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04-25-2016, 05:42 AM   #1
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Galapagos trip - small backpack to combine with Cotton Carrier system?

I am getting my gear organized for Mr frogoutofwater's and my upcoming trip to the Galapagos Islands, for a 2-week cruise with Cheesemans Ecology Safaris.

I've recently started to use a Cotton Carrier vest and it's great. I think it will work well in the Galapagos. But I'm having a challenge figuring out how to carry extra gear with me. My current backpacks are fairly large - and they work well if that's all I'm carrying. But if I've got one camera strapped to my chest and likely another clipped to my belt, I don't need a capacious backpack. I'm wondering what others use with this system. I'm thinking that it might make more sense to get on a non-camera backpack, maybe the small and low profile running backpacks, and then just put a couple of wrapped lenses into the pack - plus accessories and the other kind of gear I'd need for a hot weather hike.

What do you suggest? Thanks

04-25-2016, 06:11 AM   #2
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There are literally HUNDREDS of backpacks that can be suggested to you. I personally use the original version of the LowePro Hatchback. You may find a good deal on the original like I did ($50.00) but here is the Mark II version Photo Hatchback BP 250 AW II Camera bags, backpacks and rolling cases.

Summary Review:
- You can remove the padded camera compartment and the open the separator between inside the backpack. This converts your camera backpack into a day pack.
- Your camera case is configurable to your gear with plenty of foam separators. (I fit my K-5iis with grip, 50-135, 17-50, 50mm all in the camera compartment)
- It has a moderately large storage compartment on top. (I fit 3 flash guns, my batteries, Keys, wallet, memory card wallet, and flash bender all in there)
- The water bottle side pockets are AWESOME. I take 2 x 1 liter bottles on long day trips.
- The outside pocket is large for papers, a tablet, a notebook, and more (actually very large inside there)
- It has a waist strap if you want to use it
- It has a rain fly included ans stored away.
- IT IS COMFORTABLE TO WEAR!!!!!

If this doesn't have the features you require, I bet there is a lowepro bag that will work for you. Good luck!

---------- Post added 04-25-16 at 08:15 AM ----------

Here is the original I have and love.

Amazon.com: Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L Camera Backpack - Daypack Style Backpack For DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras: Camera & Photo

Here is the new one.

http://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Hatchback-DSLR-Camera-Backpack/dp/B01C4AB804/r...tchback+150+AW
04-25-2016, 06:58 AM   #3
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I think the main thing you'll want is something that's waterproof/resistant. Getting from cruise ships to shore means a dingy ride. You can get spray and, of course, transferring into and out of the dingy itself presents opportunities for mishaps. I used a eater-resistant Vanguard pack (I'll check the model when I get home) and it worked well. You'll want to keep your gear in the bag till you're safely on shore.
04-25-2016, 07:02 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blacknight659 Quote
There are literally HUNDREDS of backpacks that can be suggested to you. I personally use the original version of the LowePro Hatchback. You may find a good deal on the original like I did ($50.00) but here is the Mark II version Photo Hatchback BP 250 AW II Camera bags, backpacks and rolling cases.
Thank you for commenting Blacknight. I have a bit of a camera bag-buying addiction, and have a number of shoulder bags and camera backpacks. I guess I was looking specifically for advice from Cotton Carrier wearers (or people who use some kind of chest holster for a camera but also want to carry a very small amount of extra gear with them.)

I will probably bring my Lowepro Photosport AW200 with me, because it's a good carry-on backpack for travelling, and it's a light and comfortable backup bag if I decide that the Cotton Carrier system isn't working for me. But it's quite large - I'm probably looking for something half that size.

I'm fairly small (5'7") and have a bad back, so I need a light and very small bag.

04-25-2016, 08:05 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jrpower10 Quote
I think the main thing you'll want is something that's waterproof/resistant. Getting from cruise ships to shore means a dingy ride. You can get spray and, of course, transferring into and out of the dingy itself presents opportunities for mishaps. I used a eater-resistant Vanguard pack (I'll check the model when I get home) and it worked well. You'll want to keep your gear in the bag till you're safely on shore.
eater-resistant?

