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12-28-2015, 08:34 AM   #1
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What bag/pack?

I have a Timbuk2 Snoop backpack that holds my 645D kit reasonably well but it's not perfect (I know nothing ever is).

I carry the D, a FA 45-85/4.5, FA 80-160/4.5, A 200/4, and a A 35/3.5. If I added more lenses I'd have to leave more at home or really pack that bag tight.
I like to hike and make an effort to get to locations so for me a pack is best.

Any recommendations? What do you guys use?

12-28-2015, 10:06 AM   #2
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I find the Tamrac Anvil 17 to be a roomy and very comfortable back pack.
12-28-2015, 10:13 AM   #3
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I've got a closet full of packs and tried fitting regular backpacks with insets but, since I usually carry longer lenses, I haven't found any of those setups to be satisfactory. So, I've settled on three favorites for different puposes. The following two, plus a small Manfotto (from Costco, recently) for a smaller lens setup. If I carried smaller lenss more frequently, I would consider the MindshiftGear Rotation 180s. I like the concept and the protection it would afford for skiing. I might break down on that one yet.

For hiking, I really like my Lowepro Flipside. I use the 400 because it'll pack my K3 attached to the Sig 150-500, plus several other lenses and a bunch of accessories, whatever I need. They have other sizes, to suit your kit. I like to add various accessory packs and a lens drop to the hip belt, and the Lowepro is well thought out for that. I also like that I can lay it down and access it from the back. It's quick and clean.

I recently acquired the 560 and carry that with a Lowepro Lens Trekker. This is an amazingly well-built pack, but is expressly designed for a super-tele. The K3/560 combo is relatively light, but crazy long, so this pack works really well. The thing could carry a horse.

12-28-2015, 10:31 AM   #4
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I have two backpacks that I like a lot: the Lowepro Sport AW 200 and the ClikElite ProBody Sport. I use a K-3, not the 645D, so I'm not sure how these bags will suit your gear, but here are my two cents on how they work. I think both would work well as hiking packs.

LowePro Sport AW200: It can hold a fair bit of gear plus some extras, so I use it as my travel bag and carryon. (I can fit the K-3 with a lens up to the size of the 200mm on it, plus 2-3 small to medium-sized primes in the main camera chamber (or it can fit the 18-135, 55-300 and a prime plus the K-3 in the camera chamber). In the upper chamber, I pack my flash (in a slightly padded bag), any extra lenses (in their carry cases), and various camera accessories and travel bits and bobs. I put my passport in the inner pocket and my Dell XPS-13 fits in the back zip chamber designed to hold a water bladder. I also like having the open front pocket and the bungee cord-type straps to hold other things like sweaters etc. It also has an easy to use raincover and straps at the bottom of the pack to hold a tripod or something similar at the bottom. If you cinch the side pocket tightly, it can hold a water bottle (but don't tilt the bag too much or it will fall out).

I have a bad back and I find that the straps combined with the padded hip belt work well to distribute the weight - and the bag doesn't stick too far out from my back. (As a 5'7" woman, I sometimes find that larger-fatter bags unbalance me.) It's pretty easy to access the camera chamber while you're wearing the pack - just slide off one strap, spinit around and open it along the side.

The ClikElite is a little smaller overall than the LowePro, but I think the main camera chamber (to hold your camera body and attached lens) is at least as big as the LowePro's. It's a bit more padded and structured overall than the LowePro, offering a bit more protection. I find that when I wear it (with hip belt secured), it feels almost as if it's not there - it moves really well as I move and sits securely in the center of my back (with no strain). If you're really active while carrying your gear, this might be a plus. (Not that the LowePro was a problem - just that the ClikElite is better.) A couple of minor negatives - 1) it doesn't have the open pocket or bungee cords etc on the front, so there is less room to stuff stuff. 2) It does have a water bladder but it's a bit smaller than the LowePro's so my laptop doesn't fit smoothly. 3) I have to take the bag off to access the camera - there is an easier to open/access zip on the front (a plus) but the downside is that it's risker to do so while standing while wearing the bag - easier for something to fall out.

