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on September 17, 2010
I've been more than happy with my Amazon-purchased Ape Case camera bag (medium) -- a great value and a terrific bag. It's a workhorse that still looks new after two years.

But I've wanted a backpack camera bag. Shopping around, I kept coming back to the Kata 3N1 for its versatility: regular backpack, left or right sling with quick access on either side, and criss-cross to go from backpack to sling in seconds.

But which one? The 20 or the 30? I didn't need the netbook / laptop compartment, since I don't plan to tote one. The 30 sounded a bit large.

I ordered the 20, then changed my mind and chose the 22 -- WITH the netbook compartment. Because I realized I would use it for manuals and bounce cards. And maybe a netbook, if I like . . .

The Kata 3N1 22 arrived in four days and it's been everything I hoped. Beautifully designed and constructed; high quality; amazing in operation.

Right away, out of curiosity, I wanted to see how I could configure it and load it up. Here it is, packed, at 14 pounds. (3 of those are the bag, so that's 11 pounds of gear in a deceptively compact and comfortable backpack.)


580 EX II Speedlite (in its case, with stand)
430 EX II Speedlite (in its case, with stand)
8 spare AA batteries for Speedlites
Microfibre cloths
Lens caps


Second Canon camera battery
Canon battery wall charger


Polarizing and other filters


Canon 40D
Tamron 70-300mm and reversed hood (on camera)
Canon 50mm 1.8 prime (hood separate)
Canon 28-135mm (hood reversed)
Tamron 17-35mm (hood separate)
Tamron 28-200mm (hood reversed)
2-pc Vivitar wireless remote (in mesh pouch, not included)
3pc Cowboy wireless Speedlite triggers (in mesh pouch, not included)
Rain cover in pouch
Media kit -- with extra compact flash cards


"A Better Bounce Card" Bounce Cards

And there's still room for a card reader, binoculars, LED flashlight, small miscellaneous items.

Will I walk around every day with it loaded like that? Probably not. Then again, why not? Leaving out a couple or three lenses and one Speedlite doesn't reduce the weight by THAT much. (Though it's an amazingly comfortable everyday run-around backpack / sling if I leave a few items at home.)

All I have to do is sling my tripod (in its case) and light stand / umbrella (in their case) over my shoulder, or hand carry them, and go. An easily portable highly versatile studio for locations.

Does the 3N1 system really work? And how!

I have had none of the problems a few others have mentioned. I'm 6', 200 lbs, 42" waist. The adjustable waistband fits me fine, with inches to spare.

Yes, wearing it as a regular backpack is the most comfortable over time, as everybody mentions.

But the criss-cross position is almost equally comfortable, with the advantage of instantly converting to a sling. I don't feel "choked" by the straps at my neck, as a few have mentioned. Yes, I adjust them more often because of the configuration. But I don't mind, having the option to instantly go to a sling.

The adjustable padding on the straps is comfortable and effective. The quick-release buckles are strong yet easy to fasten or open. Yes, you really CAN pull the side flap open with one hand and grab your camera from the bag on the fly. The zippers are heavy-duty but smooth.

Sling position (I'm right-handed) works as advertised, with rapid access to my camera without opening the main bag, plus the stabilizing factor of resting my elbows on the bag, now slung around and lying across my front, while shooting.

Sturdy, solid protection for all that gear, plus a rain cover if needed. And yes, I'm glad to have the netbook compartment. I knew I'd use it and it's worth the extra $20.

Now that I've seen how MUCH gear I can pack, it's a daily exercise to decide what I really WON'T need when I go out, and enjoy this versatile backpack / sling at its lightest and for all it's worth. Because it's so brilliantly sized and configured that, backpack or sling, it doesn't feel clumsy or oversized at all, as you use it.

Of course, you're carrying as much as 14 pounds of gear or more in this seemingly compact case -- so it's not like toting an iPhone in your pocket. You feel it. The trick is HOW and how much you might be strained by the extra weight.

The Kata 3N1 22 distributes the weight perfectly and is hands down and fully loaded the most comfortable backpack I've ever worn. You can even use it as an ordinary backpack if you like. The padded partition separating the upper from the main compartment unzips to create one large interior space (by removing the remaining velcro-strapped padded dividers).

I'm impressed. This is an organically designed ergonomic camera equipment transport-protection system that can literally change from day to day, or hour to hour, according to your personal / professional needs and schedule. Priced as well as it is designed and constructed.

Great job, Kata.
11 comment|53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 11, 2011
I gave this pack a five star rating because it is well made, well designed, roomy, and works the way it is intended. But even with all that being said, I have returned the bag. It's simply too big for me. That's why I'm reviewing it - I want to give some fair warning to potential purchasers.

