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E-M5 backpacking - new owner

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Ropes4u, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. Ropes4u

    Ropes4u Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 24, 2012
    I recently bought a reconditioned E-M5 and 12-50 lens. I expect my lens choice will fluctuate and change as time goes on but for now this is it. I have searched and cannot find an answer to match my needs.

    As an avid hiker and backpacker with an eye towards the pacific crest trail and Colorado trail I need to find a safe solution to pack the camera and lenses.

    I expect to carry no more than two or three lenses. I know one will be the 60mm macro. I will strap a small tripod to the outside of the pack.

    So my questions are has anyone found a light weight and safe way to pack the E-M5 and a couple lenses?

    Has anyone used a solar charger to recharge the batteries?
  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I use a Crumpler Haven Insert for backpacking/hiking. I normally carry the 12-50/14-42, 40-150 and a prime. There little pockets on the front of the insert for batteries, SD cards, etc.
  4. marcr1230

    marcr1230 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2013
    I don't like the bulk and unwieldiness of a case hanging loose of a pack

    I've looked at this design, it seems pretty secure and well thought out:

    my only concern would be whether the camera/connector would irritate or chafe

    usually I tuck my camera inside my pack and wrap it in a padded lens wrap, but that makes it a chore to take out, you miss shots because it's not handy, and once out, you have to carry it in your hand or on a strap around your neck - also not ideal
  5. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I think that the OP is only going to strap his tripod to the outside of his pack.
  6. marcr1230

    marcr1230 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2013
    Re solar chargers , I had good success using one to charge my iPhone via USB - you can also get a small battery, you charge the battery during the day ( mount the small solar panel on the top or back of you pack, then charge the camera battery at night via the storage battery. Some cameras have USB chargers which plug into the solar panel or storage battery. Re the EM-5 , I don't know is a USB charger exists for the battery - test everything before going - nothing worse that a faulty solar panel or storage battery on trail
  7. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I I was going to suggest a Crumpler as well. Or I sometimes just put lenses in soft neoprene cases and I have a neoprene wrap. That and some extra cloths seems to keep things pretty safe.
  8. mievil

    mievil Mu-43 Regular

    May 17, 2013
    San Diego
    I just did a small section of the PCT (really small) tied in with a 13 mile hike, and then did a 22 mile hike in Utah. If you are hiking exposed, with no risk to rocks, that belt attachment looks awesome! Only problem was if you didn't have a super stiff belt, it would hang down with weight and your pants would sag on that side. I know it sounds insignificant, but when you are out and the only thing you think about sometimes is the asymmetry of your body and constantly having to shift the weight of your gear, it will wear on you mentally.

    The hanging pouch on your thigh I would say no to, though. That thing will bounce on your thigh over and over and over and only create a focus point of your mind hating the fact that all the rest of your gear is secure, but you have this bruise inducing set frequency bounce on your leg. No way. No how.

    On both big days, I just had the camera on strap thrown over my neck and should cross body. This way I only had to take one arm out to snap something. After some time, if you don't have things situated right, that eye piece will bang on your rib cage with that damn frequency again and just cause a sore spot. But it was the most convenient. If you have it zipped up somewhere, you will always be stopping to unzip and take it out. If it is out, you will always be thinking that there is nothing to currently shoot, so you might as well put it away and as soon as you put it away, you'll want to have it out again. Sigh.

    I also had some neoprene lens bags from ebay with plastic hooks that snapped on the hip support of my pack. I only have primes, so this was necessary. I would think if you carried a single lens that would really be beneficial. In fact, after the 22 mile, I decided I will be getting a really nice point and shoot instead of the EM-5, simply because it will fit in a hip pouch and be much lower weight and size.

    I am extremely glad that I left the tripod in the car on the last hike. It is very lightweight, but quite cumbersome over long periods of time. Unless you are going to be shooting moving water, or something like that that needs long exposure times, I'd ditch that idea right away.
  9. Ropes4u

    Ropes4u Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 24, 2012
    I have a s95 which goes in my hip belt pouch, an iPhone goes in my pocket. Now the M5 will go "somewhere".

    The peak design is something I would like to try with a small prime or 9-18mm strapped to my harness. But as mentioned above the weight / balancing could be a real issue long term.

    I really bought the M5 for the 60mm macro in an effort to avoid the nightmarish weight of a full frame and macro lens.

    Neoprene or the crumpler are great idea for lenses in the pack.
  10. ThatFireGuy

    ThatFireGuy Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 9, 2014
    Boise, ID
    What I've ended up doing is using a Mountainsmith Zoom (small) for the lenses and such (cleaning clothes, spare batteries, filters, etc), and a simple neoprene sleeve for the camera, stashed at the top of the back, whether it's a day pack or a trekking-type setup.. It works decently, with the lenses being pretty well protected no matter where they get crammed, and the neoprene sleeve is low-profile enough that the body/lens can be put somewhere fairly accessible. I've just worn it around my neck a few times instead of stashing it in the pack when the scenery would have me stopping frequently for pics. It's doable if you're not going too far with it around your neck.

