This is a review of the Impact Light Kit Bag. For my studio lighting, I use a set of four Alien Bees heads along with a variety of light stands and modifiers. When I’m shooting on location, I prefer to make as few trips to and from my car as possible, so the fewer bags I have to carry, the better. For the past few years the bag I’ve been using for my lights has served me well, but I wanted to try something a little bigger and see if I could fit even more into it. Let’s see if this bag from Impact is going to work for my needs.
1) Product Specifications
Material – Soft, padded, water-resistant nylon exterior
Type of Closure – Dual zippers that will accept user-supplied lock
Exterior Dimensions – 34.5 x 14.0 x 13.0″ (87.6 x 35.6 x 33.0 cm)
Interior Dimensions – 34.0 x 13.5 x 12.0″ (86.4 x 34.3 x 30.5 cm)
Carrying/Transport Options – Overlapping, 2.0″ (5.1 cm) wide dual carry handles that readily convert to shoulder straps
Weight – 5.75 lb (2.6 kg)
– The soft padded carry case is designed to hold three monolights with reflectors, four light stands, umbrellas, cables and other accessories.
– The interior has six movable, touch fastened (velcro) dividers that permit you to configure the bag to suit your needs; dividers consist of four large and two smaller styles
– 2″ (5.1 cm) wide overlapping dual carry handles that convert to a shoulder strap
– Interior has three zippered 10.5 x 8.0″ mesh pockets (26.7 x 20.3 cm)
– Touch fastened (velcro) protective nylon tray separates light stands and umbrellas from monolights
– Water-resistant padded nylon construction
– Rubber feet on bottom of bag to protect gear from wet or dirty surfaces.
2) Packaging and Field Use
Construction and Assembly
The bag arrived with the interior dividers not installed and no directions. Fortunately, it’s not hard to figure out what to do. The bag doesn’t have much structure to it, so installing the first few dividers can be a little tricky. Once all of the dividers are installed the bag feels much more rigid. There are plenty of dividers to choose from. In fact, although the description states that this bag can hold up to 3 lights, you could fit up to 5 if you’d like. Be aware that the sides of the bag are not rigid or padded and don’t offer much protection, so the lights on either end could be subject to damage.
The exterior material of the bag looks and feels very sturdy. I think this material will stand up to years of heavy use. The straps are very wide and the handle is rather soft, both making the bag comfortable to carry. One complaint I have about the straps is how they are placed on the bag. They are sewn on reversed on each side. This means that when you adjust the straps, there is going to be a point where one of the buckles ends up inside of the handle, making it hard to close and uncomfortable to carry. Of course, even if the straps were the same on both sides there would be one occasion where both buckles end up inside of the handle, but with the straps reversed, there are now two occasions where a buckle will end up inside of the handle.
Heading back inside the bag, I’m a big fan of the mesh pockets on the inside of the lid. The other bag I used had similar pockets, but they were not mesh so I never knew what was in them. The mesh makes it very easy to find what you’re looking for on the first try. The divider that goes between the gear on the bottom of the bag and the lid is sturdy and well made. It attaches to both sides of the bag, so there’s no chance of a light stand slipping into the section with your lights. I don’t have any concerns putting my light stands on it.
Observations and Use
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I wanted a bag that I could fit more gear into than my current bag. My current bag easily holds my 4 Alien Bees heads (with power cords and reflectors), spare flash tube, Impact 7″ Grid Set and two Impact LS-8AB light stands. In both this bag and my current bag, I could easily fit two more Impact LS-8AB light stands, but I typically use two larger stands that won’t fit due to their length, so I only every carry two stands in my light kit bag. One thing that I could not fit into my current bag is my Paul C. Buff foldable large softbox. The bag was rigid and the speedring just wouldn’t fit. I was pleasantly surprised that my softbox fits in this bag! It was a little tough to zip up, but it definitely fits. That’s one less thing to carry when I’m shooting on location!
The depth of this bag should allow it to fit a variety of lights. Unfortunately, it’s a little too big for my Alien Bees. There is quite a bit of empty space for them to move back and forth inside the bag. I don’t anticipate it ever being a problem (it could actually help protect my gear if the side of the bag gets crushed), but it always makes me feel better when my gear doesn’t move around during transport.
What I’d Change
I really like how much this bag can hold. Whether you decide to push it’s limits like me and try to stuff everything you own into it, use it for a more modest amount of gear like it’s made for or even rip out all of the dividers and just use it for a big, sturdy gear bag, it’s sure to fit the needs of most people.
Of course, there’s always room for improvement. To start with, the more gear you put into it, the heavier it gets. My current bag has wheels on one side. I didn’t realize how much I rolled that bag around until rolling was no longer an option and I had to carry a heavy bag on my shoulder. Adding wheels would require significant changes to this bag, but I can’t deny they would be really nice to have. Another feature that would be easy to add would be a small handle on either end of the bag (or both ends). I end up pulling bags out of a vehicle or out of storage fairly often and a handle on the end of the bag is a wonderful feature to have. Finally, the bag really lacks structure, which means it can’t be stored standing on end, giving it a very large storage footprint. My ideal light kit bag would be able to stand upright and not take up an entire shelf or a large portion on the floor of my storage space.
My needs for a light kit bag are relatively simple: hold the majority of my lighting gear, protect my lighting gear and make it easy to transport. The Impact Light Kit Bag does all of these things, but not as well as I’d like. It can certainly hold a lot of my gear, and for that aspect I highly recommend it. It does a decent job at protecting my gear. It is made of high quality materials and is constructed very well, but it doesn’t have rigid sides to fully protect what’s inside. As for how easy it is to transport, the handle and straps are very comfortable, but there’s no denying that a bunch of lighting equipment is heavy and carrying everything on your shoulder can get very tiring very quickly.
This light kit bag won’t be a perfect fit for everyone, but it is a great bag. It’s certainly well made, highly configurable and inexpensive. If you need a bag that you can ship, store upright or that has wheels, this bag isn’t for you. If you need a bag that can carry a lot of gear, will last for years and won’t break the bank, this bag is probably a good choice.
4) Pricing and Where to Buy
The Impact Light Kit Bag is priced at $78.95 (as of 3/13/2014) and is available at B&H Photo Video.
Impact Light Kit Bag
- Build Quality
- Size and Weight
- Packaging and Manual
Photography Life Overall Rating