Looking for backpack recommendations

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rogersmj, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #1
    With the acquisition of a D90 and the addition of another lens, I've reached the absolute limit of what my little Tamrac Velocity 7x can handle. I'd like to get a backpack-style bag with the following criteria:

    - Needs to carry D90 + 80-200mm f/2.8D, 50mm f/1.8D, and a 17-50mm-ish f/2.8
    - Space for two small flash units, 3 or 4 filters, a charger, and spare batteries
    - MacBook Pro 15" and its charger
    - Offers quick access to camera
    - Weather resistant or at least comes with a cover
    - Has straps or some mechanism to attach a tripod for carrying
    - Isn't ridiculously expensive

    The LowePro Fastpack 250 meets my storage, quick-access, and inexpensive requirements, but it doesn't have any tripod attachment mechanism nor is it the slightest bit weather-proofed. I'm not going to submerge the thing, but I'd like to not worry about it in rain and carrying it on the beach. I plan on doing light hiking and would like to take this with me as my carry-on when I fly.

    I've also looked at the Kata R-103 which is getting to the high end of my price range, and I also just don't care much for the configuration.

    Any other suggestions?
     
  2. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    Chestnut Tree Cafe
    #2
    As you said, Kata is more on the expensive side, but that is all I have owned (I refuse to buy cheap on something that protects my equipment). They make plenty of different bags that would fit that stuff (visit their site). I love their bags and they are made with top notch materials. Here is their website if you haven't been there: http://www.kata-bags.com/index.asp?UP1=OK. You can buy their bags from Amazon, B&H, Adorama, well mostly any camera store online. They make the bags of the Israeli military. Everyone I see owns a LowePro (they make decent ones--not a knock on them), but I like something different. Plus IMO the quality is a lot better than the LowePro. Of course their are a lot of different manufacturers who make great bags besides Kata. You will get a ton of opinions on this. I'm a big fan of Kata as you can tell.
     
  3. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #3
    Possibly Lowepro's CompuTrekker AW. I haven't used this particular bag, but I have a bunch of Lowepro bags and have generally been happy with them. This store on Ebay sells Lowepro bags at very good prices: link. I have bought items from them in the past.
     
  4. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #4
    I want the exact type of bag that you want, problem is I don't think it exists.

    I have the Fastpack 250 for now as even though it is not weatherproof I am fairly sure a little rain isn't going to hurt as I'm hardly going to be standing out in the pouring rain with it. I just wish Lowepro had included the weather cover with it as they have on most of their other bags, it just doesn't make sense!

    The lack of the tripod mount isn't a big deal to me just now but I would like that feature there for when I eventually invest in a decent tripod.

    The Kata R103/R106 come close but I just don't like the way the equipment is accessed at least with the Fastpack I can grab the camera body with the backpack still on.

    The quest for the perfect bag continues...
     
  5. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #5
    ^ That's my exact problem with the R103 also. It doesn't appear that I can sling it around and grab the camera without completely taking the whole thing off. It pretty much hits all my other criteria though, so I may just have to live with that until something better comes along. It's at the top of my list at the moment; looks like it can be had for ~$130.
     
  6. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    #6
    I dont have a lot of experience with some of the brands out there however I do have a lot of experience with LowePro and their packs are outstanding. I have put some of their packs through hell and back and a little clean up and they look like they are still fairly new. The pack I use for my 4x5 field camera has been used extensively for over 9 years now and its still 100% functional. Some of my Lightware cases that are made of Ballistic Nylon are showing more wear than that backpack. Its really quite something. When it comes to backpacks, LowePro is the only thing ill buy.

    One of the guys I share studio with swears by National Geographic bags. I have never used one but I do have access to his and he has had some of them for quite awhile and they are holding up amazingly well. Thier backpacks are actually really nice.
     
  7. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    #7
    Take a look at the Crumpler Karachi Outpost. Pricey, but 1st class all the way. Gets great reviews. I have a smaller Crumpler bag because I don't carry as much, but would buy another if (when) I need a larger bag.

    Mike

    P.S. They make other (smaller) models if this is too much bag.
     
  8. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #8
    Only problem with that one is there is no quick access to the camera.

    It is almost like the camera bag manufacturers want us all to have two bags, one bag where we can carry all our stuff but not access it easily and another bag to take out just select items from our collection that has quick access.

    The Fastpack series come so close they just need a rain cover and a few added straps to attach a tripod and they would be a perfect bag for me!
     
  9. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #9
    The LowePro Computrekker AW may be your best bet. I have it, love it, and highly recommend it. It has a rain cover, space for a 15.4" MBP and some big lenses.

    Bags that have "quick access" aren't commonly bags that carry a lot of gear. Quick access bags often are smaller, and because there are extra walls to allow for standard areas (as well as quick-access ones) - there is less efficient use of space.

    If you're worried about the rain, bring a big plastic bag to put over the Fastpak 250!
     
  10. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    #10
    You can always buy a separate cover for your pack. Just go to any hiking camping store/website and look at rain covers for back packs. I certainly would not let that one thing stop you from buyng a pack as again its something you can add to it. Most hiking backpacks come without a raincover. Its just something you buy separately in that market and those covers would work just fine on a photo backpack.

    Here are a couple examples

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816

    ProwlingTiger

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #11
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #12
    You're right. I don't believe there are any quick access bags that can carry a lot of gear, so he'll need to get a regular backpack.

    I think the Lowepro Slingbag 300 carries quite a bit, but the padded walls are not as thick as I'd like. I have the Slingbag 200.


