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01-29-2013, 11:48 PM   #31
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I've yet to find a camera bag with a harness system as good as a real hiker's backpack. They may exist but I haven't seen them. When I hike I use a hiker's backpack and just add a camera insert. Anything with light padding should be fine - even an insulated lunch bag.

Since I hate stopping to take the camera out, I usually have the camera around my neck. That may work depending upon how tolerant you are of the weight around your neck. I often carry the camera in my hand while hiking to reduce the weight.

More recently, I've tried using straps that connect to the backpack straps. Something like this:


Amazon.com: OP/TECH USA System Connector - Reporter/Backpack: Camera & Photo

They work well. My only problem is that these particular straps only work with 1" webbed straps. A lot of newer backpacks have different style strapping that is often incompatible. But when it does work it's quite nice, especially as the pack's sternum strap can help minimize sway of the camera.

Good luck!

01-30-2013, 01:07 AM   #32
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Have you considered a front-hanging bag? Almost like a "chest/front"pack (as opposed to a backpack). Your camera and lenses are all within easy reach all the time.

It's not a sling bag. It just stays in the same position all the time on the front. There are different models that come in different carrying capacities. Mine can carry a camera and a few lenses. I got it in November, and I've used it on several all-day and overnight hikes and snowshoe trips. I've even taken it cycling! I can't wait until summer so I can really put it through the paces on some longer multi-day hikes/bicycle tours.

I'm not sure about everyone else here, but when I hike/snowshoe, I carry emergency gear, rain gear, food, and various other outdoor related items. The front of your chest is basically wasted real estate for carrying things. A frontpack allows you to carry a regular backpack without having to jam in all of your camera stuff with your other gear.

It is an excellent solution to the problem of dragging a DSRL kit into the outdoors. The only drawbacks are that you will look kind of gung-ho at first (and then everyone gets used to it), and it can add extra stress to your neck, depending on what heavy lenses you are dragging around.

I am using the Mountainsmith Descent AT:
Amazon.com: Mountainsmith Descent AT Recycled Camera Bag, Black: Sports & Outdoors

Lowepro makes a model as well.

It has weather resistant seals on the zippers, and an additional built-in slip on rain cover for when things get gross.
01-30-2013, 01:26 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
Have you considered a front-hanging bag? Almost like a "chest/front"pack (as opposed to a backpack). Your camera and lenses are all within easy reach all the time.
Newswear has a weather-proof version of their chestvest: Newswear | About us

I use a Ribz front-pack. Not camera specific, but I can hold the body with a lens along with other stuff, and then I can put more gear in a backpack if I want. RIBZ Front Packs | Backpacking Gear | Hiking | Camping | Survival Checklist

I certainly couldn't carry around a briefcase in my hand in Colorado terrain -- I'd break my ankle in no time. Need my hands free, except for my trekking poles.

Another option: KEYHOLE AND GEEK POCKET

Lots of gadgets out there. Cotton Carrier System is another one...
01-30-2013, 06:19 AM   #34
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John, have you looked at these?
Amazon.com: OP/TECH USA Swivel Hook Connector: Camera & Photo

This is what I use for my rig when I'm carrying a pack. Most of them have some sort of D-ring on the front, so I leave the loops on the camera and instead of using the swivel hooks to connect a strap to the camera rings like it was designed to, I reverse it and have the beaners clip to the D-rings. These clips are quite secure and are used in the music world to support things much heavier and infinitely more expensive than a camera system ever could be *cue contrabass saxophones around $40k and 35lbs, bass saxes around $20k and 20lbslbs, and some baritones around $12k and 15lbs. I am not fortunate enough to own a contra, but my bass and bari go on one of these clips and I have never had a failure. They have a locking tab that pulls against the gate clip so when the weight is on it the clip can't swing open and the weight is supported so the hook can't bend out.

01-30-2013, 06:35 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
Have you considered a front-hanging bag? Almost like a "chest/front"pack (as opposed to a backpack). Your camera and lenses are all within easy reach all the time
Not a good idea for serious hiking, the posture is all wrong, leading to fatigue and back pains

QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
I've yet to find a camera bag with a harness system as good as a real hiker's backpack. They may exist but I haven't seen them. When I hike I use a hiker's backpack and just add a camera insert. Anything with light padding should be fine - even an insulated lunch bag.
My opinion exactly. shelling a couple of dollars for a well-designed insert that fits the bag perfectly makes the experience much more fun, however.
01-30-2013, 06:41 AM   #36
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Here's another option (one which I'm going to pull the trigger on):

https://peakdesignltd.com/

The problem I have with photo bags is they are designed for transporting your gear, but pretty much suck at providing quick access to it. There are a couple of notable exceptions, one being this one from LowePro:
Lowepro | Flipside Series

If I'm city hiking I do use a sling bag, a Lowepro one, works well.
01-30-2013, 11:05 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
I've yet to find a camera bag with a harness system as good as a real hiker's backpack. They may exist but I haven't seen them. When I hike I use a hiker's backpack and just add a camera insert. Anything with light padding should be fine - even an insulated lunch bag.
This is why I like the Mountainsmith Tour FX lumbar pack I linked in a previous post. It is made by a real outdoor product manufacturer. The hip belt is wide to spread the load out on your hips, the load lifter straps are able to move the pack closer to your back to position it so it is comfortable, the shoulder strap allows you to loosed the waist strap and spin the bag around to the front for quick access to your camera, the addition of the optional backpack straps(strapettes as they are called) can give you even more support.
A larger bag with a camera insert may be the way to go for longer trips but if you are just going out for photos this one is great.

QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
I am using the Mountainsmith Descent AT:
Good to see someone else using the Mountainsmith products, seems like they get overlooked in favor of some of the more popular brands.
01-30-2013, 11:29 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Not a good idea for serious hiking, the posture is all wrong, leading to fatigue and back pains
This has not been my experience at all. The frontpack cinches at the waist, which is where most of the weight sits, and it basically just uses the neck support to prevent it from spilling forward. Additionally, I've found that it helps provide some added balance and stability with a large backpack. I suppose if one is carrying a couple of extra lenses over 600grams each it can get weighty, but then again I don't think a regular backpack would save you there either.

Also, what is "serious hiking" to you? The reason I found out about these frontpacks is because I did the West Coast Trail last year and I met up with a couple of old retired guys who had these types of packs (Lowepro's model). They didn't complain.

QuoteOriginally posted by DJSponge Quote
Here's another option (one which I'm going to pull the trigger on):

https://peakdesignltd.com/

The problem I have with photo bags is they are designed for transporting your gear, but pretty much suck at providing quick access to it. There are a couple of notable exceptions, one being this one from LowePro:
Lowepro | Flipside Series
The Camera Capture system is very nice, but I have concerns about leaving the camera exposed. I haven't tried it though, so it may or may not be a serious problem.

That Lowepro Flipside looks like a nice frontpack upgrade though!

QuoteOriginally posted by littledrawe Quote
Good to see someone else using the Mountainsmith products, seems like they get overlooked in favor of some of the more popular brands.
The problem is that Mountainsmith doesn't appear in many stores in my area. I happened upon my bag by chance. Glad I did though!

01-30-2013, 12:00 PM   #39
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I don't like any front pack where I can't see my feet that would be dangerous where I hike, so those big chest cubes aren't for me, but the Ribz front pack is fantastic and *lessens* the strain for "serious hiking" -- and is designed not to interfere with a backpack if worn together. And worn by itself with a moderate load, it feels weightless.

I have a Think Tank Rotation 360 backpack that I used for a while last year that I'm actually about to list for sale. That one has a spinning belt compartment so you can access the main stuff in front of you without taking off the pack, so you can wear that part on your waist or spin it around back into the backpack side as desired. It also has camera attachments similar to the op/tech ones so you can balance a body (or two even) on your chest but supported by the backpack straps instead of your neck.
01-31-2013, 06:21 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
it helps provide some added balance and stability with a large backpack
I thought you meant using both a front bag and a backpack. The balance would be better in that case indeed. I don't think I would feel comfortable using such a setup, but it's personal.

No arguing about who's doing the most serious hiking, please. That's not the point here
01-31-2013, 06:30 AM   #41
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The best setup that I've really found with my big pack is to have neoprene wraps inside the bag for stuff that doesn't get used much, and a lowepro holster case on the waist band. 16-50 or the 80-200 will be in the holster depending on what's on the camera, or depending on what's going on, the 16-50 will be on the camera with a flash and the macro in the case. Keeps it on my hip which you could argue I could fall on, but it's unlikely with a trekking pole and what not. The camera is clipped to the d-rings via the optech system mentioned up top. This is comparable to the fanny packs that a lot of pros use, but adapted to whichever pack I'm taking with me that day. I don't like weight on my chest or things cluttering my chest area. I get enough of that nonsense with my rebreather.
01-31-2013, 07:17 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Saxplayer1004 Quote
John, have you looked at these?
Amazon.com: OP/TECH USA Swivel Hook Connector: Camera & Photo

This is what I use for my rig when I'm carrying a pack. Most of them have some sort of D-ring on the front, so I leave the loops on the camera and instead of using the swivel hooks to connect a strap to the camera rings like it was designed to, I reverse it and have the beaners clip to the D-rings. These clips are quite secure and are used in the music world to support things much heavier and infinitely more expensive than a camera system ever could be *cue contrabass saxophones around $40k and 35lbs, bass saxes around $20k and 20lbslbs, and some baritones around $12k and 15lbs. I am not fortunate enough to own a contra, but my bass and bari go on one of these clips and I have never had a failure. They have a locking tab that pulls against the gate clip so when the weight is on it the clip can't swing open and the weight is supported so the hook can't bend out.
Thx, I'll look into them. Op-Tech seems to have a system of little things that can be combined to make stuff work for nearly any situation, the only problem is adding up how much it actually costs when you are done!
01-31-2013, 06:17 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
No arguing about who's doing the most serious hiking, please. That's not the point here
Can we argue about who's the least serious, then?

For the kind of day-hikes I tend to engage in, I have enjoyed my Kata 3N1 bag. It converts between sling and backpack. And because it has straps and openings on both sides, it's an ambidextrous sling.

In sling mode, you can tuck the extra straps into pockets so they don't get in the way. And when the going gets rough, untuck those straps and make it into a backpack with a waist strap.

I have the 3N1-20 which has been replaced with newer models, but that Amazon page shows how the strap setup works.
01-31-2013, 07:43 PM   #44
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With the optech system I got the Sling strap which is really nice btw, and then the swivel connectors that I posted above. One of the loop connectors stays on the right side of the camera, and the other one is on a tripod screw ring so I can screw it into the 80-200 or 150-500's tripod feet. One loop is strong enough to hold the camera with most lenses comfortably *it's strong enough to hold the k5+grip+150-500 on one loop, it just flops around*. It was just under $30 for that I think, but it really works well and the sling strap is wicked nice.
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