Bag for backpacking

Discussion in 'Nature' started by ken_dunn|1, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. I haven't done much backpacking in a few years, but now that my son is getting old enough thinking its time again. It was always so hard to keep a small kit accessible with your full backpack. I have tried everything from putting it in the top of my pack, carrying an extra bag, etc, but nothing seems to work well. So my question is in the past few years sling packs have become very popular, and while may not be ideal may be the best compromise. Also I noticed that fly fishermen keep a pack on their chest and thought about going that route. Want to carry a FF DSLR body, couple of medium size lens, couple of batteries, filter or 2, etc. I always just carry the tripod in hand. So how do you do it?
  2. The bags at may meet your needs.
  3. First, don't buy ANY backpack or sling without trying it on. Fit for these things is very individual. You need to see how it rides on your body (and with other stuff you're going to carry.
    Second, what else will you be carrying? Are you just packing camera gear (highly unlikely)? Or a day pack plus camera stuff? Or is "now that my son is old enough" mean you're fitting him in a backpack or snugly?
    Third, you can pack up camera gear so it gets from point A to point B. Or you can pack up camera gear so you can access it during the hike. If you want it accessible, than I strongly suggest you NOT look at a backpack and probably not even a sling (if you're going to be carrying a daypack). think of a holster. Or a vest. Or a sling like a Black Rapid (with other gear stored away).
  4. I am wanting to carry a full size backpack with tent, bag, basics for a couple of days and camera gear that I can access easy along the trail, maybe even without taking my main pack off.
  5. Do a photonet search using "lilly w backpack" and you'll find several of my replies and that of many others.
  6. I have had the same dilemma, where to put the camera gear in a backpack while carrying camping gear. My solution is this:
    It will carry the gear you listed and, importantly, it is well padded. The caveat is whether you have enough room left for it after you pack your camping gear. Depending on your pack, it can fit nicely on top, and because it has just a zipper and not a flap it is easy to access. I wanted a bag that will fit into my pack and protect my camera gear. For day trips and travel it fits nicely into my day pack and is far less obvious than a camera backpack.
  7. kts


    i bought a camera bag insert a couple years ago that i use with both a 35L backpack and a full 65L has room for my 60d w/17-50, a 70-300 and some filters and and xtra battery or two....or i can leave out the filters and put an extra body in their place....i've also rigged a strap hook on it for excursions away from the big pack....combined with a photog vest the two cover just about a search for camera bag inserts, there is quite a variety out there
  8. I really want to be able to get to my gear without taking my main backpack off. I think this would be perfect if a little larger. Big enough main for a DSLR and a 24-85 3.5 and side pocket for a 80-200 4.5 or something along those lines You could put it on your chest to access without the pack coming off and have a strap around you neck to help support the weight.
  9. Ken, a bag supported by a strap around your neck will become extremely uncomfortable in a matter of minutes. It's important that the camera bag be supported by the main backpack's shoulder or sternum straps. The difference is 'night and day'. I also suggest that extraneous items (spare battery, etc.) be carried in the main pack. Minimize the weight of and in the camera bag. You'll feel every ounce on your chest. That Amazon bag looks heavy and has useless, weighty features you will carry but never use. It looks like canvas and both the bag and (cotton?) straps will perform like a sponge in the rain.
  10. I think I have it figured out. Not done any field testing, but just putting it on it isn't even noticeable. This is just a small shoulder bag DSLR (Apex 120 All Weather by Lowpro) that I have taken the strap off and added small carabiners (toys really) that fasten the bag to rings on the shoulder straps of my backpack. I then added a lens pouch to the waist belt of my pack and I will add a very small pack somewhere with a filter or two. Now if I see something I want to shoot no need to remove the pack every time and like I said adds no noticeable weight.[​IMG]
  11. Ken:
    One question is how much do you see yourself using your camera? If you use it frequently it may be a pain to extricate it from the bag and have to put it back before proceeding. It may be difficult to keep the camera out while hiking because the bag will take up space. I like to keep my neck strap around my neck and it may also be difficult to maneuver the camera in and out of the bag with a neck strap. I have logged many a mile with my camera around my neck. I put one arm through the neck strap when not shooting, which helps distribute the load and keep it from swinging. It also helps to have my Nikon 18 - 200, eliminating the need for most lens changes.
  12. Ken,
    My solution that has served me well for many years is similar to your last post. I have a Tamrac pouch for a camera with my most-used lens(es) and basic filters. This rides in front, supported by a waist belt on the pouch and the strap on the camera (I've removed the pouch's shoulder strap to keep from hanging myself with too many straps, as the waist belt is sufficient to support the pouch when I take the camera out). If I need it, another 'long-lens' pouch carries my telephoto zoom attached to the waist strap. Then I carry any additional lenses, filters, film, batteries, etc in a simple unpadded fanny pack carried inside my backpack, and a tripod strapped to my backpack.
    This system keeps the camera handy and well-balanced for the type of quick action/documentary shots I usually make while walking, and it keeps my hands free without limiting my mobility. It allows me to take only the camera equipment (in pouch and fanny pack, with tripod in hand) while wandering away from camp in the mornings/evenings. The only weakness is when I come across a bunch of macro or cloudy forest shots that require the tripod during the hike and I have to take my whole pack off to get to it. I usually get around this by just carrying the tripod in my hand when the conditions are ripe for frequent photo stops.
  13. Thanks guys for the follow ups. I sometimes keep the camera out, but often I am in pretty tough areas and that makes it hard for bending under things and also gets knocked around a little more than I am comfortable with. I think I will go out this afternoon for a mile or so in the hills and see how it feels. Now if I could just figure out a safe way to carry it mountain biking.....
  14. Now if I could just figure out a safe way to carry it mountain biking....​
    Since you mentioned it....I use the pouch/waist strap/camera strap method for that too, but I swivel the pouch around so the camera is on my lower back instead of abdomen. Instead of a tripod I use a small ballhead screwed to a homemade bracket that attaches to the bike frame, and I don't carry anything that won't cram into the pouch. That system is pretty unobtrusive for biking, keeps everything reasonably safe, and lets me get a lot of the pictures I would otherwise miss. Admittedly it's a pain to wrestle the bike into position as a "tripod," plus you have to have a kickstand, which I suppose is pretty uncool...
  15. While backpacking - weight is critical as well as ease of movement,camera protection and ease of use. Up to you to decide the "right" balance for you.
    For what it's worth,and though not having the best reviews, I used a model specific "ever-ready" camera case to hold camera and short lens while backpacking in the past. Not water proof (resistant- if treated)and leather will retain moisture if exposed but it does protect the camera from minor bumps and scrapes besides keeping it ready for quick shots- un-do 2 snaps, turn camera on and you're ready to compose shot. Spare lens was strapped to main backpack in padded lens case while spare battery etc. were stored in top compartment for easy access. Tripod was either in hand or strapped to frame.
    Another idea to check out - the straps used to keep binoculars next to the center of your chest instead of bouncing around like regular camera straps. I've used one for my 7D with 70-200 L lens quite comfortably on day trips and even on my 4 wheeler though more comfortable with smaller lens mounted on camera but can not vouch for their use backpacking (those days gone for me)as your arms go into the straps and may be a pain considering the straps on the backpack ...
    Hope you enjoy your trips and make good memories both on camera and off for you and your son.
  16. Stephen- I am afraid to take a good camera if I am going off trail much, a lot of the trails I ride are pretty tough and just to be honest I am not an expert by anyone's yardstick and go over the bars from time to time. I am just a pretty big guy by mountain bike standards.

