Backpacking/hiking Camera Case solution

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by matt_cooper|3, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I am looking for a solution to the problem of hiking/backpacking with a dslr and lens attached within easy access. I don't think the belt will work, it gets in the way of the backpack hip belt. I am talking about multi-day trips in the backcountry with a large pack. What I am looking for is a case that places the camera on your chest. Perhaps the product doesn't exist. It would be like one of those cases that is designed to just hold a dslr and one lens attached, but it would be modified to rest in front of your body, against your chest, so you could easily pull it out and shoot. Any ideas? Thanks!
  2. Do a google search for "Camera chest pack." Near the top of the list I found a single-camera version from REI that looks pretty much like what you're describing. Also linked on the same page was a waist pack if you want to hold it lower down.
  3. Do a photonet search using "lilly w backpack chest" and you'll find several of my replies and that of many others. For starters I'll point you toward a Kinesis holster-type bag. They appear to have several, practical attachment points. I've spent considerable time refining (simplifying?) my system and have learned much over the years, including the importance of always having a durable, plastic bag tucked into the holster.
    I've yet to find a satisfactory off-the-shelf attachment system. Dispense with any notion of using a manufacturer's chest harness; straps get pinned and extremely uncomfortable under pack's straps, too hot, complicated with too many straps and nothing (e.g. counterbalance) to keep it from sagging (all the reasons to avoid the REI suggested above...with apologies to Mr. Currie). It comes down to using a holster-type case that is suspended from either the upper sections of the pack's shoulder straps or sternum strap. Also best to secure the bottom of the holster to the pack's wastebelt to keep it from clanging. You may need to improvise and eventually fashion an attachment system to your exact liking, requiring purchase of flat webbing/straps, buckles, etc. Lightness, durability and simplicity, as in click-click to attach/detach, are all key. My mandatory requirement: the ability to quickly detach the holster from pack and dash with protected cam to a vantage point without the backpack. Therefore keep a very basic, lightweight shoulder strap (e.g. loop of webbing) permanently attached to holster. You'll also use the shoulder strap for shorter jaunts from campsite.
    I use a slightly older Lowepro Topload Zoom AW (All Weather) that has a grab-loop (non-bulky, flat webbing) at the junction of the rear panel and lid (hinge line), which I use as a clip-in point to the pack's sternum strap. I've sliced-off all non-essential doo-dads that were otherwise deadweight. Newer models all seem to have a bulky/padded grab-handle in the center of the lid. Bags with a grab handle in the center of the lid, and assuming you're using the handle as an attachment point, will not rest flat/comforatbly against your body. Don't entrust camera/lens to just one Fastex buckle. Carefully inspect the sewing of attachment points and, when in doubt, consider reinforcement (bar-tacked). Mine have broke, but once tacked... At the risk of repetiton: plastic bag in the holster for a rainy day. Get your system and all the bugs worked-out well before the trailhead. There you have it...years condensed into a few paragraphs. Enjoy!
  4. I, too, have unsuccessfully searched for such a thing. The best I've come up with is the camera around my neck with one strap and a second camera strap (thinner/more elastic and detachable) around my waist/lower chest. This is a great opportunity for some creative inventor out there!
  5. Lilly, any chance of you attaching a few images of your said mods? (modelling it is optional ;) It would be nice to have a visual on how you've worked the rigging.
  6. Thanks for the responses everyone!
    Lilly - you're the greatest! All that experience condensed into a reply, this is why I love! The lowepro toploader aw is essentially exactly what I am looking for, and like you said, the trick is how to adapt it to the pack. Any opinion on the lowepro chest harness?,2054.htm
    I found this photographer's website and his article about how he backpacks with photo gear, his solution being the lowepro toploader and lowepro chest harness. But, you still have to put the chest harness on underneath your big pack.
    Indeed, it's probably a matter of a custom solution utilizing the toploader and various straps/buckles. But I need a solution by April 4 when I fly to Argentina, and I basically have no free time before then!
    Thanks again!
  7. Clik Elite makes 3 or 4 different chest packs......they are one the best brands in terms of hiking / photography. REI sells some of their packs but chekc out the link to see the whole line.
  8. I've been using my Lowepro Topload Zoom AW for over 10 years now on all types of hikes carried in a variety of ways. Usually with the waist belt pulled through it. Not an issue on a good fitting pack. This is an old shot of being used as a hipster. That was an 18 mile rt hike with 10 miles of thick rain forest. The rain cover works great. My gear is always doubly protected in 1 gallon freezer ziplock bags. Its also still my daily camera bag slung over the neck/shoulder.
  9. Just wanted to say that, thanks to this thread, I was able to plan out how my wife and I would carry our kit to Iceland. We've each got Lowepro AW-type cases and have simply bought a bunch of carabiners with which to secure them in front of us to the shoulder straps of our packs. A little experimentation suggests that two clips on one shoulder strap and one on the other should strap gives you a good balance of security (3 clips in all) and quick-ish entry/exit (you can remove the pack by only unclipping one carabiner).
    Will send a photo after the Laugavegurinn. :)

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