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Author Topic: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking  (Read 31491 times)

ChuckZ

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Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« on: July 02, 2011, 06:54:04 pm »

I am looking for a camera backpack that can hold my Nikon D300 with a 16-85mm lens together with a 70-300mm lens, water bottle, and Gitzo travel tripod that is comfortable on long hikes.  Currently, I have a Tamrac that has places for all my gear, but gives me a sore back after about five miles no matter how I adjust it.  I’m hoping that someone who also does hiking and photography can offer me some thoughts.  Thank you.
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2011, 07:08:11 pm »

I asked this question here several years ago, and the best advice I received was to use a hiking pack and adapt it for cameras. I have an Osprey Kestrel 32 day pack, and use a selection of padded inserts to hold gear (there are several out there, I like this one.) Osprey makes great packs, and of course there are other good hiking packs out there that would work.
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Ronny Nilsen

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 02:23:36 am »

I wrote up some of my findings on that subject here:
Backpacks For Photographers

What I use today is mostly the f-stop with different size ICU depending on the ratio of other stuff (clothes/food) - camera gear.

Ronny
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ChuckZ

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 09:33:30 am »

Thank you for sharing your excellent article.  Now I have additional backpacks to check out beyond what I saw at my local camera store.
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rmyers

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 11:16:56 pm »

I bought an Arcterxy Altra.  It has a u-zipper that lets you access the inside of the pack without going through the top.  I have a Lowe Pro Stealth Reporter 400 that will fit in it.  The Altra has a fantastic suspension and belt system. The belt swivels as your hips move up and down.  Hard to explain.  Google it and look at videos.  Pretty easy to strap a tripod on the back or the side.  I carry a full size tripod on mine with no problem.  Highly recommended, but expensive.  One downside is that the fabric is not as heavy duty or as water resistant as the Arcterxy Bora.  The up side is that is it lighter.  Since the Stealth Reporter is water resistant and comes with a rain cover, the water resistance of the Altra / Stealth Reporter combination should be fine, at least for the camera gear.  Not waterproof but water resistant.  You can also buy an optional rain cover for it.

The Arcterxy Bora 80 has a large horizontal-zippered bottom entry sleeping bag compartment that could hold some inserts.  It won't hold the Stealth Reporter 400 in the sleeping bag compartment which would allow you access to gear without pulling the camera bag out.  Might hold a 300 or some other inserts, but I didn't actually try it.  The 400 will fit in the pack, but then you have to pull it out through the bottom to access the gear.  Not optimal.  This pack is bomber.  It is built for serious use and abuse and is more water resistant than the Altra.  It is heavier, however.

The Stealth Reporter 300 will fit horizontally, allowing access to the gear without pulling it out of the bag, in the sleeping bag compartment of a Deuter ACT lite 65 + 10 or an REI Crestrail 70.  If the 300 will hold the gear you need, you have more options.  Other inserts may fit as well.  I like the Altra suspension system better than the Deuter, but that has to do with how it fits and is an individual thing.  Haven't tried the REI pack.

The good thing about the Stealth Reporter is that you can put in the backpack and also have it to use as a nice camera bag when you aren't backpacking.

I didn't know about the F Stop stuff until after I bought the Altra.  I would like to try one of there packs as they look nice.  I may order one of there inserts to try in my Altra.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 11:25:01 pm by rmyers »
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Rob Reiter

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2011, 12:42:02 pm »

Take a look at the ThinkTank line. I'm very pleased with my Rotation 360:

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/rotation360-backpack.aspx
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NicolasBelokurov

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2011, 02:33:15 pm »

Interesting question.
I do extensive (up to 2-3 weeks far away from support) backpacking with 2 camera systems, tent, sleeping bag, and a lot of equipment and have yet to see a succesfull photobackpack design for the wilderness. The one that almost makes it there in my humble opinion is the large one from clikelite. Why almost? Because the harness system and the straps are not even close in comfort and load capacity to a real mountain/trekking backpack.
A lot of people would say: I don't need a huge backpack because my trekking is limited to 1 or 3 days, a basic photo backpack large enough to fit my camera and a couple of power bars should do the trick. Well, I'm totally opposed to that approach. I believe firmly in compact, solid survival kits even for shortest hikes.
Even for a day long trek, you'd need a first aid kit, an emergency blanket, an additional layer of cloth, food, etc. I'm not suggesting a huge 80 or 90 liters pack, but at least a solid 50-60 liters one with comfortable wide straps, great support system. For short treks I'd look for a mountain pack and use the sleeping back compartment for my equipment well packed in a padded photo bag and the main compartment for the trekking/camping equipment. I also carry a basic sleeping pad for every trek. It's extremely comfortable for composing close to the ground or for laying the equipment over it in wet grass or over snow. 

fike

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2011, 04:10:21 pm »

Count me as another vote for a backpacking or hiking pack with lightweight photo bags inside.  I use an Osprey Atmos backpack--kind of a day and a half pack--and I put a Thinktank holster or urban disguise 3 inside the pack. 

