First Look: Shimoda's Action X30 Camera Backpack Includes Mountain Bike Specific Features

Oct 16, 2019
by Jason Lucas  

A couple of years ago Shimoda launched a line of camera bags that were immediately the talk of the action sports media town, with products geared towards adventure sport photographers and filmmakers. Paris Gore, Mattias Frederiksson, Sven Martin, Sterling Lorence, and many more of our favourite photographers use Shimoda's bags. Building on that success, Shimoda just launched their next line of bags, the Action X series. These new bags boast more durability and features specifically for mountain bike photographers. The new bags come in three models: the X30, X50, and X70. The numbering refers to their capacity in litres, respectively.
Shimoda Action X Details

• Sizes: 30L (seen here), 50L, 70L
• Adjustable torso sizing
• Helmet holder
• Expandable roll top
• Weatherproof YKK zippers
• 15-inch laptop sleeve
• Gender specific shoulder straps
• Starting at $250 USD (w/o core unit)
Kickstarter & more info

These packs include Shimoda's adjustable torso sizing.
Expandable strap pouches for full size phones, snack bars, and more.

The Action X series boasts the same versatility as Shimoda's original Explore series. They allow you to choose your "core" camera block size and accessory pouches to fit your needs and the size of your kit. Our Action X30 came with the Medium DSLR V2 core which is the perfect size for a camera body, a couple lenses, and some small accessories. To me, the main draw of this new pack is the expandable roll top, which can be totally separate from the main core compartment—something that was missing from the Explore series. The roll top gives you ample space for accessories, additional clothing layers, or whatever else you may need out in the woods even in the smallest 30 litre size.



Just one of the many ways you can set this pack up.
The roll top is great for odds & ends. Like Freelap timing equipment.

Fall has officially hit the PNW and I've had this pack out in conditions ranging from lovely sunny days to torrential downpours. So far, I have no complaints. The pack holds its own in the wet, even without a rain cover. The Action X30 is also incredibly comfortable once set up. I've both ridden & hiked quite a bit with this pack, and haven't any issues with rubbing or unwanted soreness. The X30 also does a great job at staying in place while riding rougher trails. I'd have liked to see the laptop sleeve integrated somewhere else rather than next to my back, since riding with a flat laptop on your back isn't super comfortable. But on the other hand, you rarely ride with a laptop along, and it's nice to have a sleeve if you're going to use this for travel. Without a laptop in there it's comfortable to ride in.

The large setting on the torso adjuster was perfect for my 6'1" height.

I haven't found myself making use of the side-access pocket, but I primarily use this pack for video so, I'm usually grabbing more than just a body and lens. I can definitely see the side-access being useful for run and gun photographers. Other handy features include the pop out side mesh pockets that can hold anything from tripod to a water bottle, the front pouch with additional small pockets for even more storage options, and the two heavy duty carry handles. As promised, there are lots of MTB-friendly features—the helmet holder is a nice touch, and fits mountain bike helmets well. There's also a specific holder for a pump (which seems just a little too specific), and routing for a water bladder.

Overall, the new Action X30 builds on Shimoda's already successful Explore line. It's well designed for content creators and active people who travel with gear, with thoughtful features for adventure sport photographers and videographers. We'll probably see a lot of World Cup media squids with these next year. Check out more info, including options to buy on their Kickstarter.

Author Info:
jasonlucas avatar

Member since Nov 16, 2006
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  • 76 0
 I mainly read this article to confirm that they didn't spell "Shimano" wrong.
  • 23 0
 Actually clicked the article trying to understand why Shimano would bother making a camera bag
  • 4 0
 @bizutch: actually did the same thing.
  • 26 4
 @brappjuice: the answer is usually that SRAM went first to market with the bag and it seemed like it had too many compartments to be durable, efficient and intelligently designed. So shimano waited to see if people would buy the bag with all those extra pockets, acted like their current bag was still a far superior design, let SRAM work out the tweaks on those extra pockets & spend advertising dollars like crazy to generate traction for the bag with extra pockets. Then Shimano carefully produced a simple, clean bag with those extra pockets with no shiny color patterns that had been tested hard by their elite sponsored pros and released the bag 2 years later with nary a defect in workmanship and all the features in all the right places...with a plain old black and white press release.
  • 3 2
 @bizutch: arrgg. To much to read.
  • 7 0
 Heard their competitor Srem is going to come out with a new bag next week.
  • 4 0
 @BeerGuzlinFool: It's a juicy read though. Amazon readers give it 4 stars
  • 2 0
 @kdstones: with oil slick pocket handles.
  • 2 0
 @bizutch: so good. Except you forgot the part where they released it based on pre- production models but hadn't quite worked out mass production, resulting in no one actually being able to buy it anywhere.
  • 1 0
 @zoobab2: I would pay for a local to make me stickers to cover everything Shimano I own with that spelling just to mess with people's brains.
"Oh no. I bought it on ebay and it's was like $18 for the cranks. Best deal ever"
  • 38 0
 Great announcement, but the trend suggests it wont hit the market until a year after Sramoda makes one too
  • 31 6
 I love my Shimoda bag. I've ridden and hiked through all sorts of weather with it — no complaints.
  • 9 9
 Why would anyone down vote this comment?
  • 3 6
 @HaggeredShins: Because you asked.
  • 5 2
 I've been using an x30 since early June and have nothing but great things to say about it. If you like the current/previous offerings you'll definitely love this lineup
  • 2 0
 @davetrumpore: will it prevent slip and falls?

