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Author Topic: Still on the quest for the right backpack...  (Read 4415 times)
Ken R
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« on: June 11, 2009, 09:08:28 AM »
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I got the naneu pro Alpha (the non L version) last week and returned it. The camera compartment was tiny. Somewhere along the line Naneu redesigned the alpha backpack and the newer version has a smaller camera compartment than the one I saw on some images posted around the net that showed the camera in the center of the compartment and lenses on either side. The only way I could get my 1ds 3 or my 5d in there is to put a divider close to the middle so the camera is just bellow center and with only one or 2 smaller lenses on the side/front of the camera.  (infront of the shutter button). The build quality of the bag is quite good and it held my tripod comfortable and securely (series 2 gitzo). The straps and waist belt were nicely padded and comfortable. BUT, yeah, there is always a but. The bag was way to short for me. I had to loosen the backstraps almost completely and move the sternum straps all the way down and they still were a tad high. I am 6-2 (but slim, 185 lbs), this bag is for someone up to like 5-10. I mean it was quite usable for me and  not too uncomfortable but certainly not for 2-4 hour hikes on mountaineous terrain. The top compartment is also quite small but usable.

I am considering the Tamrac Adventure 10 . It still fairly light (5-6 lbs max) and seems long enough for me and large enough for camera and other gear but not excesively wide like other photo backpacks. I will have to modify it by adding a strap or to to carry the tripod on the side and other dirty gear (a wet jacket, socks, sandals whatever) that must be carried outside the bag (there is a local rock climbing store that has tons of accesories) no worries since the bag is well under $200. I dont need the laptop compartment but its a nice feature for travel. Inside the bag i will carry extra clothes, food, dry sandals and maybe a dry towel + other misc. gear.

Its tough finding a right bag.

I took a long look at the Gura Gear Kiboko bag. Looks awesome. Seems that I can use one side for clothes etc and the other for the camera gear. having dual compartments have a ton of benefits (when working out of the bag etc). I am surprised that not many other bags have that design (either vertically or horizontaly split) Its light which is quite nice. Seems comfortable enough. Dunno how it would do in the rain?? But should be good enough to hold up according to the spec materials although its quite expensive. I dont have any super tele lenses (longest is 300mm f4) and the bag is definately designed with those in mind but i guess I can subdivide the space as needed.

The Lowepros are nice. But seem heavy and unless I get into something like a photo trekker or larger, too short for me I think. Maybe a nature trekker its the smallest I can go with. But i dont intend to go into the woods with a ton of camera gear. 3 lenses, maybe 4 tops and none larger than my 70-200 2.8 IS.

I also looked at the Kinesis Journeyman. Seems like a very nice solution but one needs to buy a lot bits and pieces o make it work (which is good and bad), can get expensive.

A lot of bags are made with Airline travel in mind like the Kiboko (seems to be the best one of that kind, seems long enough and comfy) and so are boxy, short and without many pockets, straps, loops outside that you can strap or hang stuff from. I usually take 2 bags when I travel, one to go through the airports with all my gear on me and another to shoot on location. Sometimes I might take 3, the other ones i check them inside my duffle. I dont expect a bag to do everything well. Its ok.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2009, 09:10:56 AM by sneakyracer » Logged
Paul Sumi
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2009, 12:39:43 PM »
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Quote from: sneakyracer
I took a long look at the Gura Gear Kiboko bag. Looks awesome. Seems that I can use one side for clothes etc and the other for the camera gear. having dual compartments have a ton of benefits (when working out of the bag etc). I am surprised that not many other bags have that design (either vertically or horizontaly split) Its light which is quite nice. Seems comfortable enough. Dunno how it would do in the rain?? But should be good enough to hold up according to the spec materials although its quite expensive. I dont have any super tele lenses (longest is 300mm f4) and the bag is definately designed with those in mind but i guess I can subdivide the space as needed.

I've heard that Andy is testing a prototype of a smaller Kiboko so that may be an option in the future.

