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02-26-2014, 09:33 PM   #1
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Best bag for backpacking?

Im looking for a camera bag that would allow me to bring some of my equipment but also let me take a tent and sleeping bag with a few other backpacking essentials. Im an avid hiker and id like to be able to do more than just a day hike with my camera. any suggestions?

02-26-2014, 10:36 PM   #2
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I'm probably not as avid hiker as you are; I do day hikes but no backpacking. I quite like the Mountainsmith camera backpacks for those hikes. For backpacking, I imagine you probably have more specialized backpack for backpacking; so it may make sense to get an insert or something that can attach to your waist or the backpack. It kind of depends on how much camera gear you plan to carry I guess.
02-26-2014, 10:49 PM   #3
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Do you have a budget in mind?
Are you looking to shoot just landscapes, or wildlife as well (I assume both given where you are)

This is a question I think ALL hiking photographers face sooner or later, and I know lots of people who are unhappy with their choices.

if cost is no object, you would be hard-pressed to go past the F-stop Tilopa BC.
great bag (I have the smaller Loka) but it will SERIOUSLY lighten your wallet.

I know numerous people who use a normal hiking pack and just get a small padded insert for their camera gear.
this does making getting to the camera more difficult though.

Good luck with your search.
02-26-2014, 10:51 PM   #4
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I would also suggest to go with a good Backpack first, and then think about some inserts for Camera/Lens transportation.
Especially considering the prices that specialized camera bags have compared to regular backpags/bags...

I use this one for longer trips:
Essl Trekkingrucksack 85 | STEINADLER Katalog

My camera is then in a small camera bag that basically only holds the K5IIs with one zoom mounted plus accessories, and any additional lenses are stored in inserts in the big bag. While I am in the "shooting mode" the empty camera bag is in the backbag, while the camera is around my neck.

02-26-2014, 10:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arimel Quote
some of my equipment
What do you mean by this? To some people this could be an extra telephoto zoom and a polarizing filter; to others five lenses, a macro ring flash, and a tripod.

After hiking and photographing for over 30 years, I often say that the choice boils down to whether you are taking a photography-focused trip or a backpacking trip that includes a camera and a couple of lenses. If it is the former, it's all about weight savings in backcountry and photo gear and security for your equipment as well. Then one has to purchase ultra-light backpacking gear--Stephenson's Warmlite is a great brand--at steep prices. For photo gear, Pentax is about the best choice for DSLRs, though micro 4/3 stuff is now used by many of my friends. I also favor a high-end CF tripod and a dedicated macro ring flash as I like to photograph rare plants.

I don't know of photo-specific backpacks that can carry liquids, stove+fuel, tent etc. I'd suggest finding a high-quality large (but light if possible) backpack and cordon off sections using padded inserts intended for photography such as Billingham. Nowadays I'll setup a basecamp with a vehicle and tent, and do a day hike that can run from pre-dawn to after dusk. I bring along a headlamp to see the trail and carry a waistpack with multiple pockets that can hold photo gear such as lenses that I'll need quick and frequent access to. My Kata photobackpack is only good for a long dayhike, but in its segregated upper section I'll carry water containers, food, sunblock, toilet paper etc. The interior gets excess lenses, lighting, sweaters etc. and my tripod fits on the outside in a pocket and straps designed for that use.

That works for me; hope this helps for you.

M
02-26-2014, 11:31 PM   #6
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+1 to Miguel. I would recommend, even for an overnighter, you invest in a good backpack and then look at how best to carry your gear with it. Backpacking can either be painful (by not bringing the necessities or carrying too much weight) or a terrific time and a great extension for photography.

I made the mistake of buying my latest pack online and didn't understand how much they need to be "fitted". It's the right "size" so I presumed it would be fine, but the wrong pack for the length of my torso. Live and learn.

Even a single overnight can end up being a heavy pack one you figure in water, food, cooking, clothes, etc. I take my regular camera case and a couple of lenses in the pack. Much more than that, and it's going to be too much to pack.

What area are you thinking of packing into?

BTW...Backpacking gear can be worse than LBA! There is a lot of great gear out there....
02-26-2014, 11:48 PM   #7
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My backpack is a 80L GoLite, I would be bringing a telephoto and a wide angle lens.
Will reply more later its almost midnight and job searching is taking its tole on me at the moment.

