponsored reviews I kinda disregard most of this. However seen it next to the 'base' model at the bird protection store it does ooze 'quality' and attention to detail.

There was too much traffic today due to the nation wide strike of the public transport companies (no buses, no trains equals more cars on the road) so maybe I can pick my copy up tomorrow.

Like I said before, the 15 liter pack space sounds ideal for storing a coat / jacket a small amount of food and my meds, so may work out nicely.
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Old Tuesday 28th May 2019, 21:36   #9
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Photographer.

Good luck and I hope it suits your needs.

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Old Wednesday 29th May 2019, 15:29   #10
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A so it's more a 'general' term for photographer, I can see that. I was a bit misdirected by your comment towards "must be getting a close up shot of the bird no matter the cost".

Anyway I picked up my copy of the bag today. I'll be happy to answer any questions that anyone could have.

First impressions:
Very well made bag at a hefty price. €235 at the birdcentre, but with 10% membership discount it's yours for €211,50
The bag "wraps" around the center column of your tripod and more less makes a 3-sided pyramid shape. Since there's the center column in the middle it automatically means your bag space is divided in 2 sections.
As for space: plenty to go around. I thought I'd humor myself and see what can fit in: one side a full sized winter waterproof fleece jacket size XL. (mind you not neatly folded but more or less crammed)
Other side: one swarovski EL 8,5x42 and Nikon 50 ED telescope with 16DS eyepiece inside it's transport bag with some room to spare!
So not really 15 litres, but more 7,5 litres x 2

As for the bag itself: nice waterproof outer shell, reminds me a bit of the ortlieb bags, maybe a bit less sturdy. The insides of both bags (main compartments) are fully lined with the same foamy material you see inside camera bags like lowepro makes. So whatever you bring it's very well protected. The bottom of each compartment has a nice big upright 'ledge' for a better word of it, so whatever you place inside doesn't immediately tumble out as soon as you open a zipper. These zippers are also waterproofed by the way. So impressive stuff so far.
Inside each compartment there are little mesh storage bags to the inner wall for extra stuff, this seams very photographer oriented, you can put spare batteries and memory cards there. There are also some elastic loops where you could store pens / papers or other stuff behind.

Then to my surprise there was a '3rd' storage bag in the middle. Inside is a rain cover, big enough for the bag itself, not big enough for your telescope above it and the bag. But maybe big enough for the telescope without going over the bag (which is waterproof by itself). This cover comes with a dark black side and a fully reflective silvery side for great visibility during the night should you find yourself on the road. A nice surprise since I didn't read about this.

-update- I've tried the rain cover, by design the black side seems to go outwards, not sure how the waterproofing is on the reflective side. Also tried it if it would fit over a mounted telescope. It will fit comfortably around an ATX 85 telescope with plenty room to spare. You can draw a cord to tighten it so it will fit snugly, keeping your photo-gear or telescope dry while still being mounted on top of the tripod.

The padding on the back and the shoulder straps seem comfortable. I doubt I'd appreciate hauling it for a long day hike, but for birding it should do the job well.

The only downside I could see, though I'm not sure it will be a downside, is that there's no belt buckle / belt strap. Potentially something that catches wind and can cause unbalance during scoping but it would be nice if there was an option to attach it perhaps.

As for mounting the bag around your tripod, fairly simple. The bag wraps with 3 huge Velcro straps around each leg, very sturdy in itself, not sure how it will be for the long run but then again how often will I remove the bag from the tripod once placed? That itself is a solid foundation, but to finish it there's a couple of extra loops that go around the tripod head / topside to keep the bag high and loops around the tripod legs.

Will update once I've taken it out on the field, should be this weekend at the earliest.

Last edited by lestat : Wednesday 29th May 2019 at 22:33. Reason: added info about the raincover
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Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 21:34   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lestat View Post
According to the salesperson it's a bit hard to fold the tripod legs, so expect to carry around the tripod open.
This, to me, is the biggest disadvantage. I've been skewered far too many times by people with their (tripod) legs out - most antisocial. Mind you, to absolute worst are those who seem to think it's perfectly OK to wander round with the legs fully extended and pointing forwards!

An interesting development, though.

I'll be looking for one that comes with a seat (and preferably someone to carry it).
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 09:36   #12
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Pointing forwards? How does that even work?