Asking for a Trumpore.
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: why would one buy active x series if one already has explore bags?
  • 1 0
 @tigerteeuwen: Because Internet.
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: can you remove the shoulder straps? Looks like a possibility with the way the hight adjustment is set-up. My straps smell like a gorillas ass crack and it's rather embarrassing when loading it in the overhead. I can soak the whole pack at home, but not a realistic option on the road.
  • 1 0
 @kasboh: Overall its a more robust bag that can take more punishment. For a bike rider, the helmet holder is a nice bonus and the bigger side access helps for quick access while riding and getting quick shots. But if your Explore is doing the job, it's a great bag too. We pushed the direction of the new packs to be more action sports tough with subtle features to help serve those users. Ian
  • 4 0
 Thanks for this first look, i didn't know this brand. I totally agree with you, the laptop sleeve is located in a really bad spot. This is quite a deal breaker if you plan to use this pack everyday. Their rolling bag system has piqued my interest as it almost tick all the right boxes. The modular approach between backpack, rolling bags and case is something i really miss with my current rotation of bags (5 backpacks, 2 rollers + Stormcases). However, while the pricing is below that "f-something" brand, I still think it is too expensive without the quick-starter price.
  • 3 0
 One last thing. I wish some brand will finally create a modular system with battery powered strobe specifics inserts.
  • 2 1
 There is another laptop sleeve on the back side of the pack. Through a zipper, not the roll up closure.

This is the one I prefer to use and have no issue with 15" MacBook
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: thx for the heads-up! Are you happy with the weatherproofing? The base of the adjustable strap (near the S/M/L writing) seems a bit to small for the weight of the pack. Is it sturdy enough?
  • 2 1
 @inversedotch: Zero issues with straps. It's the same design used in all their packs and has definitely stood up to the weight and abuse that comes from riding.

The water proofing is good in light rain, and makes cleaning the pack quite easy. Mine still looks very new... That said, always run an additional rain cover when out for extended amounts of time in heavy rain.
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: How much kit are you fitting in the 30L. I'm weighing up going between the 30L and 50L. Im running an A7III with a couple of lenses including 70-200 and other general gear. Just worried about ride ability with the 50
  • 4 1
 @denzilheeger: I carry two D850 bodies. One with 70-200 mounted and other with 24-70. Also have a 15 and a 50 in there... I'm only 5'9 and ride with the x30 as it never hits me in back of the head.

Used the x30 for EWS & WC with all kinds of extra gear stuffed in all summer with no issues.
  • 2 0
 @denzilheeger: you can see a bit of how I have things set up here.

This was shot using an older Explore 30 pack as the X30 I was using/testing at the time was under embargo and could not be shown. But the internal foam core is exactly the same and could be dropped right in just as is in these pics
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: cheers Dave! your a big inspiration man
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: Dave, which core unit do you run with the x30 for the d850? On kickstarter it states the only core unit compatible with the x30 is the mirrorless but the dimensions indicate this would be too small for d850+70-200. Do you use the mirrorless v2 core unit or a different one,if so which one? thanks
  • 8 1
 Super curious about this bag- thanks for the review!
  • 3 0
 How curious? Borderline.....BuyCurious? Wink
  • 2 0
 I was wondering if you were reviewing the Action X30 or X50?
On Kickstarter the guys from Shimoda say, that the X30 ONLY comes with the mirrorless Core Unit. With this being only 12 cm deep it woun't fit a gripped camera body with the grip pointing upwards. For me this is the only downside of the X30. The X50 seems a litte bit too big for my taste but would guarantee a more spacious Core Unit.
So it would be really interesting for me how you assess the fit of the medium DSLR Core Unit in the X30 bag? Did the zippers still work smooth for example? And what about the front pocket? I could imaginge that with the slightly deeper medium DSLR Core Unit it gets a bit snug.

