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

AG-Schnozz

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Nov 1, 2020
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Eagle River, Alaska
I'm a huge fan of the Canon Deluxe Photo Backpack 200EG. It's very light and sized just about perfectly. While it's not the driest or most padded bag around, it actually does very well for m43 kits. I actually wore my first one out and several years ago bought another. As with everybody else, I've tried every imaginable type of camera bag and I keep going back to this one whenever I need to go on a long day hike. I was just looking at it a few minutes ago and realized that I really should buy another one for the 2021 hiking season here in Alaska.

As to capacity? that shouldn't be a problem at all. Last week, I had an E-3, E-1, E-400, 12-60, 50-200, and 14-54 in it. If I'm using an OM film kit, I can put two OM bodies in it with maybe five lenses. That's just the main compartment. The back and side compartments hold your food, water, ancillary items, gloves, GPS, etc., etc. Tripod gets clipped on the attach points or whatever.

For Christmas, I gifted myself a super-small CF tripod that can actually fit INSIDE almost all my bags. It's a bit on the short side, but at least it's something.

My other hiking bag is a no-longer-available Naneu Pro TS-10B convertible shoulder bag. It'll hold a couple lenses in the side pockets, water, food, gloves, cellphone, batteries inside and GPS clipped to the top. I always have the camera out with my third lens on my neck or on the tripod.

As a general rule, if my day hike is under 5 miles, I take the small Naneu Pro. If it's over 5 miles I take the 200ES bag. Also, I have to consider the main purpose of the hike. If it's primarily exercise, I take the small bag. If it's for photography, I take the larger bag.

When I go for a drive to take photographs, I use two bags (at least). I use a large shoulder-style bag to hold the Sony/OM kit, the 200ES to hold the Four-Thirds kit, and have the Naneu Pro sitting empty to be able to toss anything in for a quick walk or hike somewhere. But since I'm mostly working from the vehicle, having quick and easy access to all my bodies and lenses is important.

I live in Alaska, so it's tempting to always take EVERYTHING with me, but I've had to learn to prioritize my kit and be selective, otherwise my back is in agony. Here is a shot taken last weekend (Palmer, Alaska) with the GX85 with 12-32. About as small and lightweight of a kit as can be. I was coming back from Hatcher Pass where I hiked with a Sherpa-Load of camera gear.
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ac12

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As was said, first thing is to minimize what you carry to what you NEED, or can compromise down to.
Do you NEED to carry two bodies? The only time I carry two bodies, is when I am shooting an event where I have to switch lenses FAST, then I grab camera #2 with that lens attached. Otherwise, I generally shoot with a single body. Sometimes I bring the smaller/lighter EM10, instead of the EM1.
When I travel, I leave my big/heavy pro lenses at home. Instead I carry the smaller/lighter non-pro lenses. For my purposes, they are "good enough."
 

PhotoCal

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Aug 18, 2020
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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.
Skip the Platypod and go for the Decade. I've used both.
The Decade is less expensive and takes up less room because you can remove the tripod bolt. In fact, I keep mine under a floormat in the car!

The Platypod bolt is not removable so it's thicker. And you risk the bolt tearing your bag.


Yea, you definitely carry too much.
I'd suggest a waist pack for your camera gear and backpack for the rest. That way your load is balanced and you have quick access to your camera.

Lash the tripod to the bottom of your backpack.
 

retiredfromlife

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On the question of gear protection and packs. I feel dedicated camera packs offer far less protection than a dedicated walking pack with individual lens and body cases if you are doing hard / medium walks.
The dividers used in most camera packs do not offer much in the way of protection for shocks. You would only have to drop down over a small ledge and all the gear would be jolted. Since most put the camera gear at the bottom every time you put the pack down or slide over a rock or something the gear risks being jolted.

Good quality lens pouches off far more protection, and I use think tank holsters to carry my camera [1] when I walk and also protects the camera when it is in the pack. I like the holsters as when you walk over ever moderately uneven ground your camera swings around a bit and you don't want it hitting trees or rocks.

I find now I approaching retirement I am not as careful or can walk as smoothly as used to be able to do, so need to protect my gear more, so your needs may vary.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
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I've got a LowePro 450 that I use for short hikes (i.e. under 2mi). It carries plenty of stuff, easily accessible, and should do the job for what is described, except for not having a bladder option. But for short hikes, you don't really need that.
For long hikes/short backpacking, you want a proper pack. I'm a fan of Osprey, and have two different AG packs from them. Much more comfortable than any pack I've tried from a photo brand(and I've tried Lowe, fStop and Mindshift). I've done 15 miles in a day through Costa Rican jungle with an Osprey pack and a Pentax APSC setup. For long hikes, probably better to sacrifice a little accessibility for comfort.
As others have mentioned a Peak One Capture Clip is super helpful.
 

John King

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If you are careful with your gear, the foot part of old socks make for very simple lens covers.

As others have said, cut your gear down to one kit.

I just bought an E-PM2 for really, really tiny and light. Put my 14-42 EZ + JJC auto-opening lens cap on it, and the lot weighs less than 500 grams ...

Depends on what your kit and purpose is, and you didn't appear to be very clear about either ... ?
 

alex66

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I would agree with those that suggest a good back pack, cut camera gear down to one body, up to two lenses and maybe a small good point and shoot. If I go on a very long walk where other stuff is requires I will take two P&S that offer Raw and be done, many like the LX100, Canon GxX offer very good image quality now.
 
