Lumbar / Waist / Hip / Bum bag roundup

melanieylang

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There has been so much discussion about bags on the forum, but as I grow ever more reluctant to carry much gear, my investigations have led me to bags worn around the waist area, for best access, freedom and weight distribution. (I have a Vanguard photography backpack I really like, especially when my partner wears it, but sadly he can't always be where I'm shooting. I would say that this is the ultimate in freedom!)

I'm finding that even, say, 4kg of cargo hung about my shoulders soon becomes too much. But I'm someone who doesn't leave home without taking a lot of stuff I might need (though seldom do need it), and not just photography gear.

Please share your bum bag / fanny pack experiences, photo would be great, too. I'm shopping for something used, and appreciate your wisdom.

Thanks!
 

melanieylang

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This was my favourite, flexible carry option, particularly for 2 cameras plus whatever I usually have in my interchangeable bag (purse), but I'm finding the cross body strap bears too much weight. Another option with this set up is to add a belt with clips that also clip to the bag, providing a stabilizer.
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I use some hybrid bum bag versions.

For me 4kg or even 2Kg would be too much in a bum bag

I recently purchased the smallest MindShift Rotation pack with the built in bum bag as we call it.
I keep my camera like the G85 with 14-140 in the bum bag. It does not take the EM1.3 with 12-100.
All other items I keep in the pack. Sort of best of both worlds.

I also have some Thinktank holsters that can be carried either via sling or via the waist by a seperate belt. You need a good belt for these but again only for a single camera.

Also have a CosySpeed bum bag for camera and pancake lens

I find too much weight around the waist only is cumbersome for me. I have a number of Crumpler bum bags of various sizes and have ended up not using them for camera gear apart from single cameras.

Probably not much help, but I have been down the bum bag path and it did not work for me
 
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I am not into waist/fanny/bum bags. I don't find them comfortable to wear or use. However, those that can be used as cross-body sling bags are OK. I've found that cross-body bags are highly dependent on how good their strap is and how it spreads the load. Eg., I used the OpTech SOS strap (https://www.optechusa.com/s-o-s-strap.html) on my Tom Bihn Maker's Bag and it made a big difference in how comfortable it is as an EDC messenger bag. Not saying the Tom Bihn strap isn't good, but the OpTech was even better.

I've seen some that might be worth considering. They're not necessarily camera bags, but are very adaptable for them.
Greenroom136 makes some good looking bags. https://www.greenroom136.com
@Indianpeaksjoe really likes them. https://www.mu-43.com/threads/bags-and-more-bags.593/page-147#post-1412434

I like Tom Bihn. I have a couple of their messenger type bags.
https://www.tombihn.com/collections/hip-packs

The Hex bags look interesting. https://www.hexbrand.com/collections/camera

There's the Peak Design Everyday Sling as well. Can be worn as a hip bag.
https://www.peakdesign.com/collections/everyday-bags/products/everyday-sling
 
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Macroramphosis

Jack of Spades and an unfeasibly large wheelbarrow
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THE TARDIS

Thanks to @Danny_SWE I am the owner of a Lowepro Trekker HP 120, which I bought off FleaBay for €20. It is actually nothing like you see in the photos on BHP, and I find it very functional. I've taken to using it this summer with a GM5, and either the PL15, P30 or S60 attached, AND the P12-32 and the PZ45-175 alongside it.

The bag has a small zipped front pocket for small items (batteries, SD cards etc), and in the main compartment I can still carry my wallet, sunnies, COVID items, and other sundries. In the back zipped pocket I carry some cash, cables and a pen.

It is very comfortable and practical to wear across the shoulder, all day, plus it fits nicely around the waist if you want it in front of you while doing some serious shooting. I have found it in the past to be a useful bag to use with the GX8 and some lenses, but you will lose the space to put other stuff inside the main compartment. It's very well built, all the bits are in the right place and it's practical for what I want it for, though YMMV, of course. But for the price I paid, it's a steal.

It's small enough that when loaded and put around one's shoulder it does most definitely not look like it contains camera gear. Which is almost the main reason I like it :D

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Rear view showing lateral slim zippered pocket
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I manage to cram all of the things below into the main compartment...
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The only niggly fault with it is that the locking strap is not long enough - but a plain black split ring solved that and it's now perfect! It's only a matter of 3/4 of an inch or so, but it's an easy fix.
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ralf-11

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usually termed hip packs in the US; Dana Designs made the best one (and I have used dozens) but they were sold to another co.
 

Bushboy

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Melanie, that is a very sophisticated look you have there, with the matching hat and jumper. Twin cameras! OMG! Very nice. However, a much better look is attainable with a builders apron harness and pouches on either side! Instant access and superior load carrying ability. Extras available like phone holders and all manner of differing pouches. Check ‘em out at Bunnings or Mitre 10.
 

