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01-27-2013, 01:34 PM   #16
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You have to assess the priority of quick easy shooting vs the priority of eating miles with your feet. I tend to be in rocky terrain a bunch and dislike the slippage of the sling bag but still prefer it because I'm more apt to use my gear as I clamber over rocks. Seldom use backpacks with all my gear stowed anymore because I walk past too many subjects that I otherwise shoot when carrying my sling bag--the cheap Pentax model...

When carrying a backpack or more commonly a Pelican case, I tend to shoot far more when carrying my tripod with camera and a chosen lens draped over my shoulder. Basically, pick the lens I think I'll need the most and carry "ready to shoot" on the tripod with the backup Peli-case for lens or accessory changes. This works great for little half-mile to couple mile hikes. "Real" hikers logging miles will need to go "stowed" in a pack.

01-27-2013, 02:53 PM   #17
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For your long hike, it sounds like a backpack may best meet your needs, but I'll share my experiences using a sling bag, which is all I ever use for my photo hikes.

As mentioned, the sling allows a convenient table surface right at chest level for accessing gear or changing lenses, etc. I shoot often in places where it is impossible to ever set anything down (wet, slick, muddy, etc), so this is a necessity for me. I have a large and small lowepro and the shoulder straps are very wide and comfortable. I have done many hikes with them and never felt like my shoulder was over fatigued afterward. There is also a handy strap that can snap around the chest when climbing to prevent the bag from slipping around on the back. I figured out how to rearrange the velcro dividers in my pack so that all gear may be easily accessed from the flap opening, so the bag never needs to be removed from my body nor the opening unzipped all the way. In all, it is very useful for me.

I can see that carrying a heavy pack for extended hours would ideally suggest a harness or backpack type solution, so choose what is appropriate for the job.

Last edited by mikeSF; 01-27-2013 at 02:59 PM.
01-28-2013, 06:06 AM   #18
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One important aspect is to decide if you want to change your lenses often on the go, or just on location. If you want the former, a sling bag is hard to beat. If it,s the latter, the best would be to get a high-quality hiking bag and purchase an insert perfectly fitted to go in it. For instance, I use a Mckingley lynx 28 bag (rip-off of a Deuter model) with a trampoline back, top pocket and bottom pocket, room for a water pouch, etc. I purchased am insert to go in the lower compartment (it's in the mail...) so I can access the gear reasonably simply, but still use the top part for odds and ends. Prior to that, I used a simpler bag with one large pocket, and I used a Domke SLR insert to go at the bottom.
01-28-2013, 01:11 PM   #19
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MikeSF brings up a point that isn't well addressed with any nylon/cloth photo pack whether sling or backpack style...handling mud, wet conditions, snow, salt marshes or any marshes for that matter. I do a bit of low tide work every year along the Pacific coast as well as spending lots of time in Western Washington in muddy and rainy conditions. Plus quite a bit of work from a boat with spray and slosh and slime-throwing fish, dripping crab pots etc. These conditions are what lead me to use my Pelican cases for short hikes. If you hike public trails then you probably won't like the "briefcase" look of carrying a Peli by the handle (if what others think matters to you--it doesn't to me). I seldom hike where I am forced to see other humans so my briefcase Pelican case isn't a PR issue.

Those Pelican cases are totally waterproof, sand proof, and mud proof, handle banging against hard objects better than any photo pack ever made, and they can be set down on a muddy or wet surface while changing lenses or accessories. I ditched the photo backpack for my Peli-cases during an Alaska trip back in the late '90's and have never looked back. I carry different kits in different colors of Pelicases so I can grab and go with confidence. My gear travels better in a vehicle and better for airlines in a Pelican case than any soft pack and other than carrying by hand, they are way better for nasty field conditions too.

So if you see some yayhoo walking along looking like he's carrying a briefcase though he's half a mile off the road on some remote trail...it's probably me!

01-28-2013, 01:30 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Boggs Quote
MikeSF brings up a point that isn't well addressed with any nylon/cloth photo pack whether sling or backpack style...handling mud, wet conditions, snow, salt marshes or any marshes for that matter. I do a bit of low tide work every year along the Pacific coast as well as spending lots of time in Western Washington in muddy and rainy conditions. Plus quite a bit of work from a boat with spray and slosh and slime-throwing fish, dripping crab pots etc. These conditions are what lead me to use my Pelican cases for short hikes. If you hike public trails then you probably won't like the "briefcase" look of carrying a Peli by the handle (if what others think matters to you--it doesn't to me). I seldom hike where I am forced to see other humans so my briefcase Pelican case isn't a PR issue.

Those Pelican cases are totally waterproof, sand proof, and mud proof, handle banging against hard objects better than any photo pack ever made, and they can be set down on a muddy or wet surface while changing lenses or accessories. I ditched the photo backpack for my Peli-cases during an Alaska trip back in the late '90's and have never looked back. I carry different kits in different colors of Pelicases so I can grab and go with confidence. My gear travels better in a vehicle and better for airlines in a Pelican case than any soft pack and other than carrying by hand, they are way better for nasty field conditions too.

