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12-12-2011, 12:44 AM   #1
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Need recommendation for a backpack!

Hi,

I am urgently looking for a dslr backpack for my trip this week.
Considering gears I have now, and convenience for access to camera, I have narrowed my options to 3 bags:

1. Lowepro Flipside 300 ( I like its security aspect, easy access and tripod holder. But it is lacking water bottle holder and some extra compartments.)
2. Lowepro Fastpack 200 (looks fairly good in all aspect except no tripod holder and no rain cover. But I do not like its design...)
3. Kata KT D 3n1 20 (Looks stylish and like its versatility (can do both sling and backpack). But read some complaint about inefficient layout (upper slots in lower compartment), lack of water bottle holder, loose strap, relatively uncomfy..)

Unfortunately, I do not have time to try them out by myself now...

Could you please recommend one among those three for me?
(It would be nice if it is based on your experience)

Thanks!

(+)

Thank you for the replies so far.
Sorry I forgot to add my gear list to be carried by the bag.
My typical list will be:
k-r body attached with 18-55mm
50-300mm
35mm/f2.4
sometimes a tripod
Some accessories

Since I will carry one or two additional lenses, I think easy access to the compartment will be somehow important to me.


Last edited by jhgheart; 12-12-2011 at 08:05 AM.
12-12-2011, 04:54 AM   #2
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Morning, I have no knowledge of the 3 backpacks you list, nor do you have a gear list. I can say that I have been using a CompuDaypack from Lowepro with good success. The bottom compartment holds 5 lenses or a combination of body and lens, depending on how you break it down, and lens sizes. It does hold a laptop, but I can also slide a full sized tripod in there, and it sticks out the top. The top compartment holds a good deal of stuff. There are some water bottle compartments on the front corners. It runs in the same price range $60-$80 as the ones you list.After about 3 years of use, I would like to make changes, - in fact I have sent them to Lowepro, but I have found really nothing better. Its all a personal choice and what compromises you are willing to put up with. I use mine for business travel when I am carrying a camera. I also use it to slide my CPAP machine in the bottom if I want to reduce the amount of carry-on I am lugging. My K20 with a single lens does fit in the top front, with other stuff, but its a tight squeeze.

12-12-2011, 06:07 AM   #3
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Dakine sequence.
12-12-2011, 06:29 AM   #4
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A gear list would be useful to help you. It would also be useful to know if you plan to change lenses often while hiking, access your gear regularly, or if you can leave it all at the bottom of the bag and remove the bag to access your stuff when needed.

In most cases, however, my recommendation for backpackers is the same : get a true hiking bag (not camera bag) that fits you and suits you. Then purchase a cheap camera insert for it. You'll get a much better fitted bag for a lower price. You might even already have a backpack you love, so why replace it?

12-12-2011, 06:55 AM   #5
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I owned a Lowepro 300 and absolutely loved it. It fit my K20 gripped with a Sigma 400mm lens attached but I did find the space inside a bit cramped after a while once my gear collection expanded then I upgraded it to the 400 which is really comfortable and has tons of room. Both bags fit well but the 400 has more cushioning and better waist straps. I would seriously think about spending a couple more bucks and getting the Lowepro flipside 400.
12-12-2011, 08:22 AM   #6
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There is also M-Rock bags their Arches Model is similar to what you are looking for.

There is also Clik Elite bags. The Compact Sport and Pro Sport bags are excellent. Most comfortable bags out there.

Lowepro Also looks to have a new Photo Sport Line.

I own the Clik Elite compact sport and have found it to be the best bag for myself. I have owned Lowepro, M-Rock and Kata 3-in-1. The Clik Elite is the most comfortable and best build quality out of the bunch.
12-12-2011, 08:17 PM   #7
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I have the Flipside 200. After reorganized the divider, it can hold a K7 with 50-135, DA12-24, flash, and two small lens. Unfortunately, the shoulder padding is way too thin when used this way. The tripod holder strap inserts into the bag on two openings no wider than 1.5 inches, the folded tripod legs is about 3" diameter, this let the tripod to flop left and right, it gets tiresome on long walk. A plastic water bottle can fit in the external side picket.
12-14-2011, 06:41 PM   #8
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I second the recommendation for a real hiking pack. This was much cheaper than the camera specific bags and imo carries better also. You can carry 1-2 lenses in a side pocket and water bottle in the other. And the main compartment can be used for your hiking gear. The best part is that it works for tripods although my tripod is really compact.

