Camera bags for travel

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by castles00, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. castles00 macrumors newbie


    Aug 24, 2013
    Hi all - I've been lurking for a while but this is my first actual post/thread. I have a dilemma. My wife and I are heading to Italy for our honeymoon in a few weeks, and I want to bring a comfortable camera bag with us so that I have some gear with me while we are out and about in the cities. Do you have any suggestions? Links/rationale would be very much appreciated! :)
  2. Sebct macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2010
    London, UK.
    It depends on how much gear you are thinking of taking but I really like the shoulder bags sold by Crumpler.
  3. castles00 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 24, 2013
    Sorry, I should have specified - I really want to go with a backpack (personal preference). As far as the amount of gear, nothing insane - Canon t3i, a couple of lenses, extra battery and memory card. Maybe a small tripod, although I doubt my wife will let me carry that through the streets!
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    I personally use a small Booq Toploader bag, but you could only get two lenses in it tops (one fitted to the camera). But its small and discrete and unlike a backpack can't be opened whilst your in a busy area from behind. I had that happen to me when I was in a train station once, but all that was in it was my overnight toiletries and dirty underwear! I bet the would be thief was disappointed!
  5. Blank10123 macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2013
    When I went travelling in Australia, fiji & NZ I wanted a bag which I could use as a camerabag but not "look" like a camerabag (less risk of drawing attention to myself. ) I also wanted a very well made tough design which wouldn't fall apart on me if used everyday. Having a 60D with 15-85mm & 17-40mm L on me was all that I wanted to carry around. Any more and it would cumbersome and for walking around you dont want tons of stuff to look after.

    I bought the maxpedition Sitka ( forest green ) . The sling bag worked perfectly where I could access my camera simply by swinging the bag round onto my front without taking it off. I had to buy a camera insert block to give my camera more protection but the size is ideal for my camera 2 lenses and a little more space for a jumper, with smaller pockets for glasses documents etc.
    Although it's not a backpack (only having one strap ) the strap has excellent padding so doesn't feel heavy on my back even after a day wearing it. Build quality is 2nd to none with heavy duty webbing, and best of all it doesn't look like it holds a camera :)

    I do ski photography in the winter so am looking at an actual camera backpack which can hold my kit securely while on the move while still having a subtle design. I myself am thinking about buying the Dakine Mission Photo , The bag is bigger than the sitka but I feel its more subtle than other camera bags ie Thinktank streetwalkers. The dakine also has space for other stuff like a jacket glasses food etc, and can even be used as a regular backpack by removing the camera compartment.
    hope this gives you some ideas .
  6. Indydenny macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2002

    Some years ago, I was told that "real photographers" don't use backpacks. I even read this on Ken Rockwell's site:

    "Never use a backpack; you can't shoot out of them and they carry too much. Backpacks are popular with newcomers and make a lot of money for bag makers, but experienced shooters don't use backpacks."

    So I tried multiple shoulder-style bags and determined that I must not be a "real photographer" because I like backpacks much better.

    I have two of them now. The one is the National Geographic, which also carries a laptop or ipad. It is rugged and I use it if I won't be removing the gear while traveling. It is here:

    The other is the Lowepro Fastback 250, which I use most often. It is here:
    (You can get one without the laptop compartment if you desire.) This one is easy to carry and easy to remove the camera while still on one shoulder.

    Let us know what you get and how you like it.

  7. Blank10123 macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2013
    I agree with you, backpacks work much better for me since I'm very active when shooting and use it more for transport than using it while shooting.
    Try using a shoulder bag when you have to hike up/ski down to a location on a mountainside. Shoulder bags would suit a wedding photographer more :p
  8. oldgeezer macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2012
    I use a large Manfrotto backpack as my carry-on and inside I can put a tripod, monopod, several lenses, flash, camera, and all the chargers, spare batteries, etc. It also holds my Macbook Air. It weighs in at 21 pounds loaded.

    Obviously it's too heavy for a walking around bag so I also carry a small, collapsible backpack to use as a day bag. I throw just what I need for the day in it. I agree that a backpack isn't a great bag to shoot from so am considering either a sling bag or a vest for daily use.
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    For fun, go check out Thinktank's site as well as perhaps Kata. Both make some very nice items for cameras.

    I am not a fan of backpacks unless it is merely to get equipment from one location to another then set up camp so to speak. However, I do like camera bags that you can strap on to your back if you need to for longer rugged journeys. It is a matter of taste and how fast you want to access your equipment.

    Have you considered a combination of carriers? A backpack and something akin to a waist attached bag for fast access to a camera, lens and a couple of accessories?
  10. Parkin Pig macrumors 6502a

    Parkin Pig

    Oct 23, 2009
    It depends...

    If you use a backpack you'll have to stop, remove the backpack, get the camera out, take your pictures, put the camera away, put the backpack back on, and continue. If you see something you want to photograph a minute later, you'll have to do it all over again. Rinse and repeat.