03-01-2014, 12:50 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arimel Quote
My backpack is a 80L GoLite, I would be bringing a telephoto and a wide angle lens.
Will reply more later its almost midnight and job searching is taking its tole on me at the moment.
80L is a big bag...I carry a 65. With all the complaints I have for my bag, it is top and front loading and has the bottom sleeping bag compartment. I know some like to load everything from the top, but it works for me.

If you're looking for packing a telephoto....but a front loader. The lens will be shielded from the elements, you'll have control over where the weight sites on your back and you should be able to access it fairly easily....

Pentax is perfect for backpacking.....





03-01-2014, 09:51 AM   #9
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nice. and the pictures look great as well. is a front loader a chest pack?
03-01-2014, 09:56 AM   #10
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The best bag for backpacking with camera gear is a well fitted backpacking pack. I use my Deuter ACT Lite 65+10, and have gutted a camera bag for the padded dividers. Those live in the bottom-- aka the sleeping bag compartment-- leaving about 45 liters for backpacking gear. This is the perfect setup for 2-5 days backpacking, although I'll likely have to get something bigger for longer trips.

If I'm doing 35mm and not taking my MF camera, I use a zoom style DSLR bag, as it fits my ME Super, 35mm, 58mm, 135mm, filter kit, and a few rolls of film perfectly. This gets clipped to the harness's sternum strap and stays there. If I'm taking side trips, it's easy to detatch and take it with. It doesn't take up any space in my pack, and actually helps balance things out a bit.

All of the camera bag backpacks lean a lot more towards camera bag than backpack, even the outdoor designed ones.

The best thing to start with would be a solid, well supported backpack-- Deuter, Osprey, and Gregory are about the top out there.

---------- Post added 03-01-14 at 09:57 AM ----------

Just noticed someone else mention the toploader. If you don't take a ton of gear, it's the best all around option.
03-01-2014, 11:04 AM   #11
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Ditto to the suggestion to use a top loader (waist bag). That way you have easy acces to your camera. You don't have to take the backpack off to take a picture! I use this one View the Aqua Cam at http://www.ortliebusa.com. You have to buy the harness separately. This is a picture of both my backpack and the Aqua Cam. Not a very good picture because just before I took the photo I accidentally waded up to my middle trough a swampy area (with waders in my backpack...).


And yes, Pentax is perfect for backpacking!
03-01-2014, 11:40 AM   #12
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Fries-- The Aqua Cam is a great looking piece of kit...thanks for putting it on my radar, especially since--like the OP--I live in what can be an exceptionally wet region here in the States. Could you give me an idea of what camera/lens(es) you typically take with you?
03-01-2014, 12:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CreationBear Quote
Fries-- The Aqua Cam is a great looking piece of kit...thanks for putting it on my radar, especially since--like the OP--I live in what can be an exceptionally wet region here in the States. Could you give me an idea of what camera/lens(es) you typically take with you?
Glad to be of some help! Last year I took the K-5 with the DA*16-50 and the DA*300mm with me. I had the DA35 limited in my big 130 liter backpack but didn't use it. Up to last year I carried three lenses with the K-5 in the Ortlieb bag; DA*16-50, DA55-300 and the DA35mm limited. I'm not sure yet if I'll take the DA*300 with me this year. It's a heavy lens and you do start to notice that after a long hike. But if you, like me, hope to get some good wildlife shots you might take it with you anyway. The quick seal system works good, but if you put to much stuff in it, it is possible that it opens after you close it. But if you take care it isn't a problem. If you don't lubricate it with some silicone paste it will dry out after some years of use and it will break. But since I like the bag and it isn't that expensive I don't care and just buy a new one. It has never failed me during a hike.
03-01-2014, 01:02 PM   #14
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Excellent, thanks for the feedback--it will certainly hold everything I'm likely to be carrying afield (especially since I've reached an age where an 8000 cubic inch pack provides just a little too much in the way of "fun!") Looks like a great value, as well.
03-13-2014, 01:31 PM   #15
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+1 for the f-stop backpacks -- my daughter who is a pro sports/lifestyle shooter swears by them.

Michael
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