For years, the Retrospective line of photography shoulder bags has been one of the most respected and copied designs. And with the Retrospective 7 V2.0 ($165), Think Tank has improved this classic in a number of ways.
Highlights include a new zippered top security flap, interior laptop sleeve (up to 13"), outer trolly sleeve, improved side pocket, redesigned security hook and loop system, softer material, more attractive inner lining, and more. Let's step through those changes and see how they look.
The outer shell of version 2 is softer with a smoother texture. A design feature on the bottom of the front flap improves the the appearance.
Lots of big changes on the back side. Gone is the way too constrictive back pocket that could only hold a tablet or 11" MacBook. It was replaced by a zippered document pouch with a trolly sleeve that slides over the handle of your rolling luggage. The laptop compartment is now inside the bag.
The two underpowered side pockets from version 1 were replaced with a roomy, expandable pocket on one side. When not in use, the storage area is held flat by a handsome buckle and two Velcro dots. When opened, it can hold a sizable water bottle or gear. The bottom of the pocket is lined with water resistant material to help manage condensation.
Top Flap System
The Velcro secure system has been improved. Now there are pockets behind the hook patch to hide the silencer flap when not in use. Also, the lining is softer with a handsome design... again, much nicer.
The Interior Cargo Area
A huge addition is the zippered security flap to keep gear safe when traveling from point A to point B. When working, you can attach it to the main flap to keep it out of the way. The design works well, and it provides extra peace of mind on the road.
The laptop sleeve is now inside the bag, which is also more secure. Plus, you can now stash a 13" model in the Retrospective 7 V2.0, making the bag far more practical for everyday use.
As with the original bag, there are plenty of stash pockets for accessories and personal items. The biggest challenge is not to overstuff these areas making the bag look puffy. The retrospective has a wonderful body-hugging design that looks great when not overpacked.
For day-to-day activities, the bag preformed very well. I would have liked an in-between setting on the side pocket. The way that it's designed now, it's either all the way closed, or all the way open (which is quite large). I wanted it halfway at times for sunglasses and other small accessories.
Version 1 had a nifty business card holder in the top flap that ensured your bag could always be identified if necessary. Think Tank removed that feature in version 2. I kind of miss it...
Stashing the laptop in the bag is definitely more secure. But it's not quite as convenient as outside access. This isn't really a complaint, rather an observation based on use.
The Bottom Line
The Retrospective 7 V2.0 is an absolute pleasure to use. The Think Tank design team thought about every aspect of the bag, and they implemented thoughtful, and sometimes quite handsome, improvements. With virtually no complaints, I highly recommend it.
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