Backpack Suggestions for Camera Gear

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by fridgeymonster3, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #1
    I'm looking for a backpack recommendation for my camera equipment. I have an over the shoulder bag that's a real pain and becoming too crowded. Here is some of the gear that I like to bring with me:

    - Canon 7D
    - Canon 15-85 IS
    - Canon 70-200 F4 IS
    - Sigma 30 mm 1.4
    - Canon 50 mm 1.8
    - Canon 480 EX II
    - 2 x Nikon SB-28
    - 2 Diffusers
    - Cactus v4 triggers
    - lens hoods (for both canon zooms & sigma)
    - Misc stuff (extra battery, charger, AA batteries, sync cords)

    I also wouldn't mind the ability to hitch this stuff to the side somehow (all bundled together):

    - 2-3 Manfrotto Nano light stands
    - 1-2 folding umbrellas with shoe mount adapters

    Lastly, if there was some sort of extra pouch for random stuff, because my wife is usually with me, either as my subject or just as a companion, and she likes to add random things into my bags. I also would like a bag big enough to hold either the Canon 100-400 or Sigma 150-500 OS because I rent the Canon sometimes and I am considering buying one of them; however, they would only be included in scenarios that had zero lighting gear (for things like airshows, zoo, nature hikes, etc where I usually have no plans at using off camera flash).

    Anybody have any suggestions or backpacks they use to carry a bunch of gear? I'm looking to spend less the $150, hopefully more like less then $125, but I'll take any suggestions. This backpack wouldn't be used to transport gear on airplanes. Thanks for the suggestions!!


    P.S. Yes I have googled, but I want the opinion of MR members :)
     
  2. fridgeymonster3 thread starter macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #3
  3. blockburner28 macrumors 6502

    blockburner28

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #4
    I ordered the bag a few days ago. This is what people was saying about it.

    http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1902742
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    How far will you be walking? What ELSE will you take. When I'm out hiking I take the "normal" ten essentials, map ,food, extra cloths and so on lunch hat jacket and water bottles....
    Or is this just to carry the gear for 100 feet? Where you are going and how far and over what kind of path makes all the difference. Will you be out in bad weather? Could you be caught in hard rain?

    Could rough handling be involved. For example I've gone a bit of off trail rock scrabling where there is change to damage gear. twice I've had camera gear fall in the water. once it was OK because of a waterproof pelican case, once not.

    If you want "bomb proof" Buy and old-style Kelty frame backpack, they still sell these cheap. Remove the bag and Attach a Pelican case with straps. You can carry 40 pounds all day with a frame pack and Pelican (I know first hand) survives airline baggage handling and white water rivers and transport as the first item loaded into a stake bed truck with piles of other equipment over top and on rough roads.

    But if you are doing 200 feet from the car on a sunny day I use a normal backpack and protect the gear with 18" "Domke Wraps" of the same but Calumet brand.
     
  5. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #6
    I use a lowepro nature trekker for a similar amount of gear. It is the largest size that can be taken as carryon luggage (you've stated that that isn't important to you though).

    I have in it 1 body, 17-85, 24-105, 50, 70-200, 2x, 430, light sphere, omnibounce and assorted batteries, chargers and filters in the lid. Any hoods are reversed on the lenses before going in the bag. It can't hold anymore and I would like more space. (2x and 50 end up stacked in a pocket with some batteries). There is no room for any food/clothes/water/anything else you want with you.

    A tripod can go on the outside, but really (really) throws off the balance of the pack.

    It is not the best backpack. To keep it small enough to be carryon, the distance between the shoulder straps and the waist support is too short. The shoulders harness can be moved up, but you lose a lot of stability. Try one on and you'll see what I mean. That being said, it went up Mount Kenya on my back and kept everything dry and safe (it has a built in raincoat). If you aren't planning on flying with it, I would get one of the longer packs (photo, super or pro trekker). All of these packs new will blow your budget, but they do come up used as people switch to rolling cases. Other people make similar packs that are a bit cheaper too (When I bought mine, I needed it to pass as carryon and the other brands didn't make it clear what passed).

    Keep in mind that backpacks are a pita to get at your gear. You don't really want to lay it on the ground, as the part on the ground is also the part against your back while you are carrying it. I like ChrisA's idea of a pelican and frame pack (and may just have to make one). For a short trip you just just bring the case, for a longer trip add the frame. A large enough pelican case is damned expensive though (and very heavy).

    If I am shooting a lot I like a lens bag (like the Lowepro Novas). It is so easy to change lenses and everything is protected. You need to take off long lenses before storing the camera in the bag though. Carrying a tripod or light stands would also work poorly with the lens bag.

