Shimoda Urban Explore 25 review: hit the streets in style

Customize this backpack to suit your photography needs and carry your kit in comfort while on a city shoot

Shimoda Urban Explore 25 on a man's back
(Image: © George Cairns / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Shimoda Urban Explore 25 L is our ‘go-to’ backpack for a day’s shoot in city locations. It is conformable to carry and the ‘hook and loop’ pads are easy to re-deploy to make it securely accommodate a wide range of photography and videography gadgets. It does show off smudges of dirt when laid down but these wipe off easily enough. We loved the laptop section too as we enjoy digitising our shots on location when having a coffee break.


  • +

    Breathable mesh reduces sweating

  • +

    Ships with camera core unit

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    Customizable hook and loop interior

  • +

    Air travel friendly


  • -

    Material shows up dirt

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When it comes to reviewing Shimoda backpacks this is not my first rodeo – with my reviews already featured in our best camera backpack buying guide including the excellent Shimoda Explore V2 35L. That backpack is designed for adventure photographers who want to photograph the great outdoors. The Shimoda Urban Explore 25 L is targeted to meet the needs of city-dwelling photographers who are into street or architecture photography and don’t need something as bulky and robust as the Shimoda Explore V2 35L to lug around town. 

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Total Volume25 L
External Dimensions12.2W x 19.3H x 7.9D in, (31W x 49H x 20D cm)
Internal Dimensions10.2W x 18.9H x 6.3D in, (25W x 48H x 16D cm)
Laptop Compartment Dimensions9.8W x 14H x 0.8D in (25W x 35.5H x 2D cm)
Removable Core Unit Dimensions9W x 10.6H x 5.1D in, (23W x 27H x 13D cm)
Weight4.35lb / 1.9kg
Gomatic McKinnon Cube Pack

Gomatic McKinnon Cube Pack
If you want to travel as light as possible when you fly off for a city break then the 21 L McKinnon Cube Pack is worth considering. This collapses into a small but sturdy cube (filled with your camera gear) when you need to fit it under your seat on a flight. It then unzips and expands into a mini backpack for storing extra items (such as food and water) when you wander around your destination. 

STM Dux 30L Tech Backpack

STM Dux 30L Tech Backpack
This is a more capacious backpack than the Shimoda Explore 25L so will suit a city photographer who needs to carry a bit more kit, including clothing for extended stays. It’s not targeted specifically at photographers but you can rearrange its hook and loop shelves to customize the layout of the main section to better suit your kit’s specific storage needs. It’ll also accommodate your laptop in a dedicated storage area (and it’s cheaper than the Shimoda Urban Explore).

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George Cairns

George has been freelancing as a photo fixing and creative tutorial writer since 2002, working for award winning titles such as Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N-Photo and Practical Photoshop. He's expert in communicating the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as producing video production tutorials on Final Cut Pro and iMovie for magazines such as iCreate and Mac Format. He also produces regular and exclusive Photoshop CC tutorials for his YouTube channel.