I'm a photo enthusiast and I take my camera nearly everywhere. If you're like me, you're obsessing over this bag purchase, looking at all of them and trying to choose the one that works best for you. I bought this bag thinking it would be nice to have plenty of space to hold all my gear. And it does just that. I have a Canon 40D, two telephoto lenses and a short prime lense. Add to that all the usual stuff you need to own - battery pack, cleaning supplies, a few filters, and spare SD cards. It all fits in the bag with room to spare for my passport, sunglasses, wallet items, even a snack and a bottle of water. It's comfortable, secure, has a waste strap for support, and the quick side opening works well. I got the one with the laptop compartment and my netbook fits in it just fine.

But - the thing is just too darned big! I feel like I'm shouting TOURIST!! It sticks way up on my back and looks silly. If I use it in the criss-cross configuration, it crosses over my breasts and makes them look like Zena the Princess Warrior. I can get the side opening to work using the backpack configuration, but it's not as stable. And it's so bulky that it feels a bit unwieldy.

Finally, carrying all that stuff around made me realize that doing so is not really necessary. Do I really need to carry all three of my lenses and all my cards, filters, and gear on an outing? It makes for a heavy pack, and unless you're a pro, or a very serious ameteur, I just don't see it being necessary to take it all with me. I traded down for a lowepro fastpack 100, and I'll post a review when I've had a chance to go over it. But it looks like I'll be able to carry my camera, one spare lense and all the other accessories I need just fine. The pack is smaller, more streamlined looking, and weighs less.

I gave this item a great rating because it is a beautiful product. Quality materials, light color inside so you can see what's inside well, and lots of thought put into what a camera user needs. And I LOVE the fast access side set-up. I didn't think it would be fair to rate it down because it didn't suit my needs. But non-pros should know that it's big enough to carry a fair amount -if not all- of what you own, and if you want to do that, then this bag will suit your needs. But if you want to carry your camera, maybe a spare lense, battery and SD card with plenty of room left for a sack lunch, this is overkill.
33 comments|14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 19, 2010
Pros: Great build quality, easy access of the camera, comfort, good design,
Cons: Uneasy access to lens at center comp., top is not fully open enough. computer compartment can only fit iPad or 11" laptop

Overall: highly recommended
22 comments|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 15, 2011
This bag is fantastic. It is good looking, flexible, well organized, and sturdy. I travel worldwide, year round. I am a road warrior. I needed a bag for carry on purposes that I could also use while doing day hikes, take to the office, etc. I carry:
- a Nikon D7000 with 2 extra lenses
- a macbook air 11 inch
- a sony coolpix
- two mobile phones
- a wifi hotspot
- two pouches with cables and wires and chargers
- passport and money pouch
- rain sleeve
- ultralight windbreaker
-Spare batteries
-small spiral paper notebook and pen
I used to have to carry a much larger bag to accommodate these items. But the 3N-22 works perfectly. Its a snug fit, but with all of the pockets and points of access, I can get to everything quickly. It is also sturdy.
The flexible straps work really well. I recently tested these on a mountain biking excursion in China. Used both straps while biking and pulled one to quickly slide the bag towards my chest for easy access to my DSLR. Worked quickly and easily.
My only suggestion for improvement would be for Kata to re-inforce the bottom of the bag with a water proof fabric. I set mine down all of the time, and not always in the driest of places. Otherwise, I would say this is the best bag I have ever owned... And I have tried many.
11 comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 1, 2011
I researched for several months to find a sling bag that would be large enough to carry my D700, 3 lenses (1 of which is a larger ultra- wide zoom), and various other peripherals when I travel, that would *magically* shrink to a manageable size for day hikes and around-town shooting. With exception to the Kata, I was able to examine the usual suspects in person at a local electronics superstore. The bags were either too small or too big, and none offered the flexible sling / back pack option, so I decided to take a leap of faith and order a Kata. I was leaning towards the 10, however, based on other reviews, I decided the medium size would be required to accomodate my kit. I ordered the Kata KT D-3N1-22 3 In 1 Sling /Backpack with Laptop Slot so I could tote my iPad2 as well.

I received the bag quickly and was immediately concerned about the size. I decided to give it a try anyway. With room to spare, I was able to load it up with the kit mentioned above as well as my iPad, wallet, various cleaning gadgets and a few more odds and ends one would expect to carry on a day trip. I struggled with the size of the bag on my frame all day. The back pack configuration worked a little better, but the bag itself is so long. it would not sit comfortably on my tiny frame in any configuration. It also stuck out way farther than I liked. Even on my husband, who is 5'9", the profile was freakishly large.