    If it's a city-based honeymoon this will become a real pain, and could end up in divorce proceedings. You haven't mentioned whether or not your wife is a photography enthusiast.

    When I go hiking in the Lake District I take my backpack because I'll generally be hiking to a specific few locations, spending time setting up the camera/tripod, taking a selection of shots, and moving on.

    If I'm in a city or with friends, I'll use a sling bag or shoulder bag, so I can have quick access to the camera, not disrupt my companions' day, and keep an eye out for bag-looters.

    If your Italian odyssey includes Rome, then be aware that it is the bag-snatch capital of Europe, with youths riding round on scooters stealing from tourists who let their guard down for even the briefest of moments. If you go the backpack route, put your leg through the shoulder strap EVERY time you take it off and put it on the floor - this includes when you stop at a cafe.

    Consider the type of trip you'll be making, how you will use the camera, how often you'll need access to it, how it will affect the quality of your honeymoon and how safe your environment is. Hopefully this should help you make a decision.
  11. Caliber26 macrumors 68000


    Sep 25, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Lowepro Flipside 300

    I just got this backback about a week ago and really like it. I had first bought a sling-type bag and found it to be a pain in the ---. Like many, I prefer the the comfort of a backpack and this one is exactly what I was wanting from a bag.

    You can perfectly fit your camera (with a lens attached) plus 2-3 more lenses, depending on how you configure it and the size of your lenses, in addition to other small items, such as a battery charger, flash, and keys. Another thing I like about it is that you can only open it from inner side that goes against your back, making it impossible for anyone to open your bag since you have to remove it on order to gain access.

  12. kingalexthe1st macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2013
    I had the same dilemma when I decided to go travelling, and eventually settled on a backpack as well; the lowepro photosport 200 AW ( I managed to fit my canon 650D (T4i, for you folks across the pond) with a 50mm attached, as well as a 70-300mm telephoto and a 10-20mm wide angle. There's still room for a few filters in there as well.

    Not only that, but I can carry my laptop around around in it (a 13" MBA) and it has room for all the usual wallets, sunglasses, sunblock etc that I need for heading out in the scorching sun of Asia. It has an easy access side pocket so I can swing the backpack off one shoulder and whip out my camera pretty quickly. It also has some fasteners on the bottom of the bag which my Manfrotto tripod fits into quite nicely. It was a little pricey for a backpack, but the usage I've had out of it more than makes up for what I paid. Heartily recommended.

    Plus, it comes in burn-your-retina-ORANGE which is AWESOME :)

    Let us know which one you choose!
  13. castles00 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 24, 2013
    Hey everyone - you people are great, thank you so much for your suggestions! I actually went with the one you suggested, Alex. It looks like it'll be perfect for the trip and beyond.
  14. righteye macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    i Could open a Camera Bag shop with all the bags i have.
    My Latest is the Mind Shift rotation 180 back pack
    it has a unique feature in that the bottom section rotates from the back to the front, its a superb solution for the back pack user as now some of your gear is easily accessible without taking the pack off, i love this bag.
    I bought mine as a kick starter project but the bags are for regular sale i believe now.
    My second choice would be the Think Tank shape shifter,
    it can be expanded to carry a lot of stuff say to your destination but shrunk down for small excursions or once you have reached a city and want to look as inconspicuous as possible there is a laptop space (close to you back) and i often use this bag for my Laptop and all the neoprene pockets make great storage bins for all the peripherals.
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The trick is to divide the tasks into transport and usage.

    "Transport is how you move the gear through the airport and busses and taxis and trains and usage is what you have with you when you are shooting. The twos cases are in direct conflict.

    THat I do is get a small soft bag, I have an old Domke bag, and I place this inside a Pelican case. The Pelican case can get kicked down a flight of stairs checked as baggage or carried in the back of an open truck or fall into a river (Actually ALL of those things have actually happened to my stuff) Then I get where I need to be and open the case and leave it some place and cary the bag. But the thin black canvas, un-padded Domke bag is wrapped in bubble wrap inside a Pelican case when not in use.

    Many times I don't bother with a bag and put the extra lens inside something else.

    Calumet makes a great product. Here is the medium size version|searchterm:wrap
    If you roll this around a flash or lens then it's OK to just toss the lens in a normal backpack or pocket. I use these all the times for audio equipment and video gear too.

    At home I have a bare shell Pelican case (no foam) and it is filled with Nikon lenses, flash and what not. Each wrapped in a Calumet Wrap. When I go some place I take stuff from this Pelican case and put it in a smaller bag. It is avery compact storage system.

    OK so there are THREE not two use a case, Storage, Transport and Shooting.
  16. danpass, Aug 25, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013

    danpass macrumors 68020


    Jun 27, 2009
    Miami, FL
    It looks like you've decided but if you can change this is the pack I would recommend.