I haven't found any camera bags that are good for anything serious like a five or ten miler in the wilderness.  I think the use case for most camera backpacks is between airport security and the gate.  As far as waist straps and shoulder straps, the camera bag manufacturers are at least ten years behind the hiking and backpacking companies. 

Earlier discussion here Large Photo Backpack

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ChuckZ

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2011, 09:12:11 am »

Thanks for the additional replies.  Plenty of backpacks to consider.
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Chairman Bill

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2011, 10:32:54 am »

I've got a Lowe Pro pack for carrying loads of kit, but just a body & a couple of lenses & a tripod? I've got an old Camera Care Systems (CCS) pouch for the camera & lens, any other lens goes in a Lowe or CCS pouch, and tripod is strapped to the side of the sack (Crux A35 for day hikes, or Crux AK47 for winter mountaineering or longer, multi-day backpacking trips).

eleanorbrown

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2011, 11:11:35 am »

Check out the Click Elite website...good selection of camera packs for active sports and hiking. Eleanor
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ChuckZ

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2011, 11:43:16 am »

I ordered the Clik Elite Venture30.  I'll post comments after I have a chance to use it on a couple hikes.
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MBMPhotography

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2011, 09:53:06 am »

Do not hesitate and check FStop. especially their Satori backpack. Great company fantastic approach to clients (from my personal experience)
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haring

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2011, 01:59:45 pm »

I am looking for a camera backpack that can hold my Nikon D300 with a 16-85mm lens together with a 70-300mm lens, water bottle, and Gitzo travel tripod that is comfortable on long hikes.  Currently, I have a Tamrac that has places for all my gear, but gives me a sore back after about five miles no matter how I adjust it.  I’m hoping that someone who also does hiking and photography can offer me some thoughts.  Thank you.

I have Tamrac and I love it. Get an expensive Tamrac and it will last for 40 years.

ChuckZ

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2011, 10:19:14 pm »

The Clik Elite Venture 30 that I ordered was delivered about a week ago and I've taken it on a couple short hikes.  Overall, I am satisfied with my purchase so far.  It is significantly more comfortable than my previous pack even tho it is a bit heavier.  The top compartment has plenty of room for a lunch,  jacket, etc.  While I found pockets to put my polarizer and extension tube into and a place for my spare battery and second memory card, I wish the pack had more internal pockets for additional accessories.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2011, 09:32:49 am »

I have found the Osprey Variant 37 to help improve the image quality of my photographs.

Cheers,
Bernard

SBP

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2011, 11:24:09 am »






Carrying your tripod the whole time?

I did a 8 mile hike this weekend and just tied my Hakuba to the outside of my camelbak. I just use a large Camelbak which holds enough water, my survival kit, my 5d mkII with 16-35 and extra socks and shirt and a rain poncho. Pretty much all I need for a good day hike really.
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fike

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2011, 01:40:23 pm »

I have space in the backpack for the tripod, but yes, I do carry it most of the time.  If I want to take a photo, the added hassle of removing the pack and rifling through for the pack is sometimes just enough disincentive to make me pass on a photo opportunity.

Honestly the simplest and most versatile advice I can give anyone who wants to do landscape photography (particularly woodland landscape photography) is to carry a tripod and use it. 

I've got a lot of money in that tripod...it is a lightweight Gitzo traveler with a Really Right Stuff panoramic head on top.  It is reasonably lightweight and the ballhead balances the tripod legs in my hand perfectly.

It can also, occasionally, be used as a walking stick to balance myself when rock-hopping across creeks.
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SBP

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2011, 02:12:03 pm »

I agree but unfortunately I need my hands free when hiking where I hike here in AZ.

Also if you have to stop and take your camera out of your pack anyway, you might as well just grab your tripod while you're in there.
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fike

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Re: Need advice on Camera Backpack for hiking
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2011, 04:19:38 pm »

 ::)
The camera that usually hangs on my left shoulder is being used by my wife to take the picture.   ;D
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