CAMERA KIT, HIKING KIT, FOOD, DRINK. IS THERE A WAY TO CARRY IT ALL?

trailguru

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It's a challenge. So far, with no answers. I'd like to hear from someone who has found a great way to carry a comprehensive MFT system plus hiking gear for a day's hiking in the wilds?

I carry: 2 bodies, 4 lenses, tripod, filter system and accessories plus spare fleece, waterproof top, waterproof trousers, gloves, hat, about 1.5L drink (often in a bladder) and lunch.

For a long time I used a fishing vest for the camera gear plus daypack for the rest but the vest pockets are not secure nor big enough to carry a large tele zoom. All the dedicated camera backpacks are too small (I reckon on needing around 30L) to include hiking gear or much too heavy.

I've taken a good look at quite a few systems (Peak Designs, Wandrd, f stop, Pacsafe, Tenba and Lowepro to name a few) but they all fall short. Enough to discount them.

I'm moving toward buying an insert(s) with a good 30-40L hiking backpack with a front opening to get at camera gear. But it would be great to hear from a photographer who's found a good, comfortable way to carry camera kit with hiking gear.
 

retiredfromlife

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I do some full day walks
First thing i suggest is reduce your camera gear a bit and get a 60L pack
30 - 40 L is a bit small, you want all the gear to fit in easily, especially if the weather turns bad.
I dont use inserts but individual lens pouches etc and a peak designs tech pouch
I also use a lowe pro lens change change pouch on a belt if i think i will need to change lenses quickly.
If you can get a pack that has one of those zipper dividers they are good for putting clothes etc in the bottom and camera gear higher up. That way it will not get smashed when you put the pack down a little hard when you are tired

I have spent far too much trying camera packs. Still find if you are doing propper walks especially off trial you need a proper walking pack. Having said that i have a couple of crumpler camera packs that i use for easy walks but they are not made now

Everyone has their own ideas about bags and packs, no right or wrong, just individual use cases. But i find the less gear I carry the more i enjoy the walk

Edit
Fixed some typos
 
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Neelly

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This is the bag I use, a Gitzo 30ltr
Gitzo Adventury 30L Backpack | Wex Photo Video

Holds a couple of bodies EM1 Mk 2 & Mk3 and four or five lenses. Plenty of room in the upper section for a fleece and lunch plus a shell jacket.
Only slight design flaw to my mind is that the hip belts could be better padded but apart from that its as close as I have come to the perfect backpack, and I've certainly tried a lot!!
 

JensM

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Domke Photographers vest? It has an insane amount of deep pockets, not sure if it is in production still, though. Mine is probably 30 years old or thereabouts.

Depending on where you are located, for a days outing, the waterproofs could be carried accordingly to whatever the weather forecast says, hat on the head and gloves in a jacket pocket or tight pockets if using a cargo trouser. Also worth checking out the Backlight 36 for space. Review of the Mindshift Backlight. Water bottles in flaskholders on the belt and the lunch in a so-called "possibles bag/satchel" could also be a possibility.

At "worst" have a look at the packboards, bascially it is the frame part of the expedition sized back packs, with straps for strapping down the load. They have some heft, but you could use it to actually carry whatever camera bag you have, plus a separate luggage bag.

Care to elaborate a bit on the camera gear? I guesstimate that it is not two GM5 with kit lenses and a tabletop tripod.
 

Hypilein

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I carry my GX8 + 8-18mm and 35-100mm f2.8 in a Camslinger waist bag. That way I can have my hands free while walking, but don't have to take off the backpack to take shots. If I need the 100-300 it goes into a lens pouch on the belt of the camslinger or into the backpack depending on how likely wildlife encounters are. If I had a 100-400 or other larger super telephoto it would probably always be on the backpack or I would find another solution, but with the 100-300 it's no problem.

All my hiking gear goes into a 30l Jack Wolfskin Hiking Backpack. It fits my tripod (if I bother to carry it), raingear, food, water as well as my drone. For a days hike that's really all I need. I still have space in the backpack so if I'm missing anything that I should be taking in your opinion it would still fit.

I think 2 bodies and four lenses are massive overkill. Usually while hiking you have enough time to swap lenses so a single body should be fine. Having one of the longer ultrawides like the PL8-18 makes a standard lens less necessary. If Olympus releases the 8-25mm f4 it will be even better for this purpose as the gap between 25mm and 35mm can easily be cropped away.