I give this bag four stars because the quality is top-notch, and the over-all functionality is great. I just wish it had a drnk holder, as mentioned by most others. Despite the size, i was easily able to access my equipment and swap lenses without the need for placing the bag on the ground. I am going to exchange this bag for the Kata KT D-3N1-10 Sling/Backpack (Black) in hopes that it is more suited to my needs. I will update my review upon receipt of that bag.

8/17/2011 UPDATE: Received the Kata KT D-3N1-10 Sling/Backpack (Black) and love it. It's more suited to someone small like me, and with exception to my iPad, fits everything the Kata KT D-3N1-22 3 In 1 Sling /Backpack with Laptop Slot held. I am very pleased with my exchange.
55 comments|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 13, 2011
Just got my bag last week and im very happy with it, I went to adorama to purchase the bag yet they dont have the one with laptop compartment , then I ended up ordering online, however i got the chance to see 3n1 20 which is very similar except the laptop compartment and im very impressed with it. the bag is well made and very sleek looking, functionality wise its good that i can place other stuff on the top compartment other than my camera accessories. with 3n1 22 the laptop compartment is specified 11.6" screen the most which an acer timeline or apple air can fit. I dont know why other reviewers were complaining about , they should have purchase the 3n1 33 to fit 15 inches laptops. next time before you buy , read what you are purchasing rather than writing a review that is misleading because of your ignorance. and also it saves you more time and hassle in returning.
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VINE VOICEon September 25, 2011
This is my camera bag of choice. The quality as a camera bag is really unmatched. This is the perfect size for a modest collection of lenses and accessories. You can fit a 70-200 f 2.8 in but it will dominate the bag and commit you to a somewhat strange divider line up. If you limit yourself to smaller lenses you'll have plenty of room. This bag hums with a range of fast primes and accessories.

My only significant complaint is the non camera bag portions of the bag. I find the bag offers generally awkward storage. The laptop case fits a netbook perfectly from a width standpoint but is much to long. You could piratically stack two in there. I've never found any use for the space and just end up with a netbook banging around. The top storage compartment is also small. It's hard to recover the space for effective camera gear storage. The internal pockets make it tough to store wallet, keys, etc. It's two small to store much in the way of food/clothing. I wish I had a little more storage so I could pack larger items or a little more organized storage so I could confidently track my small important items.

Bottom Line: My bag of choice.
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on February 28, 2013
I love this thing! There is so much room for one camera, with an extended grip. A lens and a flash or another lens. It so easy to rotate the sling around and take out all of your equipment, without having to remove the sling. It has a small laptop slot, which can carry a 12 or 13" laptop. I use it to carry a tablet, which is used to control my camera and view pictures.

The straps can tuck away neatly. It also has side pads, to keep the straps from cinching in and provides additional comfort. It has clips on the easy access flaps, to make it quicker to pull your equipment out. In addition to the two-way zippers, it also prevents quick access.

The top pouch is very roomy and has a couple pockets to separate out smaller items. Such as filters, memory cards, duster, micro fiber, etc..
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on September 22, 2011
Rugged and roomy, safely carries all my gear that includes a Sony A55 body, Sony 18-55mm lens, Sigma 18-250mm lens, Sigma 10-20mm lens, Nissin 866 flash, battery charger and misc memory, cleaner, etc. I bought a bendable wrap item from REI to attach my small tripod to the exterior. While Kata would like to sell their tripod holder, it would be nice if the put two extra, small D rings where the lower buckles are located so a small bungee cord could be used to help attach other items to the exterior of the bag. It would be perfect if the laptop section was slightly wider to hold my 8.3" wide laptop, but it holds my ipad instead in its 7.9" section. The next larger Kata bag 3n1-033 it too large for my needs in order to hold my laptop. Also, it would be nice if there were just 2 extra the padded section dividers to Velcro off interior spaces. The Kata website has no "store" section to even purchase extra pads.

The fast access to the camera, nice interior storage pockets and rugged outside makes this a great bag to take on trips, but so far I haven't used it for air travel yet to know what TSA hassles I'll have to get the bag past scanning besides removing the ipad.
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on August 4, 2015
Great camera bag, lots of nooks and crannies, lots of padding. It's pretty bulky, and will only accommodate one DSLR. i keep another lens, and all the other stuff you need - flash, binoculars etc. The laptop compartment is perfect for my MacBook Air 11".
You can use it as a backpack, or as a single shoulder sling. Using it that way, you can swing it around to the front and have access to the camera without having to set it down.
Also, it accommodates the Kata KT ZZ-STH-3N1 tripod holder. I use a lightweight Manfrotto compact MKC3-H01 tripod, which fits perfectly.
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