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05-28-2013, 06:07 AM   #1
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Trekking with sticks and a DSLR

I just finished a 7.5 mile hike 2,500 ft ascent with an SLR. I've always loved to hike and photograph, and I keep the SLR/DSLR along. I'm thinking of getting back into backpacking, and would like to take bird and wildlife photos.

After this little refresher test, I see I need

1) Trekking poles. My ankles suffer from small bones and too much basketball when younger. I turned an ankle and needed to borrow a trekking pole to get down.

2) a better holster or case. Camera on neck strap has pros and cons, even with the chest belt on the day pack holding it steady.

3) Something to allow the poles to be used as a monopod. I may need a tripod as well, but I would like to keep it light.

For longer treks, I may just need to sacrifice the DSLR and go with a long zoom P&S, but I'll cross that bridge when I build up to that point.

05-28-2013, 06:37 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I use a Primos "Trigger Stick". It's a monopod used for steadying crossbows, rifles. I have my Benro Mefoto ballhead mounted to it, a direct fit after removing the "v" on the top. It comes in different heights. Mine has three sections. The bottom two extend by pulling them apart. The top section extends with the trigger. I'm 5'10" and it's plenty tall enough for a monopod while standing or short enough to use kneeling or sitting in a hunting blind while on a short stool. Perfect for trekking with these arthritic bones! I have a "Click" backpack style camera bag with a 100ltr hydration reservoir integrated into it. It's small but big enough for what I want to carry. Especially since I carry my K30 on a sling strap(Carry Speed) for those quick moments like when a deer momentarily stares you down before bolting. It's a nice, reasonably priced setup. I recently used it on a half day treck with my wife while searching for those elusive Morels. Mmmmm! Exif | IMGP6430.jpg | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
05-28-2013, 07:10 AM   #3
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GeneV, I had been using a sling style camera strap on hikes, but had difficulty with the camera bouncing around. Went on a search for a different solution and ended up trying a Peak Design Capture. I've used it twice so far and find it to be a very nice solution. Wasn't really comfortable with the camera on the backpack strap, so I use the Capture on my hip belt.

Also, keep a couple trekking poles strapped to my backpack. While they don't double as a monopod, I've got a bad knee, and they are an invaluable assist (wouldn't have made it back down the mountain yesterday without them). Instead of a monopod I carry a Feisol CT-3442 which is very lightweight. Normally carry it propped on my shoulder, but it collapses down small enough that I can strap it to my backpack without it being cumbersome.
05-28-2013, 07:18 AM   #4
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Hi, Gene. I'll let you work out the monopod/pole issue...I always waffle back and forth on this one. (I often use one pole and a monopod.) Either way, I highly recommend the Peak Capture clip system: https://peakdesignltd.com/capture/ . I received one recently and love it. It requires the use of a belt or backpack, but if these are part of your standard hiking gear anyway, this clip is a wonderful addition. Good luck!

Edit: Ha! St_PatGuy and I apparently like the same product.

05-28-2013, 09:14 AM   #5
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Hi Gene, I do a lot of trekking myself and have been through this. Here are my solutions:
QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
1) Trekking poles. My ankles suffer from small bones and too much basketball when younger. I turned an ankle and needed to borrow a trekking pole to get down.
I bought a pair of this with great results:
Mountainsmith FX 7075 Trekker Pole (Black) : Amazon.com : Sports & Outdoors
3) Something to allow the poles to be used as a monopod. I may need a tripod as well, but I would like to keep it light.
there are better ones but I cant afford them and this ones are really well built for the price.
for the tripod dilemma, I got one of this:
Amazon.com: Joby GP3 GorillaPod SLR-Zoom Flexible Tripod + BH1 Ball Head with Bubble Level: Electronics
The ball head is really good and I can attach it to the trekking pole which is a must.

2) a better holster or case. Camera on neck strap has pros and cons, even with the chest belt on the day pack holding it steady.
I assume you use a bakpack when trekking. I put the holster through the backpack belt and attach the camera strap to the backpack shoulder strap with a carabiner (for safety) so both my hands are free and I can draw my camera comfortably and fast.