Looking forward to your reply, greets.
  • 4 0
 How many photographers are there that so many companies make such awesome looking packs...that are made specifically for cameras?
  • 27 0
 It's not about how many photographers there are, it's about how many people believe they are photographers filmers film makers editers vloggers influencers
  • 6 0
 anyone who owns a DSLR is a "photographer"...
  • 15 0
 @radrider: You’ve obviously never seen my photos.
  • 3 0
 What's the market like for expensive backpacks that bridge two already expensive hobbies? I'd bet these guys are raking it in hand over fist.
  • 2 0
 @unrooted a lot of us switched from the usual camera bag specific brands (Thinktank, etc.) to outdoor/sport bag brands with camera specific bag lines. If you lug your staff around everyday, you really need a comfortable bag with good weatherproofing, etc.. The market is quite large. Wink
  • 1 0
 Looks like you can fit some bottles and glasses in there. Might be a fun way to take a break at the top.
  • 1 0
 @radrider: Anyone who owns a damn phone is photographer these days
  • 1 0
 I’m not really a fan of roll top camera bags, I find them too slow and fiddly to use.

I haven’t seen much about the new Evoc Stage Capture bag, as someone who doesn’t have loads of camera kit, it looks ideal for me. Does anyone have experience with it?
  • 3 2
 Generally not a fan of roll-tops either, but they work really well with camera block backpacks. Nice to have an expanding compartment above the block.
  • 2 2
 @brianpark: hoping it deletes all your media after you store it in your sack
  • 4 1
 @brianpark: This ... I can fill my x30 to the brim when using as carry on pack when traveling. Then shrink it down for use int he field, or use expandable roll top to fit extra layers, rain jackets, food, etc when need be.

5 months with this pack now under heavy heavy use and it still looks and works like new.
  • 3 1
 @davetrumpore: I have and use a Gitzo Adventury with a roll top. The roll top is great for jackets and stuff like that. The Adventury is sealed but also comes with a rain fly. Does the Shimoda have the same? For some trips, I have found that my Alpine Lowehiking bag with a Tenba BYOB insert is a million times more convenient than a designed camera bag.

I like Shimoda stuff but they are pretty proud of their product line. $250 for the bag without an ICU?

Photographer joke: You cannot called yourself a photographer unless you have 5+ camera bags. There is no such thing a the perfect bag.
  • 2 1
 @jmhills: when there's $10k plus worth of gear on your back while riding and working... $250 seems manageable

I only own two camera bags so maybe I'm just not as hard core .. the other is a CamelBak that fits a solo d850 and 24-70 perfectly when taking a basic setup out for fun.
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: I suppose that is true. My gear is not worth that much and my life is not dependent upon making money off of my shots. I just walk around and take photos of stuff I like with an every changing load out.

My comment was more of a joke than a shot at you. The stuff I carry at any one time changes based upon what I am doing, which is why I have 3 bags. If I am taking out my TLR or Bronica, I use the larger bag than if I am taking out my Olympus stuff.

I hugely respect and admire your work. I like the environmental/ atmospheric shots that you capture.
  • 1 1
 @davetrumpore: The D850 is a powerful piece of equipment. I think I read it only does five frames per second. Is that fast enough?
You run two bodies and probably 2.8 glass. How much does the whole kit weigh with the pack?
  • 1 0
 Interesting bag. Certainly like some of the bike specific features. I'm sticking with my F-Stop Gear bags though as they are perfect for riding (and back country skiing!) Especially my Guru / Loka ultralight packs.
  • 1 0
 As I said, I’m sticking with my DaKine I bought after reading this:
I can get this lot and my accessories in there
  • 1 0
 Any concerns issues with a hydration bladder? Ride in 100+ degree weather at times and need to have water beyond a couple of bottles.
  • 3 0
 Can we get expandable strap pouches on every bag?
  • 2 0
 "...Dear Santa Claus, I hardly didn't ask you anything these last 30 years, but...." Smile
  • 3 2
 I’m sticking with LowePro and DaKine at the moment but always good to see new kit on the market. Prices reasonable too...
  • 1 0
 What models do you have that incorporate a hydration bladder and your condpfide t about with you r camera gear?
  • 3 1
 I think Sven Martin uses one of those bags.
  • 1 0
 Nixon makes the best Camera bags by far.
  • 1 0
 Roll tops should only be on dry bags
  • 1 2
 Shimano, Shimoda....suspicious, but whatever makes you money. Expensive as usual.
  • 5 0
 Nah they should only be worried if they were called Specializoda This sounded better in my head
  • 2 3
 oups @pinkbike, published articles on the wrong website

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