Well as for the bag and how I see it, it's quite wrapped around the center column of any tripod. Even if the bag is empty you still have quite some volume left from the good padding, so fully closing the tripod is not really an option, closing a bit is certainly possible, but you get nowhere near full closing.
-update edit-
When you try to 'minimize it' the two poles towards your back more or less stay the same, this has to do with the solid attachment to the bag with a very large velcro patch. The 'outer' or middle pole can be entirely put in, it's not solidly attached to the bag so there's plenty of movement room there. The bag itself however has a pretty solid shape that won't budge much, so the bag stays the same.
To be honest apart from the bigger lump on your back, I don't see how this would differ from any other telescope backpack, if you keep the legs out you will knock people over in tighter places.

I think the bag is indeed unsuited to wander around with legs extended when in a group. But with the tripod legs "in" it's a small package, a bit like a big daytrip backpack. Or as you can easily see, the size of any regular tripod that's standing in it's smallest size. It's a bit of taking care where you trot and not being anti social I suppose.

Most places where I telescope are spacious places so it's not a bad thing per se. Lakesides / beaches / marshes. In the forests I tend to stick to bins only.

Last edited by lestat : Friday 31st May 2019 at 14:30.
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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 09:03   #13
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Some practical problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank Y View Post
Hi everyone,

I find this backpack very interesting:
https://www.kite-viato.com/

It's called 'Viato' and it offers much more storage space then a scopac.
Has anyone see or used it?

Greetings,
It is definitely a most interesting new backpack. I just received it today, and I have encountered a few problems, unfortunately. Things already start with the meagre instructions that come with it. There is a double-sided instruction sheet. But as the backpack is black, no details can be seen on the illustrations. I copied the first side to give some idea.

There are so many straps that one would like to know what they are for and how to best make use of them. There is a "bottom plate" that can be fixed with a press button, but I have no idea about the proper use of this plate. It can be seen in the second picture. Also, the red "security strap", seen at the very top of the second picture, is so wide that the center column needs to be extended considerably. And tripod models that have the fastening of that center column underneath of the leg attachments would probably not be made for Viato.

A similar major problem, at least in my case, comes from the fact that Viato seems not to be made for compact tripod models. As can be seen on the second picture I attached, the uppermost clamp of my tripod legs will be hidden under the velcro attachments. This is a rather expensive backpack, so one hardly wants to buy it "just for curiosity's sake". So I'd rather want to make sure I can make it to properly fulfill its function here.

I'll try to contact Kite Optics to hopefully get some more detailed drawings. But any help from forum members will be most welcome. The whole backpack makes a somewhat too stiff impression, as well, but I guess that will change with time. What I do like are the two well thought-out main compartments. The fact that the included equipment protecting cloth is attached with a strap is also a most ingenious idea. And compared to my "Scopac" type backpack I have used so far, the additional weight is very reasonable, considering the vastly increased storage space. The total weight for Viato is about 1050 grams, my old model weighs about 650 grams.
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Last edited by Swissboy : Monday 3rd June 2019 at 09:25.
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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 13:01   #14
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better pictures on the Kite Optics website

I have since found better pictures on the Kite Optics website:

https://www.kite-viato.com/https://w...oduct/1/viato/


With proper enlargement, they do give the details that should be visible in the "manual" that comes with the backpack.

Instructions regarding the various straps, magnets (one needs to discover them first) etc. are still missing, however.

There is also a review found on shutterbug that might be of interest: https://www.shutterbug.com/content/v...lis92NM_jFq3K0
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Last edited by Swissboy : Monday 3rd June 2019 at 13:06.
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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 21:03   #15
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Did you still need help with mounting the pack to your tripod?
I'll admit I did have plenty of time at the national bird protection centre to try the bag out. It was very busy with people coming for binoculars, so I was more or less left to myself to dismount the show model from the display tripod and fit it to my own tripod to try on. So yeah that helps if you've seen it attached first.

As for the stiffness, I'll doubt it will get much softer. The 'click' button for the bottom plate (it's more a back plate, the bottom plate would be inside the bag) is to make for 'smaller' storage. For wear it's loose so you get a nice cushion on your lower lumbar region (bum).

As for the straps that go to the side poles (the two poles wrapped in velcro that will sit closest to your back on the sides) I ever so slightly extend the first section of the poles so a little room appears for the strap to be attached to. But in fairness I have a big tripod, I dont think it's suited for a small compact travel tripod. I wouldn't dream of using my travel tripod in combination with this bag since the bag would be dwarfing the tripod

It's about 42 cm from the top of the bag down to the part where the velcro ends so shorter leg sections will be hidden under the velcro. Not a bad thing per se since you can permanently extend the parts hidden under the velcro without really loosing function. I mean what's the point of making the legs smaller than the bag, the bag won't shrink.

