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Author Topic: Camera Backpacks  (Read 5210 times)
Killer Angel
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« on: October 18, 2007, 09:43:16 AM »
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Which among Tamrac,Lowepro,and Kata makes the best backpacks for cameras?Which among them is the most durable,best build quality,most functional,and easy to use?You see,I am thinking of getting either the Tamrac Expedition 5,Lowepro Vertex 100,or Kata R 101 backpack.
Thanks.
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Hank
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2007, 09:52:34 AM »
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Lots of folks are fond of LowePro, but we've had persistent problems with their zippers in hard use.  The carry harnesses are also disagreeable for both me and my wife.  We've had better service from Tamrac products and find the carry harnesses much better for heavy loads and long wear.  We haven't tried the Vertex or Kata products, but then again, we haven't had any reason to switch from Tamrac.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 09:53:09 AM by Hank » Logged
francois
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2007, 10:09:14 AM »
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No problem with LowePro zippers (yet) but the  harnesses are terrible. I must add that I didn't try the Vertex backpacks.
Find a store that has the products you want to purchase and try the bags with your gear. Some problems won't be apparent with unloaded bags.
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Francois
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2007, 11:06:53 AM »
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I haven't used any camera bags but Tamrac, but my first Tamrac survived so much abuse so well for so long that I won't ever use anything else.  That case went through a long hike in a pouring thunderstorm, survived being dropped in a stream, and got dropped down a 50-foot near-cliff (while we watched it roll down down down the slope while we could do nothing) - all without damaging the equipment inside or getting the least bit damp inside.  The only time it failed even slightly was when my spouse slipped and landed on his back in a stream with the camera bag underneath him - the camera never functioned again (probably from the shock of his landing on top of it), but the bag was fine (and dry inside), as were the lens and filters.  I finally replaced it recently (with an identical one) after 10+ years only because one of the internal plastic liners was starting to rip.  (The zippers worked flawlessly.)

Lisa

P.S.  This wasn't a backpack type case, but a shoulder bag; but this should give you some idea of Tamrac quality.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 11:07:36 AM by nniko » Logged

NashvilleMike
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2007, 12:16:08 PM »
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Out of the ones you mention, I'd look at the LowePro.

Personally - my preference is for the products from the folks at Think Tank (I switched from Lowepro and Tamrac gear to their stuff last year and haven't looked back), but you didn't include them in your list, so I'll assume you're not interested.

Either way - I'll second what another poster said - it's critical if you can try them out with some form of a load. Backpacks all look the same, but man, there's a world of difference once you're travelling in planes and out in the field with them.

-m
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Michie Wong
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2007, 05:52:31 PM »
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I've been really happy with my Tamrac belt system.  However, I always put my stuff (including the belt system) into a Kelty  backpack for long hikes (really nice harness and weight distribution).  Yesterday, I bought an Osprey Porter 46 - awesome travel pack as it opens like a trunk and bought a backpack waistbelt to slip through the non-functional belt keeper.  Now I can custom foam the interior to fit my Mimiya 645 w/3-5 lenses and my 1D MKIII and 400mm 5.6 with 2 teleconverters.  It weights 2.6ish pounds and I put 38lbs in it for about 10minutes...REALLY nice.
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Kagetsu
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2007, 07:23:17 PM »
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I have the Mini Trecker from Lowpro, and while the backpack itself is good, it's (in my opinion) incredibly uncomfortable when not using the waste strap. The weight feels as though it's pulling back on the shoulders constantly. Even with the waste strap, it's still hard to handle on long hikes. I used mine recently for hiking up Mt Fuji (20 hours straight climbing without stopping for more then a few minutes at a time) and found the best way was to counter weight it with a back strapped over the front of your body. It added to the weight, but it was easier to deal with more weight then the pain on the shoulders.

Since then I switched to a Crumpler The Whickey And Cox... It's quite a bit bigger, and it took a while to work out how I wanted to store my camera equipment in it due to the odd shape, the bag is a lot more comfortable to wear for long hikes (Hiked Hokkaido with it) and it really paid off. I don't think you'll find any issues with build quality for any of the bags from these brands, just be sure to not go too cheap.