Hope this helps,
Francisco
05-28-2013, 09:59 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
1) Trekking poles.
QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
3) Something to allow the poles to be used as a monopod
You just want a monopod, no need to modify it. Get a good one, maybe carbon fiber, but make sure it's light. Then get a light ballhead for it with a quick-release for the camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
2) a better holster or case.
Either

1-get an attachment system that will fix itself to the straps of your backpack

2-get a sling strap

Either way, get a good hiking backpack with two (at least) pockets, one low and one high. Get an insert (I use Ape Case, cheap and great quality) which fits snugly in either pocket and will hold the gear you want to bring along.

Using a "camera backpack" will never be truly satisfying. No camera bag company that I know really seems to understand the needs of a hiker.
05-28-2013, 10:10 AM   #7
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If you want to really use the monopod/hiking pole as a hiking pole, then get a hiking pole with a monopod screw on top. Given your medical needs, you really need a hiking pole on which you can rely so get one made for hiking. Don't expect a monopod to stand up to the beating it will take as a hiking pole. You may find the other features of a hiking pole valuable - shock absorption, basket, better grip, heavier duty tip etc. Note that most hiking poles adapted as a monopod don't come with a ball head so you may have to get that separately from the pole.

05-28-2013, 10:14 AM   #8
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I have a walking stick that has three interesting features. One is that it is adjustable in height another is that the ball on top unscrews leaving the exact right thread to screw into my camera. I keep it in the trunk of my car just in case as it weighs nearly nothing.
05-28-2013, 10:22 AM   #9
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I use a top-loading camera bag attached to the shoulder straps of my pack, as if it were a sternum strap. It's safe from impact and heavy rain. It's right there on my chest where I can get it out in a second or two. It looks dorky as anything, but it works.
05-28-2013, 11:16 AM   #10
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Off topic completely, but you said you turned an ankle? I don't want to insult you, but do you wear tall walking shoes? I find them much better for walking longer distances/rougher terrain.
05-28-2013, 01:07 PM   #11
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Many years ago I purchased a Manfrotto 3006 junior. I have used it as a walking stick across 3 continents, including trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. This sturdy monopod does not have a spike foot. It does collapse small enough to fit in a carry-on size roller bag. I have matching Sima quick release units on all my tri/monopods, and on a waist belt. My camera strap has an extra section I can insert to convert from neck to cross-body so I can use it just like a sling - and it latches into the waist belt to keep it from swinging around and bashing into things, yet is very quick to release and bring to either my face, or mount to my monopod.

I also added a mini-ballhead between the monopod and the quick release. This is solely for portrait mode photos. You don't need a gorilla size ballhead on a monopod because you never really let go of the camera.

Another big advantage of a monopod is most museums, even if they allow photography, will check a tripod. When you walk up to the entrance using your monopod as a walking assistance device, nobody has yet to question me or try to take it away. At most they verify you don't have a spike foot that will chew up museum floors.
05-28-2013, 02:06 PM   #12
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I carry my kit in a backpack, and my loving, patient wife carries my Manfrotto tripod in a case with a shoulder strap. I am a lucky guy!
05-28-2013, 04:17 PM   #13
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Any ideas or thoughts on this one?
Trek-Tech TrekPod XL Essentials Kit TREK-00112 B&H Photo Video
05-28-2013, 04:44 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
Off topic completely, but you said you turned an ankle? I don't want to insult you, but do you wear tall walking shoes? I find them much better for walking longer distances/rougher terrain.
Absolutely. Always have. Thanks to the shoes, my ankle is doing very well today, the day after.
05-28-2013, 04:51 PM   #15
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Thank you all for the suggestions. It is interesting how on this board, folks are thinking about using a real monopod as a walking stick. On trekking forums, similar questions asked by others generate ways to attach a camera to a trekking pole. Trekking with any kind of pole means lifting the pole thousands of times. I can feel in my shoulder just the use of the pole going down after my sprain. I'm therefore inclined to find a way to attach the camera to one or more trekking poles which are wayyyy lighter (8 oz) than any monopod that would be secure enough to use as a pole.

I'm trying a Lowepro top loader AWC 70 for a camera holster. It it doesn't work out, I'll go for the harness.

Many good suggestions made here that have application no matter what equipment. Thanks again.
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