    I have tried a harness system with individual lens cases, but they are bulky and I find it much faster to get at the lenses in one bag (sometimes I leave the 70-200 in a separate lens case so I can leave the hood on).

    A good solution for you may be a frame pack with the original pack on it. Use the pack to carry stands, lights and other rarely used things and your existing bag to carry things you want easily accessible (it should be much lighter once things are transferred to the pack).
     
  6. azboricua macrumors 6502a

    azboricua

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Arizona
    #7
    I would highly recommend the TENBA Messenger Photo Daypack.

    Found here: LINK
     
  7. coachingguy macrumors 6502a

    coachingguy

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Location:
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North
    #8
    Does anyone run into the same issue I run into? Which is I want a good bag/backpack to store my camera and stuff in, but I always feel limited by "camera bags/backpacks" because while they will take good care of the camera stuff, there pretty limiting in being able to carry other stuff...

    Then a good daypack or messenger bag will carry everything and more, but won't necessarily take good care of the camera equipment...

    In the last 2+ years I've gone through about 8 bags of various costs, brands and descriptions looking for a camera bag that will meet my needs/expectations.

    So now, I'm looking at taking one of the backpacks I love, buying some inserts and/or foam and modifying it to use as my camera bag... Has anyone else tried this? If so, what'd they use? How was it modified? Were you happy with the results?

    Thanks,

    Coachingguy
     
  8. BrianMR macrumors regular

    BrianMR

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    Check out Crumpler bags. I have two, one a messenger style bag for daily carry from/to the office. I also have a dedicated camera bag from them. Their product names are a little off-the-wall, my camera bag is called the 8 Million Dollar Home:
    http://www.crumplerbags.com/Lite/English/Products/8-Million-Dollar-Home-MD0809A.html

    For your purposes, check out:
    http://www.crumplerbags.com/Lite/English/Products/Customary-Barge-Deluxe-CU07A.html
    http://www.crumplerbags.com/Lite/English/Products/Sinking-Barge-Deluxe-SI06A.html

    Full list:
    http://www.crumplerbags.com/lite/english/products.html

    The construction quality is far, far above what I've seen elsewhere. I am sure you've seen ThinkTank in your readings, those are nicely made also but the designs just don't work as well for me.
    http://www.thinktankphoto.com/
     
  9. coachingguy macrumors 6502a

    coachingguy

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Location:
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North
    #10
    I've done the Crumpler route. Great reviews, great bags, both a $6mil and $7mil bag... ended up giving both away - little space for other things and not good on hikes in the outdoors, bag tough to keep still. Great as an exclusive urban photo bag! Not so much for Woods and mountains IMHO
     
  10. coachingguy macrumors 6502a

    coachingguy

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Location:
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North
    #11

    Fridgeymonster, it looks like you're in the same position I'm in. You've got more photo equipment, but you still want to carry a lot. From my research on Adorama and BH, you're going to have a difficult time finding a "camera" backpack to hold all of it for your price range...

    Here's a search of BH for Photo Backpacks

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/searc...0+4291325085+4291319441+4291173149+4291165785

    Good Luck!

    Coachingguy
     
  11. fridgeymonster3 thread starter macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #12
    Yeah, I've thrown out any sort of price range now - I was just trying to be as frugal as possible, but it looks like it's hard to find what I want at the price point I want (as always with everything in this world). It is pretty frustrating to try and find a bag that can hold camera equipment and other essentials, without buying some monstrosity.

    I'm considering the following backpack but don't have any experience with the company. I like the little straps on the back center that could hold a tripod and/or lighting equipment. I'll probably order one down the road, but I don't really need one until the spring comes so it might be a few weeks before I get my hands on it. Anyone have any experience with that bag or company, Tamrac?
     
  12. coachingguy macrumors 6502a

    coachingguy

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Location:
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North
    #13
    Fridgeymonster,

    What Tamarac bag?

    Coachingguy
     
  13. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    #14
    Take a look at the Think Tank Street Walker. Also the Street Walker Hard Drive if you want to carry your laptop, too.
     
  14. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #15
    LowePro makes some really nice backpacks. I don't know the model number for the one I have, but it handles a ton of gear plus a laptop.
     
  15. Kronie macrumors 6502a

    Kronie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #16
    I like lowepro backpacks and Tamrac shoulder bags. Go figure.
     
  16. elmo151 Guest

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    #17
    Take a look at Billingham Bags. They have a size for any need.

    even better, switch to a Leica and put the camera in your pocket.
     
