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Author Topic: Camera Hiking Backpack  (Read 17633 times)

OutdoorsLover

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Camera Hiking Backpack
« on: June 10, 2015, 02:01:57 pm »

Hi all,

For the last several months or so, I've been trying to find a new camera backpack to take on 10+ hiking day trips. Most recently I've looked at F-Stop's Ajna (replacement for the Loka), Gura Gear's Bataflae 26L, some of ThinkTanks stuff, Lowe Pro and Tamrac, and nothing is ideal. I don't need to carry a laptop or a water bladder, but I do want to carry a big tripod (Gitzo GT2542LS), maybe a couple bodies, 3-5 lenses (including a 100-400, 16-35, 100 macro), flash, filters, brackets, GPS, cables, cards, rain bags, cleaning cloths, etc. It would also be nice to maybe carry rain clothes and some food.

The problems that I've found with most of the bags is that they either can't store my body & lenses, or they don't have enough pockets for the smaller items.

For walking around during the day, I use a ThinkTank Retrospective or an old Tamrac 5 that holds a good deal of my gear, but not nearly all of it.

Thoughts? Suggestions? What are you all using? Do you like it?

Thanks!

Jeff
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NancyP

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 02:40:51 pm »

Gosh, that's a lot of gear. Have you hiked with this amount of gear before? And where are you going to put the food, bedding, tent, water bladder, stove, water filter, etc? Or are you going hut-to-hut deluxe style, where your meals and bedding are ready for you at the huts? Have you any preferences in ordinary non-photo trekking packs in the 50L and up category? Are you hard to fit? All that said, there are plenty of tactical / hunting  packs that can be used for 70 to 100 pounds of meat  photo and camping gear.
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OutdoorsLover

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 02:56:18 pm »

Nancy,

I guess I'm a big guy (6'2", 200 lbs), but not particularly hard to fit. I do a good amount of dispersed camping, where we hike in several miles carrying all of our gear, setup camp, do some shooting at sunset/sunrise, pack up and move to the next spot. When I do that, I travel very light, and have that situation all squared away.

What I'm talking about are day hiking trips, that begin and end at my car, in which I might hike 5~15 miles over the course of a day. I might be in a local, State or National park, and have the opportunity to use all (or at least most) of my gear, because I'll be shooting all kinds of subjects. :)

Jeff
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NancyP

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 05:12:57 pm »

Size helps. I am 115 pounds, so for me to camp along the trail for a long weekend means that I have to be selective about what to bring. Also, my torso size is 14.5" which means that camera packs (one size) are not particularly good fits for long carriage. The f-stop bags (torso length ~18") are well made and have lots of fans.

Attaching a biggish (22" plus head) tripod to a pack - I used slightly modified straps to lash it on to D rings so it rides upright on the midline posterior surface - fashion two rings out of stiff nylon (two yard-size trash bag cinches each for two legs) and duct tape, duct tape or sew plastic rings onto the strap, tie strap onto top set of d rings, insert tripod legs through plastic rings (stiff, so no fuss!). Bungee or quick-tie the bottom (unmodified) strap over the legs near the bottom of the pack. To use, unhook bottom bungee, pull tripod up out of the top strap's rings (don't need to undo top strap though). I think that it should be easy to make a custom rigging for your particular pack.

A tripod "quiver" would be a cool DIY solution.
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OutdoorsLover

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 05:17:04 pm »

Wow Nancy, that sounds like a ton of labor! But if you're able to make it work for you, great! I hope to find something off the shelf, that doesn't need to be modified too much, if at all.

Which backpack are you using?
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spidermike

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 05:32:51 pm »

Camera backpacks are love-em or hate-em and a lot of them are designed tohold gear, not for comfort. Have you thought of taking a standard backpack (designed for load braring in comfort) and buying padded inserts to hold your stuff? They will also (IME) be better designed to strap a long tripod onto.

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dwswager

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2015, 09:33:01 pm »

Hi all,

For the last several months or so, I've been trying to find a new camera backpack to take on 10+ hiking day trips. Most recently I've looked at F-Stop's Ajna (replacement for the Loka), Gura Gear's Bataflae 26L, some of ThinkTanks stuff, Lowe Pro and Tamrac, and nothing is ideal. I don't need to carry a laptop or a water bladder, but I do want to carry a big tripod (Gitzo GT2542LS), maybe a couple bodies, 3-5 lenses (including a 100-400, 16-35, 100 macro), flash, filters, brackets, GPS, cables, cards, rain bags, cleaning cloths, etc. It would also be nice to maybe carry rain clothes and some food.

