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08-10-2021, 12:55 PM   #1
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DSLR plus an extra lens (sometimes) in a "normal" backpack

Hi All!

I have a couple of dedicated bags for when primarily going for a shoot not having to bring much of anything else with me.

That is working OK, but then I often find myself with my kids and wife on some trip where we have to bring other stuff like smallish food, extra clothes, an umbrella, water and whatnot. I have a bag for that as well, a simple 30 liter hiking-type of backpack. Now I would like to bring my K70 with me in that bag as well, most often just my Sigma 17-70, but sometimes also an additional lens like to 55-300 or maybe my 12-24, but nothing bigger than that.

As I see it I have two options - an Insert or some sort of minimalistic toploading bag/holster maybe in neopren combined with a ditto for an additional lens.

To me the latter seems to be the best solution, as the insert will have to be at the bottom of the pack making it near impossible to reach, but what are your experience? Any good advice on what to buy and what not to buy? I don't feel like paying too much for something that would cost me 2-3$ from china without the pretty name on the side, but it should of course provide some sort of security (new taxes here makes buying from China too expensive).

08-10-2021, 01:04 PM   #2
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I have an insert that came out of a clearance lowepro bag, it can act as the main passing in the lowepro, or an insert in a backpack, and it can be used as a small bag on its own. .
08-10-2021, 02:04 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Personally, I have a couple of "holster" type bags, one long-nose for when the 70-300mm is fitted, a shorter one for a camera with the 18-200mm and a really quite compact one for a very short zoom or a prime … each is chosen to suit the destination as appropriate, with separate padded lens bags for whatever as necessary/required. These are in addition to 'dedicated' camera bags, ranging from a basic camera + two lenses + accessories through a medium-size 'SlingShot' to a "What are you bringing all that stuff for" bag!
Almost all bought second-hand and perfectly serviceable for what I want them for
08-10-2021, 02:05 PM   #4
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" minimalistic top-loading bag/holster maybe in neopren combined with a ditto for an additional lens"

That is what I would do; and when you don't need the entire backpack- just take the bag/holster with you; or let someone else carry the backpack.

08-10-2021, 02:57 PM   #5
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Here are some images of it outside of my backpack:

Lowepro Insert | Flickr
08-10-2021, 03:20 PM   #6
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I either use a small camera bag (equivalent to an insert) at the bottom of a normal back pack if i am taking 2 or 3 lenses with me or just a single padded lens case chucked with everything else if only an extra spare lens
08-10-2021, 04:21 PM   #7
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Ape Case inserts are good value for money. Also not too bulky.

08-10-2021, 05:23 PM   #8
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How about one of those neoprene cases like the one in this link, which is simply the first one that came up in my search. I'm not endorsing this one, just as a sample, I have a couple that were very cheap. I also have a couple of very small neoprene cases that I use for the DA 15 and the Pentax GPS so they can be put on top of another lens if needed. Most are a pretty thin layer of padding, you could double them if needed. The camera cases can be had for under $10.
08-10-2021, 07:49 PM   #9
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Would something like this be useful?
Vanguard Endeavor 400 Waist Pack Green V243139 | C.R. Kennedy
08-10-2021, 07:49 PM   #10
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Here's a few shots:




08-10-2021, 08:57 PM   #11
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For years, my preferred travel kit has been an ordinary backpack with a small camera bag (an old Tamrac superlight) holding my spare body and lenses, with the main body in a Lowepro toploader case and any teles in Op/Tech neoprene pouches. The toploader can serve as cushioning in the backpack, or I can attach the shoulder strap for a very light shoulder bag (or a ready-use pouch for a second lens). I've used various Op/Tech neoprene jackets for my camera bodies, but I really only do that for cushioning these days as the toploader is more flexible.
08-11-2021, 11:07 AM   #12
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Several years ago I did buy a photo backpack with 2 compartments,
- Bottom: keeps dslr + 3 lenses + chargers - about 2/3 of volume
It has front and side access (Quick draw style)
--fixedseparation , good protection of camera gear below---
- top: for anything else , about 1/3.

My experience : the top is nice for daytrips for some snack and drinks but too small if you want to add a raincoat or go for a slightly longer trip or for a trip with more than 3 people. In quite some situations I wished a larger top section...

Conclusion: choose the right size for your needs.
The problem: larger bags are more multipurpose but inconvenient to carry...
08-16-2021, 05:57 AM   #13
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With wife and kids, my experience has been positive with a compact Peak Design backpack (I just travelled for a week using the Zip and a minimal kit). When I expect frequent manipulation of the camera and lenses, I much prefer a Mindshift Gear rotation34L backpack. The rotation system is fantastic, unrivaled on the market.

In any case, I have recommended using regular backpacks with a custom insert in the past, but I don't advocate this anymore. A dedicated camera backpack will make it so much easier to access your gear. Backpacks have improved tremendously in the last years, so much so that you can reach the same level of comfort and quality, but will include dedicated photo features.

Also, whatever solution you choose, I strongly recommend having a look at Peak Design's Capture Clip. This also makes it so much easier to function, especially with the family around.
08-16-2021, 06:16 AM   #14
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I use simple, normal backpack. Just toss inside things that I will need in order of importance. I do not use any sort of holders, pack etc. Just put them inside, apply some force to close the bag, be happy. Bigger lenses go inside, smaller in the side pockets. Camera is last one to pack, with attached lens that I will use most. When on place I take camera and hang it with the widest peak design strap on my shoulder. Never had any issues with my gear. We are using Pentax which is rock solid when it comes to build so why not use it instead of handling it like an egg?


Just tripple check if everything that has some liquid inside is tightly sealed and you are good to go.
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