When going on a casual walk through town or it be a hike up into the mountains what do I use? I've used the Dakine Sequence for years now. Dakine have been bringing out quality bags for years now. I've still got an normal day bag which I've used for several years now, thrashed it and everything still looks as it did when I first got it. The buckles resisted cracking when people have stood on them, the zip haven't split, still functions like it first did. Pelican cases are cool but not great if you want to take it up over a hill, to a lake or with you on a bike ride. You need a comfortable carry bag.
I was stoked to find out that Dakine brought out a few camera series bag when I was after a new bag, the mission (25L), the Sequence (33L) and the Reload (36L). The mission and the Sequence both comfortably carry ICUs which pull out.
The Mission, its the smallest and basically a day pack. Its zip is close to the shoulder straps so theres a bit of strain on the zip but with not too much gear in the pack it should be fine. The Sequence is the 'in-betweener' and perfect really, it can carry enough gear and still be comfortable. The Reload, in my opinion I'd say dont touch it but now since the 2011 range. The designs totally changed with the zip placement so it wont burst as you carry it. You can now compare it to the Lowerpro Vertex range. Enough about the Dakine Series. Before the changes the Sequence was an easy out right winner for me and still is with the current verison.
The F-stop range is much larger as they specialise in adventure photography bags along with the smaller version. The larger f-stop bags, Tilopa, Satori and Loka, they are similar designs and vary in size.
My everyday gear I carry round most of the time:
Canon body and lenses:
24-105mm f/4L IS
70-200mm f/2.8L IS
2x 580EX II
1x 430EX II
3x Pocketwizard flex/TT5
2x Manfrotto Modo Maxi tripods
I can happily fit all this in the Sequence with both tripods on the side, pop a few snacks in the top pouch and the jacket on the front with the straps. I highly recommend it if your looking for a first pack.
Little things were starting to grow on me that I needed more from the Dakine Sequence so I went out and grabbed myself the middle sized F-stop Tilopa. My Dakine sequence is 4 years old and virtually the same as the current but they've added a bit for a 15" laptop. The F-stop I brought is an older version which I got cheaper so will slightly vary from the newest versions out.
Theres enough reviews out there on each bag like Dan Carr's F-stop reviews so I wont go in depth to every detail. They are both great quality packs in how they feel and how well they work. This is more of a comparison to the differences that matter to me.
|Dakine Sequence's thick back padding|
|Dakine's ICU slipping inside the back padding.|
|F-stop Tilopa (left) and Dakine Sequence|
|Tilopa with extra room with the Large ICU|
|F-stop Tilopa's metal framing|
The suspension of the Tilopa straps makes the bag feel lighter too which is a big positive for me.
With the very portable devices like the Ipad and Macbook Air this is becoming more of a must. I have the Sequence which is older and doesn't have a pouch for the laptop. The newest Sequence now allows a laptop up to 15" so you could easily put a Ipad or macbook air in there. The bag doesn't have much padding on the exterior side so I suggest the device goes into extra padded pouch . The sequence doesn't sit upright well and falls over onto the side which the laptop is being held so be careful. Since I wasn't going to upgrade to a newer version of the bag the Tilopa seemed even better with the laptop pouch and stood up well.
To be able to fit all the equipment in the Sequence I've added extra dividers from another ICU I have whereas the Tilopa has plenty of dividers that I've now got extra on the shelf.
|Listed gear in the Dakine Sequence|
|Dust in the bottom of the Tilopa's ICU|
The Dakine's ICU on the other hand is a bit softer and has a soft nylon for dividers with velcro on the parts. Just as easy to rearrange but doesn't hold the dust.
*Note the F-stop ICU that I have shown in all the pictures and referred to is the Large f-stop ICU. The Dakine is very similar in size.
|F-stop Tilopa with with listed gear.|
Both brands of ICU are both held in so theres not a heap of movement if you jump around for instance. This way it's more secure and there isn't so much abrasion. The Sequence has 3 sides that have large patches of velcro to hold the ICU tightly and easy enough to remove. The Tilopa has four velcro straps on the sides that goes through plastic loops which is just as secure but quite fidly to get right.
Things that I feel the Tilopas missing
Pockets for the small things, its got two thin pockets on the inside of the camera access flap. Another smaller mesh one on the inside of the top opening. The Sequence has got a heap of smaller pockets inside a larger one on the front as the picture shows below. F-stop has recently brought out some Dakota Components which has an accessory called the Elkhorn pouch. It's to contain all those little bits and bobs from cables to PocketWizards so they dont sink to the bottom of the bag never to be found again. It's like a toilet bag with the hook, it's what I've been using for extras till I get the Elkhorn. When I get my hands on one I'll be able to free up some more room in the ICU for more gear.
|Dakine sequence, front pockets|
|F-stop Tilopa, waist pocket|
|Dakine Sequence's waist belt pockets|
|Dakine Sequence, front pocket|
|Dakine Sequence, rain cover|
This whole blogpost has been my opinion so its all based on how I use it and what sort of gear goes in it.
I've now had the F-stop Tilopa for quite a few months now and its taken the workload fine. I had planned to just choose between the Tilopa or the Dakine Sequence for which bag I wanted to use for the day. Instead the Tilopa is a good allrounder, its too much of a hassle removing all the tiny accessories from the bag. Since needing that extra room in the Tilopa its become my everyday bag and the Sequences now gathering dust. Surprisingly already parts on the Tilopa have started to wear compared to the thrashed 'near new looking' Sequence. It's not perfect but it'll do.
The Tilopa can be a daypack full of gear or much greater, change the size of the ICU and fit a whole lot more for long journeys across the country or into the wilderness. There's alot of adventure photographers out there using this bag through the extremes.
The Sequence is limited to a day pack but fits a lot more than you expect. One last thing to mention, straps and clips. This thing is loaded, so many of them if your going skiing or whatever sport, its got many hidden straps that pop out. One thing that's great, you'll always find a secure way to attach a tripod/s to the pack.
F-stop Tilopa is one hell of a bag as well as Dakine Sequence so I'd try head down to your local photo store to try both out and see for yourself.
Hopefully this can help you if your choosing between the two and cant decide or figuring what you want to up to upgrade to. Everyones after their 'perfect' camera bag,
Enjoy, Stefan Haworth