The problems that I've found with most of the bags is that they either can't store my body & lenses, or they don't have enough pockets for the smaller items.

For walking around during the day, I use a ThinkTank Retrospective or an old Tamrac 5 that holds a good deal of my gear, but not nearly all of it.

Thoughts? Suggestions? What are you all using? Do you like it?

Thanks!

Jeff

I've never seen a decent combo photo gear and normal gear backpack.  I agree with the suggestion to get a regular backpack and hang some lens cases off it.

I have a Thinktank Streetwalker Pro.  It takes the D810 w/ 24-70mm 2.8 attached, D7100 with 70-200mm f/2.8 attached, the 16-35mm f/4, SB-900, RRS Flash Bracket, Nodal Rail, tilt head, and all the cards, batteries and cloths and stuff like that including a rain sleeve.  It also accomodates the RRS 34L tripod with head and panning clamp.  Then it fits a protein bar!

Here is a photo from Jimmy Hudleston Photography

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alan_b

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2015, 11:00:54 pm »

I really like the rear (or is it front?) entry packs like F-Stop and wouldn't go back to other styles.  I resisted "photo" backpacks for a long time because I was used to high-end hiking/climbing packs and didn't find that quality in photo-packs.

I used a Lowe flipside for a year or so, but it was not large enough or sturdy enough, and had some design & construction issues.  

I'm now using a Loka for about 9 months and find it to be an ideal blend of quality construction, access, capacity and comfort.  I have some design nitpicks with it, but it's pretty good.  The small item organization is not so hot, I use a series of small zippered pouches that I can move between bags as needed.  I've overloaded the Loka at times and it's still usable - not as comfortable as a more substantial pack would be. (3 large tripods, motorized timelapse gear, Nikon kit.)

Now that some of the F-Stop bags have been superseded, you might find someone selling the last generation for reasonable prices.

(Edited for clarity)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 12:05:12 am by alan_b »
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jng

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2015, 11:54:33 pm »

I recently did the 5 day "W" trek through Torres del Paine using the 48L Tilopa pack from f-stop, with the small sized "pro" ICU insert for the camera gear and a 1-series RRS carbon tripod strapped on one of the exterior sides. In retrospect I could have used the extra space of a larger pack but it's just as well that I was forced to leave some stuff (weight) behind. For the amount of gear you'll be carrying it sounds like you may need the "large" ICU which I think will occupy around 2/3 (?) of the Tilopa's main compartment. One reason I opted for the Tilopa was to keep within check-in size limits on the South American airlines. In retrospect I think I *probably* could have gotten away with a larger pack but as I mentioned, it's just as well that I went with the smaller one. YMMV of course but I found the pack to be very comfortable on my medium-sized frame. I can't comment on durability as I haven't yet had a chance to totally abuse it. Over all the design met my needs well.

One nice thing about the f-stop packs is that there are multiple ways to strap and hang equipment to the top, bottom, back and sides (I wound up strapping my sleeping bag to the top - it made a nice head rest.  :) Also access to the pack's main compartment from the side facing your back is convenient, not only to get to your gear but whatever else is buried in the main compartment.

My only (minor) criticism of the Tilopa is that it doesn't have an abundance of exterior pockets - one small one on the top flap and a larger one on the rear that's handy for stowing rain gear and maybe a light sweater. As alan_b mentioned, I just stashed the smaller items in zippered pouches and stuck them in the main compartment.

For short hikes I use the f-stop Guru pack. The modularity of the ICU system is nice - I just insert the ICU into whichever pack is best suited to the task at hand. And I store my gear in the ICU's when I'm not out and about.

John
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 11:57:32 pm by jng »
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Ronny Nilsen

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2015, 04:07:41 am »

I did som research a few year back, and this is what i found back then:
Backpacks For Photographers

Ronny
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lelouarn

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2015, 05:11:55 am »

Another option would be to buy just a compartment system (like the ICU of the F-stop bags), and find a proper hiking backpack that can fit it.
Of course, then you have to see how you can access the stuff, but most hiking backpacks have such an access system (designed more to get the sleeping bag out, but a camera can go through too).
That method opens a whole new parameter space, at the cost of having to test how the ICU can be transplanted to another bag.
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OutdoorsLover

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2015, 03:21:45 pm »

I do like the idea of the ICU system, and can probably manage with a medium, as long as I have a place for the smaller stuff (like in zippered pouches). I'll continue to look at F-Stop packs, as you all seem to like them, and they get great reviews.