There are larger versions of both of these bags, so if you like them overall but need more room, I'd recommend checking them both out.

12-28-2015, 11:17 AM   #5

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I have liked the Kata 3n1 series, now absorbed into Manfrotto asthe Pro-Light series. I have the older Kata model equivalent to the new 3n1-35

I think the general adaptability/configurability of it beats other bags: it can be a sling, a backpack, or both simultaneously (by X'ing the straps across the chest...), and I like its waistbelt the best. It was certainly the best option when it was introduced, leaving Lowe (and I'm a big Lowe fan for 2 decades...) in the dust. It may be that others have caught up now, but do check it out.

My only knock on it is that the interior has to be carefully configured for the dividers to stay in place with heavier stuff, like the Z and the 45-80 or 80-160. For any trip where I'm doing day hiking/skiing it's what I'd use for a carry-on. I have loaded that thing down with so much stuff it was seriously heavy---beyond carry on specs by a lot! For city travel I've stopped using it and use messenger or computer bag styles now for a more stealthy approach. Also, I'm of an age now where that looks better...
12-28-2015, 12:49 PM   #6

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I have settled on the FStop Satori Exp and can carry the following in it in and x-large pro icu.

645z, 28-45, 90macro, FA150, FA 300/5.6, full set of Lee Filters, 2 filter holders (one with polarizer permanently mounted), RRS Long Lens Support rail and accessories for it, remotes. I carry a Gitzo 1256 tripod with RRS BH40 on the side.

It's the only bag that I have used that does not cut into my shoulders when in use, it has an internal frame for support.
12-28-2015, 01:17 PM   #7
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With the 28-45 as my primary lens now, my old Tamrac 9x Velocity Sling that I bought for a Canon 50D with 70-200 f2.8 fits perfect with room for 2 more larger lenses and a large pocket in front for accessories. I like sling bags for quick access to the camera when walking without having to set the bag down. : Tamrac 5769 Velocity 9x Pro Photo Sling Pack (Black) : Camera Accessory Bags : Camera & Photo
12-28-2015, 01:29 PM   #8
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Quite often with backpacks for carrying camera gear you are making a choice between a bag designed to carry photo gear well but with a poor suspension or a hiking bag with a suspension designed for backcountry comfort but poor camera organization. I have used the Lowe Flipside which is well laid out for your gear but is not comfortable hiking for long distances. It did not fit my 6'3" frame well and the hipbelt is not very supportive. The suspension seemed to be wearing out on mine. The Fstop bags seem to be well made and might offer a better suspension but they are not cheap and their inventory seems to be limited much of the time.

I have gone the alpine pack route. I am now using the Osprey Kode (Kode 32 - Osprey Packs, Inc :2015: Official Site). It is made for winter back country use so it has a great suspension/hip belt and rear access to the main compartment. I just used it for a month in Madagascar and it was very comfortable in the forest. A Fstop Small Pro ICU fits well and can hold a good amount of gear. Right now the ICU holds a gripped K3 with 60-250mm attached along with a 15mm, 20-40, 100mm macro and the 1.4x Teleconverter. When the ICU is in there is enough room left in the main compartment to hold the 60-250 in it's Pentax case.

The best way to buy a pack is to be able to actually try them on. They are going to fit everybody differently. Ideally you would be able to find the one that fits you before buying.

12-28-2015, 03:01 PM   #9
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Original Poster
Yeah, I can carry my K-3/KS-2 kit pretty well either wrapped up in dedicated ski/hike/bike packs or in a Flipside pack. I take that stuff if I'm doing something active (ski, bike, hike, etc) and also want to take some photos. If it's a dedicated photo mission I'm willing to carry more/bigger stuff like the MF kit and I'm more likely to just hike than ski or bike.

