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08-26-2009, 12:40 PM   #1
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Motorcycle touring & walkabout bag for K20d outfit (verbose!)

Gettings,

I am pretty new to my k20d outfit. I currently have just the kit lens and a Tamron 75-300 zoom. That will probably soon change to a broader wide<->Telephoto zoom for walkabout duties and a couple of primes, plus a flash eventually.

I'm looking for a bag solution to satisfy both motorcycle touring, and a general purpose walkabout bag.
When I ride I like to be able to stop and quickly access my camera for a shot taken while still sitting on the bike, and easy to snatch up and take a few scenic shots a short walk away.
when off the bike I'm apt to walk a few miles / several hours either back country or on established trails, such as those through National Parks or ranger-led tours.

Currently I have just a small magnetic tank bag that converts to a backpack. Up until now I've only used various Sony Point & Shoot digitals, and an old Yashica T4 35mm point n shoot film camera for backup. The magnets and vibration has never caused me any issues with the memory cards or the point & shoots, however now with the much heavier and sophisticated dSLR I'm reluctant to expose it - not so much to the magnets - but more so the shaking and vibration that likely goes on in the bag. I do have a hunk of foam cut out to hold everything snug, and could do the same for the K20... but still...
(I ride a Royal Enfield Bullet, by the way. A Big 500cc single thumper)

Even this bag is less than ideal for carrying, and in access. and of course does me no good at all when riding my plastic fantastic scooter(s).

I haven't been able to really find anything motorcycle-specific so far, such a weatherproof, quick-release dSLR tank bag that converts to a crry bag. (patent pending! no stealing my idea!)
So this weekend I visited my local Pro Shop and was suggested a "Sling Bag". I've been out of the loop for a humber of years so this was new to me.

It seemed like a good deal... over-the-shoulder courier style bag, which I've used while riding before, my stuff fit, and I was able to get it on/off easily over my armored riding jacket. The included weather cover was a nice touch too.
All they had on the shelf though was the Lowepro 200, which seemed a little on the large side for my needs. I saw they have a smaller one available though..

So, finally, my question - anyone have any other recomendations for my needs, or have personal experience in how to carry your gear on a shakey bike out in the elements?
Anyone use in real-life the Lowepro 100 that can give me the lowdown?

Alternative suggestions welcomed!

thanks all!

08-26-2009, 01:02 PM   #2
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Hi Brian!

Don't know if you checked out CamBags.com yet. Nice user review site on lots of different kinds of camera bags. Also you might want to look into ClikElite Compact Sport or the Kata 3N1-10 they are both a little on the pricey side but sound like they might be the bag that could fit your criteria. I believe I've seen the Kata 3N1-10 at Creve Couer Camera so you should be able to try it out in the store.

Good luck in your search!
08-26-2009, 01:24 PM   #3
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for what it's worth i have a buell (with a rumbling HD motor) and a lowepro fastpack 250 bag. i started out with a smaller camera bag but it quickly became apparent that i need something bigger with a laptop pouch since i don't want to own 5 photo bags, 1 for every occasion (i'm not a pro photographer so i can't afford such luxuries...) lowepro makes "all weather" bags so check those out if that's important to you.
with regards to vibrations i am not concerned since the lowepro is well padded. the bag also fits over my armored leather jacket.

i also have a ventura bike rack on the bike that has a generic bag attached but i do recommend looking into their luggage solutions. don't know if they have anything photo specific but check them out. my biggest problem with their complete solutions was the price and the fact that most of their bags were a little big for my sport-y bike...

good luck!

ps, make sure you have a good tripod solution - either a really small tripod that you can put in your bag or a good attachment that will prevent it from flying away once you get going
08-26-2009, 02:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MacGirl Quote
Hi Brian!

Don't know if you checked out CamBags.com yet. Nice user review site on lots of different kinds of camera bags. Also you might want to look into ClikElite Compact Sport or the Kata 3N1-10 they are both a little on the pricey side but sound like they might be the bag that could fit your criteria. I believe I've seen the Kata 3N1-10 at Creve Couer Camera so you should be able to try it out in the store.

Good luck in your search!
Kapow! the 3n1 is right up your alley by the sounds of it. A sling which can be slung either to the right or left, which has 2 straps that can be converted to a backpack, or worn in an x-pattern across your chest. in the X pattern you can unbuckle one side and sling it around, put it back and rebuckle it for a combination of quick sling access and backpack-like security while riding. the 3n1-10 will fit your current gear, the 20 will allow you to grow (also have a 30, which I have - pretty much almost backpack sized). both the height and depth are constant across the models, with only the width dimension growing each level. The 20 version would have room in the top pocket for some everyday items as well, and might be a bit better everyday solution. I got about a month ago, had a rebate going at the time but don't know if it is still on.

Edit - it also comes with a rainfly that covers the pack, and self-folds into its own pouch. it is held with an elastic around the pack, but is not super tight - you could have it on and probably still access the sling side openings with relative ease (have used it once, but not tried accessing the bag with it on).