    Not ideal, but easier than it was with my full-frame Canon, that's for sure. I've been nothing but happy with my E-M5 for backpacking.
  11. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    With IBIS you may not need the tripod unless you know for sure that you are going to be doing long exposure shots. Mievil comments about carrying the camera is a good one, you want to look into a sling.
  12. O2BanRRT

    O2BanRRT Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 25, 2012
    Waterloo, Ontario (Canada)
    I'll give a plus 1 for the Peak Design Capture Clip, it follows me along regardless of which pack/bag I am carrying at the time. I have the older version of the Capture Clip and am very happy ... I have no conflicts of interest to declare re Peak Designs :) 

  13. marcr1230

    marcr1230 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2013
    I just ordered the peak designs capture pro clip - will report back after a trial
  14. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    I've used the Lowepro Toploader Pro 65 AW. Several ways to wear it. When packing I put my pack belt through the back belt loop and use one of the straps intended for a chest pack to make a thigh strap. So it becomes like an oversized hand gun holster.

    It also has straps for adding an extra bag on the side which I use to carry water in. The options are what make it so good for packing or skiing. If I want to take a couple of lenses then I use one of the larger Toploaders.

    For high elevation backpacking I usually take a table tripod and day hikes I take a small tripod but strap it to the backpack.
  15. marcr1230

    marcr1230 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2013
    I got the peak design camera pro clip today in the mail

    It's well made and well thought out

    It attaches to the shoulder strap or and belt/strap
    I mounted it mid-chest on a day pack shoulder strap - the osprey talon 22. I walked around a bit with it on and camera mounted , felt ok, the real test is in the field. You can't control too much where how the camera lays on you chest. You can adjust it height wise but the shoulder strap may be over to the left or tight more or less depending on the pack design
    Also - I don't have much padding upstairs - I'll give a more in depth review after hiking w it
  16. Ropes4u

    Ropes4u Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 24, 2012
    Looking forward to the review. I am 90% sure I will buy a prime to carry while hiking. But it arrived today :) 

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  17. johnvanatta

    johnvanatta Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 5, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    I just posted my homebrew solution for transporting the lenses here: https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=67919

    As for the camera body, I've had some back/shoulder issues so I bought the chest-mount Cotton Carrier. It's great for a DSLR, the camera is conveniently accessible and the weight is centered. Having weight forward helps balance against your pack a little bit too, useful on rougher terrain. Comfortable for hours even with a d800+24-120/4 combo (4 pounds!). It looks pretty...hardcore...but on the trail, land of convertible nylon pants, that hardly matters :) 

    For m43, it's a little overkill. I still like the centered weight and accessibility, but it's definitely bigger and heavier than necessary. And the look is not so good for casual/urban travel. So I've bought the Peak Design Capture as well, but I haven't had time to really run it through the paces. I suspect that it'll work better with a small prime than the 12-40/2.8, which may be a problem, since a midrange zoom is a good default while on the move.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Ropes4u

    Ropes4u Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 24, 2012
  19. bartjeej

    bartjeej Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 9, 2012
    I use a National Geographic NG4475 sling bag, adapted to make the sling a bit shorter so that it sits tight against my torso - better for weight distribution, balance, and chafing. When carrying a backpack, or any time I'm expecting a photo opportunity, the sling bag is on my chest and the camera is immediately accessible. It's big enough for a mirrorless camera with lens attached and one or two extra lenses, or other stuff, and it's tough as nails.

    The only downsides are that it doesn't have a stabiliser strap (this is no problem if you're also carrying a backpack, since that will keep the strap from sliding, but if it's just the sling bag, it might shift when you're bending over), and that having something on your chest can obscure your view of your feet, which can be dangerous if you're covering tricky ground in the mountains. When wearing a backpack, I can use a carabiner to sort of cinch the sling bag to the shoulder strap and see my feet unobstructed; when not wearing a backpack, the sling bag goes on my back on technical sections.
  20. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I have and have used the Capture Clip, but not so much any more. The problem for me is carrying the camera exposed when hiking. Not so much rain, as you can always put it away as the weather changes. Rather, it's the occasional bumps and bruises when you bag things or even fall. I managed to scrape up my Nikon 1, and at the same time give myself a nasty chest / rib bruise where the camera smashed into me, when I slipped on some wet rocks and fell, despite trying to be careful.

    So now I usually put the camera in a bag and either attach it to the waist belt on the pack or just to its own belt.

    If I'm in a situation where I'm comfortable with the camera being exposed, I've migrated to the Spider Black Widow system. Goes on any normal belt, and I find it more comfortable and user-friendly than the Capture. But I don't usually do this when in the wild.
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