As for my tripod: Gitzo GT 2830
For me the center column is not extended at all, the red top strap surrounds the dial to loosen and/or fasten my center column. 98% of the time the center column is down for me, so not a big issue. Loosening the red top strap is quickly done if needed. The red strap is connected to a black strap that goes down, here you can adjust things to a proper fit. So extending really shouldn't be necessary.

If needed I could try fitting it to my much smaller Sirui T-025x but that only has a center column that goes 'up' (the whole tripod is made for being as small as possible) I wouldn't want to mount my ATX to that tripod, it's only used with my Nikon ED50

As for magnets... there's a magnet attachment? Haven't located that.
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Old Tuesday 4th June 2019, 07:38   #16
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Quote:
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Did you still need help with mounting the pack to your tripod?

..................As for magnets... there's a magnet attachment? Haven't located that.
Hello Patrick,

Thanks for your comments! I'm still hoping to get some extra info from Kite Optics.

However, slowly things become clearer. And people like you are definitely most helpful. For example, it was not clear to me how to handle the bottom part on the back. Though I figured just by looking at the strap attachments, that it should probably be open when carrying.

Regarding the magnets I mentioned: I have attached two detail pictures. The double stitched circles have a metal (as far as I can judge it) disc inside, and at least in one case it feels like there is some magnetic force. Though it seems a bit weak!

All this discussion demonstrates, there is definitely a need for more instructions from Kite Optics. It is a brand new product and I hope they will listen to suggestions for improvements.

My tripod is also of normal size, though I need to use the center column despite being only 169 cm. But I use a scope with a straight view.
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Old Tuesday 4th June 2019, 07:48   #17
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Quote:
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………..
............so shorter leg sections will be hidden under the velcro. Not a bad thing per se since you can permanently extend the parts hidden under the velcro without really loosing function. I mean what's the point of making the legs smaller than the bag, the bag won't shrink.

…………....
One more thing, regarding your comment about the hidden parts of the tripod legs: It's fine to have them hidden as long as it's the extended leg that is covered. But usually, one needs to adjust the legs for observations when it's not feasible to carry them extended.
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Old Tuesday 4th June 2019, 09:54   #18
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I discovered the magnets! They perfectly fit when opening the bags one end can be attached to the other magnet so the bag stays open and doesn't flap around. Very suble, in your case the magnet from picture one would after opening attach to the magnet on picture two. Works from both sides, hence two magnets in the middle.
You can tell it's intended this way by the 'fold' in the opening flap.

On your picture your tripod leg is visible, is it not attached? Because when I have my bag on the tripod, the magnet section from picture 2 is over the outward tripod leg (the other two are where the back padding is)

Last edited by lestat : Tuesday 4th June 2019 at 09:57.
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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 07:54   #19
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small scope inside the bag?

It might sound like a strange question, but would a 65mm, angled scope (specifically the Swarovski ATX65) fit inside(!) the bag?

The reason I ask this, is because I'm looking for a solution to carry my scope not only on my back during walks, but also by bike, riding to the walking area.
I like carrying it on the tripod on my back using my scopac when walking (though it has little room for food/drink...). But I'd rather have my scope inside a padded backpack when on the bike (e.g.considering cobble stone roads, potential fall etc.). Even though I'd rather attach the tripod to my bike's rear rack when riding instead of on my back, a Viato might be a solution with one single bag if the scope also fits inside: I'd just have to take the scope out of the bag and put it on the tripod when getting off the bike...
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 23:44   #20
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It might sound like a strange question, but would a 65mm, angled scope (specifically the Swarovski ATX65) fit inside(!) the bag?

