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Thread: Backpack for hiking & camera gear

  1. #1
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    Backpack for hiking & camera gear

    I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with a backpack where you don't just put camera gear in. I'm looking at doing some solo hiking in the coming months so I'd need to carry everything myself and don't really feel like taking two bags. So I'm looking for something that would be able to hold food, drinks (one day's worth), rain & cold gear, hiking essentials (first aid kit, flashlight, map, possibly gps,...) all the while having room and keeping safe the camera gear (don't think I'd take much more than my 500D, 17-55 f/2.8, 70-200 f/4 IS, tripod and filters, possibly a macro lens).

    I don't need anything fancy like the tubes that bring water forward from a pocket in the backpack, I'm perfectly fine taking the pack off and taking a bottle of water out. I also don't need a toploader for easy access to the camera, again I can take the pack off and rest my shoulders while taking pictures.

    I do however hike in places where fresh water sources aren't easy to come by, so am possibly looking at taking 3-4 liters of water along. So overall weight would be around 10 kg of which the water & tripod would be the heaviest.

    A waist strap would be a must, I find it makes hiking quite a bit easier with a packed bag.

    Think I've thought of everything I'd like...so erm any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member ham's Avatar
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    Would it be worth getting a simple holster type bag for the camera and individual lens bags then chucking all that in a hiking bag? I only ask because that's what I do (I don't own a camera backpack) and you mentioned speed isn't important.

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    My preference would be if I could get a single bag that could fit all, but what you suggest could also work I guess. It's not something that I thought of, but I'll keep it in mind.

  4. #4
    Senior Member btaylor's Avatar
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    Have a look at F-Stop bags. I have the guru and I just took it all over Europe with a gripped 5D Mark II, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 24-70mm f/2.8L, Sigma 85mm f/1.4, 17-40mm f/4L, 580 ex II speedlite and a few other bits and pieces and it was perfect.

    Water resistant, steel frame, good comfortable harness and plenty of options for customising the size of the ICU (internal camera unit), room for a water bladder (camelbak style).

    They aren't the cheapest bag going around but they are some of the best out there and I wouldn't trade mine for the world. They definitely have something that would suit you.

    This is a quick review I did on the guru a while back. (it got a little muddled up in the transition to the new forum software but it's still mostly legible):

    http://community.the-digital-picture.com/showthread.php?t=5174&highlight=guru

    And this is the fstop site:

    http://fstopgear.com/

    Hope this helps,

    Ben
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_taylor_au/ www.methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com
    Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 5D Mark II | Samyang 14mm f/2.8 | Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM | Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM |Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II |Canon 2 x Teleconverter III | Canon 580 EX II Speedlite | Really Right Stuff TVC 34L | Really Right Stuff BH55 LR | Gorillapod Focus | Really Right Stuff BH 30

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Patham,

    I don't own an f-stop, but I have to admit that Ben's review has me pretty tempted. I use a Lowepro Fastpack 350 for day hikes and it works well. It doesn't have a natural tripod solution, but I tend to either secure the tripod under the back flap or to stick one leg into the computer compartment. Both work fine. It doesn't allow the same level of air circulation on my back as my actual hiking packs (Osprey and Vortex) and it loses some rigidity if there isn't something in the computer compartment. That said, it works perfectly for what I bought it for, an all in one that can be used for trips and day hikes. I tend to pack my 7D, EFS-15-85, 100-400L and filters when hiking, but that is mostly for weight. I can add the 580II flash and the 100L macro (and swap out the filters for the 10-22) in the padded compartment. The top compartment I usually have a my gear. It could hold what you described, but not much more. That would be pretty tight and it would depend on how bulky your rain gear is (I sometimes put that under the back flap).

    In addition to the f-stop and Fast-pack 350, you may want to take a look at the Lowepro flipeside series (300 & 400) and the packs by Kata.

    Good luck.

    EDIT: I read the 3-4L of water backward...agree with Jan, it would be tough to pack 3-4 L of water in the 350...I typically take ~1 L. If what you are talking about is "hard core" you likely need another pack, like the f-stops. If these are simple day trips, I've used the 350 several times and does fine. But, I'd still look at other packs too.
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 03-29-2012 at 01:09 PM.

  6. #6
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    That Guru does indeed look quite lovely. I have to admit the price is definitely higher than what I had in mind, but it sure looks almost exactly like what I'd need. Great review for it btw. Edit: Kayaker posted while I was reading the Guru review. Great suggestions, I'll have to check those out when I get home from work.
    Last edited by patham; 03-29-2012 at 12:09 PM.

  7. #7
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    I also have the Fastpack 350, but to be honest I don't think all of the things you mentioned really fit well in the bag. Unless you don't mind flat sandwiches The bottom compartment is big enough for your camera+lenses+flash that you want to take, but no more than that. The top compartment is too small IMO to fit 3-4L water, food, clothes, tripod, first aid kit, flashlight etc. It might all fit, but it's going to be very tight I think.

    The F-Stop bags seem pretty cool and bring me to an idea: What about a dedicated hiking backpack with a separate ICU (from F-Stop for example).

  8. #8
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    I'm starting to quite like the ICU in the backpack idea. It even looks like I might be able to fit all my gear (minus tripod of course) into a small ICU (http://fstopgear.com/en/icu-pro).

    Hmm...decisions, decisions...
    My gear: Canon 500D, 17-55mm F/2.8 IS, 70-200 F/4L IS, 100mm F/2.8 macro (non-USM), 50mm F/1.4

  9. #9
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    Well, I pulled the trigger on a Guru with medium ICU...

    Not currently in stock but I'm hoping to get it in a few weeks. I blame Ben's great review for my quick decision.
    My gear: Canon 500D, 17-55mm F/2.8 IS, 70-200 F/4L IS, 100mm F/2.8 macro (non-USM), 50mm F/1.4

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by patham View Post
    Well, I pulled the trigger on a Guru with medium ICU...

    Not currently in stock but I'm hoping to get it in a few weeks. I blame Ben's great review for my quick decision.
    That was quick. I hope you give us a review as well. The guru looks a little small to me for what you want.

    Personally I liked Jan's suggestion : "The F-Stop bags seem pretty cool and bring me to an idea: What about a dedicated hiking backpack with a separate ICU (from F-Stop for example)". I have several bags, lowepro and tamrac, they are great at protecting camera gear but are not as comfortable to carry as a good pack that is made for hiking.
    Last edited by HDNitehawk; 03-29-2012 at 03:05 PM.

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