Bag Week: Kata 3N1-33 Sling Backpack

kata-3n1The Kata 3N1-33 Sling Backpack could be a Transformer in disguise and I would cleverly reference the most appropriate character if I knew anything about the show.


  • Kata 3n1-33
  • Tons of padded storage
  • Versatile carrying system
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Weather cover
  • $145 MSRP


  • More versatile than a Leatherman
  • Plenty  of padded and customizable storage
  • Surprisingly low price


  • It’s like wearing a big shoe box on your back
  • It looks like a big shoe box

The 3N1-33 could be a photographer’s happy place. You could probably fit a whole Ritz Camera store in it and still have room for a sack lunch. The bottom portion is meant to house your camera, lens and accessories. The top section unzips to reveal a handy storage compartment and could hold nearly anything including a spare pair of shoes. The 3N1-33 even has a laptop sleeve big enough to handle a bulky 15-inch notebook.

kata-3n1-1The main draw to this backpack is the camera storage. It makes up about two-thirds of the bag and its vast interior space dwarfs my Nikon D40. (yeah, I know, it’s small anyway) But even with a large DLSR like the Nikon D700, there is still room to store seven accessories like extra lens and flashes. Or, the dividers can be rearranged to make room for one more full-size camera and a few lens.

kata-3n1-4But the customizing doesn’t end there. The bag is designed so that it can be worn several ways. Of course it can be carried by the large top handle, but the back straps can be arranged so the bag can be used as a sling or backpack. When the straps aren’t in use, they are easily stored behind the back padding.

Let’s say you want to make it into a sling. Pull one of the back straps out and snap it into the clip on the bottom. Want a backpack? Pull both straps out and clip them into place. When in sling mode though, the bottom side zippered doors act as a quick access panel to your gear. But watch out, you’ll look like a gigantic nerd if you use the bag this way. Watch the video at the bottom to see what I mean.

Basically the 3N1-33 is for professional photographers that prefer function over fashion. The bag is essentially a large, soft box with a cool internal storage system. It’s the same shape whether it’s full or empty. Totally expect to get some weird looks wearing this bag; it’s that funny looking.

The boxy shape and strap hiding ability also makes it a great home-based storage system. It doesn’t matter if the bag is ass-ugly if it never leaves the house. (There has to be a joke somewhere in there) Even the most eclectic photographer should have enough room to store his all his gear in this bag.

But the 3N1-33 is too serious for me. Or maybe I’m not serious enough for this bag. Whatever the case, I doubt I could ever fully utilize this bag. But I’ll certainly try.

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