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09-23-2016, 10:10 PM   #1
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Looking for a hiking bag

My hunt for a travel pack has begun.

I'm traveling to Costa Rica in December and I'm looking for a backpack style camera bag for a full day of hiking. I'm looking for advise from you wily veterans.

Features I need/want:
  • Space for k-1 + lens + 1-2 spare lenses; flash (yongnuo 560 III);
  • Compartment for non-camera gear.
  • Storage for tripod (Dolica TX570DS) and a water bottle.
  • Some way to attach/store a rain coat (nice to have but not required).
  • Water resistance is a plus.
  • Discretion is also a plus. Something that doesn't scream "ˇˇexpensive camera gear inside!!"

My top two candidates are the Lowepro fastpack 150 AW II and the Nat Geo W5070.

My concern with the Lowepro bag is that it can't do both a tripod and water bottle. It's one or the other. And I'm not sure where I could put my raincoat.

My concern with the nat geo bag is that it has long since gone out of production and all I can find are (I suspect) chinese knock-offs.

I'd like to keep it under $100 but there's wiggle room in the budget. Budget be damned! Do you guys/gals have any other recommendations?


Last edited by serothis; 10-02-2016 at 06:41 PM.
09-23-2016, 11:13 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
Looking for a hiking bag
Hi serothis. I use this one, and did a review. Enjoy your trip !!!


lowepro ROVER AW II reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
09-23-2016, 11:45 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I have been hiking with the Vanguard Sedona 51 for a while. It fits all of your criteria, except it's not waterproof. Based on my use it is water resistant, plus it comes with a built in rain cover. It's also more discrete than most camera backpacks I've seen. Also the brand is less recognizable, so the name on the bag is not advertisement the way Lowepro, Tamrac, Manfrotto, etc are. I did a lot of research before buying it, and it fit my needs perfectly.

SEDONA 51BK

I had two of these bags at one point. I sold one in the PF marketplace a few months ago. If you look at my listing I have some pics of the bag when full and the contents. I usually hike with it as full as you said you need. I don't usually fill it to the gills, but I did for the pics for the listing...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/36-sold-items/320979-sale-sold-vanguard-s...rice-drop.html
09-24-2016, 06:21 AM   #4
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Lowepro have some amazing options.

Fastpack series as you mentioned are very good!

but also have a look at Flipside series: Lowepro | Flipside Camera Backpacks

And my personal favourite: StreetLine BP 250 Camera bags, backpacks and rolling cases (might not be your style)

But if you want to be sure to have space for both tripod and waterbootle, the Ridgeline series might be a better option: Lowepro | RidgeLine Series: The Ultimate Daypack for your laptop, devices and personal gear.

09-24-2016, 07:01 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
My hunt for a travel pack has begun.

I'm traveling to Costa Rica in December and I'm looking for a backpack style camera bag for a full day of hiking. I'm looking for advise from you wily veterans.

Features I need/want:
  • Space for k-1 + lens + 1-2 spare lenses; flash (yongnuo 560 III);
  • Compartment for non-camera gear.
  • Storage for tripod (Dolica TX570DS) and a water bottle.
  • Some way to attach/store a rain coat (nice to have but not required).
  • Water resistance is a plus.
  • Discretion is also a plus. Something that doesn't scream "ˇˇexpensive camera gear inside!!"

My top two candidates are the Lowepro fastpack 150 AW II and the Nat Geo W5070.

My concern with the Lowepro bag is that it can't do both a tripod and water bottle. It's one or the other. And I'm not sure where I could put my raincoat.

My concern with the nat geo bag is that it has long since gone out of production and all I can find are (I suspect) chinese knock-offs.