Here's a photo.

Click here for inside
Click for inside

There are actually two styles, one with a strap on the back of it, one without... I don't think there's any other difference.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 07:29:55 PM by Kagetsu » Logged
lightstand
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2007, 10:24:29 PM »
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Just got the LP Vertex & actually like it, Haven't put it through any abuse and there are some quirks I don't like about it, but over all I definitely like it. Seems light compared to other photo backpacks while having some useful bells & whistles. The one I like the best is the laptop pocket, not to carry a laptop, but makes for a great space to put a jacket & or lunch in. A feature I always thought was lacking from most hiking packs.

Actually I just wanted to make sure there was a post for each of the bags you listed  

I think the best course is to determine how you'll be using the bag & where to see what features will work best for you. Example, I don't think the Tamarac or LP would be good choices if I were just shooting in an urban setting where I didn't want the bag to scream camera gear whereas someone else might really want/need a hydration system, etc.
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cyberworldsinc
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2007, 08:52:09 AM »
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I recently switched from a Tamrac Expedition 5 to a Lowepro Nature Trekker AWII, and it has made a world of difference for me. I'm pretty short & have a few compressed discs in different areas of my back, so the ability to change the harness position, the stiffer frame, and the more substantial waist belt really gave me a comfortable fit. (The Tamrac Expedition 7 has the larger, better padded waist belt but not the adjustable harness position.) I've only had the Lowepro a short time, so I can't speak to any long-term zipper issues.

Those are the only two backpacks I've used, so that's just my take based on limited experience...
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David Anderson
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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2007, 06:05:54 PM »
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I would avoid the Lowpro 'Drizone' bags as the zipper is a pain, it comes apart no matter hom much you lube it and is higher maintenance then Paris Hilton.
The design is also poor - it's a very bad bag to get stuff in & out.

Like a lot of people I'm waiting for someone to make a bag that TRULY protects gear from the wet and I don't mean those silly little rain covers that might if you were lucky protect you from a drizzle.

Tired of waiting for the first man on the moon I've resorted to lining a cheap Lowpro backpack with a cheap dry sack that can be rolled down when not needed or sealed when it rains - works a treat and is much lighter then a Drizone..
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2007, 09:48:10 PM »
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My Tenba PBP (Photo BackPack) is among the best photographic equipment I own.

That is same statement as a poster replied on my question on Nikonians in end of 2002 about Tenba as alternative to the big brands such as Lowepro and Tamrac.

Sadly Tenba do not make the PBP or anyhing similar to the PBP anymore. Luckily I found a new one hanging collecting dust in a store in Shanghai earlier this year. It is now my backup for when my first PBP will fail (although I estimate that will be a many years from now still). I use it with a Kinesis padded belt. Straps at sides hold my Gitzo.

Why is it so good?

Comfort. When trying it out in Nov/Dec 2002 comparing to Lowpro Nature Trekker, the PBP felt like half the weight on my back (using camera gear for test loading).

It has a quick access draw opening. Soft to form shape against back (not hard box). Protects gear perfect. No special notebook sleeve, do not know why needed. Have neoprene sleeve for my notebook and sticks it inside lid on PBP. Perfect.

I always carry my PBP on flights with my Gitzo at side, never rejected to do so (although at very limited numbers of check-ins I had to speak myself to it...). So far it has been with me on my many numerous travels all across Asia, to Europe and back, and my grand voyage round the world in 2003. Without it I simply could not have carried at times up to near 20 kg gear on my back (usually though it weighs 12-16kg loaded). When I was younger I had back problems. Non so with the PBP. Hiking boots are essential for stability and not wearing of ankles. I use Garmont. Same as my PBP, light weight, tough, comfortable.

As expat living in different places and being on many travels each year, my PBP is truly essential to my photographic hobby. It is difficult to find light weight, comfortable, tough & reliable carrying gear. Has it seen tought life? Yes. Budget camping in Africa, up to the peak above Machu Piccu, horseback up mountain with budget camping in Sichuan China, jungle, desert, hot, cold, clean, dirty... name it, all.