    As for the all-weather cover, you can just buy one separately.
     
  13. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #13
    What about the lowepro slingshot. The 350 AW carries a laptop, and I *think* on the non-camera access side you can get straps to tie a tripod to.

    http://products.lowepro.com/product/SlingShot-350-AW,2117,4.htm

    it is pretty pricey though. I have only tried on a SlingShot 200AW in the store and was pleasently surprised at the comfort of the single strap when loaded on the back with the hip straps it was at least as comfortable as a normal back pack.

    Capacity:

    1 pro DSLR with lens attached (70-200mm f/2.8), plus 5-6 additional lenses, flash, memory cards and personal accessories. Fits most 15.4" notebooks.
    suggested retail is $180.
     
  14. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    #14
     
  15. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #15
    I have one of their Tripak bags for my support gear (tripod, light stands, etc.). It's fairly well made. I haven't tried their camera bags though.
     
  16. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    #16
    Actually yes I have had quite a bit of experience with Tenba and I do not recommend them. I brought a bunch of Tenba bags awhile back and had nothing but problems from them. I finally ended up selling them all and switching to Lightware cases. I never tried one of their backpacks but I cant see how those would be any different. I had problems with seams and zippers and velcro patches coming off. It was a nightmare. I dont recommend anyone go the Tenba route.
     
  17. B.A. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    #18
    I don't have quite as much gear as you (one body, two lenses, one flash unit), but I have also been looking to get a backpack that can carry the aforementioned gear and my MBP 15" + charger. I'll be very interested to see what you go with.
     
  18. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #19
    I've got the Adventure 9 that I use when I don't need to haul around all of my gear. The main reason I went with the Tamrac over the Lowepro was because it was bigger, and had better weather sealing (rain flaps on all the zippers). I can fit a 5D, 70-200 f/2,8L IS, 50 f/1.4, 24-70 f2.8, and a 17-40 f/4, spare battieres, two flashes, cables, 4 CF cards in individual pockets, two water bottles, filters, and strap a tripod to the back and there is still gobs of room left in the upper pocket. I only have a 14" T60, but I know for sure that it would have no problem holding a 15" MBP in the laptop comparment.
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #20
    Domke used to make a good one but they sold out long ago. Lowe has taken their place.

    You can always just use a normal backpack, the kind used for backpacking (sold at REI) and put standard camera bags or cases inside. That is the most vertitile way.

    Tenba makes good quality stuff.
    http://www.tenba.com/Categories/Backpacks.aspx
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #21
    That'll be my next bag. :) I really like how accessible the laptop compartment is from the outside. How do you like it?



    I actually owned the Crumpler Sinking Barge, but I threw it out at Sydney Airport in December. :eek: I was moving countries, so I had a lot of stuff with me. I was carrying my camera gear in the Crumpler, while my empty 35 litre backpack (flattened) that I use for uni was in my suitcase, along with a Lowepro Slingbag 200 that I filled with socks, shot glasses, one lens :)o), etc. When I tried to check in, my baggage was 10 kg overweight, and the penalty was $200 AUD. I had paid for more weight earlier, but I didn't realize they had lowered the baggage limit per bag. I didn't want to pay it, so I took my camera gear and laptop out of my 3 year old Crumpler camera backpack, threw it into the trash , and took out the backpack and Lowepro!! What a waste of a $200 backpack. The Lowepro Slingbag now carried all my camera gear, and I threw that into my backpack, along with a bunch of other stuff.

    The damn Crumpler weighs around 3 kg when it's empty due to all the padding! :rolleyes:


    Anyway, before I travel next time, I'll get myself a Tamrac Adventure 9.
     
  21. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #22
    I've been pretty happy with it so far. My biggest complaint is that sometimes I won't zip the laptop compartment zipper all the way down because it hits the reinforcement web for the shoulder strap, not the biggest deal in the world, you just have to remember to pull the strap out of the way. My other complaint is how heavy the thing can get after you fill it with all of your gear, the size just makes it too easy to fill it with 20lbs of camera and computer gear, it does do a good job of loading and distributing the weight on your back and sholders when it is loaded.

    Other than that, it's a great bag. I haven't gone through a tropical storm with it, but I have gone through several good rain showers and it's kept my gear dry.

    I already mentioned the oodles of space, but it is also very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, the sholder straps are well padded and have a chest buckle to keep them from slipping off your sholders. I've been carrying it for about a year now and it shows no signs of wear on the material or stressing of the stiches.
     
  22. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #23
    I could probably live with the LowePro except for the lack of tripod support and the fact that a couple reviews said it's very uncomfortable to wear when there's a laptop in it.

    This one looks interesting, the Tamrac Aero Speed Pack 85. It's an extremely similar form factor to the Lowepro Fastpack 250 with the side flap for grabbing the camera with the pack still on, maybe a little larger, and is weather resistant. It also has hooks on the bottom where you can strap a tripod (although the straps cost extra from Tamrac, I'm guessing it wouldn't be tough to rig your own).
     
  23. nshirey macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
  24. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #25
    What are you, the seller? I don't try to judge things solely on price, but I doubt a $36 bag from some company I've never heard of is going to hold a candle to the established camera bag makers -- especially since a quick Googling seems to show that bag is for laptops but doesn't have anything special for cameras. More important, there's not a single picture of the interior configuration of that bag on the eBay page -- not ONE! Furthermore, a 96.7% seller rating on eBay is not very good.

    That was a waste of a click. It's not even a camera bag. How does that have everything I'm looking for?
     

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