Backpack for travel

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by donald_a, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. I'm looking for a relatively inexpensive backpack for travel. Currently I have
    a little Lowepro bag with room for my SLR with a small lens attached plus
    another lens in the front pouch. I have this bag inside a regular backpack.
    This is a little awkward and would like a one bag solution. The Canon 200EG
    seems like it would be perfect except that it looks like you have to unzip it
    all the way to take out the camera, which isn't optimum for security purposes
    (I would also have to cover that big Canon label/bullseye). I want something
    with a zipper at the top, not going down the sides of the bag, so I can just
    pull the camera out without opening the rest of the backpack. I also need the
    front flap to put my documents and books. Any suggestions?
  2. Hi,

    I often use a Lowepro Mini Trekker for air travel. It fits in airline overhead bins and has passed as a carry on everywhere I've taken it. It's close to the largest practical carry on size pack I've found.

    Your camera & lens kit will dictate just how large a pack you need. From your description, it sounds like the Mini Trekker might be larger than necessary. I've carried up to a 300/2.8 I.S. in the Mini Trekker (it's a very tight fit - which I think is good - and leaves room for one body w/grip and a few other smaller lenses, TC and a few filters in the main compartment). There are several internal pockets handy for relatively flat items, and a series of dividers you can rearrange as needed. For example, if the pack is larger than you need, you could fill the bottom half with softer clothing items or whatever else you might need to tote around.

    Mine is an older Lowepro, so it's not their AW (All Weather) design. I don't know if they still make this slightly less expensive version It does have a pretty good sized, zippered external pocket that's handy for whatever. I've put as much as 550EX and a folding 36" reflector in there, along with lots of other small stuff like spare batteries. There is also a second pocket/flap that opens to hold a tripod, but I seldom use it for that (my Gitzo 1325 is too large to carry that way and has its own, separate bag).

    The Lowepro's straps and waist belt are pretty good at distributing the load well. My pack has taken a lot of abuse for probably 5 or 6 years now and continues to hold up well and work fine.

    I've never found an "ideal" backpack for camera equipment, when it comes to unloading things. Depending upon exactly what you are hauling around, you may or may not need to fully open the main compartment flap to take things out or put them in. The zipper would allow you to open it only partially, if you wish. Most frequently used items could be stowed near the top, allowing easier access, so long as that does mess up weight distribution.

    You probably already know to be a little leery traveling in crowded places with a backpack. Because it's out of sight behind you, it's fairly easy for someone walking behind you to open a pocket and help themselves to anything in there, particularly small items. The zippered pockets are probably a little more secure than those with a flap and Velcro fasteners. Wherever there is a double zipper, there are small locks available that can be used while in transit, to discourage casual theft.

    A backpack is certainly a lot kinder to our bods than the old single strap shoulder bags we photographers tote around. The Lowepro is part of their modular system, there are several loops on the straps, waist belt and pack itself to add pockets, fitted lens cases, a water bottle holder, etc., if you wish.

    I also have another, larger Lowepro pack that fits a 500/4 (not certain, but it might be called a Photo Trekker), as well as one of their smaller Off Road shoulder bags with waist strap.

    I feel comfortable recommending the Lowepro system because it has held up well over the years for me and it's modularity makes it pretty versatile. I don't know whether or not it's what you'd call inexpensive. By the way, Lowepro offers an accessory strap kit that converts many of their bags to sort of a backpack. You can wear it as a pack while traveling, then remove the straps once you arrive to use it as a shoulder bag, if you wish. Check out their website.

    There are a lot of other good alternatives, including packs that can also accommodate a laptop, etc. I've also seen a few packs that zip on the side or rotate to allow easier access, but haven't really tried them.
  3. Thanks for the response. I probably should have gone to a physical camera shop first before posting this; I guess I got excited. I'll check out the Mini Trekker. I'm basically looking for something that doesn't scream camera bag. It looks like the Lowepro Slingshot series is good for the easy access issue, but I don't think there would be much room for books, etc. because of the shape.
  4. I think the bag your asking about is the one I use for my medium format stuff. The camera sites at the top and can have a fairly large lens attached. You only have to unzip the bag at the top to remove th e camera.
  5. Check out the Tamrac adventure series. I have the Adventure 9, but the Adventure 6 or 7 might be more suitbale for you. They are very well thought out and don't look too much like a camera bag. They also have a top compartment for food, books or some clothing.
  6. I like the LowerPro Slingshot 200. It holds my XT with my 75-300 attached. Plus 4 other lenses (3 lenses & flash. The top does not have much space. If you need more room, the Slingshot 300, looks even roomier.

    I also use the Lowepro Orion Trekker, when I want more room for other things. It holds a decent amount, but is not "easy-access" like the Slingshot, (But I used it in Europe for a 3 week trip, with some practice you can get to the camera, and still keep one strap on your shoulder)
    Both have mid enty to the lower part that hold camara and lenses and a top compartment for book and drinks.
    Both are just small enough to hand carry in a plane, though weith to much when fully packed ...
  8. I use a panel loading daypack/technical pack(s). Much lighter than those camera bags, wrap the lens in a sock or tshirt. Doesn't scream "camera bag."
  9. I wouldn't suggest any of the photo backpacks as they generally make lousy backpacks. I would go with a regular comfortable daypack and wrap your lenses in t-shirts for padding. These are far more versatile than a camera bag. I have an Osprey Stratos 32 and love it. Very comfortable, lots of organization pockets and you can use it for more than just camera stuff. If you carry a camera bag, you have to carry that and another one for all of your other gear.

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