12-14-2011, 07:35 PM   #9
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I own a Kata 3n1 20. It is a bit loose as a sling, but as a backpack it works great. No comfort issues. I am able to access my gear quickly and easily. There are some "extra" straps, but they are removable. The compartment is very flexible arrangement wise, but you will probably want an extra padded insert (I used one from a camera bag I no longer use). I can fit the following:
K20d w/grip and DA 40mm
DA 18-55mm w/hood
SMC-A 35-105mm
SMC-A 50mm
SMC-M 28mm
50mm converter
AF280T
extra filter
camera computer cable
manual
pen
pocket book
two SD cards
extra battery
cleaning cloth
two diapers (I usually have my baby daughter with me)
a snack for her
Kata rain cover
and I could comfortably fit another prime lens in if I wanted.

I would recommend it if you can find it cheap. I bought mine used on ebay. But I do wish I could carry a tripod without buying an extra
piece, but I am sure I can get creative and strap it on the pack myself. Hope this helps.
12-14-2011, 11:20 PM   #10
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With all the talk about hiking I have to wonder if jhgheart is even going hiking?

jhgheart, I can carry the gear you listed, minus the tripod, in my small Think Tank Retrospective 5. It has no water bottle holder, but I have a carbiner attached to the strap that attaches to my water bottle. This is a messenger type bag and I can keep my camera quickly at the ready with it.

If I'm hiking, I like to keep my camera out of my bag and use a Zing cover to keep my camera secured to my front. You can do this with either a camera strap or a setup hanging from the backpack's shoulder straps. The latter is nice for taking the weight off your neck. The bag I use may be anything from a hiking one, to a small daypack, to a fanny pack. I then stow the rest of my gear in whatever bag I've chosen and protect my gear with the appropriate combination of lens wraps and camera/lens inserts.
12-15-2011, 07:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by wasser Quote
With all the talk about hiking I have to wonder if jhgheart is even going hiking?
Even if I don't go hiking I prefer a hiking daypack. Most compact camera bags (at least the ones that I looked at) don't have room for water bottles, books, raingear, compact umbrella, snacks, etc... this is what I take when I walk around in the city.
12-15-2011, 08:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by abacus07 Quote
I second the recommendation for a real hiking pack. This was much cheaper than the camera specific bags and imo carries better also. You can carry 1-2 lenses in a side pocket and water bottle in the other. And the main compartment can be used for your hiking gear.
Get a camera-gear-padding insert for any non-camera bag, though. No padding on a real hiking backpack, since hiking gear generally isn't shock-sensitive. BTW, the Kata 3-n-1 has side openings for when you use it as a sling bag, so you can take your camera out without taking the bag off.

QuoteOriginally posted by abacus07 Quote
The best part is that it works for tripods although my tripod is really compact.
You're also the first person I've seen with a Photoclam tripod. Like spotting a unicorn!
12-15-2011, 09:46 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Get a camera-gear-padding insert for any non-camera bag, though. No padding on a real hiking backpack, since hiking gear generally isn't shock-sensitive. BTW, the Kata 3-n-1 has side openings for when you use it as a sling bag, so you can take your camera out without taking the bag off.

You're also the first person I've seen with a Photoclam tripod. Like spotting a unicorn!
I only carry a couple of small primes at a time and they go in padded cases as does the camera. If I start carrying more lenses I'll look into it though.

It was also impossible to find reviews online (on my to-do list) but I liked it in the store and it was the only one that I found in its class here (PT-024). It's minimal (0.8kg + head) but I do a lot of hiking/travel and my biggest lens that I usually use is a K24.
12-15-2011, 09:57 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by abacus07 Quote
Even if I don't go hiking I prefer a hiking daypack. Most compact camera bags (at least the ones that I looked at) don't have room for water bottles, books, raingear, compact umbrella, snacks, etc... this is what I take when I walk around in the city.
Still, the point still stands that jhgheart never mentioned hiking, and that, imho, dramatically changes the requirements. My own preference is to use a bag that meets my needs for the specific occasion.
12-15-2011, 10:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by wasser Quote
Still, the point still stands that jhgheart never mentioned hiking, and that, imho, dramatically changes the requirements. My own preference is to use a bag that meets my needs for the specific occasion.
It doesn't dramatically change my requirements when I'm not hiking. I need some cargo room to carry non-camera related items even if I'm not hiking and I find camera specific bags to be lacking in that regard. The one time that I would want a camera specific bag is if I had 6-8 lenses, flashes, filters and other accessories I was carrying around.
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