08-26-2009, 02:26 PM   #5
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Here's my touring and out riding for a day set up. The rack is made by Ventura, the bag is a Hallmark. I use a camera bag for the camera and lens with the Hallmark bag being wide enough for a backpack. The luggage bag provides storage for the helmet and gloves when I've parked the bike. Using the camera bag as well provides extra protection due to the padding and there are plastic over covers for the luggage bag.
[IMGWIDELEFT]http://www.xjgarage.org/photos/august2009/slides/PICT3499.JPG[/IMGWIDELEFT]
We add a tankbag for weekend get aways and have enough clothing for 2 people + a tablet pc or laptop with 15 inch monitor if we pack wisely.
08-26-2009, 02:31 PM   #6
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Wow, thanks for all the suggestions already!

I'm eager to check out a Kata 3n1 in person now. It does sound like an elegant solution.

I'm wondering though.. these included rain covers - do you think they'd stay on while riding in the rain? (yes, I'm one of those weirdoes that keep on riding when the wet stuff falls). Or would they billow up and blow off?

As for a tripod, I'm actually looking at a Trek-Pod monopod as I usually walk with a walking stick anyway (ankle injury from a riding accident a few years back). But I'd actually by HOLDING that, so won't need to stow it *in* the bag so much.

@ MacGirl > Which CCC did you see the 3n1-10 at? I was at the Olive location this weekend and all I noticed were medium and large sized bags. I could have just missed it though.

Thanks again!
08-26-2009, 02:38 PM   #7
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That would have been the Clarkson/Manchester location. Small store though at a busy intersection.

edit: as for waterproof-ness of these bags I don't think those covers are going to stay on let alone stay dry if you are riding in the rain. Have you considered "dry" bags like kayakers and boaters use?


Last edited by MacGirl; 08-26-2009 at 02:54 PM.
08-26-2009, 03:45 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stl_stadtroller Quote
Gettings,

. . .
(I ride a Royal Enfield Bullet, by the way. A Big 500cc single thumper)
I had one of those ages ago. Loved it.

QuoteQuote:
Alternative suggestions welcomed!

thanks all!
Ok, here's what I do normally. K20 + grip with extra battery and 1 lens in my magnetic tank bag, sitting in or on a large ziploc bag depending on the weather.

I travel with 3 DA pancake lenses: 15mm, 35mm Macro, 70mm
the 2 that are not on the camera are in each of my jacket pockets in small ziploc bags (or their pouches).

It's easy to quickly grab the camera out of the tankbag and snap a picture or 3 while astride your bike, and if you wander off my alternative lenses are always at hand.

I have a Picasa album from my April ride this year, mostly done with the 15mm and the 70mm.

Picasa Web Albums - dbh - Bike Trip 2009

--
dbh - ride safe
08-26-2009, 03:49 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by xjjohnno Quote
Here's my touring and out riding for a day set up. The rack is made by Ventura, the bag is a Hallmark. I use a camera bag for the camera and lens with the Hallmark bag being wide enough for a backpack. The luggage bag provides storage for the helmet and gloves when I've parked the bike. Using the camera bag as well provides extra protection due to the padding and there are plastic over covers for the luggage bag.
[IMGWIDELEFT]http://www.xjgarage.org/photos/august2009/slides/PICT3499.JPG[/IMGWIDELEFT]
We add a tankbag for weekend get aways and have enough clothing for 2 people + a tablet pc or laptop with 15 inch monitor if we pack wisely.
nice set of wheels Johnno. I've got a similar setup on my K7 Bandit and generally speaking, find that people leave the bag alone when you're not physically on it.

I'm thinking of rigging something up to take my tripod with me (attached to the ventura rack) as it's something I miss when motorcycle touring.

I don't know how the ventura style rack would go on an Enfield, but MacGirl's suggestion of a 'dry' bag could work well. Not a dedicated photo bag, but given rain isn't just falling on the bag (rather being driven into the zips and seams at 100km/h) might fare better than just the rain jackets built into photo bags.

I've seen couriers with a sling style bag that is held in place by a second support strap, that can quickly turn around to gain access to the contents without getting off the bike. I know Crumpler make pretty good messanger bags, but don't know if they make the 'dry' variety.
08-26-2009, 04:08 PM   #10
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My tripod and monopod both have carry bags with adjustable straps so the rack work in with them. They go on before the luggage bag and stay on the bike, just unzip and remove for use.
Pentaprism, you might want to join the Melbourne user group, perhaps a combined ride/photo shoot day is in order.
PentaxForums.com - Melbourne Pentax User Information
08-26-2009, 04:56 PM   #11
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I've carried a Nikon D70 in the tankbag of a number of motorcycles - Honda CBR600, Kawasaki ZX-14, Aprilia Tuono, etc... It never suffered any damage there, but those bikes are decidedly less raucous (in terms of vibrations) than I imagine your Royal Enfield is. Also, the tankbag had to be cinched down precisely after each removal - no big deal you think until you have to do it a dozen times a day. They have bags with a sort of docking station that stay on the bike - these are probably better but often bike specific. It doesn't work for me because I ride what they tell me to ride.

