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Author Topic: Best backpacking camera/laptop bag???  (Read 7026 times)
bellimages
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« on: October 29, 2009, 02:40:01 PM »
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A couple of years ago, I invested about $300 in a Lowepro backpacker camera bag. Unfortunately it doesn't allow for carrying a laptop in it. And I need my laptop to be in either my camera bag, or my second carry-on.

I'd like to hear what you use, and what you like. If I purchase a new backpack bag, I want it to be the maximum size that domestic airlines will allow (width + height + depth must equal 45" or less). I want my tripod to be centered on the back of the pack (not out on the side). If my laptop is right behind my tripod, I fear that the weight of the  tripod and Really Right Stuff ball head will dent my laptop. Maybe they have done a good job designing their packs to avoid this.

Maybe I just need a new "second" bag. The problem is that a second carryon can't be larger than 15" x 11" x 6 (a combined total length of 32").

Or maybe I can find a hard "shell" for my 15" MacBookPro .... and then I can simply stuff it in one of my existing bags.
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wirehunt
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2009, 12:25:46 AM »
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I've got the Lowepro Compu Rover AW.  I would NOT recommend it.  It's a pain in the butt.
By the time it's got all the gear in it it's very heavy and cumbersome, even though it's in the spec's for airline travel I find some planes it doesn't fit.  This is without a tripod on it as well.

These days I travel with a not very laptop looking laptop bag and a separate camera bag and find this setup much more user friendly.

Good luck with finding something to do all
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Thomas Krüger
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2009, 12:47:38 AM »
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What about this one: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/...es/kiboko.shtml

I'm using a backpack from www.photobackpacker.com which is great for hiking with and also without camera:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/.../backpack.shtml
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2009, 12:38:18 PM »
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Tripods and laptops don't mix well. If the tripod torques against the laptop you'll hear a ghastly *pop* as the LCD screen cracks. Congratulations: you now have an $1,800 paperweight. I don't want to drag a laptop into the field with my camera gear; I'd rather be hiking and shooting than squinting at a laptop screen in daylight. Any camera bag/backpack that includes a laptop pocket is therefore bigger and heavier than it needs to be. I keep my laptop in a separate small bag, which generally goes inside a suitcase if I'm traveling by automobile.

Of course, I've met folks who swear by editing in the field with their laptop, so they can re-shoot while still on site if their photos aren't meeting expectations. Seems to me that the limiting factor is going to be weight and bulk. If you insist on bringing the laptop along in the same backpack, you probably need to pack lighter and leave a pair of those L zooms at home so you're not humping 50 lbs. of gear into the woods.
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GrahamB3
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2009, 01:56:27 PM »
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Quote from: Geoff Wittig
Tripods and laptops don't mix well. If the tripod torques against the laptop you'll hear a ghastly *pop* as the LCD screen cracks. Congratulations: you now have an $1,800 paperweight. I don't want to drag a laptop into the field with my camera gear; I'd rather be hiking and shooting than squinting at a laptop screen in daylight. Any camera bag/backpack that includes a laptop pocket is therefore bigger and heavier than it needs to be. I keep my laptop in a separate small bag, which generally goes inside a suitcase if I'm traveling by automobile.

Of course, I've met folks who swear by editing in the field with their laptop, so they can re-shoot while still on site if their photos aren't meeting expectations. Seems to me that the limiting factor is going to be weight and bulk. If you insist on bringing the laptop along in the same backpack, you probably need to pack lighter and leave a pair of those L zooms at home so you're not humping 50 lbs. of gear into the woods.

I don't carry a laptop into the field. My concern is more a weight issue than an equipment damage concern. I hope future netbooks will offer a bit more power and make carrying a lightweight computer into the field more practical for me.

I have a Think Tank bag http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=676757. I would like to suggest an alternative use for the notebook pouch in backpack bags. A  Lastolite 38" reflector fits in the notebook compartment, along with a small groundcloth and a wide brim sunhat.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 01:53:51 PM by GrahamB3 » Logged
Blad645
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2009, 05:50:40 AM »
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I spent  almost a year looking around for a bag to hold my medium format gear , a laptop and carry like a real backpack. I got a Kata this summer and love it. It really fits like a true backpack should, plenty of adjustment straps, pouches, waist belt,  add on capabilities, can accomodate a tripod and internal pouch for a laptop. Check them out  as a great alternative.
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acktdi
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2009, 11:54:05 AM »
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I'm using a Burton Zoom backpack.  It's designed for carrying camera equipment while snowboarding, but I use it while out in the field or shooting from my car.  I've brought it as carry-on luggage domestic and internationally without any problems.  It even went to Antarctica.

I was able to fit 2 Canon bodies, 70-200f2.8, 100-400, 17-40, 16mm fisheye, cards, batteries, filters.  My widescreen 15.4" laptop didn't fit in the front pocket, but if your laptop is a standard screen or <15", it should be fine.  The side pockets hold waterbottles or your tripod.  

http://www.shorelineoftahoe.com/store/prod...p?productid=807
or you can find it on ebay
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Josh-H
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2009, 04:08:50 PM »
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I went with a Lowe Pro Nature Trekker - which is both boon and bust as a camera bag solution to address trekking and carrying both camera gear and laptop.

As a pure camera bag for hiking / travelling its brilliant as it has a proper harness with great tapered shoulder straps and its highly adjustable and customizable. Its extremely comfortable, meets airline carry on requirements and offers excellent protection for equipment - it is also extremley water resistant and I have no issues taking it out in heavy downpours. It also holds a huge amount of kit.

The problem is it doesn't have a dedicated spot for the laptop - but it does have a small daypack which comes with it which attaches to the outside of the main bag (giving you two bags that can be strapped together as one). I use that for storing my macbook pro and ancilliaries when travelling on planes etc. I wouldnt hike with it like this however.

