Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

F-Stop Gear Ando 13

There are many positive things about my switch from DSLRs to mirrorless, though perhaps chief among them is scale. I can now fit an entire kit into an incredibly small space, which has had the ancillary benefit of encouraging me to look at old bags in new ways. One of the “old bags” is the Ando 13 from F-Stop. Read on to find out why it has become my go to bag for EDC and some event shooting.


For the slow work that I do, exploring underground spaces, building interiors, portraits, etc., nothing beats the Mountain Series packs in terms of user interface and layout, but when you have to work quicker, or just don’t need to haul as much stuff, a side bag, such as a sling or messenger, is the only practical option.

In the past, I’ve used a multitude of messenger bags, from Naneu Pro’s Military Ops line to a super simple Manhattan Portage shoulder bag, retrofitted for camera gear. When I started shooting concerts again this year, I needed a bag that could stow a variety of gear, just a step down from what I might pack in one of my larger backpacks, and that would be less bulky than a backpack. I started out with the Basecamp from F-stop, which is a great “journalist” style bag, but the shoulder strap was problematic for me (I like to wear them across my body on long shoots and it just wasn’t long enough or padded enough to be comfortable for that).

Years ago, I had considered the Ando 13, but wrote it off as too small for the gear I was using (more on that in the Capacity section). However, I had used the larger Ando 18 as an office bag to transport a rather large work laptop that I was using, so I remembered how comfortable that strap was. It’s length is nice and long when fully adjusted and the shoulder padding is maybe the best that I have ever felt on a non-backpack, which makes semi-heavy loads over long periods of time surprisingly ok (last week I shot a 30+ hour conference in just over two days with the setup you’ll see below, minus the laptop and portfolio, and had no soreness). It also features four Gatekeeper loops on the padded back of the bag, so you can use them as stabilizers when hiking or commuting (I’ve found them handy as a convenient way to anchor your memory card organizer to the bag for easy access).

The final point about fit that makes this bag so stellar is the sloped top that hinges away from your body. This makes working out of the bag a breeze. There is even a thoughtful clip that you can tighten or loosed to keep the bag concealed or semi-accessible without engaging the zippers. Frankly, all shoulder bags should open this way; it is that useful!

the anchor clip

shown all the way open while fully packed


The Ando’s shell is a 330D ripstop nylon, the same as was the standard for the Mountain Series at the time of their introduction. This fabric is abrasion resistant and features PU waterproofing for excellent water resistance (a rain fly is optional).

The top and bottom of the bags are Hypalon, an extremely abrasion resistant material that was originally invented to line industrial pipes. Again, this is the same material as used in the Mountain Series line, like on my Loka, which I have truly put through some dismal conditions and outright abuse over the years.

Maybe the only part that I don’t like about the Ando is the molded, padded back. It’s a little on the ugly side, and definitely heats you up while wearing. That said, it also acts as additional padding for the laptop, so I guess it’s a function over form thing.

Note: the Ando 13 was originally called the Ando 15 (for 15 liters) though many people thought this meant a 15″ laptop would fit, so FStop later changed it to Ando 13 (for 13″ laptop)


As mentioned before, I initially wrote off the Ando 13 because it was too small for my old DSLR kit to be very useful, but for my mirrorless kit, it’s a true Goldilocks scenario (actually more like one of the clown cars, as you’ll soon see).

Pictured above is my typical EDC with the Ando 13 (minus my X-T20, which is currently in the shop). When is the last time you’ve carried a laptop, two cameras, six lenses, and about 50,000 images into work? Does the mere thought cause your shoulder to spasm? Not so, my friends. Not with the Ando 13!

Here’s a list of what’s in there:

  1. Johnston & Murphy Leather Portfolio
  2. Travelon Travel Essentials Organizer, with various pocket notebooks and writing utensils
  3. Lens cloth
  4. Rain poncho for camera
  5. Adventure Log by Word Notebooks w/ leather sleeve
  6. LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive
  7. Fuji X-T20 (not pictured)
  8. Fuji X-E3
  9. Rokinon 12mm f/2
  10. Fujinon 16mm f/2.8
  11. Fujinon 23mm f/2
  12. Fujinon 35mm f/2
  13. Fujinon 50mm f/2
  14. Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8
  15. F-Stop Gear Memory Card Wallet
  16. Apple 13″ MacBook Pro 2019
  17. Various other odds and ends

There are two keys to how this all fits in there. The first is that I have “shelves” setup inside the bag so that the cameras with lenses attached each sit on top of 1-2 lenses below. The second is that my MacBook Pro fits inside my zippered portfolio, which slides into the laptop compartment in the bag.


If you can find one of these bags, I highly recommend picking it up, especially if you are a mirrorless shooter. You’ll be surprised at both how much the bag will hold and how practical its layout really is.


All images shot with my son’s Nikon D200 w/ Nikkor 28-80mm f/4-5.6D lens.

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  1. […] F-Stop Gear Ando 13 […]

  2. […] 37-liter Topo Designs Mountain Pack backpack with an F-Stop Gear Small Shallow ICU, or the 15-liter F-Stop Gear Ando 13 messenger bag (discontinued, though occasionally still available through […]

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