Here's another backpack discussion here:

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=35025

Paul
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Ken R
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 02:04:29 AM »
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I went to a local Outdoor / Camping store and they had 2 brands of backpacks, Osprey and Deuter. They looked awesome and felt great. The Deuter packs were very very nice also but a tad small for me. Fortunally the Osprey come in three sizes. I ordered a large. I got the Atmos 35 (Large, Grey). Its a light (3 lbs), 38 L pack with a really nice support system. The back has a mesh which lets air flow through, quite important in my tropical climate. The tripod van be put in a side pocket and cinched down nicely. The pack is a front opening panel loading type and has several external pockets for gear + storage for a water bladder and other stuff. The bag cost $150. I will review it as soon as I get it. I plan on storing my camera gear in my lowepro stealth reporter 200 inside. I can also get a camera gear storage unit that fits inside like the one from www.fstopgear.com .
 

I considered a larger pack but all of the 40L+ packs were top loading which didnt suit my needs.

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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 06:28:25 AM »
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a previous post of mine
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....st&p=265762
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....st&p=274066
I am very very happy with the combination
Marc
« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 06:30:31 AM by marcmccalmont » Logged

Marc McCalmont
Ken R
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2009, 08:16:40 AM »
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Quote from: marcmccalmont

Hey, I see you used the insides of a tenba photo backpack inside your technical pack. I was tinking of doing the same if i needed to carry more photo equip. I have plenty of divider sets from several pelican cases, one tenba backpack and several lowepro bags luying around around. Im sure I can make something that fits

I strongly considered the kelty pack. I found it online for $99! But ultimately went for the Osprey due to the highly ventilated mesh back. Here in the tropics i absolutely soak in sweat most padded straps, back and belts in backpacks like you wouldnt beleive in just an hour or less of use. The Osprey seems to be so porous that it shouldnt be a problem and is easier to clean.
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Stephane Desnault
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2009, 08:49:55 AM »
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I considered the Gura Gear Kiboko myself, but the shipping costs to Europe were downright dissuasive. About 100€ if I remember correctly.
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dspeed
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2009, 08:08:23 AM »
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Take a look at the Kata DR series.  I think mine is a DR-467, but there are several sizes.

Will handle my D200 w 17-55 in the top conpartment and a nice assortment of lens below.  Also has a decent laptop compartment, lotsa nooks and crannies and weather cover.  Ha a sleeve to fit ove the handle of my carry-on wheeled bag.

My fav feature is the yellow lining - harder to lose black camera pieces.

Dave
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Vautour
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2009, 03:55:35 AM »
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I've also tried the Tamrac Adventure 10. It's quite big, the camera compartment taking most of the space. The top compartment is much smaller, not bigger than on the other Adventure backpacks. That ruled it out for me because I needed something for daylong hiking trips and that includes the ability to take water clothing etc. with me. OK, I could have tried to rearrange the camera compartment but wasn't quite satisfied with that option. On the other hand the camera compartment is quite large, you should have no problems with a 1d/D3 body and some larger lenses and other assortments.
In the end I got this one for one day hiking and short business trips: LowePro CompuRover AW
The harness is comfortable enough, the rucksack rests mostly on the waist, but it is somewhat on the heavier side. When I don't need my notebook I put my rain trousers/fleece pullover/rain jacket in the notebook compartment, which is actually quite handy because it's easily reachable. The camera compartment can also be reached through the top compartment. All in all, for one day trips this is from all backpacks I've tried the best for me.
For two to three day hikes (without tent) I use a regular 35l Tatonka hiking backpack. My camera then rests in this: LowePro Off-Trail 2
This fits beneath my Tatonka waist belt (yes, I'm not the smallest guy in town ) so the weight of the backpack is still transfered to my waist and doesn't rest too much on my shoulders but the camera is directly reachable in front of me (the Off trail 2 has also a shoulder strap) without having to undo my backpack.
For longer hikings I've got a good 75l backpack. But nothing comfortable for the camera so far. The Off Trail 2 doesn't fit below the backpack's waist belt and has too few handles to be placed in front of my breast between the shoulders straps. Still looking on a solution for this one (besides packing the camera to the other stuff inside the backpack).

Of course I'm no professional but with this equipment you can carry a lot of lenses and cameras and assortments with you. It just might get a little heavy
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Ken R
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2009, 05:11:27 PM »
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Hi, I finally got my Osprey Atmos 35 (Large) and wow. Its a superb backpack and abosultely awesome for hot/humid climates. I took it out today on a 4 mile trek on El Yunque rainforest. Climbed about 1200 feet in a couple of hours so it wasnt a long trek but mostly walked on narrow singletrack paths that are sometimes riddled with small rocks. The stability and comfort of the pack is just a HUGE difference compared to all other backpacks I have tried let alone the few Lowepro / Tenba bags I got.