    Bob-I guess I should have thought about that type of case, used to enjoy one on my OM1 30 years ago when I was a kid starting out. May look into that, thanks.
  17. Ken,
    Over the years I've tried lots of options that also included carrying my original OM1. Gear in the backpack is secure but you miss lots of shots, plus its a pain to take your pack off and on again. I've tried a bag on the hip. Easy access but it interferes with my arm swing while I walk. I've tried a bag designed for your low back, a fanny pack, rotated in front. Again, easy access but it too interfered with my gait when I go uphill. The best solution I've found is what you already seem to have found, a bag worn on the chest attached to the pack's shoulder harness. I use a Lowepro Toploader. They make different sizes, have lots of attachment points, and have their own rain cover (I always carry ziplock bags as a backup when the rain is heavy). Mine will hold a body, grip if I need the extra power in cold temps, standard zoom, filters, extra cards, and small misc. stuff. I carry any extra lenses and a flash in my pack and a tripod on the pack. The only downsize is access can be a little difficult if you're wearing a heavy jacket during the winter. One last suggestion is to also be able to attach the chest bag at the bottom so it doesn't swing out when you lean over. Hope this helps.
  18. For backpacking, my solution was to simply buy a small camera and a couple of small zooms. No sense at all in lugging heavy camera gear around when backpacking. That just sucks all the joy out of it. I now only take a very small Nikon D5100 and kit lenses 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm VR. These are small and light and take just as good a photo as larger gear does. THe camera goes into a pouch I wear on my belt, and the longer lens goes into a pouch I clipped to my Osprey mountaineering pack. This works very well.
    Kent in SD
  19. I ended up ordering something from ebay that looks kind of like a neoprene wrap for my camera that was super cheap, so won't be out much if its a dud. Also could pack it in a bag and it would help protect it. I need to be some kind of quick release strap now to attach and I think I will be GTG. I guess I should have mentioned that I don't do extended trips, mostly long weekend kind of things and the reason for doing them is the photography, so I plan on taking a D600 with the 24-85 3.5-4.5 attached, I have the manual focus 80-200 4.5 that I will have at my side, small bag for polarizer and shades. Keep an extra battery somewhere and I am not too worried about my cards, I keep the camera loaded with two 32 gb cards so that is around a 1000 shots. Don't think I would need any more than that for a long weekend!
    On a side note I love the manual focus lens for nature, I grew up shooting an OM1 and then went to Mamiya 645 so I am much more comfortable with rings than dials, and its every bit as sharp as my 80-200 2.8 Nikon with about a third the weight. I managed to score the lens for a mere $12 at KEH, and it was even the late model with the black rectangle. It was optically perfect, just had been engraved with an Air Force serial number which I could care less.
  20. I keep my two Nikons in neoprene wraps, and some of my lenses as well. That way I don't need a camera bag. I simply put the camera and lenses into my Osprey 35L Stratos pack along with everything else. I don't hike with the gear that way, but it's how I store them for flights etc. The neoprene wraps are quite good.
    Kent in SD

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