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04-12-2010, 12:03 PM   #1
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Help finding my best-fit trekking backpack

I must begin by saying that I'm finding it difficult to find my bag. Being well away from civilisation and even further away from a decent bricks and mortar photo store I'm finding it near impossible to test gear and find the right fit.

The bag I need must fit the K20D with Sigma 100-300/4 w/- 1.4x TC attached - this totals about 35cms in length. Other lenses in the bundle for nature treks are the Tamron 90mm macro and K20/3.5. I would like room for possibly one further zoom and a flash. So even counting random accessories this doesn't need to be HUGE (like Lowepro Photo-Trekker sized) but with some room to grow. The more difficult part is ensuring the bag can also accommodate my Manfrotto (Bogen) 055XPROB tripod with monster ball-head. This is where many bags come unstuck...as the tripod straps and pockets seem too small to house such a sturdy tripod...and until I can afford a Gitzo carbon this baby is not negotiable.

So I'd like a bag that can not only carry this bulk but do so in relative comfort for treks of a few hours at a time. I'm not wedded to a backpack as such, but thought it better than a sling or shoulder bag, for this outdoor purpose.

So I wondered from others' experience, what might be suggested? Again, I'd prefer to just take the gear in the car and down to the store and test them for myself.But since this is near impossible, it's an on-line option only for me and so I'd appreciate suggestions on what to look for.

Cheers

04-12-2010, 12:51 PM   #2
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I suggest you read this:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/field-accessories/71275-my-perfect-soluti...mera-gear.html

I had been searching for the perfect camera backpack and discovered that, for me, such a thing did not exist. I found a great solution, however. I've never looked back.
04-13-2010, 01:23 AM   #3
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Naneu Pro K3L
Review

Naneu website
Also available in K4 and K5.

I bought mine online in Australia for $120 or so. Went for a 5hr walk on Monday with metal tripod and five metal lenses including 360mm Schneider Kreuznach prime- strap system works well - no pain.

Highly recommended
04-13-2010, 02:55 AM   #4
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I would not carry the tripod attached to the pack as this is going to be too unbalanced. I would carry it separately in a tripod bag. Straps crossed over the shoulder should work (for me at last) even in combination with a day or photo backpack.

Then I would give only LowePro backpacks real consideration. LowePro comes from producing alpine and trekking backpacks and I find their harness really superior, at least of the Tamrac system. I cannot rule oput, than some other specialist companies produce adequate harnesses, but I haven't found one so far.

The 100-300/4 should not be bigger than the Bigma (50-500), I guess. The Bigma still fits into the Slingshot 300 and leaves plenty of room for your other equipment and for growths.

One thing is important: The Slingshot can get very heavy on the shoulder, as it only has that one cross strap. BUT for longer walks, do use the waist belt and that will take off a large part of the weight from the shoulder and transfer it, where any good pack should transfer it: to the hip.

A very different option would be to buy one of those big holster bags and add two or three smaller lens cases to carry all of theat on a belt system. This is a good proposition for hikling, as it leaves your back free for a daypack for all your other equipment (jacket, food and water etc.). I also like belt systems, as I tend to overheat fairly fast, when my back is covered with a bigger pack.

Ben

04-13-2010, 04:43 AM   #5
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Thanks for all responses so far.

RJB: I just sold my Naneu Pro U60...was too tight a fit for the Sigma 100-300/4. Jeez it was a great bag!!!! So I'm glad you suggested them, it's a top brand. Just not sure of the K3 or K4 would fit the lens. What have you stuffed into your K3L? Can I ask where you paid so little for the Naneu. Was it via Greg Smith's PhotoVideo aka bluishbunyip? AS I was on the hunt for a U120.

Bdery: Great idea...just browsed the Domke pages and found the inserts are quite a bit. Couple that with the price of a decent pack and I fear prices exceeding that of a devoted photo bag.

