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11-29-2015, 08:06 PM   #1
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Please help me pick a backpack...

Currently I am using this sling pack.

Pentax 85231 DSLR Sling Bag 2 (Black) 85231 B&H Photo Video

It works fine but I am possibly looking for something different.

For what the bag is for is ok, but there are other things that I might like to have in a bag.

First off, I want two shoulder straps. I find the single sling is more annoying than anything. I want something more comfortable.

A while back I started shooting with the hand grip on my K3 and to be honest I would like a slight bit more depth, but this is not really a huge issue.

The one I have is 5" deep, but I think 6" would be perfect.

I have a Sirui T-025x tripod (link below)

Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

If I can find a backpack where I can put the tripod inside that would be awesome. Folded up the tripod is about 14" long. If the pack is overall wider that is fine.

Something like this would be kind of what I am looking for...



Incase Designs Corp DSLR Pro Pack Camera Backpack (Black)

In that bag I can put my camera with 16-85, 3 primes, and my tripod. In a pinch I could also carry my Tamron 70-200.

I want a small, light pack... but I also want one that has two straps, and one that I can put all my stuff in. I am going to start traveling again soon so one pack is what I want.

I have one of these backpacks (below) but it is TOO big. The thing is huge. I have not used it forever. (Anyone need a bag?)

Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack (Black) LP35019 B&H Photo Video

That one is 10" deep and that is simply just too much for my gear. The design is ok, but it doesn't need to be THAT big...

11-29-2015, 08:34 PM   #2
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I have a Think Tank Airport Essentials bag and it might be what you're looking for. It's a small-ish backpack, with a chest strap and a hip strap, which is great for walking long distances with it. In it, I can fit: My Sirui T-025x tripod; Two K-3 bodies with small-ish primes; My 55-300; An assortment of small-ish primes; My bag with my K-3 charger, AA charger, a power inverter, and spare AA batteries OR my 15" laptop and its charger, and a mouse (a fairly flat laptop, but still); My flash; My bag with lens cleaning supplies; My bags of spare memory cards; A paperback novel or two OR a sandwich or two; My 1 L water bottle (attached my a carabiner to the outside of the backpack) Despite all this, the backpack itself is pretty compact; it just uses space efficiently. Let me know if you want pictures.
11-29-2015, 08:41 PM   #3
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I have a Lowepro Flipside 400AW - and I like it. But it would be probably too big for you, so look at the smaller version, the 300AW
Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack (Black) LP35185 B&H Photo Video

The two biggest advantages of this bag: the main compartment is opening on the back side (this gives you safety) - and the second, you can access your gear without getting the bag down (in water, mud...). Read the description, and also do a search on youtube (if not for the 300 then for the 400 you will find lots of useful vids.)
11-29-2015, 08:41 PM   #4
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I've had good luck with Ape Case, the ACPRO1900 or 2000 maybe, they are solid bags I have the 1900, and I will say the bottom mount tripod holder is useless. you can strap one to the side though, and one that small may fit inside depending what else you are carrying.

Ape Case ACPRO2000 Digital SLR and Laptop Backpack ACPRO2000 B&H



I've heard great things about Think Tank Photo's bags. You might consider the StreetWalker Photo

Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Backpack (Black/Silver/Blue) 474

11-29-2015, 08:41 PM   #5
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Well, it kinda sounds like you've already found your perfect pack!

As for me, I really like the Mountainsmith Borealis AT. It's discontinued, but can still be found. Also, there is a new version, the Mountainsmith Borealis, but I bought two of the old version while I could.

This might be more pack than you think you want though.Your Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack looks small to me I tired a slingpack at first. Seemed like a slick idea. But I quickly found it too limiting.
11-29-2015, 08:41 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Outis Quote
I have a Think Tank Airport Essentials bag and it might be what you're looking for. It's a small-ish backpack, with a chest strap and a hip strap, which is great for walking long distances with it. In it, I can fit: My Sirui T-025x tripod; Two K-3 bodies with small-ish primes; My 55-300; An assortment of small-ish primes; My bag with my K-3 charger, AA charger, a power inverter, and spare AA batteries OR my 15" laptop and its charger, and a mouse (a fairly flat laptop, but still); My flash; My bag with lens cleaning supplies; My bags of spare memory cards; A paperback novel or two OR a sandwich or two; My 1 L water bottle (attached my a carabiner to the outside of the backpack) Despite all this, the backpack itself is pretty compact; it just uses space efficiently. Let me know if you want pictures.
Got a link?
11-29-2015, 09:08 PM   #7
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Kind of thinking outside the box, I have been travelling all this year with one of these backpacks:

