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09-10-2016, 04:06 AM   #1
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How to carry gear on hikes ?

Hello

I'm currently trying to solve a problem you may probably have already encountered during your photographic career and which you already have (hopefully) answered: how to carry your camera and one or two more lenses during rides or hikes?

The main goal (for me) is to find a way to keep my gear within easy reach and beaing able to easily (and quickly) access it. When hiking, the fact is, everything weighs soon and any discomfort, however slight at first, turns quickly in torture after hours of walking.

I already tested several systems which all have advantages and disadvantages, but have not yet found transport method that really suited me and I would like to know your solutions.

I tested the Lowepro Toploader with his harness for wear on the front of the chest.

Advantages :
- Good support and protection unit
- Easy storage and handling
- The device is protected

disadvantages:
- Adds a surcharge to backpack,
- Adds something more to "install",
- Hide descent for when you need to watch where you walk!

I'm currently testing the Peakdesign Capture Pro which allows to clip camera on backpack's shoulder strap.

Advantages :
- Smart design, the device is within easy reach,
- Quick to "unsheathe"

Disadvantages:
- It is not always easy to clip the unit to the support, especially if you can't see the capture Pro,
- The device is not protected in case of fall!
- Moderately easy to adjust according to physiology and type of backpack.

Whatever I'm using, I also combine them with one (or two) Lowepro cases attached to the belt (including the great Lens Exchange Case).

Currently I am considering buying a Mindshift Horizon bag which seems to have a very ingenious design and which is also one of the only photo backpack (to my knowledge) that allows to carry photo gear and personal belongings. Have you ever tried it?

I would very much like to know your solutions?

Edit : I'm usually carrying
  • K1 Body
  • Pentax 300mm lens
  • Pentax 28-105 mm lens
  • Sigma 70mm macro



Last edited by Cmely; 09-10-2016 at 07:00 AM.
09-10-2016, 04:52 AM   #2
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Seems like to me, and please remember that I am easily confused, your question has several factors

1 carrying equipment

2 ease of access

3 protection of equipment

Now my "active days" of hiking are behind me. But I use a lowepro backpack with both an upper and lower compartment to carry my camera gear. Although I have never tried it, you could possibly position a dslr with lens attached in the lower compartment where you could reach back unzip and grab the camera one handed

I also wear a light weight multipocketed cabela's vest which weighs a ton once you load it of course. I can place multiple lenses among its pockets but they are not protected. They also are able to fall out.

I carry the pentax (K 3 or K 5 II) with lens off my hip with a optech
Utility sling.

Utility Strap - Sling | OP/TECH USA

At times I have also attached the dslr to the sling via paracord as a backup

Of course the dslr is unprotected.

So I don't if I have helped with the problem but perhaps I have mentioned carry systems best ignored
09-10-2016, 04:58 AM   #3
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wow, you've put a lot of effort into gear combinations.

for me, ive decided i'm a photographer first and the only reason i hike is to GET to my photography destinations. all hikes are to preplanned destinations.

once i concluded that, i realized the only option was to cart my gear from photo stop to photo stop completely secure in a backpack. if a photo op comes along, i will decide if i am willing to unpack my gear and set up my tripod. if not, keep moving with no remorse.

things are much simpler for me that way and i don't find myself worrying about gear dangling from harnesses or getting damaged in a fall. it all stays in my backpack until i want to use it.

some of this is also the result of having lost gear over the years while trying to be ready at a moment's notice. i've lost a couple lenses to slips and falls and a body to a stream in an ill advised attempt to fjord it without gear properly stowed.

i won't risk it any more. that, and i've become far more critical of what i take photos of. not every "pretty" scene is photo worthy due to lighting etc. sometimes i just pause, think, oh that's nice and enjoy the moment before continuing on. it certainly speeds up my hiking and in a lot of ways has relived some of the stress because i'm not trying to capture "everything".

the only photography i'm doing in which i do need my kit ready and waiting is my bird and wildlife work. then i'm lugging around a giant lens on a monopod, so my hiking distance is limited anyway.
09-10-2016, 05:19 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Think Tank offers some holster style bags that can expand to allow storage of an extra, smaller lens or a long zoom. Their harness system is much better than the Lowepro.
You may want to check them out.

09-10-2016, 06:04 AM   #5
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Still Optimizing

I've been tweaking my equipment-carrying methods for a few years now and this is my current set-up:

Manfrotto Advanced Travel backpack - lightweight, very secure, holds a travel tripod, is side-loading so equipment can be accessed without totallyh removing the backpack, holds 1-2 bodies and 3-4 lenses depending on size. This replaced a side-loading Tamrac backpack only so I could carry a tripod.

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Travel Tripod - can include or leave behind depending on what I'm shooting, very lightweight and compact, reasonably sturdy

Black Rapid Sling Strap with the tripod quick release plate connector and the tether kit - I can keep my tripod plate on my camera and still use the quick release connector on the strap, and with the quick connectors in the tether kit I can clip my camera to a front backpack D-ring or I can clip the sling strap to my belt to limit movement of the camera.

