While I generally emphasize light carry for vacation and travel, sometimes you just need to take a lot of gear. So in this review, I will review the Gura Gear Bataflae (butterfly) 26L (26 liter) backpack. Gura Gear is perhaps not well known, but recently I have seen more and more camera shops carrying them. They come in three sizes, the 32L, 26L, and 18L. At a retail price of $399, the 26L is a premium backpack, and it comes with probably the best warranty in the market. The backpack is available in three colors; traditional black, grey, and a cool tan.
Although this is a large backpack, I have found a way to take this backpack and convert part of it into a day bag. I have found that the Clik Elite Small Capsule will fit perfectly into this backpack (with of course, re-arranging the dividers. And the Click Elite will also fit perfectly into an empty Think Tank CityWalker 10 shoulder bag.
The idea here is to carry the Clik Elite Capsule to your destination - whether it be a hotel or cruise ship, then remove the capsule and insert it into the CityWalker bag. With the insert removed, the CityWalker will pack flat and take up almost no room.
One of the most innovative things about the Bataflae is how you access the main compartment. The compartment is divided into 2 halves that open "butterfly" style - hence the name. This prevents having to open the compartment fully (which you can also do), which will tend to prevent all of the gear from spilling out.
Another rather unique feature of the backpack is the hide-away shoulder straps. I ended up really not liking the way this worked, and I think it was over-engineered. I would prefer a much simpler method.
Essentially a flap with a center zipper covers the backpack straps. To deploy, you have to unzip the center zipper, then pull the two backpack straps out from under both sides of the cover.
The backpack straps are only secured to the centerline of the bag, and two side release buckles attach the straps to the upper and lower sides of the bag after deployed.
In a similar fashion, a waist belt is pulled out in a similar fashion, and secured to the bag bottom with side release buckles.
It just seemed to me that there was a lot of strain on the zipper as the cover has to be stretched pretty wide open to accomidate the straps.
Also, it was fairly difficult to re-insert the straps and waist belt so that it did not "bunch" up under the cover.
With practice, you figure out where to best put the straps, but as I said, this seems over-engineered to me. There are other backpacks with strap covers that are much simpler.
If there is a negative to this backpack, the strap cover would be it.
The one thing this backpack has is room. Plenty of room for one or two DSLRs, plus a half-dozen lenses and all of the accessories you may need.