The other issue is that as a bag the Lowe Pro Nature Trekker is very heavy. With all its heavy material construction, waterproof seals and flexibility of customisation it pays a hefty weight penalty and its probably one of the heaviest bags on the market (when empty). Its also quite expensive.

The upshot of this is it makes a great bag for airline travel and hikes and for taking on photo shooting expeditions - but you need to be prepared to haul it around.

Edit - one other downside - the Nature Trekker 'says' photographer - which depending on where you are travelling can be unwanted attention. It looks like an expensive bag and I have had people say things like 'wow you must have a lot of camera gear' when travelling on planes - not a good thing.

If I was in the market for a bag today - I would still purchase the NatureTrekker as I really love its qualities, but also something more discreet for overseas travel.
Nature Trekker
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 04:21:26 PM by Josh-H » Logged

Curt
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2009, 08:33:49 PM »
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I don't understand why some photographers need to add a tripod to the backpack. Add a wide nylon sling and carry over the shoulder like a rifle. Much quicker to get into action too.
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Vautour
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2009, 04:45:39 AM »
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Quote from: wirehunt
I've got the Lowepro Compu Rover AW.  I would NOT recommend it.  It's a pain in the butt.
By the time it's got all the gear in it it's very heavy and cumbersome, even though it's in the spec's for airline travel I find some planes it doesn't fit.  This is without a tripod on it as well.

These days I travel with a not very laptop looking laptop bag and a separate camera bag and find this setup much more user friendly.

Good luck with finding something to do all

Actually I also have a CompuRover AW and so far am relatively pleased with it. The tripod harness works quite well and centers the tripod on the front. In the bottom one can fit a larger camera (although I don't now if one can fit a D3/1D in it, a 40D with battery grip and 17-85 lens fits also quite nizely) and a larger zoom lens and one to two (or even three, depending on the size) additional lenses. The laptop compartment should house even a 17" MacBook Pro (although I mainly have rain trousers and a fleece jacket in it while hiking) is well padded an on the rear of the bag.
The top comparment has some storage area for storage cards and can hold everything you need for a one day hiking trip. You can also open the bottom to get to the camera compartement which is quite handy if you want to carry a larger tele lens which otherwise wouldn't fit in the camera compartement.
The carrying system is ok. A dedicated hiking backpack is better but it's ok. I used it during a trip to Scotland and it was comftable enough if all belts are closed.
The downside is it is somewhat heavy (weighs about 2.5kg empty) so you might run in weight carrying restricting for onboard luggage (or do it the Reichman way and put some lenses in your pockets) and it can be somewhat larger than officially allowed sizewise for carry on luggage. So far I managed to fit it in all overhead compartements and the displays (don't now the correcht Englis word. The things where you can test if you carry on luggage meets the size restrictions).

So, the question is, what do you want to use it for? I needed one for day hikes with enough space to fit a camera with up to three lenses while also being able to hold everything else (water, food, rain clothing, warm clothing, the things you (might (e. g. temperature drop)) need (or should have) i a different compartement while hiking (ok, usually one can arrange pure camera backpacks such as the Kiboko to get something similar but I prefer to keep these compartements separated). For this the CompuRover AW had been the best compromise, but it is a compromise, to be sure, but a rahter good one in my opinion. For longer distances I use normal hiking backpacks because of their better carrying systems and put the camera in bag around my waist and the lenses in pouches in the backback and my tripod where normally the hiking sticks would be fastened to the bag.
For every other occasion bags such as the Kiboko might fit your needs better. So far, I haven't found the perfect one yet (and most probably never will (hmm, maybe I should enter the Kata Design Contest ).
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GrahamB3
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2009, 05:21:35 AM »
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Quote from: Curt
I don't understand why some photographers need to add a tripod to the backpack. Add a wide nylon sling and carry over the shoulder like a rifle. Much quicker to get into action too.
Curt,

A strap, or un-padded nylon case is the method I used for 30 years to carry a tripod in the field. I still use a strap when I'm using a light kit.

If you're carrying a heavier kit with your backpack, I've found the comfort level has improved dramatically mounting the tripod on the pack. If the tripod is carried in the center, a feature of the Think Tank pack I use, you have much better weight balance than an additional load carried over a shoulder. Having your arms free, without worry of the tripod slipping off your shoulder, or becoming fouled on brush is very nice when moving through the bush.

Another nice feature of pack carry is another grab handle. With the tripod strapped down, I find it very convenient to grab the tripod leg when lifting the pack from my trunk. Everything is together in one bundle for easy trasnport through congested airports or other terminals

As far as quick access, the straps do have quick disconnect buckles. If I'm in a situation requiring quick access, I've probably already mounted the camera to the head and I'm carrying the extended tripod propped over a shoulder. For me, a backpack is more about humping all my gear to the shooting location in as much comfort as possible. Once there, I transfer what lenses and bodies I require to my vest, and sling my tripod over a shoulder.

Regards,
Graham
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Luther
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2009, 12:44:51 AM »
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Dude, you’re going to have a hard time if you try to carry all your camera equipment and laptop in one bag. I’d suggest you get a nice laptop sleeve for your laptop. Briggs & Riley has some nice ones with padded interiors and fleece lining. For your camera I’d suggest a convertible tote. This would fit all your camera equipment very nicely – the main compartment is roomy enough and could still hold more stuff. There’s an external side shoe compartment which I think could hold your tripods. There are multiple pockets to store other gadgets as well. And the best thing about this bag is that you can hold it as a tote or use the backpack straps to carry it as a backpack. It’s very lightweight, too – just under 4 lbs!
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