Attached photos are from several years back. I now have upgraded just about all my gear, but my PBP is still same   .

Tenba, are you listening???


Regards
Anders


EDIT:
To add, per my experience there are many bag fabricators and photo back packs of all designs, but very few appear to be designed by people who frequent travel and carry much gear. Gear weights, the bag shall be light weight, yet tough. Convenient for pulling gear out quick and for reaching all gear simply from main compartment. It shall be comfortable to carry. It shall be theft safe with easy lock of a main and secondary compartment when leaving it at hotels. There is not more comfortable way of carrying camera gear than in a backpack but it need comfortable supported on shoulders and hip and with soft towards back to adjust to contour of back (not hard box).

When carrying only camera and one or two lenses I use soft wraps in small regular non camera back pack (=light weight). Drinks etc for hike go in my PBP secondary compartment, well away from camera gear. Alternatively clothes can go there for one day change. For longer travels like my trip round the world I had a light weight duffel bag for clothes. Travel with two light weight sweaters and T-shirts keeps down on weight of clothes.

My advise for anyone buying is to look at many and think carefully for your use. Test load them with your main gear and feel the weight of pack alone without gear in it (if you buy heavy bag, then can carry less gear   ). Your need may differ from mine, but above is per my experience of many global travels of all kinds with my gear  
« Last Edit: October 20, 2007, 07:59:18 AM by Anders_HK » Logged
Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2007, 11:08:46 PM »
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Quote
Which among Tamrac,Lowepro,and Kata makes the best backpacks for cameras?Which among them is the most durable,best build quality,most functional,and easy to use?You see,I am thinking of getting either the Tamrac Expedition 5,Lowepro Vertex 100,or Kata R 101 backpack.
Thanks.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=146927\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I hate camera back packs

you cant get at the stuff with putting the pack down

if you pick up the pack without closing it properly everything falls out

I use a billingham bag

If I need to hike with it I put it in a berghouse rucksack - because if Im hiking I probably need food water spare clothes too - and if im not hiking I just live with it on one shoulder - they do make a pack sort of rig too so you can mount it with the load spread

I like to keep my gear seperated from any drinks I am carrying

If the weather turns or Im going on a boat I put it in a bin bag and then in another bin bag (yes I mean $1 for a roll bin bags)

if it is a pack for you check out think tank with the rotating bottom bit

S
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
www.sammorganmoore.com -photography
redvolt
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2007, 11:52:02 PM »
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I use a Kata R-103. It carries my full kit for airline travel: SLR, 4 lenses, flash, chargers, video cam, and a large laptop. Bullet proof construction and great design. I've used it for over a year and many thousands of miles. But I wouldn't want to be forced to shoot out of any camera backpack. I always stash a folded Crumpler $6M bag in my other luggage for active shooting. Just take what I need for the day. It works for me.
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Killer Angel
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2007, 11:33:23 AM »
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Quote from: NashvilleMike,Oct 19 2007, 01:16 AM
Out of the ones you mention, I'd look at the LowePro.

Personally - my preference is for the products from the folks at Think Tank (I switched from Lowepro and Tamrac gear to their stuff last year and haven't looked back), but you didn't include them in your list, so I'll assume you're not interested.

Either way - I'll second what another poster said - it's critical if you can try them out with some form of a load. Backpacks all look the same, but man, there's a world of difference once you're travelling in planes and out in the field with them.

-m
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=146970\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Do you have the website for Think Tank Bags?
Thanks.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2007, 11:41:27 AM »
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My kata is awesome.  But it leaves no room for anything else.  It has plenty of attachment points so you can get water on it and hang some other stuff but it is really for short hikes.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2007, 11:42:26 AM »
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Quote
Do you have the website for Think Tank Bags?
Thanks.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It is the first one listed if you google "think tank bags".

[a href=\"http://www.thinktankphoto.com/]http://www.thinktankphoto.com/[/url]
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