I think my next step may be to use a camera or lens case on my belt to either carry the camera without a strap or to aid lens swaps. I like the idea of the lens exchange case identified above as it is tricky to swap lenses in the wilderness with only two hands sometimes.
09-10-2016, 06:40 AM   #6
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To get better responses it would help if we knew what type of gear are you hiking with, a K-1 and DA-560 and tripod for wildlife or a K-3 with a FA 31 for landscape?

I like to use the Joby Pro sling strap if I'm out looking to get macro shots with my K-3 and DFA 100 and wear a small back pack to keep other lens and cleaning gear and I'm able to attach a small travel tripod to it also.

If I'm taking my K-1 and DA560 out I will backpack it all out to where I want to set up and then if I move around a little just put the tripod and lens on my shoulder if the terrain is not real bad otherwise it gets packed away again.

Take a look at some military style packs and vest also, molle gear is very adaptable and if you get the right pieces you can carry your gear very protected and easy to access.

But knowing what you carry will help you get better ideas from forum members.
09-10-2016, 07:01 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by KiloHotelphoto Quote
...

Take a look at some military style packs and vest also, molle gear is very adaptable and if you get the right pieces you can carry your gear very protected and easy to access.

But knowing what you carry will help you get better ideas from forum members.
Re. military style packs...I hike pretty remote trails in Newfoundland. For that I use a Blackhawk Dynamic pack. Lenses in neoprene in the main compartment, same with any filters. Camera too if going gets rough as all it's in contact with is nylon and neoprene, otherwise it is on a strap on my neck. Miscellaneous supplies in the small compartment. If needed, collapsed tripod fits in the mesh compartment (head down) along with food and water.

The pack is strong and light and has chest straps which really distribute the load if carrying everything.
09-10-2016, 07:01 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by KiloHotelphoto Quote
But knowing what you carry will help you get better ideas from forum members.
You're right, thank you
I've edited my first post accordingly.

09-10-2016, 07:33 AM   #9
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This is what I use, and really like it! I also ordered the accessory rain cover. This is large enough to nicely cover my 55-300 w/TC. It has a drawstring closure to keep it snug. The belt is heavy duty, so you could easily carry extra lens in a lens bag with a belt loop.

The BH Camera Holster | b-grip
09-10-2016, 07:57 AM - 1 Like   #10
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My solution: One of my cameras has an old-school, ever-ready leather case. For my other DSLR cameras, I sewed up my own ever-ready case. I use a long neck strap with them. The camera carries on the side of my hip like a bag. Its protected against incidental contact with objects. I can carry them like that all day long.

For quick access to a second or even third lens in case of small M-mount, I wear a rock climber's chalk bag to carry them. I can rotate it to my back when I want it out of the way. This works for primes that are not excessively big of course. I also wear a small day pack when I hike. So it can carry other gear as well. I've racked up a lot of miles doing it this way for several years now.


Last edited by tuco; 09-10-2016 at 08:24 AM.
09-10-2016, 08:03 AM   #11
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I usually carry one camera/lens combination in my hands and leave any other camera/lens plus accessories in my backpack if the terrain allows me to do it. If the terrain does not allow hand carrying of one camera/lens combination, then in order to be safe I keep my camera(s) and lense(s) in the backpack until I reach points where I want to shoot and unpack them.
09-10-2016, 08:32 AM   #12
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I've done 15kms with a Lowenpro Slingshot.. with a DA 18-135 and DA*60-250, but I'm not going to lie and say it was comfortable after 10 km. The thing I like about the LOwenpro Slingshot is, it give you a front mounted platform convent for lens changes?
09-10-2016, 09:05 AM   #13
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I put my extra lenses in a waistpack (or fanny pack) mounted in front of me. Depending on which bag I use (of various LowePro and other varieties), I can carry 3 to 7 lenses + accessories. The front-mounted waist pack does not interfere with my backpack (the backpack's waist strap tends to ride just above the lens bag).

I put the camera's strap around my neck but tend to carry the camera in one hand with my other hand holding a stout monopod or walking stick -- it's nicely balanced. If the weather gets nasty, I zip my jacket or rainshell over the camera.

Having the camera out and available means I can get shots of furtive wildlife or take a quick flower-macro or landscape picture and still keep up with my hiking partners. With the lenses at my waist, I can swap lenses pretty quickly and can change lenses on the move if the trail is smooth enough.
09-10-2016, 09:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
My solution: One of my cameras has an old-school, ever-ready leather case. For my other DSLR cameras, I sewed up my own ever-ready case. I use a long neck strap with them. The camera carries on the side of my hip like a bag. Its protected against incidental contact with objects. I can carry them like that all day long.

For quick access to a second or even third lens in case of small M-mount, I wear a rock climber's chalk bag to carry them. I can rotate it to my back when I want it out of the way. This works for primes that are not excessively big of course. I also wear a small day pack when I hike. So it can carry other gear as well. I've racked up a lot of miles doing it this way for several years now.
tuco: Off-topic, but do you have some portraits of that sewing machine??!!
09-10-2016, 09:44 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ERNR Quote
tuco: Off-topic, but do you have some portraits of that sewing machine??!!
Only this partial view off hand. It's an old garage sale special I picked up for $30 bucks. It's built into that table so it sucks at sewing tubular things but then again I'm a n00b at sewing.

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