John M Flores

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4kg is a lot to carry on one shoulder all day. But I have used a Timbuk 2 Snoop Messenger with some success. When I get to a shooting location, I'll pull the camera out and either carry it in my hand or on the strap, thus lightening the load in the bag. When the shooting's done, I'll put the camera away and cinch the cross stabilizer strap to help distribute the load a little bit. But for all-day comfort, nothing beats a good backpack.
 

mumu

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There has been so much discussion about bags on the forum, but as I grow ever more reluctant to carry much gear, my investigations have led me to bags worn around the waist area, for best access, freedom and weight distribution. (I have a Vanguard photography backpack I really like, especially when my partner wears it, but sadly he can't always be where I'm shooting. I would say that this is the ultimate in freedom!)

I'm finding that even, say, 4kg of cargo hung about my shoulders soon becomes too much. But I'm someone who doesn't leave home without taking a lot of stuff I might need (though seldom do need it), and not just photography gear.

Please share your bum bag / fanny pack experiences, photo would be great, too. I'm shopping for something used, and appreciate your wisdom.

Thanks!
My favourite waist pack for carrying multiple bodies or larger lenses has been my Think Tank ChangeUp v.2.0 which I bought used from BHPhoto. The wide belt makes it comfortable for supporting most of the weight on my hips but I almost always use a single shoulder strap with it to minimize the bouncing (when heavily loaded). You can see some photos of it on this person's website: http://blog.suzi-pratt.com/product-review-thinktank-change-up-belt-pack/

It's also great for carrying other stuff like my wallet, glasses, phone, water bottle, small umbrella, action cam, etc. And for the times when I need to carry a heavy load, I'll use both shoulder straps to convert the bag into a backpack for longer periods of carrying or for front carry when also carrying a backpack.

It's only downside IMO is that it looks nothing like a conventional waist pack. It is clearly a gear bag of some kind. But I love it because it's very configurable and reduces the friction in swapping lenses and cameras so I'm more likely to make the effort to get the shot.

Here's another great review of the bag along with an example of it being worn in front: https://shuttermuse.com/think-tank-change-up-review/

For really lightweight use, I have a couple of PacSafe waist packs that I'll use. I like them because they have a covered "safety" buckle that requires two-hands to un-snap, making it harder to snatch off of me.
 

melanieylang

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Melanie, that is a very sophisticated look you have there, with the matching hat and jumper. Twin cameras! OMG! Very nice. However, a much better look is attainable with a builders apron harness and pouches on either side! Instant access and superior load carrying ability. Extras available like phone holders and all manner of differing pouches. Check ‘em out at Bunnings or Mitre 10.
Why thank you, colour coordination is important in my outfits :) I find changing lenses stressful while out shooting, so I'm more likely to wear two cameras to avoid it! I had considered utility aprons, but so far haven't tried one. I'll check next time I'm near a hardware store.
 

melanieylang

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Thanks for all the recommendations. I've been looking at the Think Tank products, as they seem very well thought-out, customisable with add-ons, and durable. I also like the look of the Cosyspeed Camslinger. Generally, I prefer a more classic style over a sporty style.

Another idea I've just had is having two smaller waist packs instead of one bigger one, and wearing either one or both (on either hip, like a gunslinger!) depending on what I want to carry. Hmm...lots to think about...
 

melanieylang

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And for the times when I need to carry a heavy load, I'll use both shoulder straps to convert the bag into a backpack for longer periods of carrying or for front carry when also carrying a backpack.
How quickly can you access it when backpacking? I do like the comfort and hands-free ease of a backpack, but dislike not having things easily to hand, which I what I find when wearing one. Maybe I just wrote an oxymoron!
 

melanieylang

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how about a vest?
That's certainly another option. But I'm conscious of it needing to look good also!!

I’ve been using a Camslinger for a few years now (see my review). I would recommend it as a hip bag, with the caveat that you can only fit one camera with a small/medium lens, plus a few odds and ends.
Thank you, I did read your excellent review earlier. In all probability, my camera(s) would not be packed in the bag, but be on a sling or wrist strap - the bag would be more for other lenses, water, wallet, etc.
 

mumu

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918
How quickly can you access it when backpacking? I do like the comfort and hands-free ease of a backpack, but dislike not having things easily to hand, which I what I find when wearing one. Maybe I just wrote an oxymoron!
I would rate it as slow to access when using it in the double shoulder strap backpack mode (ie: bag is at my back). But I'll only use that mode when I know I won't need to access the bag for a long time. On the other hand, using the double shoulder straps and wearing it on the front makes for fantastic access to gear.
99% of the time it's on my left hip with one shoulder strap going over my right shoulder. Speaking of being easily to hand, I also like using a shoulder strap because I often hang a camera on it via a Peak Designs Capture Clip. I also have another Clip on the waist belt where I often clip a GoPro to quickly grab well-stabilized video clips when traveling.

Also, in wet or dusty conditions, or when I think the pick pocket risk is high, it has a built-in rain hood that I use to cover it up.
 

ralf-11

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yes, that was after he sold Dana Designs so he could have time for outdoors adventures. Then he went back to packs, tho the new co. has a bit of a different focus.
 

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