  17. fridgeymonster3 thread starter macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #18
  18. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #19
    If you're completely discounting price as an obstacle then I'd take a look at the Kiboko bag by Gura Gear. It's expensive – about $400, but seems to be worth the extra cost over cheaper bags if you have a lot of gear and want to keep the weight down as much as possible.
     
  19. blockburner28 macrumors 6502

    blockburner28

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #20
    seems nice
     
  20. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #21
    I have this exact same Canon backpack and I'm quite pleased with it, and while I think you could rearrange the partitions to accomodate the gear you listed in your OP, the 150-500mm simply could never fit with the 70-200mm in there.

    In mine I keep:

    -Gripped XSi with Tamron 17-50 attached with lens hood on
    -55-250mm with lens hood
    -430EX II in the case
    -Battery grip magazine, rechargable AA and AAA battery charger, Canon battery charger
    -16AA rechargable batteries, various SD cards, lens caps, camera strap, etc
    -AV cable, Microsoft Mobile Mouse 6000 (I keep a nice netbook in my bag, in the outer pocket)

    If I were to rearrange it a bit, I could definitely fit a 70-200mm in there (which I plan to soon!).
     
  21. fridgeymonster3 thread starter macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #22
    For anyone who is interested and had the same problems as I had, wanting a backpack for camera gear, and some addition personal items (food, etc), I think I've found the backpack I'm going to give a try. I'm going on a hiking/camping trip sometime in late May or early June (hopefully), so I'll be getting in the next month or so to try out. I'll let you guys know how it fits everything.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/531152-REG/Tenba_632_351_Shootout_Daypack_Black_and.html
     
  22. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #23
    Have you ever thought about/looked into getting a real hiking backpack, and adapting it to hold camera gear? Kind of like approaching the problem from the other end.

    The problem I have with most photo backpacks is that they have not a lot of room or convenience for anything that is not a camera or a lens, and also they tend to be pretty heavy for what they carry, due to the huge amount of padding they have. Hiking backpacks are a lot lighter and usually seem to have a much better fit. IMO, a properly fitting and comfortable backpack is of extreme importance when you go out hiking. There may be a great camera bag that holds all your stuff real nice but if it is not comfortable to wear and adjust, then it is going to be a long hike no matter what.

    I have been using the Osprey Stratos 24 for my hiking. It's extraordinarily comfortable and it has some airy back feature that REALLY helps with staying cool when hiking in the summer. I picked it out amongst many hiking backpacks specifically due to two large straps that go across the back which can be used to strap in a tripod, however, I found through usage that it is better for me to strap it in the side pocket rather than in the middle on the back. I found that even though the weight is centered, it is very far away from your back and thus you feel a constant "pull" that is trying to pull you backwards. Getting that tripod weight closer to my back made it a lot more comfortable despite the fact that it is off center. It sits really securely on my back and does not shift around at all, so I do not have stability/balance problems from it. BTW I have a 2-series Gitzo CF which weighs about 4lbs including the ballhead.

    The stratos 24 also has mesh pockets on the hip belt which were really handy for things like filters, or spare batteries/memory cards, etc. I bought a LowePro lens case that I can strap onto the shoulder strap of the backpack and that gives me easy access to a spare lens without having to stop and take off the bag. If you need more room they make a larger 40L version with the same basic design features. I nearly bought it last summer when it was on sale but resisted.

    Anyway, my point is, perhaps have a look at some real hiking backpacks and then look into Domke. They make these inserts which can be mixed and matched to make your own insert to hold camera gear. They also make these squares of neoprene with velcro on the corners which can be used to wrap camera gear (i.e. wrap a lens) that can then be stuffed into the bag in any fashion. The way I see it, with these photo backpacks you need to stop and take your bag off to access the gear inside anyways, so it's not that much different than stopping and taking gear out of a standard backpack. You may get a little more flexibility by going this route, and also you can use the backpack for uses other than photography (even though I found now that anytime I am out hiking, I am bringing my camera along anyways). It's a big job to sort through the available backpacks and coming up with a good scheme, but I believe that once you find a good setup that works for you, the real backpack + inserts route is going to be better than a "photo backpack"

    Ruahrc
     
  23. fridgeymonster3 thread starter macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #24
    I do have a north face hiking backpack that is really comfortable; however, I'm not sure I'm sold on trying to convert it to a photo backpack. I get the premise, but when looking at Domke, when you start adding up the prices of the inserts, you're approaching the cost of just getting another bag. Having another bag seems convenient too because then I don't have to take my time switching things, just grab the one needed. If I can't find a comfortable bag, then I might have to go your route though.
     
  24. audioteknika macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    #25

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