The reason I ask this, is because I'm looking for a solution to carry my scope not only on my back during walks, but also by bike, riding to the walking area.
I like carrying it on the tripod on my back using my scopac when walking (though it has little room for food/drink...). But I'd rather have my scope inside a padded backpack when on the bike (e.g.considering cobble stone roads, potential fall etc.). Even though I'd rather attach the tripod to my bike's rear rack when riding instead of on my back, a Viato might be a solution with one single bag if the scope also fits inside: I'd just have to take the scope out of the bag and put it on the tripod when getting off the bike...
Still wondering if this solution would work, and not being able to go to a store (not nearby) to test it myself due to the confinement, I’m giving this thread a small bump :)
Any experience with trying to fit a scope inside this backback is welcome! (If e.g. someone has a 80-85mm scope that fits inside, my 65 will probably too.)
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 08:50   #21
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Still wondering if this solution would work, and not being able to go to a store (not nearby) to test it myself due to the confinement, Iím giving this thread a small bump :)
Any experience with trying to fit a scope inside this backback is welcome! (If e.g. someone has a 80-85mm scope that fits inside, my 65 will probably too.)
I've got the bag but I don'have that scope. The side pockets are approx 35cm top to bottom. Given the angled eyepiece you might just get it in non-vertical with the objective lens at the top. If you were prepared to split the body and the eyepiece then I'd guess it would fit OK. FWIW a Nikon P1000 camera fits comfortably.

Lockdown is easing so a shop visit should be possible. Given the cost of the bag and your requirements I think you really have to try before you buy.

Other comments for anyone considering this backpack:

+ve
Very well made
Well designed and thought out
Comfortable (have walked 15Km without issue)
Good space (P1000 one side, cag, drink and lunch the other)
Probably waterproof

-ve
Cost

Neutral (be aware of)
Scope is head height or above - not stealthy
Velcro leg fixing only just goes round top clamp on 4-section tripod
Antisocial if carrying with legs fully extended (but easy enough to raise/lower L&R legs whilst carrying.

Given the price and idiosyncracies . . Try before you buy!
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 11:50   #22
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Still wondering if this solution would work, and not being able to go to a store (not nearby) to test it myself due to the confinement, Iím giving this thread a small bump :)
Any experience with trying to fit a scope inside this backback is welcome! (If e.g. someone has a 80-85mm scope that fits inside, my 65 will probably too.)
As with other threads I haven't that bag but have 2 which are much cheaper (bought from e.bay - £35.. for a new Olivon & £30 used Lowepro) that fit the bill perfectly.

The Lowepro Flipsde 300 takes a large 85 straight scope in the bag ( along with coat, binoculars, drink etc) , with heavy duty aluminium tripod attached with dedicated straps or there is the Olivon Podtrek which takes my large scope and CF tripod (set up to use) along with drink, sandwiches and waterproof.

Here are couple pics.....
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Hope that can save you £200.
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Old Friday 10th July 2020, 11:52   #23
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However good it might be I'd have thought it'd be hard to justify getting one at such a high price given several other similar options are out there for 25-30% of the cost. Long before these devices came onto the market I made one using an old 'frame' rucksack that I used for years until the leather straps gave way. By adjusting it I made it so my weighty 'scope sat just below my shoulders which made it comfortable to us. I gave up using the replacement because (as in the photos of this version) the scope sat so high above my shoulders that the balance was all wrong making it uncomfortable. In both I also found that the bag element acted as a 'sail' in high winds so in an ideal version should be detachable (as some are). The other thing my self-made version had that I missed was a "quick release" on one of the shoulder straps which made it quick and easy to swing it off my back & into use.
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 23:37   #24
mbb
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Thank you for the additional info!
I will measure my scope to have already an idea whether or not it might fit, but indeed, I wonít buy it before trying.
Actually, I saw one just today in a store, but hadnít thought about it in advance (I was there for my binoculars) and therefore didnít have my scope with me to check Stupid of me. It really looked well made, but bulky and it does weigh a bit. Of course, you cannot have top quality and large content as well as light weight...
Iím still wondering about the best solution on the bike. I might revive such a thread about that in the forum.
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Old Wednesday 15th July 2020, 23:40   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Byrnes View Post
As with other threads I haven't that bag but have 2 which are much cheaper (bought from e.bay - £35.. for a new Olivon & £30 used Lowepro) that fit the bill perfectly.

The Lowepro Flipsde 300 takes a large 85 straight scope in the bag ( along with coat, binoculars, drink etc) , with heavy duty aluminium tripod attached with dedicated straps or there is the Olivon Podtrek which takes my large scope and CF tripod (set up to use) along with drink, sandwiches and waterproof.

Here are couple pics.....
Attachment 731805 Attachment 731804

Hope that can save you £200.
Thank you for the info!
The Olivon looks a like a Scopac alternative, but with more content space. Interesting!
The Lowepro certainly seems big enough, but less handy to quickly take off the shoulders and setup, and than back on the shoulders, while I really like how simple and fast it is to use my Scopac.
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