Best way to hike with a heavy camera set-up?

nicholasg

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 12, 2011
90
13
I frequently hike with a Canon 5D plus a 24-104 f/4 zoom.

W usually walk a bit, find some nice place to talk photos, take some and repeat.

I usually have the camera in a ThinkTank case in a regular backpack (which also has some clothes, water and food).

The camera is too heavy to carry around my neck all the time so I end up taking the backpack off, unpacking the camera, using it a bit then putting it away.

I'm wondering if anyone here also hikes with a full-frame camera and can recommend a better system to carry the camera?

I guess I am looking for something which can keep the camera safe, but allow easy access and not put the weight on my neck.

Thanks!

Nicholas
 

border terrier

macrumors regular
Feb 6, 2013
144
58
England
I frequently hike with a Canon 5D plus a 24-104 f/4 zoom.

W usually walk a bit, find some nice place to talk photos, take some and repeat.

I usually have the camera in a ThinkTank case in a regular backpack (which also has some clothes, water and food).

The camera is too heavy to carry around my neck all the time so I end up taking the backpack off, unpacking the camera, using it a bit then putting it away.

I'm wondering if anyone here also hikes with a full-frame camera and can recommend a better system to carry the camera?

I guess I am looking for something which can keep the camera safe, but allow easy access and not put the weight on my neck.

Thanks!

Nicholas
Check these guys out https://www.peakdesign.com/
 
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F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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NYC & Newfoundland
I'm wondering if anyone here also hikes with a full-frame camera and can recommend a better system to carry the camera?

I guess I am looking for something which can keep the camera safe, but allow easy access and not put the weight on my neck.
Peak Design Capture Clip on your belt or on one of your backpack straps. They aren’t the only makers of such clips, but I use theirs and can recommend it. I’d suggest that you also get their Pro Pad, especially if you use the capture clip on your belt (from 09:22 in the video). It adds to comfort.


[doublepost=1548033284][/doublepost]For whatever reason, this video doesn’t cover Peak Design, but it is a pretty amusing overview of most of the options and styles. The guys who made this now do the videos for DP Review:


 
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mpfuchs

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2014
485
1,237
VA
I use one of the PeakDesign sling straps, slip through it with one arm, so my camera (usually a 7DII with Sigma 150-600) is on one side of my body.
Good for a couple mile hikes, probably wouldn't do too much this way. Mainly because of the weight bouncing around.
 

F-Train

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2015
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NYC & Newfoundland
I use one of the PeakDesign sling straps, slip through it with one arm, so my camera (usually a 7DII with Sigma 150-600) is on one side of my body.
Good for a couple mile hikes, probably wouldn't do too much this way. Mainly because of the weight bouncing around.
I also have a Peak Design strap. Its strong point is that it is easily adjustable, but in the end it’s just another camera strap. Like you, I wouldn’t use it for long hikes.
 
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Cheese&Apple

macrumors 68010
Jun 5, 2012
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Toronto
If you're carrying one body and one lens, the BlackRapid straps are great in combination with a small backpack for clothes, water and food. These straps put the load on the bigger muscles of your shoulder instead of your neck. The BlackRapid Sport strap is a good one and the small strap that goes under your arm is removable if you don't want to use it.

Just be sure to leave room in your backpack to stow your gear in case you get caught in the rain.
 

dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
659
242
Key West FL
I've always felt that carrying camera gear in a backpack is a horrid approach except when you are simply transporting the gear from one location to another with no intention of shooting enroute.

My preference always was (mobility issues prevent such activity these days) to put the gear is a modest sized waist pack with a flip open top that fits below a small backpack used for necessities. I'd leave the waist pack in back while walking and would slide it around to the front to shoot. With simple single body+lens kits, a small chest pack that attaches to the backpack's straps can also work well.
 

anotherscotsman

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Aug 2, 2014
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UK
If you're carrying one body and one lens, the BlackRapid straps are great in combination with a small backpack for clothes, water and food. These straps put the load on the bigger muscles of your shoulder instead of your neck. The BlackRapid Sport strap is a good one and the small strap that goes under your arm is removable if you don't want to use it.

Just be sure to leave room in your backpack to stow your gear in case you get caught in the rain.
BlackRapid strap + backpack is effectively what I do (6D + 16-35f4L + 70-300F4L) and transfer the camera to backpack for walking between likely locations. Works for me.
 

mollyc

macrumors 68020
Aug 18, 2016
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10,074
I don't hike, but when I go on long day trips (vacations, etc.) I use a sling strap that is similar to a Black Rapid. Mine was a little less expensive and more importantly for me a bit smaller for a woman's frame. The sling straps you can tighten to keep close to your body when you are out and about, and then release quickly when you want to use your camera. I've worn my camera like this while riding a bike and can set the camera on my back while riding.
 

right mind

macrumors newbie
Dec 16, 2018
16
5
California
Hey Nick,

I have taken some long multiple day hikes with my FF gear bringing "just what I need". You know how that ends up.