On the other hand I still cary a drone (mavic air) and often a landing pad so it doesn't have to start or land in the dirt, so I still would have more space. I think the biggest trick is having most of the camera gear in a dedicated waist pack which gives you more space and also downsizing on lenses/cameras.

Btw, the no1 criterion for a new camera for me is if it fits into the camslinger. If it doesn't fit with the two mentioned lenses it's too large. The GX8 is therefore the absolute maximum as it barely fits. Otherwise I might have already upgraded to the G9.
 

Bagrphotography

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Perhaps even a Lowepro 450AW.
I can fit 3 bodies, (camera - just for clarification), lenses including a 40-150 2.8., food, drink, batteries and walk around all day in 40deg heat...(I would also suggest a bladder pack as well depending).

The advantage is that you can add extra pockets/bags to the back of the pack via MALICE/PALS/MOLLE loops and that the camera pocket is available from the side (if you wish) or if the bag is laying flat, that you do not lay it down on the straps that then go onto you! This was a key consideration to me.
 

John M Flores

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Shimoda's harness system is pretty good - I used a 40L Shimoda Explore loaded up to about 25 lbs. (11kg) on a multi-day hike and it held up well. Back does not ventilate though. I also had a fanny pack turned to the front for quick access to my camera.

I haven't found a LowePro bag that was comfortable for a long haul.

F-Stop is good. I've used the Guru for 5+ years on motorcycle trips. But I think Shimoda carries better.

I've heard good things about Atlas packs.

I've heard of folks using the Osprey Kamber as a camera pack. Osprey makes great packs. The Kamber has been superseded by the Soelden I think. I just purchased an Osprey Levity. Not a camera pack. I went for weight, comfort, and ventilation. I'll carry the camera gear in a front-fanny. And kind of like @Hypilein suggests, I choose the kit based on the space I've allocated for it.
 
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As others have said, I would do some reevaluation on what all needs to be taken. Also, maybe find some solutions that are multi-use or just lighter weight.

If I go out for </= 3 hours I use a Tenba Solstice 12L. It has plenty of room for 3-4 lenses, filter pack, extra battery, tripod, water and a snack. If I plan on 4+ hours I move to a LowePro Flipside 450. It has the same space for lenses and accessories, plus enough space for a light lunch and jacket. If I need more coverings I can lash to the outside.

The camera is almost always in my hands or on my chest using a cheap binocular harness similar to this. Although my Pentax K1 is too big for that, so it is on a neck strap or simply in my hands.
 

mawz

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I've done a few things to absolutely minimize my pack needs.

1. I've mostly abandoned photo packs, most of them are worthless for aanything more than light hiking. I primarily use a Deuter hydration pack right now, but I'm shopping for a larger ~40L hiking pack because my Deuter is a summer-only half-day pack (no room for a sweater+shell, only one of the two). I typically haul 3L of water + plenty of snacks on a 4-5 hour hike and usually will also have an insulated water bottle with gatorade or coke for a cold sugar hit.
2. I minimize what I carry. 2 zooms, 1 body is the goal. I tend not to use a lot of filters, and if I can ever get to an E-M1 III, I'll be able to ditch everything but a polarizer (ND's are the only other filters I have any use for). May carry a flash for nature macro in the woods.
3. I carry an absolutely tiny tripod (Manfrotto 290 with the smallest Sirui head) and often leave it home and just carry a Platypod with the base accessory set and a head
4. I don't carry the core system in the pack. Body+lens on a Peak Capture Clip on the shoulder strap, other lens in a waist pouch along with the Platypod & head. The peak clip is remarkable for what you can carry on it if your pack has good straps. I've carried FF DSLR's with medium size lenses with no issues on the Peak clip. The only m43 setup I'd worry about on it is the 150-400 and that's just for size.
5. One advantage of hiking packs is vented pack support. This is amazing on a warm day, your back doesn't turn into a sweaty mess.
 

BrianMc

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I’ve been using an REI Flash 22 pack. For light hikes I’d previously been using a PD 10 L sling, which was great for the cameras, but terrible for everything else.