I also carried it in a messenger bag - Osprey Transit - that offered a modicum by virtue of its semi-stiff construction. The bag had a stability strap in addition to the main strap, essential to keeping the bag from swinging around unexpectedly. It was easy to swing it around, pull out the camera and snap shots as needed.

I've also carried cameras in a couple of LowePro bags - a Slingshot 100AW and a Stealth Reporter 400AW. Both are one shoulder bags with a stability strap for easy access, and both have effective raincovers. I've had saddlebag raincovers shred themselves to bits - these LowePro covers fit snug and never moved.

The key to each of these shoulder bags is to adjust the strap so that the bag rests lightly upon the pillon seat while on the bike, otherwise the weight does get to you after a while. A properly adjusted stability strap can also transfer some weight to the hips, where it belongs.

I've carried over the shoulder on some pretty vibey bikes in rough terrain - a Kawasaki KLR 650 in the Philippine jungles, and a Suzuki DRZ 400 in the California desert, and a Honda GB500 (a thumper as well) in the jungles of New York City. No real issues, except the Nikon flaked for a while in the Philippines. Good thing I had a backup Ricoh GX100.

The most comfortable way to carry cameras on you on the bike is backpack with a proper waist belt. I've carried 20+ pounds this way on an Aprilia RSV with a Boblbee Meg Aero, and as long as you are transferring the weight to your hips you are fine. You give up access though.

The Kata looks like an interesting compromise, but if it doesn't have a proper waist belt then the weight is carried on your shoulders - a very fatiguing proposition for tours, particularly on bikes where you are leaned over. So until I figure out a better way, I'll be using the LowePro Stealth Reporter 400 AW with the weight resting on the pillon seat, as described above. It makes it easier to get off the bike, walk to a suitable spot, snap the photos I need, and then continue on my way.

Hope this helps.
08-26-2009, 05:17 PM   #12
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I use an Alpine Stars rucksack but then my camera stuff isn't heavy. The point is, I need something like this when I get there and not just for toing and froing. A friend has stuff made by Kriega who do rucksacks, tailpacks, daybags and all the rest. It seems very good quality but comes at a price. However, it's probably top of the line where I am (UK). I'm with what is said above about the virtues of a waist belt if stuff is heavy. Money no object, I'd join my friend and go Kriega.
08-26-2009, 07:59 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stl_stadtroller Quote
I'm wondering though.. these included rain covers - do you think they'd stay on while riding in the rain? (yes, I'm one of those weirdoes that keep on riding when the wet stuff falls). Or would they billow up and blow off?
You might want to look into the LowePro DryZone series, 100, 200, and Rover, as they are marketed as waterproof.

Thank you
Russell
08-26-2009, 08:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
The Kata looks like an interesting compromise, but if it doesn't have a proper waist belt then the weight is carried on your shoulders - a very fatiguing proposition for tours, particularly on bikes where you are leaned over. So until I figure out a better way, I'll be using the LowePro Stealth Reporter 400 AW with the weight resting on the pillon seat, as described above. It makes it easier to get off the bike, walk to a suitable spot, snap the photos I need, and then continue on my way.

Hope this helps.
holy crap! um yeah, that helps! Thanks for all the great feedback John. Diggin' your site as well... you even have a pictures of an Enfield on the home page right now!

So, yeah... My Enfield is the Military model with the standard metal panniers, (not large enough for the camera) and for now the factory bench seat. It's pretty flat so therefor no resting the bag on the pillion seat, especially since I plan on converting to just a single sprung saddle.

I've also changed over the bars to higher & wider scrambler style set, so my seating position is about as "Sit up and Beg" English style as you can get. No windscreen yet, but a small one is on the way.

I also ride several styles of scooters both vintage and modern which also have little to no pillion resting space - and no tank to strap a bag onto.

So I'm definitely thinking a wearable bag is the best compromise to fit all my rides, and walkabout carrying needs, despite the drawback of having the load on me all the time. I had a bag that zipped off of a base on my Moto Guzzi Breva, but the drawback there was that you had to remove it every time you needed to get gas. Which was quite often on the Goose! Even being zip-off it still bothered me.
My current tank bag I don't strap down - the magnets are strong enough to hold it and my regular contents but I wouldn't want to trust the heavier DSLR with no strappage.

I hear you on the waist strap thing... back in my younger days when my waist size was, um, well a smaller number than my age let's say... I could find hiking packs with waist straps that would fit and loved them for it... not so much these days in most cases. Sometimes I have a hard time just finding a moto jacket that I start the zipper on but isn't 3 sizes too large up top. sigh. So the lack of a waist strap is probably not a problem anyway.

I think right now my choices are narrowed down to the Kata 3N1, the Lowepro Slingshot 100, or another contender I saw at the local shop - the Tenba shootout. Just gotta see them all in person in the small sizes first!
08-27-2009, 06:21 AM   #15
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The 3n1 does have a waist strap. Like either of the shoulder straps, it can be tucked in behind what is basically a false backing (there are two panels on the backside of the bag, with the outer padding having holes in the top corners where the unused straps can be tucked behind so they are not hanging out when not in use). The 3n1 is by far the best solution I have found personally to carry alot (and all if necessary) of my gear, along with a few personal items.
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