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Manfrotto Chicago: a brilliantly versatile 3-in1 urban backpack

The latest toy we got to play with in The Photography Show: Burst Mode studio is the new Manfrotto Chicago backpack – a fantastically flexible bag that transforms from photography backpack to do-it-all daypack, and possesses a removable shoulder bag for ultimate versatility.  

Manfrotto Chicago bags are discreetly styled to suit the urban environment and include upmarket features like a Kevlar fabric base, Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers. The outer fabric is treated to make it water-repellant, plus each bag comes with a separate rain cover to fend off heavier downpours.

The Chicago collection consists of two backpacks in Small (30) and Medium (50) size. Both bags feature a modular internal design, similar to that employed by sister brand Lowepro in its FreeLine backpack. A removable photo inserts enables the camera backpack to be easily transformed into a regular backpack – and the insert itself can also be used as a compact self-contained shoulder bag, for times when you only need to transport camera gear.

Both versions of the backpack will hold a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless camera body with a standard zoom attached. The Medium backpack can carry an additional three or four lenses, while the Small version can hold the camera / standard zoom combo plus two or three extra optics. Both bags boast a separate top compartment, designed to house personal effects, while a dedicated gimbal pocket on one of the side-access flaps has been designed to hold a DJI Osmo Pocket mini gimbal. 

The Chicago 50 Medium even contains a special media organizer pouch perfect for your memory cards, cables and dongles. Both bags have been designed to also carry a laptop, with the Small able to fit a 14" model while a 15" notebook will slide into the Medium. A tripod can be carried on the outside of each backpack, either horizontally across the front or underneath, or mounted vertically on the front.

Each Chicago bag contains Manfrotto's Slim-Tech Protection System, which has been designed to offer top-notch gear protection without consuming too much valuable carrying capacity. 

The Manfrotto Chicago Backpack Small and Medium are both available now, for $199.95 / £182.95 and $239.95 / £213.45 respectively (Australian release info to be confirmed). For more information, visit the Manfrotto website.

Read more:

Welcome to The Photography Show: Burst Mode!
The Photography Show 2020: What's on, when, and everything you need to know
The best camera backpacks