Thanks, and please keep the posts coming. :)
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Rainer SLP

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2015, 05:24:25 pm »

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Hezu

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2015, 06:23:33 pm »

I do like the idea of the ICU system, and can probably manage with a medium, as long as I have a place for the smaller stuff (like in zippered pouches). I'll continue to look at F-Stop packs, as you all seem to like them, and they get great reviews.

Thanks, and please keep the posts coming. :)
I have to say my opinion of F-Stop bags (or at least the Tilopa BC, which I own) is bit two-sided: I like the fact that the bag is quite suitable to carry also other equipment than just the camera gear with fairly large pockets and several attachment points for external load (or additional pouches etc.) and of course the different sizes of ICUs allow to shift the balance between camera gear and other stuff. However, my #1 problem with this bag is that even with the largest ICU, the space is bit too limited to carry two large cameras with lenses attached (and one of the lenses being a reasonably large telezoom like Sony 70-400G) + few extra lenses. I guess that comes from the fact that before I got Tilopa BC, my primary camera backpack was Gura Gear Kiboko and it easily holds plenty of camera equipment but then it offered limited space for non-camera gear (just two narrow front pockets and open side pockets), but sadly its zippers started to fail. Few other nitpicks have been the crude top handle and that I managed few times to open the rear entry so that the flap hit ground and it got dirty (or snowy). Eventually I got fed up with these issues and bought Gura Gear Bataflae 32L, which is improved version of Kiboko, but yes, it is still not very good for trips where you want to carry also something else than your camera gear. Thus I have kept also the Tilopa BC and if loaded with slightly smaller selection of camera gear I have started to like it bit better than earlier.

I have also noticed that Gura Gear now has a bag that uses concept quite similar to these F-Stop bags, although Uinta seems to have few tricks that F-Stop bags can't do. But since I feel that the camera compartments might be bit small for what I would like to carry, I haven't personally tried this backpack (especially as there doesn't seem to be any dealers nearby where I could see this bag in person). And as I already have two capable big backpacks and old, smaller Lowepro Mini-Trekker AW.
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Heikki "Hezu" Kantola

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 07:05:46 pm »

Take a look at the "Clik" brand of backpacks.
They are very well designed and made.
I own one.
I think you will find what you are looking for.
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NancyP

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2015, 08:11:30 pm »

I bought the f/stop Satori, and it didn't fit me, the torso size was too big to be able to compensate even by load lifter straps, etc. .
I have ordinary daypack and ordinary trekking pack (Osprey Ariel, because they have womens' extra-small) and have put lenses inside, assorted batteries - cards - polarizer - pancake lens - shutter release in an outside pocket or "brain" or pants pocket, and wear the camera and most-frequently used lens on a Cotton Carrier vest.
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luong

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2015, 08:43:11 pm »

If you get a f-stop gear, buy the Satori. I used the Tilopa before, but found that if I fill-up the inside with camera gear (as you will, given the gear you listed), there is hardly enough room left for the non-camera gear that you need on long hikes such as clothing, water, etc.. The Satori weights almost the same as the Tilopa and isn't significantly bulkier once the top lid and front pocket are compressed. It is an excellent pack that I've used several times for 15+ miles day hikes. Prior to the f-stop, I used the Think Tank Airport Acceleration. Although they look like travel/urban bags, they work pretty well on the trail too, with more room for camera gear than the Satori. The Satori was a slight improvement, in that in carried a bit better and had more more room and attachment points for non-camera gear.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 08:50:05 pm by luong »
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rmyers

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2015, 10:33:52 pm »

Look at the Mystery Ranch 3 zip back packs.  Put an F Stop ICU in it.

http://www.mysteryranch.com/Packs/Mountain/Climbing
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NancyP

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2015, 04:22:29 pm »

Those look pretty cool...I never thought of Dana/Mystery Ranch in terms of ordinary size packs, just packs-to-haul-home-a-bighorn.
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CptZar

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Re: Camera Hiking Backpack
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2015, 06:40:11 am »

I am very happy with f-stop. The system carries really nice, as they have aluminium frames. Much better than any Low Pro etc, which are much heavier by the way. Access to the compartment is on the right side, The ICUs are an excellent solution if you use different layout for different jobs. Just change the landscape ICU to the street ICU. Best system around.
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