Kata-Bag 3N1-33 Side Pocket

Podcast 245: Kata Bag 3N1-33 Sling Backpack Review

Kata-Bags sent me a 3N1-33 Sling Backpack to try a few weeks ago, and after using it a number of times now, Iā€™m very pleased with it, and have been looking forward to sharing some details with you today. Like many photographers, I have a bit of a bag fetish....

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • stefan
    Posted at 00:09h, 17 June Reply

    Hi Martin,

    thank you for this interesting article and your take on this bag.
    I own the bag and after using the zipper of the laptop compartment 3 to 5 times in total i’m running into problems with it. In the upper right corner of it, the elements/teeth of the zipper (don’t know the correct english expression) seem to be deformed – so that i’m afraid to use the zipper any further to not damage anything. I send the KATA-customer service several emails during the last two weeks asking about warranty-handling in my case (got the backpack as a present from a friend living part-time in the US) – but until now i did not get any answer at all.
    Do you have a contact person at KATA that i can adress my issue to??

    Greetings from rainy Germany

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 22:51h, 01 July Reply

    Hi Stefan,

    Sorry I missed your comment until now. Thanks for pointing it out.

    I’m sorry to hear that you are having problems too. I’m not at liberty to share my contact details, but I will point them to your post here, and ask them to get in touch with you.


  • Greg Brave
    Posted at 20:27h, 04 July Reply

    Hi Martin,
    I enjoy listening to your podcasts very much, thank you for them! And you also have great photographs here, on your site.

    I own Kata 3n1 20 (which is pretty similar to this one) bag for over a year now, and not long ago did my own review on it. There are few points that you didn’t mention, which I think are wroth mentioning. For example – wearing this backpack as a sling and having large amount of equipment inside (lets say the equipment that you showed in your photos) is impractical because the straps of the bag are pretty thin and narrow and very soon your back will be in much pain.

    If you are interested, you can take a look at my review here:


  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 14:47h, 05 July Reply

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the comment and kind words about the Podcasts and my work.

    I agree with your statement. I have worked with the bag with the camera compartments totally full, and I found the straps to be adequate for a while in the sling position, but it does start to get a little heavy after a while when carrying the bag with just one strap. I tend to switch to the cross or rucksack configuration when it starts to feel heavy.


  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 20:58h, 05 July Reply

    Hi Stefan,

    I have an update from Kata on your issue. Apparently they cannot find any mail from you on their servers, but they take this kind of issue very seriously, and have emailed you on the mail address you used to post your comment here. They resent the mail yesterday, having not received a reply to their first mail.

    Please check your email, and get back to Kata about your issue. They are eager to help you.


  • Tom
    Posted at 04:15h, 24 August Reply

    I Have the Kata 3n1-10 and I love it!

    This bag you reviewed is pretty awesome as well!


  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 09:34h, 24 August Reply

    Cheers Tom! šŸ™‚

  • sabrina
    Posted at 13:33h, 12 October Reply

    hi Martin,
    thanks for the detailed review.
    how is this bag holding weight? i tried this bag in a shop, it felt great, but the bag was empty so i dont know if when the bag is full of lens/camera/laptop/tripod will it still feel comfortable to do small hike in the bush?
    i am female not as strong as the guys. i just hope the bag can distribute the weight evenly and i dont feel too painful/tired to carry it on my back. and are the straps strong enough, they are clip on, i am just afraid it may break easily.


  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 10:44h, 14 October Reply

    Hi Sabrina,

    The bag feels great when you have your gear inside, even if you only use the shoulder straps. If you totally fill it, say with 5 lenses and a camera body and lots of stuff in the top compartment, then you have to use the waist belt as well, to distribute the weight better.

    I can use the bag all day and not feel uncomfortable, but once I really fill it up, and the shoulder straps started to feel a little too narrow for comfort. I just didn’t fill it so much after that. šŸ™‚

    The clip on straps have been no problem at all either, even when I did carry quite a heavy load.

    Having used this bag often over the last few months, I’m still very happy with it.


  • Nicholas Chin
    Posted at 20:57h, 20 December Reply


    Just wan’t to drop by and let you know that your post have been extremely useful! šŸ™‚

    I’m currently using my bumblebee 210 version for almost half a year now and find it limiting when having my 70-200 2.8 in the bag (they advertised the bag to be able to hold the lens in the lower compartment unattached but i find it the other way). I’ve had the lens sitting on the top compartment instead (Yeah as you can guess, its banging around the bag, not that it will get damage though).

    Despite that I still find it to be a great great bag (had accompany me to a lot of cross country trip and worn all day long). Nevertheless I thought its about time to give my 70-200 a proper slot, looked through a few bags of other brand with no luck. I’m glad that I’ve gone back to kata website (Should have done that all along) and look at their other offering.

    I’ll dash off tomorrow to get this bag once and for all, thank you again for the review šŸ™‚

  • victor imperiale
    Posted at 13:51h, 03 March Reply

    Hi man,

    IĀ“m looking for a bag like this one, the problem is that i have a dell precision m6500 (15.4 x 11.0 x 1.75 inch)
    Could my laptop fit in the laptop compartment?


  • Marc
    Posted at 18:10h, 04 March Reply

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the great review!
    I wonder if the bag carries comfortable if there is no laptop in the laptop compartment?
    I would incidently use the bag with a laptop. Or would it be wiser to go for the 3N1-30 then?


  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 18:47h, 04 March Reply

    I’m glad the review was useful Nicholas!

    Victor, I can fit my 17″ MacBook Pro in the laptop compartment, and it is 15.5×10.6″. I think you’ll be fine.

    Marc, I’d say it depends on the size of your laptop and what other gear you want to put in the bag. I am happy with this model, and I often now put the 17″ MacBook Pro in it, and it’s very comfortable either with or without the laptop inside.


  • Tiva Cassidy
    Posted at 10:52h, 17 April Reply

    I am not sure I can’t open your feeds to my reader. I can open it using the FF though.

  • Ashley Tedford
    Posted at 18:57h, 30 August Reply

    I think this is among the most important information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  • Paul B
    Posted at 20:21h, 30 September Reply

    Thanks for this review, it’s nice to see an overview that’s not from the manufacturers. I’ve seen this on offer as low as Ā£106, making it a tempting option.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 21:12h, 30 September Reply

      Thanks Paul!

      I still use this bag around town, so my thoughts haven’t really changed. I agree, it’s a great bag. At that price, definitely!


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