I could use one of those for my farm sanctuary gig (see post #14)
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/58-troubleshooting-beginner-help/319489-h...int-focus.html
04-25-2016, 08:07 AM   #6
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Lol, gotta love autocorrect.
04-25-2016, 08:07 AM   #7
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I took an old low pro swing backpack and a dry sack which the bag fitted into one person did have a small issue getting off the zodiac ended up in the water fortunately they didn't have a camera or bag on their person.

04-25-2016, 08:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by M.B.Yates Quote
I took an old low pro swing backpack and a dry sack which the bag fitted into one person did have a small issue getting off the zodiac ended up in the water fortunately they didn't have a camera or bag on their person.
Yes, I've been thinking about the waterproof bag issue. I'm more inclined to get a regular, large drybag and put everything into it for the boat ride, and then organize my camera set-up on shore. Would it be feasible to do this, and then hand the drybag back to the crew until the return journey?
04-25-2016, 08:49 AM   #9
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If you have a collapsible dry bag you could stuff it in the small backpack after you reorganized the gear.

This is not a recommendation - just an example:
https://www.campmor.com/c/35-liter-dry-sack-83031blu?
04-25-2016, 09:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
If you have a collapsible dry bag you could stuff it in the small backpack after you reorganized the gear.

This is not a recommendation - just an example:
https://www.campmor.com/c/35-liter-dry-sack-83031blu?
You're right. That's probably the best option.
04-26-2016, 07:27 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
Yes, I've been thinking about the waterproof bag issue. I'm more inclined to get a regular, large drybag and put everything into it for the boat ride, and then organize my camera set-up on shore. Would it be feasible to do this, and then hand the drybag back to the crew until the return journey?
Here is a link to my images from our trip shot with a K3 with Sigma 18-35 and a Sigma 70-200 or QS1 with 02 or 06 lens https://flickr.com/photos/26742697@N08/sets/72157659323690758
04-26-2016, 08:15 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by M.B.Yates Quote
Here is a link to my images from our trip shot with a K3 with Sigma 18-35 and a Sigma 70-200 or QS1 with 02 or 06 lens https://flickr.com/photos/26742697@N08/sets/72157659323690758
Very nice! Which boat/operator did you sail with? Any packing advice? What would you do differently for a similar trip in terms of what to pack (that you didn't bring) and what you'd leave behind? And how did you transport your gear from the cruise ship to panga to shore?
04-27-2016, 07:41 AM   #13
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I did a little shopping around and ended up deciding to get this small runners backpack:

Maya 5 - Gregory Mountain Products

It arrived last night, and I tried it out by putting a few lenses into it plus some other bits and bobs I'd likely want to carry, and then layered it over the Cotton Carrier vest. It's very small, but for my purposes I think it will work really well in the Galapagos. I will probably put this bag, plus my cameras into a large dry bag, and then assemble everything on land.

The pack is very comfortable because it's got flexible, stretch straps and a moisture-wicking backplate, as well as wide hip strips with stretch panels so it moves well as I turn and still hugs my back. I also like that it has a couple of hip pockets that are small but big enough to hold a small rocket blower, lens wipes, batteries - maybe even a filter. And it will hold a small water bladder as well.

The Maya design is for women but there are some similar designs for men, and also some larger volume packs (10L and 16L) with similar features.
04-28-2016, 04:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
Very nice! Which boat/operator did you sail with? Any packing advice? What would you do differently for a similar trip in terms of what to pack (that you didn't bring) and what you'd leave behind? And how did you transport your gear from the cruise ship to panga to shore?
We flew with QANTAS/LAN..Perth WA to Sydney NSW...Sydney to Santiago Chile...Santiago to Guayaquil then to Galapogas and onto the ship...My wife won our trip as a prize here in Australia...to get there took 33 hours inc layovers at airports to get to Guayaquil and 36 hours to get back home. We went with Lindblad Expeditions and found the experience and all the crew amazing...the ship we stayed on was the Nat Geo Endeavour..a bit noisy one night as we had to motor to the capital for an injured guest...pay attention to how they tell you to get on and off the ship safely...the injured guest didn't and blew out her knee.
Keep in mind your baggage allowance Internationaly we were allowed 30kg but the flight from Guayaquil to Galapogas was only 20kg...I think they don't mind carry on camera gear..other wise enjoy the experience.
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