Ben: Not sure whether the 100-300/4 fits in the slingshot - if attached to the K20 with TC. However, it does fit in the MiniTrekker. I've not heard the healthiest wraps for the Lowepro elsewhere....but I might do a little more digging. I have the Giottos bag for the tripod and find lugging the backpack and the carry bag a little tiring after a few Kms.
04-13-2010, 04:48 AM   #6
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I found this site helpful when I was looking for my current bag, a LowePro FastPack 350. It has chest and waist straps and has sling-bag type access to your equipment if desired.

CAMBAGS.COM Camera bag review resource for Canon and Nikon D-slr cameras

Tim
04-13-2010, 05:29 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stillshunter Quote

Ben: Not sure whether the 100-300/4 fits in the slingshot - if attached to the K20 with TC. However, it does fit in the MiniTrekker. I've not heard the healthiest wraps for the Lowepro elsewhere....but I might do a little more digging. I have the Giottos bag for the tripod and find lugging the backpack and the carry bag a little tiring after a few Kms.
It may fit, if you reassemble the dividers completely, but I am doubtful, if you want to pack that all in one piece. For that, you need a really much larger pack, I guess. I have the big LowePro Trekker, which would easily fit the bill, but leaves lots of empty space inside for further equipment growth.

Another thing would be to just buy a really good daypack and make your own inserts for the whole combo. For such a special use, it might be the best option.

Ben
04-13-2010, 05:47 AM   #8
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I notice that the styling on my K3L is a little different to the images on the web site so possibly a superceded model runout. Definitely bought from Greg Smith 3 yrs ago and just looking at the website now I see he has a range of Naneu Pro items heavily discounted but not the K3L.

Read a story that Naneu company was started by ex-lowepro employees. ???!!!

The super long SK lens mentioned in my post above rides if necessary in a side lens case (lowepro) but can fit in the top part of the back pack proper when not carrying stuff like lunch and rain jacket. To habitually put long tele in camera part of pack the K4L would probably be a better fit. Camera part easily fits Takumar 200mm or Tokina 80-400 vertically. Plus up to 5 or 6 shorter lenses. Baffles are all velcro sited so configuration depends on lenses selected and expected images to be taken.

I have the AW200 sling as well but would never consider it for a walk like the one I mentioned - now you are talking unbalanced and hot against back. The K3L system for holding the tripod is great - no movement and balances straight down the centre of balance of wearer. no extra bag to sling on shoulders and fight with. I arranged the neck strap of the camera so the weight was carried by the bag not the neck by looping strap through the grab handle on the top of the bag.

The frame of the K3L is basically a trampoline style A frame that sits the body of the pack away from the wearer's back allowing air to circulate beween the frame and the bag - I live about 10deg south of the equator and humidity at present is very high (wet season) so this is a major consideration for me. Waist belt and chest belts are great and aluminium (toy) carabiners stop the K20D with grip swinging across my chest.

When travelling the average to large laptop also fits in but the whole unit is quite deep in the body so may not conform to some airline specific dimensions. I have used it as carry-on luggage on Dash 8s but on smaller planes the bag may need to be baggage stowed. Goes on floor under seat- but may not fit in overhead locker - bag is not squishy when packed due to rigid A frame and fairly rigid walled camera case. Lots of protection!

But as I said the frame is fantastic for hiking so there are tradeoffs.

Good luck!

04-13-2010, 06:49 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arjay Bee Quote
I notice that the styling on my K3L is a little different to the images on the web site so possibly a superceded model runout. Definitely bought from Greg Smith 3 yrs ago and just looking at the website now I see he has a range of Naneu Pro items heavily discounted but not the K3L.

Read a story that Naneu company was started by ex-lowepro employees. ???!!!

The super long SK lens mentioned in my post above rides if necessary in a side lens case (lowepro) but can fit in the top part of the back pack proper when not carrying stuff like lunch and rain jacket. To habitually put long tele in camera part of pack the K4L would probably be a better fit. Camera part easily fits Takumar 200mm or Tokina 80-400 vertically. Plus up to 5 or 6 shorter lenses. Baffles are all velcro sited so configuration depends on lenses selected and expected images to be taken.