But the 645D kit takes a little more consideration due to sheer bulk and weight.
Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll be checking them out.
12-28-2015, 04:48 PM   #10
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I have used the FStop Loka back pack filled with 2x645Z bodies, 28-45, 75/2.8, 55/2.8, 90/2.8 and 150/2.8 plus extra batteries charger, VND and pol filters. Other configurations have also worked well, but for long distance travel by air and car this has performed very well for me even though it is heavy and I am old.
12-29-2015, 07:02 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by algrove Quote
I have used the FStop Loka back pack filled with 2x645Z bodies, 28-45, 75/2.8, 55/2.8, 90/2.8 and 150/2.8 plus extra batteries charger, VND and pol filters. Other configurations have also worked well, but for long distance travel by air and car this has performed very well for me even though it is heavy and I am old.
I have the same bag and have also used it to carry two 645 bodies (film) plus several primes, filters, etc. As mentioned earlier it is pricey and also availability of the inserts has been an ongoing problem. I like it for all the reasons mentioned by algrove. Very flexible because of the inserts; I have used it with one small insert for body + 2-3 lenses when I needed more room for non-photo gear. Maybe the main factor for me was that this pack was reputed to be a good fit for taller people (I'm not quite 6'2"), and I do find it a comfortable pack with a heavier load. Finally, I like that I can loosen the hip belt, slip out of the shoulder harness, and swing the pack around and access the contents without putting the pack down -- I have done this while standing in knee-deep water when there is no place to put the pack.
12-29-2015, 09:08 AM   #12
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I use to carry a Dakine Sequence, but I just replaced it with an F-stop Tilopa BC with a Large Slope ICU and I'm really happy with it. I've been carrying a 645z, 28-45, 45-85, 75,120 macro, and a gopro, and find I have a little bit of space left over for a couple of more smaller lenses in the ICU.

I thought the Tilopa was going to be too big for carry-on and normal backpacking, but it's just right and have had 0 issues on planes, and that includes an above average Gitzo tripod attached to it. The first thing that stood out to me was how comfortable it was, with 30-40 lbs on I could carry it for a couple of hours with just the shoulder straps and not be bothered. With the waist straps on I could pack it to the brim and carry it all day without issues.

One thing I noticed was the ICU's are a bit bigger than the measurements stated on the website, I was a little worried that even the large ICU was going to be restrictive with the 28-45, but it ended up being slightly bigger than I needed after all. In the Tilopa with the Large ICU, there really isn't too much space left on top for extra stuff, maybe a heavy jacket and some accessories.So I'd like to get a medium ICU and see if I can fit everything into that to have more space for other gear on longer trips.

The only thing the bag doesn't have that I've always used is an easy side pouch for something like a water bottle. It just has side straps and nothing that really secured the bottom of the bottle, so I'm always worried to strap it on there and the bottle sliding out from underneath.
12-29-2015, 09:15 AM   #13
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Personally, I have been using the Burton F-Stop for years. It is extremely durable, water-resistant and you can tell it is designed to carry heavy loads (such as medium format cameras).

Bonus: Backcountry has them on sale right now! Camera Backpacks |

Disclaimer: I do not work for Burton or Backcountry ... I just like my pack
12-29-2015, 11:33 PM   #14
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I have just got a used Gura Gear UINTA Adventure Backpack 30L with the Large Pro Photo Module before Christmas. The module is perfectly fits in my SKB hard case too! Holds the 645Z body with five lenses and Lee filters. For hiking and walking I am using the back pack and for travel and work the hard case with the Pro Module. I have not need to re-set the dividers or the camera every single time for the different bags, just push the module inside and ready to go!
12-31-2015, 09:14 AM   #15
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Another F-Stop vote. I can't remember the size but I think it is the Lotus or a predecessor. Most importantly, it has the medium slope icu in it. I have maybe another 6 bags sat in the closet now. I spent 3 active weeks in Ecuador with this bag and despite a bad back the pack did a good job of taking the weight off my back with the waist strap done up.I had a 645Z, 35A, 120/4, 80-160, tripod as well as food, raincoat, sunscreen (mountain weather!!) and a full set of grads. The bag as packed tight and maybe weighted 20lbs + . Hikes were often 6 hours or more. I can't recommend this bag highly enough.

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