So if you see some yayhoo walking along looking like he's carrying a briefcase though he's half a mile off the road on some remote trail...it's probably me!
You could get some hook up some straps or a frame from an old external frame backpack and you'll have a Pelican backpack.
01-28-2013, 04:13 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Boggs Quote
MikeSF brings up a point that isn't well addressed with any nylon/cloth photo pack whether sling or backpack style...handling mud, wet conditions, snow, salt marshes or any marshes for that matter. I do a bit of low tide work every year along the Pacific coast as well as spending lots of time in Western Washington in muddy and rainy conditions. Plus quite a bit of work from a boat with spray and slosh and slime-throwing fish, dripping crab pots etc. These conditions are what lead me to use my Pelican cases for short hikes. If you hike public trails then you probably won't like the "briefcase" look of carrying a Peli by the handle (if what others think matters to you--it doesn't to me). I seldom hike where I am forced to see other humans so my briefcase Pelican case isn't a PR issue.

Those Pelican cases are totally waterproof, sand proof, and mud proof, handle banging against hard objects better than any photo pack ever made, and they can be set down on a muddy or wet surface while changing lenses or accessories. ...

Good info. I have a couple of Pelican knockoff cases and the one time I decided to hike with one was the day I was knocked face down by a crashing wave and I got pulled out by the undertow. Another photographer ran over and grabbed the end of my tripod while the struggle ensued and I came out drenched from head to toe. Fortunately, all my gear was not in my vest nor on my back that day, but up on high ground on the beach where it took the wave but kept the contents dry. The only issue is that now the hinges are very gritty with sand but that is the least of my worries. There is a carrying solution for every situation, I suppose!

here is the wave just before the one that took me down!

Last edited by mikeSF; 01-29-2013 at 08:41 AM.
01-28-2013, 10:17 PM   #22
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Pelican recently came out with photo backpacks too, but I have yet to examine one. Can't imagine they are as tough as the cases (and knock off cases).
01-28-2013, 10:32 PM   #23
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When I hung out with rafters and Kayakers they all had the Pelican cases for their cameras. They are very cool. The bags look Sick but a bit more then I need for a walk in the woods.

All good ideas thanks guys.

01-29-2013, 06:16 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Boggs Quote
MikeSF brings up a point that isn't well addressed with any nylon/cloth photo pack whether sling or backpack style...handling mud, wet conditions, snow, salt marshes or any marshes for that matter.
Some "true" backpacking bags come with rain covers for just that situation.
01-29-2013, 07:06 AM   #25
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check that, MOST good backpacking packs come with rain covers. If it doesn't come with one, there is usually a dedicated one from the manufacturer for it. Mine stays with me always...
01-29-2013, 08:39 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Some "true" backpacking bags come with rain covers for just that situation.
My Lowepro Sling bag comes with an excellent rain cover, but i believe Ron was actually talking about much more than a little rain. His entire case can be submerged.
01-29-2013, 11:17 AM   #27
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Even if you have a rain cover, I recommend coating with this stuff:

KIWI

I spray almost everything I own with this. And yes, if you are submerged, best of luck to ya!
01-29-2013, 09:02 PM   #28
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Well, though my cases can be submerged, where they see frequent use is as a "table" to set down in any conditions--wet, muddy, sandy, snowy...just set the case down, open the lid and grab whatever items you need. I don't use the pluck and pick foam, but either padded dividers like a regular photo backpack or most commonly no packing material other than the top and bottom foam, my lenses are in Pentax bags and other items are also stowed in some way. By using the appropriate size case to match various needs I can plan for a fairly tight-packed load. Without the extraneous foam or dividers, I can carry more gear in a smaller case. Did this with 67II kit, Hasselblad XPan II kit, digi kit, digi kit to accompany a tele kit, digi kit for video, Limited lenses only kit etc. Works great for me and leaves me pretty compact for convenience and travel. I have 5 different Pelican cases in 4 sizes plus one large knock off version. Add in four or five slings and photo packs etc. and I can always find the right stowage situation--most commonly sling bag for every day, Pelican cases for serious stuff and excursions.
01-29-2013, 09:47 PM - 1 Like   #29
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I actually hosed all the mud off my case while the gear was still inside, i didn't want to have sand fall in when i opened it.

here are my cases:

Landscape kit


Event rig
01-29-2013, 09:56 PM   #30
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Mountainsmith Tour FX

I have this and like it alot!! Granted it is not within the budget you specified but it is a good bag. The waist strap is really secure then there is a shoulder strap you can wear across your chest or there is set of backpack straps you can get as an option if the load is a little heavy. I wish the zipper was a little beefier but what can you do.

Last edited by littledrawe; 01-29-2013 at 10:19 PM.
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