I have the AW200 sling as well but would never consider it for a walk like the one I mentioned - now you are talking unbalanced and hot against back. The K3L system for holding the tripod is great - no movement and balances straight down the centre of balance of wearer. no extra bag to sling on shoulders and fight with. I arranged the neck strap of the camera so the weight was carried by the bag not the neck by looping strap through the grab handle on the top of the bag.
If you can fit the Tokina 80-400 vertically, you cannot fit the 100-300/4+tc+camera in one piece - which the TO required. I can just (really tight) fit the Bigma in the Slingshot 300. It will also take a 70-200/2.8 with attached tc - but none of these lenses with the camera attached. This is going to be a problem, unless using a really big backpack or making an individual pack out of a good daypack.

Ben
04-18-2010, 04:24 PM   #10
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I recently got the Tenba Shootout Medium size sling bag. I'm happy with it so far. Go to Tenba's website and they have a video of the bag in action. I can get my K20D with the 55-300 in it and take it out with the bag still on. I don't think that would fit your setup, but you can also load it differently and I think they also have a larger bag. Luckily I was able to go to a store (Midwest Photo Exchange) that carries them. The bag also is water resistant with water resistant zippers, and comes with a waterproof cover.
04-18-2010, 07:50 PM   #11
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Lowepro Primus AW Premium Backpack now $79.95 free ship - *************** Forums

Highly rated $200 bag for $80.
04-19-2010, 03:59 AM   #12
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Thanks all.

I've got my eye on some Lowepros
1. Flipside 400
2. Mini Trekker
3. Nature Trekker
4. Vertex.

Didn't ever think I'd go the 'vanilla-flavoured' Lowepro...but the Crumpler and Naneus are out of my price range and are rare used.

I'll let you know how I go....as others will find the only downside of owning the Sigma 100-300/4...and here might be some advice.
04-19-2010, 06:28 AM   #13
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QuoteQuote:
Bdery: Great idea...just browsed the Domke pages and found the inserts are quite a bit. Couple that with the price of a decent pack and I fear prices exceeding that of a devoted photo bag.
Not sure about that...

My bag cost me around 75$ (there was a rebate, but there often are). The Domke insert is 35$. For that price you get a perfectly fitted bag, weatherproof, with place for a water pouch and extra components.

A camera backpack with a water pouch is around 200$. Most large hiking camera bags will be 150-200$. So my solution is less expensive, plus it gives you the possibility to perfectly select your bag. For me that is the main argument, and would even be worth an extra expense. A poorly fitted bag will make your day long and painful. A well-fitted bag, you should almost not notice.

Whatever your choice, be sure not to order it from the web before trying it on (with some real load). Everyone is different and not many bags will fit many people. My wife's backpack is NOT comfortable for me, and vice versa.
04-19-2010, 12:01 PM   #14
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Someone at one time recommended a Syncpack - it is a separate front-loading system that ties into the chest and waist straps of a pack.

I think their website is Syncpack Frontpack Systems - Balance Comfort Accessibility.

I may be investing in this system this year to go with my pack and (hopefully) upcoming trips.
04-20-2010, 10:22 AM   #15
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As someone who runs a bike and backcountry ski shop, the best two camera packs I've seen that have the features of a technical expedition pack come from Clik Elite,

Clik Elite Camera Back Packs | ClikElite

and f/stop. F/stop also sells the internal camera unit separately.

Satori

I modified a ski pack from Deuter for camera use.

| Deuter USA | Company |

These packs all have properly designed shoulder and waist straps, and compression straps in the right places for controlling the load. As far as carrying a tripod, these packs are made for carrying skis and avalanche rescue shovels and probes, you won't even notice the weight of a tripod.
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