I've tried numerous bags and backpacks. There is no perfect bag, they all are missing something you need or wish for.

Black rapid straps work good if you not bouncing around around trees or anything else your camera could slam into. I broke a hood while walking through a narrow trail that went between big rocks. I usually sling it around my back so its behind me while I'm on the move. But sometimes even that just doesn't work. My FF stuff cost too much to risk breaking it on long hikes.

I finally decided to go mirrorless for a hiking kit. One small bag carries my 24mp aps-camera with a 18-200 lens, a flash, a fisheye and a 50 prime. If I'm going in low light I'll bring a small tripod.
Mirrorless have come a long way. Now I leave the FF and all the heavy lenses at home if it's not a designated "shoot" and just grab my hiking/off road bag with everything in it ready to go.

Just another option
 
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tcphoto1

macrumors 6502
Aug 21, 2008
322
1,664
Madison, GA
If I were to hike with a 5D, I'd carry it in my 90's Tamrac Half Moon pack. There is little room for much of anything else but it can be worn around the waist. I'd also use a light backpack for a jacket, food and water leaving most of the weight on my waist and hips.

IMG_2088.jpg
 

tizeye

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2013
706
4,447
Orlando, FL
I have this Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW and haven't found anything like it among competitors. https://www.lowepro.com/us-en/photo-sport-bp-200-aw-ii-lp36888-config/ While I have the earlier model, it is a backpack great for dayhikes. Upper chambers, accessed from the top is for dayhike essentials - food, clothing, etc. The rear along the back is designed for a Camelback hydration bladder, but you can slide a 15" MPB in that same area (less the bladder). Lower half is for camera gear - two compartments - advertised camera with lens (24-105) and speedlight, but I substitute lens for the flash, usually a couple of primes, but have gotten a 70-200 in there. The camera section has side access, and with practice can slide the bag on one strap for sling style and access the camera while hiking.

For travel, I put all camera gear in the primary camera bag and alter the backpack (my two carry-ons) to hold other items including the MPB, also passports, medication, foreign currency envelopes, tickets etc in the top zipper pocket, Noise cancelling headphones, light jackets, etc in the upper compartment, and various electronic cables, bricks, adapters, and chargers in the camera compartments.
 
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Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
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Hawaii, USA
If you're just looking to use your camera strap without buying anything additional, I usually sling it over my head such that it's over one shoulder and under the other. Then I can easily put my camera behind me (when walking) and just reach behind and get it around to my front to take a photo. You may need to lengthen your camera strap to make this arrangement a bit more comfortable. The downside to this approach is that it's not compatible with all camera bags; I use it when I either have my camera alone, or if I'm using one of those smaller camera bags. I don't think you could do this with a backpack-style camera bag.

If I wanted to go for a totally different system, I've always thought that the Cotton Carrier system was interesting. There are multiple configurations but the holstering system allowed them to make multiple types of products; I liked the idea of a belt-based holster, but they also seem to have shoulder mounts and such.
 

Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
626
108
The problem continues to exist. Get a mirrorless for travel, hikes and walks. The weight has far more facets than the negative physical impact.
 

smirking

macrumors 68020
Aug 31, 2003
2,182
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Silicon Valley
I use one of the PeakDesign sling straps, slip through it with one arm, so my camera (usually a 7DII with Sigma 150-600) is on one side of my body.
That's basically what I do and I also have a 150-600 Tamron lens myself. I use the strap to offset the weight to my shoulder instead of directly on my neck. I prefer the Peak Design straps to the Black Rapid ones for the way the camera hangs off of the Peak Straps. It scares me to have my camera hanging upside down and the lens pointed outward.

My camera rarely leaves my hands though. I rarely put it away. If I'm not using it, it's slung over the back of my neck or cradled in my other elbow to offset the weight on my right arm.
 

Plett

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2016
188
137
Capture Clip here. I use it for D810 and lens, as well as clipping my go pro with Gimble. Great invention. Have a few for our family and love them.
 
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v3rlon

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2014
563
209
Earth (usually)
I am still searching for a backpack that makes my gear smaller and weigh less.

Getting married has a similar effect, but impacts image quality and makes it hard to access fast zooms and high end primes.

Have you considered hiring a valet? Have him hike in front of you wearing a backpack and then you have instant easy access to all of your gear.
 

v3rlon

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2014
563
209
Earth (usually)
If you're speaking in jest, all I can say is that I've done it and would do it again. I've also arranged for a donkey. There are places where it comes in handy. In New York, you call the Sherpa a photography assistant, and the donkey is Uber.
Yes, but like many things in NY, they are more expensive with their fancy names.