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Everyone's use case and budget is different, but my default camera bag is this Red Rock tacticool backpack:
https://www.amazon.com/Red-Rock-Outdoor-Gear-Assault/dp/B0088QM8XK/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AGLTCGSXLAFU&dchild=1&keywords=red+rock+large+assault+pack&qid=1613188821&sprefix=red+rock+large+assault,aps,285&sr=8-3
My default load out in it is 2 bodies, 300f4, MC14, 150f2 or 35-100f2, PL8-18 or O12-40, P25, O30, O45, O8FE. I can bring FA kit/survival stuff, photography sundries, 32oz of water, food, light rain gear or heavy-ish coat. Platypod and op/tech gadgets are attached to the molle, and a carbon fiber tripod is externally mounted if needed for waterfall or astro stuff. For car or boat travel I'll bring more lenses. It's reasonably water resistant, and has been pretty durable for a few years now. Lenses and bodies are stored in an Apecase insert or a soft lunch cooler, depending on circumstances.

Yes, this is very heavy but surprisingly comfortable for hikes 2 hours or less. For longer or more vertical adventures I downsize considerably because I'm not (too) stupid, but I really like having choices if my hike is dedicated to photography. This will totally not work for everyone; for reference, I'm 50, 5'8", and in pretty decent shape.

Specialized use case- for a dedicated hunting adventure, I use a much spendier Badlands internal frame pack with a small Apecase. That reminds me- one of my best ideas OF ALL TIIIMMME was when I thought about hanging a quiet, fleece pouch from somewhere around the waist belt. A body/lens swinging around on an op/tech harness or peak designs clip would interfere with a bow- a pouch down low is much more better. It took a lot of internet searching to find something that worked- I ended up with something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Pou...sugar+glider+camo+pouch&qid=1613190794&sr=8-3
...don't laugh- I didn't even know sugar gliders were a thing. The one I got is bigger and has more of an elastic gather around the top to make it less likely for the camera to abandon ship, but this particular one might work.
It took some trial and error with attachment points to find a solution that didn't flop around too much when walking, but man- it is pretty dang slick.
 

grcolts

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Texas
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Gary
I use a daypack used for hiking (not an official camera pack) but it works fine. It has ample space for an overnight hike. It is lightweight and waterproof. I bought mine at a discount at REI in their bargain site online.
GQR
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
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Moab
Carry less gear and move faster is my take on this. I’ve been loving the Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear 25 pack over the past month of hikes.

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Full review and pics here http://robonza.blogspot.com/2021/02/review-chicken-tramper-ultralight-gear.html

-Joe
 

Phocal

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Anchorage
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.
When I moved to Alaska I got rid of a lot of stuff and that include 52 of the 55 "camera" backpacks that I had. Since getting up here I found this pack which I did a review on that you may want to take a look at. A year in and I have never found anything to work better and the bonus is I can carry my pack raft and all it's associated gear in the overload section. Seriously happy with this pack.
 

oldracer

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The gist here I think is right: Don't limit yourself to "photo bags." The world of tactical bags is maybe a hundred times broader and is somewhat component-oriented so you can separate your load into clip-on bags and pouches, and maybe just take what is needed on a particular day.

http://www.maxpedition.com/ is a good place to browse and get ideas, but there are many others with similar products at lower prices. https://lapolicegear.com/bags-packs.html is another good resource. Their house brand products are pretty good and they carry (or at least used to) carry Condor, which is a decent low-priced brand. The really premium brands are great but heavy, built for a few months duty in Yemen or Afghanistan -- overkill for photography.
 

AaronE

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Idaho
I gave up on camera specific bags long ago. I use a Kelty Redwing 2650 pack if I have to carry much gear. Has room for gear, cloths, food and has room for a 3 liter blade. I put my lenses in padded cases and just stuff them in the pack. Opens from the top and bottom and has two large pockets on the side for really quick access.
 

trailguru

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Nov 9, 2012
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Somerset, England
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.
Thanks for the reply. Basic kit specs are: 2 x Olympus EM-5s, 9-18mm zoom, 12-40mm Pro zoom, 40-150 Pro zoom, 60mm Macro, Cullmann travel tripod, panoramic stage, Lee filter system.
 

trailguru

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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.
The Peak Capture Clip looks really neat. It's added to my wish list :)
 

trailguru

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Somerset, England
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
Thumbs up for a small folding umbrella. In the UK it's more than useful.
 

trailguru

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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.
I'm erring toward the hiking pack (like a Keltie 32L) plus insert (PD medium with two acess points) and maybe a PD camera clip. I should also add the hiking ranges from Somerset Levels to the Cullin Mountains
 

trailguru

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Nov 9, 2012
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Somerset, England
As was said, first thing is to minimize what you carry to what you NEED, or can compromise down to.
Do you NEED to carry two bodies? The only time I carry two bodies, is when I am shooting an event where I have to switch lenses FAST, then I grab camera #2 with that lens attached. Otherwise, I generally shoot with a single body. Sometimes I bring the smaller/lighter EM10, instead of the EM1.
When I travel, I leave my big/heavy pro lenses at home. Instead I carry the smaller/lighter non-pro lenses. For my purposes, they are "good enough."
The 'two-body' regime is actually a hang-over from my pro days. Don't know exactly why I've never changed but, now I'm retired, this looks like a good time to.
 
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