SwissGear ScanSmart Laptop Backpack, Various Colors - Sam's Club

It doesn't seem like anything special but it can hold quite a bit. When travelling with all my "gear" I can easily get more gear that I want to carry. In the main compartment, I can fit two of these cases. One I use like it is pictured to hold two GoPros and a ton of accessories. The other I have used my own foam to hold camera stuff like a lens or two, charger base, cables and other stuff. With those two cases in the main compartment, there is still room to one side for my tripod and then my K-30 sits on top for easy access. It also has a laptop compartment where I carry my Surface Pro 3, charging cables and mouse. There is another compartment that can hold a tablet and papers should I need. The top front pocket holds a little case that contains my portable HDD, cable, SD cards and other stuff I need quick access to. There are side pockets on either side at the bottom that hold GoPro bendable arms and a grip/mini-tripod. Finally the main front pocket holds everything else i could possibly want. One of these days I'll actually do a video or take pictures of everything I've carried in it at once.

Anyway, my point is it's not a "camera backpack" but I've found a way to make it very functional for me and everything I carry when I travel. I did this mostly because this also works as my "personal item" when flying as it mostly fits under the seat in front of me and I will never have to check it. Even on a small plane where they gate check carry-ons, this bag and my gear is always with me.

I should add that the only negative I've found is that it's so big, when empty it doesn't have a way to cinch itself down. For instance, say I just have one of those cases and my K-30 in the main compartment, there is enough space in the bag that the camera can fall down and doesn't stay at the top. Granted, I come up with some other solutions but I thought I would mention it.

One more add, the other reason I like this pack is there are tons of people with packs very similar. When travelling or walking a city street, it doesn't scream "Hey, I have hundreds(probably thousands) of dollars of gear in here" which I like as I would rather not draw attention to myself.

11-29-2015, 09:20 PM   #8
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I've looked through 12 pages of backpacks on B&H's site... and so far the Incase one I mentioned above looks like a clear winner for my particular setup. There are others but they want your first born for a bag. I don't normally haul all that stuff around, but when I start travelling again it will make my life substantially easier.

Also I don't really go hiking and stuff like that so I think it would work out. Plus it has a spot for my laptop as well. I think I could fit almost every single piece of camera gear in that bag to be honest. I guess I will sleep on it and see if I can find one on sale.

I watched a video where the guy criticized it some because it's not deep enough, but he's trying to carry giant lenses. Every lens I have (except the 70-200) can fit in there standing up.

I think that's the one I am going to try out.
11-29-2015, 09:40 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Caver Quote
I have a Lowepro Flipside 400AW - and I like it. But it would be probably too big for you, so look at the smaller version, the 300AW
Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack (Black) LP35185 B&H Photo Video

The two biggest advantages of this bag: the main compartment is opening on the back side (this gives you safety) - and the second, you can access your gear without getting the bag down (in water, mud...). Read the description, and also do a search on youtube (if not for the 300 then for the 400 you will find lots of useful vids.)
I have the 400AW too. I love how the Flipside opens. It's more of a "haul a bunch of gear to a single location" kind of backpack than a "carry a bunch of gear all day" kind of backpack for me. The harness system is just not very sophisticated when compared to a good hiking or day pack. For all day carry, I've purchased a variety of padded inserts from Mountainsmith, Timbuktu, and F-Stop and insert them into one of my many messenger bags, daypacks, backpacks with good, all-day harnesses.
11-29-2015, 10:01 PM   #10
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Everyone has their favourite, and I've gone through a number of backpacks, slingbacks, and shoulder bags in my time.. My current setup is as follows: Kata 3N1 20 - the small one. Liked it so much that I got myself the larger
, much greater capacity and with space for a laptop as well. There is another review of it
. It works well for me as a backpack, slingbag, or with a set of wheels. It's fantastic to be able to access cameras and lenses without having to take the bag off!

Kata were taken over by Manfrotto who now sell the bag, identical apart from the badge, they have a snazzy video of the Manfrotto Pro-Light 3N1-35 Camera Backpack
. It's quality gear, well designed, and extremely practical for my sort of use which is mainly outdoors. You can attach your tripod in the external holder, or depending on length, fit it inside to one side; the division between upper and lower compartment is fully or partially removeable (unzip), so that you potentially have the full height of the bag to use. My only caveat would be that if you are going to fully load it with heavy gear, you might want to consider reinforcing some of the surfaces, or use padding to fill the bag out. regularly carry too much stuff, but find the Pentax Limited lens case 2 forms a good stiff base inside the bag and keeps these five primes secure.

