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03-14-2016, 04:21 PM   #1
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A camera backpack that doesn't have to be a camera backpack?

After a lot of thought about gearing up for vacation and replacing a LowePro Sling that's now too small, I'm leaning towards buying a backpack that can store all my gear, but then also can double up as a regular backpack for vacation (as I'm thinking the cameras will be held in holsters during the hikes).

Something like the LowePro ProTactic 350 or the LowePro ProRunner 350 look like they're in the size range I need (but what's the difference between them?)

We'll have long, hot hiking days on vacation, so I'd like to have something that could also be a good backpack for those situations - just some water, bug spray, etc., nothing crazy but comfortable. How are those LowePros just as regular backpacks? What else should I be looking at?

03-14-2016, 04:25 PM   #2
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dakine makes a line of camera backpacks that double as normal ones. the camera gear is stored in a separate case that can be removed from the bag.


http://store.dakine.com/bags/backpacks/photography-backpacks.html
03-14-2016, 04:25 PM   #3
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I have a lowepro 250 that I love.
03-14-2016, 04:50 PM   #4
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I have KingKong 40. Works great. My only critisism is that I could do with a few more small compartments for filters, cleaning materials, etc.

03-14-2016, 04:52 PM   #5
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I have a lowepro flip side 400 that I enjoy. And since the camera portion is against my back I don't have to worry about anyone trying to get into my bag.
03-14-2016, 05:04 PM   #6
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Have a look at f-stop's Mountain range of backpacks. Targeted at photographers, you choose your backpack and a camera insert (called ICU) the right size for your gear. The ICU can be secured within the backpack and access is through the back panel. You can use the backpack with a range of different sized ICUs, or without any just as a normal backpack.

I have the Loka (predecessor of the current Ajna model) and it's amazing. Comfortable to wear, loads of smart features and an extremely high material and manufacturing quality. I wrote a review for my website which you can check out. But for your needs the Lotus might be a better size.
03-14-2016, 05:42 PM   #7
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I have a Clik Elite probody with laptop sleeve that can do double duty - has a side access pouch that fit a K3 + DA* telephoto and you can remove all the dividers and "un" separate the compartments to use as a regular backpack - it also has space for a water reservoir for hiking.
03-14-2016, 06:19 PM   #8
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The Flipside 400 AW is a nice pack. I have one. It is good for air travel or just carrying equipment to a location. It is well padded, and has compartments/pockets. I have carried my K-5IIS/Sigma 150-500 with it, plus other equipment.

03-14-2016, 06:34 PM   #9
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Another approach is to get a non photographic backpack and get an insert like the f stop ICU. Quite often those packs from a place like REI will have a better harness and be more comfortable than a camera backpack. I use this pack: KODE 32 - Osprey Packs Official Site It is a ski pack and has rear access like the Lowe Flipside. I find it is better built and more sturdy than the Lowe packs.
03-14-2016, 08:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
The Flipside 400 AW is a nice pack. I have one. It is good for air travel or just carrying equipment to a location. It is well padded, and has compartments/pockets. I have carried my K-5IIS/Sigma 150-500 with it, plus other equipment.
Yup, the key words are "carrying equipment to a location." The Flipside 400 AW is not all-day comfortable for me.

The F-Stop Guru V2 is currently 50% off. Guru V2 - Clearance - Product


I just ordered one. I'm a bit wary because the harness does not appear much more sophisticated than the Flipside 400 AW, but I guess I'll find out soon enough. Plan B will be a real hiking pack (or daypack) with the F-Stop ICU or other padded case inside.
03-15-2016, 01:17 AM   #11
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I really love my Jack Wolfskin ACS Photopack. It is a bit bulky and does not store that much equipment (K5 with DA 55-300 and a 3-4 limiteds do fit in easily though) but it is extremely comfortable to carry and has enough space to store some clothes or food for a day of hiking in a separate compartment. If you want to use it as a normal backpack, you can easily remove the divider between the compartments and end up with a lot of space. Basically it's a hiking backpack with some space for your camera and lenses.

I don't have any experiences with the current models, mine is from 2012 - and I don't see a reason to replace it anytime soon.
03-15-2016, 02:33 AM   #12
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Take a look also at this backpack http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/855680-REG/Lowepro_LP36423_PWW_Flipside_Sport_15L_AW.html

It's especially designed for sport activities and hiking. And it also can be used as a regular backpack. Pentax has small lenses/bodies so you can put a lot of equipment in this backpack
03-15-2016, 04:25 AM   #13
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The Journeyman from Kinesis - fantastic bag. Really adaptable with a choice of large or small frames. Works with military webbing equipment as well. I have used this fro general travelling with my camera gear inside, and for serious multi-day wilderness hikes and also hauling my camera gear with load belt fitted.

[P-Series] Backpacks | Kinesis Photo Gear
03-15-2016, 05:16 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by atcoombs Quote
Another approach is to get a non photographic backpack and get an insert
That's always my advice when this question pops up (and it seems to happen every three or four thread in this forum, these days).

No camera backpack will be as well fitted to your body as a true hiking backpack. If all you want is a bag to take on the bus then anything will do, but for actual hiking, having a well-fitted bag is paramount. find one you like (or use one you already have), get an insert of the right size (there are so many choices, one is sure to fit) and you're good to go.

I use a backpack with a separate bottom pocket, and the insert goes there. The top compartment holds the water bladder, any extra stuff I need (lunch, coat, etc). My travel tripod attaches to one side. My particular backpack has a mesh back, so it breathes better. At 28 litres it's perfect for a day hike, but not too big.
03-15-2016, 02:05 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I use this Fancier Kingkong 40, as stated earlier. See Fancier KingKong 40 Pro Camera Bag Backpack
What makes this pack so much better than many of the others is:

1. Mesh back, less sweating on long hikes.
2. Storage for one DSLR with lens attached, and 7-10 additional lenses in the main compartment. Seperate smaller compartment which is good for food, additional clothing etc. Small filter / memory card / cleaning materials compartment. Laptop pocket.
3. Tripod carrying capability.
4. Ability to add additonal side bags.
5. The camera and lens can be removed from the back-pack without you having to take the back-pack off your back completely, you just slip off one arm, sling the bag around to your front/side and remove the camera out of the side access. The bag has side access left and right so suits both left handed and right handed photographers. So, you need not put your bag down to get your camera out.
6. There's a rain cover, which is attached in a bottom compartment, easy and quick to whip out if it starts raining during your walk.
7. The shoulder straps are wide and comfortable and there's a chest strap which is great for longer hikes.
8. I have used this pack on 20km (12 mile) and longer hikes and it's worked great.
9. It's very well padded so your camera is unlikely to get bumped or damaged even if you should drop the bag.
10. The inside is bright orange, so your camear gear is easy to see, even when it's quite dark. All compartments can be sized to your requirements.

The only negatives I can find is that smaller lenses sometimes slip out of their compartments and drop into the lower compartments when you've not sized the compartments tight enough for the lens. That's easy to fix though. And, I would have liked more space and better dividers in the small front compartment for cleaning gear and for filters.

On long hikes, I use the one side access pocket for my water bottles, and that reduces my (addiitonal) lens carrying capacity to 4. There's enough space in the top compartment for small first aid kit, space blanket, food, and wet weather gear - all essentials for a mountain hike.
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