I carried 2 800ml stainless water bottles, a raincoat and my Gitzo GT2530 carbon tripod with a tiny (and very lightweight but effective) manfrotto 3009 ballhead (w/ a kirk arca qr adapter) on several outside pockets. Inside I packed a change of clothes, a towel, first aid kit, 10ft of 10mm rope (+3 carabiners), a pair of sandals and 2 sandwiches and a couple of energy bars + phone and usb solar charger. On the hip pockets I put my GPS, phone, keys and a compass. Everything including the backpack weighted about 26 pounds with my 5D/12-24mm sigma in a Lowepro TLZ1 inside the bag and Lowpro 1W pouch wth a 50mm macro lens also inside the main compartment (as you can see I put the camera gear last obviously for easy access. On treks with flatter and more open terran im sure I can just carry the camera using the neckstrap for a while untill the terrain or weather forces me to store it. As you can see the main compartment is kinda curved so its best to pack items individually so things fit better. I put most things inside ziploc bags just in case.

I weighted a few of the items: backpack 2.9 lbs, camera and lenses 5.2 lbs , tripod/head/qr adapter 3.7 lbs , 1600ml water in cans 4.3 lbs.

Its best to use the lightest gear posible within reason and only take the essential gear. If one didnt need to carry rain gear, extra clothes, food, water etc then one can take a lot more gear but for 3-4hr+ hikes In tough terrain its smart to take some supplies just in case.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 05:46:17 PM by sneakyracer » Logged
Ken R
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2009, 01:13:55 AM »
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In my quest for the right backpack I found myself in the world of Backpacking and Hiking gear. I started looking at all the posibilities of hiking/climbing/trekking all over the world, not only in my "backyard". It kinda drew me in. The LL article about Mtn Photography was a delight also. I now have been researching all kinds of posible locations to go hike/climb and photograph. I even have a list (that is growing by the day/week). Too bad I have little money.  Being an avid mountain biker I am no stranger to the world of forests, mountains and trails. But I have only done a multi day camping trip once (I was 13!) and didnt fare too well. (I was really skinny then, maybe 120, and the pack weighted 35lbs and was atrocious (and external frame old rucksack) + it rained, it was in the wildcat NH mtn area ).

While Carrying my new pack with gear I found out that footwear is critical. Although I could manage to hike on the rocky trail with light hiking shoes I had to be really careful not to twist my ankle and also noticed that the flex of the sole was really wearing me down. (I weight 188 lbs + the 25 lb pack)  I did a few 5-9 mile hikes and managed ok but knew I needed some serious footwear if I wanted to hike continously. Then while in New York I decided to stop at a store calle Paragon Sports on Union Square. WOW, they had tons of good stuff. After doing some research online I went back with an idea of the kind of boot I needed.

I decied on the Scarpa Kailax GTX. All the reviews were spot on for what I needed, an all purpose boot for all weather conditions but heavy snow / extended glacial travel but light enough for fast outings. Well guess what. I tried it on with my fav pair of socks and it just didnt fit right. Tried different sizes after getting a correct measurement and nada. The toes always felt cramped even when sizing up. The boot felt too narrow when I walked. It had a tendency to tip over to the side a bit and twist my ankle since ankle support wasnt great. The I tried the Vasque Zephyr II and OMG it fit perfectly, snug enough but the toes felt free to move a bit and ankle support was much much better  + the boot was more stable overall but still swift, flexible but with a stiffer sole. They are my new best friends.

In short, a good backpacks needs a good pair of socks and boots to go with it. Specially for us photographers since we always add a few pounds (sometimes 10 or more) to essential hiking / trekking gear. In some cases it can be life saving.

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Thomas Krüger
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2009, 02:52:03 AM »
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Some time ago I got a modified Kelty Redwing P2 backpack from www.photobackpacker.com with the standard backerboard. We've made our own camera and lens bags from small plastic containers which are attached with velcro at the backerboard. Works like a charm for 1 day outdoor hiking with camera, tripod and family. Too large for city tours.

http://www.photobackpacker.com/images/P1/p1d.html
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