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Equipment

Kata Flyby-74 Review

Although the Kata Flyby-74 has been replaced by the Flyby-75, many of the key features remain the same. I use this bag as a companion to the Bumblebee PL-220 for when I'm travelling to fair flung places to easily and safely transport my equipment not just through airports by also overland and by boat. This bag can be used with the insertrolley or carried using the shoulder strap.

Weight

As part of the Pro-Light series, the Flyby-74 weighs in at approximately 4kg with all the accessories (under 2kg without accessories)allowing for more flexibility when it comes to a final weight including the equipment. The Aeriform Foam used for the dividers has helped to decrease the weight of the bag by the use of perforated super light laminated and reinforced EVA and EPE foams.

Protection

As with all of Kata's Pro-Light range of bags there is both a strong internal structure and a tough outer layer. The TST (Thermo Shield Technology) along with the spring steel spine guard provide exceptional protection against accidental damage and shock impacts. The structure of this bag is such that I have not only used it as a seat but have also stood on it to gain a higher vantage point (please be careful when attempting this, I am only a small person weighing around 60kg!). I use this bag as a companion to another bag for transporting my equipment through airports (this bag is within even the most strict dimensions for onboard bags), on coaches, cars and even boats as I know that it provides excellent protection in these situations. The bag also comes with a reversible rain (black side) and heat (silver side) cover, both of which do their job by keeping the bag and equipment dry in rain and cool in hot weather. The bag is completed with feet on the bottom and one side to lift it off the ground and away from any wet patches or puddles.

Design

Internal flexibility is an essential part of any bag I use and the Flyby-74 is no different. It has the modi-vers divider system that allows for complete customisation of the internal compartment of the bag to fit the equipment that you need to take on an assignment and as this can vary from trip to trip being able to change the set up of the bag is vital. The flexibility of being able to change the layout of the main internal compartment has lead me to use this bag not only on photographic and research trips, but also when working at shows, running talks and workshops and I even used it as my bag of choice to carry all my essential items to the venue for my wedding! In addition to the main internal compartment, there is also a laptop pocket which can hold up to a 15.4" laptop (or important documents, papers etc) and a small front pocket that is ideal for smaller items.
The outer material used for the bag is extremely tough and to date I have not managed to tear, scratch or even mark the outside of the bag which is saying something! There is also the option of attaching a tripod to the front of the bag by using either the additional straps or the tripod pouch that comes with some of the other bags.

Overall opinions

I have found this bag to be a great addition to my collection, not only it is light and offers wonderful flexibility but is also very tough which is just what I need from my bags. I take them all over the world in varying environmental conditions and by several different modes of transport so I need to have faith in my bags that my equipment will be safe. As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, i am aware that Kata have updated this bag but many of the main key features remain the same, so if you are looking for a reliable, tough bag to take on your travels I would definitely recommend this one. If I had to find one negative about this bag it would be the colour of the inside, whereas I can fully understand the thinking behind the yellow interior (with the majority of equipment being dark in colour it makes it very easy to find items in low light levels as it shows up very well against the yellow), when working with sensitive subjects it can be a drawback to have such a striking interior especially as the outside of the bag is black. That said with this style of bag it is not an issue because I do not take this bag out into the field directly I will use a rucksack or smaller bag for excursions.