I'd like to keep it under $100 but there's wiggle room in the budget. Do you guys/gals have any other recommendations?
I live in Costa Rica and do a lot of hiking photography through the national parks. I use a Lowepro 16L AW. A friend uses a similar Lowepro but slightly bigger (22L AW?). I generally carry a K-3, my DA 300, and a wide angle zoom. Sometimes I take my Tamron macro. If I also take my DA 50-135 + 1.4 TC, I carry it in a padded Lowepro bag on my belt. The Lowepro bag has a built-in compartment for a rain cover. Sometimes I also carry things in a Seal Line waist pack. A water bottle will fit in the side elastic pouch or in the waist pack. Sometimes I use a Befree travel tripod and it goes in the other side elastic pouch. Often I don't bring it or my flash. Of course there is a trade-off between the weight on your back and the equipment you carry, and many of the parks have trails that go uphill, so travel light. You'll be here at the end of the rainy season, but the rains come mostly in the afternoons and you can usually avoid them. The parts are beautifully protected, very secure and very safe and you won't have a theft problem. Good luck and bienvenidos a Costa Rica!
09-24-2016, 07:46 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I was in Costa Rica in the spring for a week. I had a K-3 with 16-85mm, DA 300mm with the 1.4 hd teleconverter, 360II flash, 100 macro and da 15mm, and a monopod/walking stick. I used a Lowepro transit 350AW Transit Backpack 350 AW Camera bags, backpacks and rolling cases . It worked great. I especially like have the fast access on the side so you don't have to take the pack off an put it on the ground to retrieve something. I also was wearing a Weekender 15 pocket travel vest https://shop.nationalgeographic.com/product/clothing/men-s-clothing/jackets-...ts/travel-vest which is very light and breathable for my small things. For going out with out the da 300mm I did not need the pack and just wore the vest. I also had a Canon G1x II with me for snapshots. It worked great for wide to normal photos and just kept the long lens on the K-3 so I did not need to change lenses as much. Especially useful when hiking and it is dusty and wet. This Lowepro is discontinued but you can still find it for a good price. I am attaching some photos I took there. It was a great trip. Have fun.
Attached Images
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PENTAX K-3  Photo 
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PENTAX K-3  Photo 
09-24-2016, 09:34 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I use a Vanguard 48gr, looks like a back pack, not a camera bag, will hold all your gear + has a rain cover, plus some clothing, and a sleeve for camel back type water bag. it is a little over your $100 budget, you may be able to find one on ebay for a $150...
09-24-2016, 12:51 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Thanks for all the recommendations. I'm glad I asked now. plenty of time to comb through the suggestions.

09-24-2016, 01:31 PM   #9
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Another thing that might be of consideration is how the back of the bag opens up, either on the inside or outside of the backpack. I prefer ones that open on the inside even though that means I have to remove the backpack to open it up. If walking through a crowd where people are being pushed into each other no one can unzip or open the bag without you knowing it.
09-24-2016, 03:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wingincamera Quote
Another thing that might be of consideration is how the back of the bag opens up, either on the inside or outside of the backpack. I prefer ones that open on the inside even though that means I have to remove the backpack to open it up. If walking through a crowd where people are being pushed into each other no one can unzip or open the bag without you knowing it.
This is one of the reasons I went with the Vanguard Sedona. It opens at the lower inside back. Impossible for anyone to unzip it and take stuff out of the camera compartment while you're wearing it.
09-25-2016, 12:43 PM   #11
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I would go either with a Clik elite bag or a F-stop bag if you reaaly want to hike. Both fantastic build quality. And both really made for the adventurous photographers.
Which one? Well, depends on which you prefer. Both are excellent. But I have clik elite bags, just because they fit me better than the F-stop bags.
Clik Elite Luminous 42L Camera Backpack (Red) CE630RE B&H Photo
Clik Elite Contrejour 35 Camera & Tablet Backpack CE621BL
Clik Elite | B&H Photo Video
Clik Elite Camera Backpacks | Buy, Compare & Review | Adorama

Just f-stop bags are difficult to get a hold on at the moment (people report)
09-25-2016, 07:13 PM   #12
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I am using the Lowepro photo Hatchback 25l. It is a relatively cheap option. The padded compartment, that is only accessible through the back, is removable and only takes half the space. 2 problems with it: I have the orange one and LOWEPRO written top to bottom, the black model seems OK. The other thing is that I need an extra strap to securely hold my tripod... in one of the water bottle mesh.
09-26-2016, 05:17 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
My hunt for a travel pack has begun.
You'll get all sorts of replies where people will recommend the bag they use. That's normal.

Do you already have a non-camera backpack that you enjoy using? If so, use that one, simply add an insert fitted to the bag to protect your camera gear.

A good backpack is of tremendous importance when hiking. By "good" I mean" properly fitted to your body". There are many many more options for regular backpacks than there are for camera backpacks, so it's more likely that you will find a good back if it's not dedicated for cameras.

For instance, my bag (I won't tell you the brand unless you ask, no fanboy here :P ) has top and bottom compartments. The bottom compartment is a perfect fit for an insert, and can store a camera with zoom lens, flash, 2-3 primes and accessories. The top compartment has a water bladder, room for food, a long lens in its case (such as the 60-250), it has a mesh back (something you won't find on most camera bags) and a side pocket which is perfect for a tripod.
09-28-2016, 05:46 PM   #14
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Backpacks are good for backpacking. For photography not so much...

Chris
09-28-2016, 11:55 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Backpacks are good for backpacking. For photography not so much...

Chris
That is a very strange statement. I have a few backpacks that is very good for photography. But if you dont know to use them the right way..thats a different story
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