With the rei pack I can leave the camera out on a PD Capture Clip. I only just got the capture clip this winter, so no really long hikes with it yet. So far I really like it though. No problems with an EM1 ii and 50-200 SWD. It feels like it will be more comfortable than any sling or messenger bag weight on one shoulder over longer hikes. Other lenses can be easily stored in the pouches on the side of the pack. The 50-200 fits very nicely in those when it’s not in use.

For me, that leaves the rest of the pack for whatever else I need to bring. In the mountains I usually get away with a filtered water bottle/pouch (the Katadyn BeFree are amazing. Barely any resistance while drinking through the filter). That way I never have to carry more than 1L of water and usually more like a quarter to half a liter. You can always try to minimize space consumed by clothing by going with the packable down coats and rain jackets too.

If you size up to a 30L bag you could probably get three lenses (1 mounted, 2 in side pouches), plus room for a large ish bladder and accessories in the main compartment. Not sure about the last camera/lens combo at that point.
 
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Two bags - of whatever denomination. One for the camera with one lens (and perhaps another), and everything else in a back pack.

The smaller bag is a no-name thing I found in a charity shop into which I put a padded camera case with the top cut off. This goes on first overhead/shoulder wise, and the rear strap of it is then clipped with a carabiner to a backpack strap when I've put that on next. That way the smaller bag does not work its way round to the front when striding out. I find I can happily get at the camera without unclipping it if needs be.

I put lunch, rain jacket, small med-kit and other sundries in the backpack first (currently using a 20 year-old Camel hydro pack), and the rest of the camera gear in a padded Tenba-style bag that goes on top. That way I can get to the camera gear quickly, but also easily remove it all to get at the stuff I want underneath. I make sure my back pack has one outside pocket for stuff I need in a hurry - glasses, torch, bins etc etc. I find a small folding umbrella one of the most useful things on a hike if there is a chance of rain. I must stress that I carry a minimal amount of gear on a day hike. I've pretty much listed everything already apart from food and water.

So, two bags, both nondescript, nothing shouting camera gear, yet the camera is available really quickly when I want it. I always have a bin-liner to cover the backpack in, too. I've had too many 'waterproof' packs leak over the years. I'm cheap, I am. :D
 
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mfturner

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How rugged and remote are your hikes, and at what climate and altitude? My choices for how and what to carry might be different depending on the answers, Cotswold walks vs northern Scotland, desert SW vs the Appalachian Trail Vs Colorado high country, etc.

Lots of great responses already, I'm with the group that uses hiking backpacks rather than photo backpacks, which maybe trades protection and access for carrying comfort. I sometimes also carry a camera in a waist pack for quicker access, and have downsized my kit, relying on Ibis vs a tripod for example. Here in Co once I get into the thin air around tree line, ounces matter to me.

But I might check out a couple of the mentioned bags to see what I've missed.
 

mawz

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If you care about ounces, I cannot help but recommend the Platypod. When paired with a lightweight head it allows you to use all sorts of items for camera stability. I've used fenceposts, rocks, strapped to tree branches and all sorts of other things. Love mine to death, it blows all the mini tripods I've seen out of the water.

I have the Ultra, which is ideal for most m43 stuff. The Max will handle 40-150 Pro's and 150-400's.
 

Bushboy

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Get a proper backpack. 80-100 litres. Put all your stuff in it. Put all your cameras and lenses in their own bag inside this pack. Keep the camera gear at the top.
I laugh at how you guys make simple shit, hard. 😊
 

agentlossing

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You want a pack with a frame. I had an old-timey aluminum frame pack years ago that I actually sometimes used without the pack -- took it off and attached whatever pack or bag I wanted to carry. Frames make carrying higher weight infinitely easier, as long as they're fitted to your dimensions. Probably these days a good internal frame pack is a better option, and I'm not that knowledgeable about what's available. A browse on www.REI.com or somewhere similar should get you some ideas.
 
Joined
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Get a proper backpack. 80-100 litres. Put all your stuff in it. Put all your cameras and lenses in their own bag inside this pack. Keep the camera gear at the top.
I laugh at how you guys make simple shit, hard. 😊
100 L for a photography hike? What in the world are you taking? Especially with mft.

Sure, if you are talking about multi-day long back country backpacking trips. Even then, if you need 100L you might want to look into better solutions for your gear.
 
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