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Author Topic: F-stop Tilopa vs Clik Elite Contrejour 40  (Read 8044 times)
larkis
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« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2013, 12:28:47 AM »
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I was originally sponsored by Lowepro.  I left them for a sponsorship with Clik Elite.  A year later I picked up a sponsorship with f-stop.  Each move got me to a better product. 

Lowepro packs are great for working from the car but they haven't yet figured out how to make a pack with a real harness for photographers who actually carry their gear for hours on end in the backcountry.

Clik Elite is a huge step up from Lowepro.  My main complaint with Clik Elite packs is that the harness starts out comfortable and supportive but after about a year, mine was sagging like the jowels on a hound dog.  It was also a heavy pack.  The Contrejour is lighter in weight than the Hiker model I used.

Finally, f-stop gear - these guys make backpacks that are modular in design (ICU's) and most importantly, that carry comfortably all day long, even when they're loaded with gear.  I've been using a Tilopa BC for well over a year (close to 2 years, actually) and it's bombproof.  It's starting to show signs of wear with a few small abrasions in high contact areas but it still carries as comfortably as it did on day one.  Consider this: I'm a pro landscape and adventure photographer and I spend a lot of time beating the hell out of my equipment.  My packs get squeezed through slot canyons, scraped on rocks and trees, etc.  If you're going to hike with your gear, and the f-stop packs fit you, go with f-stop.

Yes, I fully realize that you'll all think my opinion is biased because I'm sponsored by f-stop.  I would use their products even if I wasn't sponsored by them.  I'd pay full price without blinking.  I don't make a dime recommending their packs.  I'm just a very happy user of their product. 

I'm not sponsored by f-stop but second this opinion. My TilopaBC has been with me in the desert, in a humid jungle and in a typhoon in Japan and I have been carrying it all day filled with pretty heavy medium format gear and some additional supplies. It keeps on ticking and I'm very happy with it. As far as I'm concerned any bag that does not let you access the gear without taking it off is worthless for any serious travel/adventure photography. One advice to F-Stop would be to include the extra rain covers as a standard item with each bag. In extreme rain the fabric the bag is made of is not enough.
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erpman
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« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2013, 06:47:06 AM »
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I'm not sponsored by f-stop but second this opinion. My TilopaBC has been with me in the desert, in a humid jungle and in a typhoon in Japan and I have been carrying it all day filled with pretty heavy medium format gear and some additional supplies. It keeps on ticking and I'm very happy with it. As far as I'm concerned any bag that does not let you access the gear without taking it off is worthless for any serious travel/adventure photography. One advice to F-Stop would be to include the extra rain covers as a standard item with each bag. In extreme rain the fabric the bag is made of is not enough.

What are you saying? That you consider the Tilopa worthless because you have to take it off to access the gear? A workaround is loosening the hip belt and sliding it around to rest on your thigh while you open it from the back, like the lowepro flipside.

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Can anyone share a pic of either of these bags loaded with a medium format rig and a pro DSLR?
I am having trouble visualizing how they would both fit.

Plus, am I seeing this correctly that you would have to take off the pack every time you want to access a camera?

I donīt have my medium format gear available at the moment, but you can have a look at the extra large ICU here There are some pictures with different configurations that you can browse.
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larkis
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« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2013, 09:33:37 AM »
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What are you saying? That you consider the Tilopa worthless because you have to take it off to access the gear? A workaround is loosening the hip belt and sliding it around to rest on your thigh while you open it from the back, like the lowepro flipside. 

Sorry I phrased that wrong. I consider bags that don't have that ability worthless for my use. The Tilopa can certainly access gear without taking the bag off and can even be used as a waist mounted "table" when swapping lenses or putting on filters. In case something slips it can fall right back into the bag. I have stood in water plenty of times and could still swap lenses and get my gear.
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NancyP
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« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2013, 11:55:03 AM »
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Re: f-stop design:
Yes, you have to take the pack off when you want to access your camera stowed in the padded insert. The access panel is on the part of the pack sitting on your back. The good part is that you can plop the pack, outer surface or base down, in the dirt, access camera, then when you put your pack back on, you don't get a backful of mud.

I use the pack in combination with the Cotton Carrier vest system, so that I have the camera at hand. Little accessories can go in clothing pockets.

I didn't like the side-stow option for the tripod, so I use strapping to attach it on a diagonal across the back. It just felt better balanced that way. I have the 60 L Satori, which is a good size for a camping pack, but too bulky for a day pack. The medium pro insert takes up approximately 15 L, so the remainder is available for bedding, food, spare clothes, stove, water filter; I hang water bottles from outside  loops.

I am not as enthusiastic about the pack as I could be, but that is because the pack is "one size fits all" in torso length, and my torso length is too short, requiring after-market adaptations. The pack frame is really sized for the average man, and the pack straps also cut for men. I would like it if future iterations would have adjustable torso length and exchangeable straps. I would also prefer that the pack have loops on the bottom, for sleeping bag or extra pad. Still, the great thing about the pack is that it keeps the heavy camera gear gear on your hips close to your back, making it easier to carry 35#/ 16 kg of camera and camping gear. I am sure that the pack could accommodate much more weight, it is really well built. The pack belt and straps are very thick and well made.
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amsp
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« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2013, 08:35:36 AM »
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Can anyone share a pic of either of these bags loaded with a medium format rig and a pro DSLR?
I am having trouble visualizing how they would both fit.

Plus, am I seeing this correctly that you would have to take off the pack every time you want to access a camera?


Tilopa BC + X-Large ICU.



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