    I have this one as well. The back opening has become such an incredible benefit that I wonder why aren't ALL backpacks like this.

    You can drop it on the ground, open it up, do your thing, close it, strap it on. Never once worrying about getting your torso dirty …… because the front of the pack is dirty, not the back.

    Not a single worry is given about pickpockets. Because there aren't any easily accessible zips.

    At the last air show I used a Lowepro Flipside 300 to carry:

    70-200 mk2
    300 prime

    Without the Velcro zipper insert it all fit lol.

    I used every lens. With my most used being the 300.

    I really liked the backpack option in THIS particular style where the zipper is in the back. I wouldn't use a typical backpack in this environment.

    It also has a mesh on one side that is large enough to hold a one liter Aquafina.

    The backpack is just large enough for all that yet remaining compact.

  17. twitch31 macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2013
    The absolute best camera bag for travel is of course no bag at all. Each O/s trip I go on I take less and less gear until last trip I took no camera bag at all, just a DSLR & travel zoom on a black rapid strap. Next trip I'll be swapping that for a small mirrorless camera. I find I enjoy my trip much more with less gear and less lens changes.
  18. kingalexthe1st macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2013
    Great stuff. Italy is a brilliant country and Rome, if you're going there, is my favourite city in the world. Take some great photos and maybe we'll see a few creep in to the daily photo or weekly competition threads :)

  19. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    I totally understand why you may prefer a backpack, and agree that in many situations they are much better than shoulder bags. That said, when it comes to urban travel, especially in a country as dense and touristy as Italy, I really have to say that I despise backpacks. They not only increase your chance of getting your stuff stolen, they are also very easy to swing the wrong way and smack a person behind you in the face (when on a busy street, public transit, etc). I should know, I am a bit below average hight and when men of average hight carry backpacks, they are aiming square at my head. If you insist on carrying a backpack in a busy city like Rome, just try and be considerate of not just the potential thieves, but also the innocent civilians around you. The concept of "personal space" does not mean much in Italy.

    Either way, you'll have a blast!
  20. rymack macrumors regular


    Apr 27, 2010
    Thunder Bay, Ontario
    I was in Italy and France last summer, and I had the same dilemma. What worked for me was to have a bag for transport (as was mentioned in this thread): I used a Tenba large laptop messenger. This was what I used for my carry-on bag as well as for when I was travelling by train, etc. When I was out wandering and doing touristy stuff, I wore my SLR on a Black Rapid strap (which was also mentioned in this thread), as well as a thin Roots leather messenger bag with ONE extra lens. I never took more than the lens on my camera and an extra lens. The nice thing about the leather Roots satchel was that it was very discrete- truly a bag that does not look like a camera bag. The one drawback was that when out and about and I didn't want or need my camera (i.e. going for dinner, etc.), I would have to remove the lens in order for it all to fit in the satchel without looking bulky and with no protrusions. Overall it worked great, with no issue. Just be sure to wear shoulder bags across the chest, to deter bag snatchers.
  21. DUCKofD3ATH, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013

    DUCKofD3ATH Suspended


    Jun 6, 2005
    Universe 0 Timeline
    I've been using the AmazonBasics Backpack for SLR Cameras ($36). It has space for my D7000, 55-200mm zoom, 35mm, 10-24mm wide angle, air blaster, lens pen, AC charger, hoods, and a spare point-and-shoot camera. Very durable and it fits easily under an airplane seat as carry-on luggage.

    [edit] I see you mentioned a small tripod. There are belts on the outside of the backpack for securing a lightweight tripod (Targus Red TG-5060TR Tripod for $20).
  22. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    That works until you go off the major airlines and get on (say) a small truck and all the "stuff" goes in the back along with the scuba tanks and tools. Or once Japan once where the bus drive allows NO BAGS in the passenger compartment and your camera has to go under about 50 suitcases in the cargo compartment under the floor. Or in a smaller aircraft where there is no cary on allowed at all.

    I just pack it so that I have hand if off to a baggage gorilla and not have to wory if they run over it with a baggage cart.

    One other thing: To prevent theft don't use a generic looking black bag or case. Make yours look "way different", I mean like with green and purple spay paint and large size graphics that are easy to see 100 feet away. May it look way-unique. It turns out thieves like to take generic looking bags but would never touch a day-glow pink and green bag or a yellow/black bumble bee case. One more reason to use a different system for transport and photography, when working black is best. At the airport way-bright is best.
  23. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    FWIW, what I've been using as an out-and-about "City Street Bag" for my dSLR is a plain old fanny pack from the local outdoor store and minimalization. True, no padding and no place for a second lens, but it also doesn't telegraph (well, at least as loudly) to theives what you have.

    What I've also done at times when I really want to carry two lenses is to us a simple small padded camera case for the body+lens (non-huge) and then I'll slip the second lens in the aforementioned fanny pack.

    In searching the web for a representative picture, I think its a JanSport...looks like they now call them a "Waist Pack"


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