B & H sell it for just under $200, (P.S. I did try out a cheap Chinese imitation, it just wasn't up to it, inferior materials, floppy, and the handle is coming apart). You get what you pay for.

B.t.w, I'm not connected with any manufacturers or retailers, just like the gear I have settled on.
11-29-2015, 10:42 PM   #11
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Well crap.

On the other hand I guess it's a good thing that I found out now...

Just for kicks I pulled out a tape measure and measured the bag I already have. The outside dimensions are almost identical to the one I was thinking about getting. The inside dimensions are not all that different either. In other words that other backpack isn't as small as I thought!

The interior dimensions are comparatively: Incase 19 x 11 x 5.25 vs Lowpro17.3 x 11.8 x 6.5 so the differences are marginal.

The outside dimensions are comparatively: Incase20.5 x 12 x 6.5 vs Lowpro18.5 x 12.6 x 10.2

On the flip side, as John put it...

"It's more of a "haul a bunch of gear to a single location" kind of backpack than a "carry a bunch of gear all day" kind of backpack for me."

That was the whole intention. To be able to pack up and move around a little bit easier, not to haul stuff all day every day. There is no way in hell I would carry all that stuff everyday. That 70-200 is a frickin beast. That is exactly why I don't use that lens that much.

I guess it is a good thing that I had some self control and was doing my homework before I bought a bag. I guess I already have the haul my stuff bag covered.

On the flip side that throws my research into another direction. For my DAY TO DAY bag I would like a backpack that I can carry a K3 with a 16-85 zoom and 3 FA Limited lenses. If I can somehow pack or attach my tripod that would be even better. Light weight gets bonus points.

I need to go back to the drawing board and find a small super light weight bag that will making carrying a camera all day a lot more comfortable. The big bag is too much to carry all day. I am getting worn out on the whole sling bag thing though. The size of the bag is nice. It just needs two straps on it.
11-30-2015, 12:06 AM   #12
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Not sure if this has been mention, but f-stop makes some really nice backpacks. You can use the ICU's to put as much, or as little gear that you want to take with you. I have the satori EXP(62 liter version), and I have stuck my k-3 with Sigma 18-35 f/1.8attached, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8, k-01 body, pentax 50mm f/1.2, rokinon 85mm f/1.4, and Tamron 90mm macro f/2.8 lens inside the medium slop ICU. Along with all the camera gear I have attached my tripod to the side(induro 8m at-213) packed clothes for a few days at a camp, Nalgene waterbottle on the other side, and my 17 inch laptop. That's the most i remember carrying with it, but there's smaller backpacks for everyday use. They are pricey, but worth it for what it has helped me do. I feel very safe with it walking around because it only opens from a back panel that leads to the ICU, and the other zippers only lead to other gear being carried around. There's a ton of padding that hasent started to tear apart after a year of tossing the bag around. This link will lead you to a lighter and smaller backpack they have made, check out the other backpacks they have. There are other brands out there to look at that do the same job, but I I prefer how f-stop does it.

Loka UL - Ultralight - Product

Best of luck,
Ignasio Hernandez
11-30-2015, 06:44 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Got a link?
https://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/airport-essentials

The interior dimensions are 11 W x 16.3 H x 5 D (27.9 41.4 12.7cm), so it is about 3" smaller than what you're using currently, but maybe that's not small enough for you, I don't know.
11-30-2015, 08:10 AM   #14
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I have the lowpro flipside 300. With just the compartment filled and no tripods hanging off it, I find it pretty comfortable and hardly notice it's even on. When I up the load with a compact tripod on the outside + a couple of gorillapods hanging from the outside compartments the comfort goes down but not so much that's it's unbearable for a full day.

The tripod holder on the back isn't the greatest, I find the tripod often jumps out of the little pouch at the bottom where the feet go and it ends up swinging around freely (but the upper strap keeps the tripod from falling off). It's also a little annoying that it extends below the bag - the feet almost certainly jump out if you sit down with the bag on and if you aren't careful the tripods feet aim right for your groin when you flip the bag around and use it's flipsideyness to access your stuff. You get used to it though.

I think with bags it can be worth the extra money to buy locally so you can try it out in a shop to see how it fits with all your stuff. Best of luck finding a bag that works for you
11-30-2015, 12:20 PM   #15
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Look at some of the various Tamrac bags they have a very wide assortment you should be able to find what you want.
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