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Seeking a "Breathable" backpack while being roomy

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by KBeezie, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Presently I have two bags I use most of the time, an old National Geographic backpack I have had for the last 10 years (doesn't unzip in the middle like the newer one), and a smaller more recent shoulder bag.

    I'm seeking a new backpack.

    Two major things:

    1) Since the development of sciatica last year, it has to be a backpack with two straps, this means no sling bags, or one-shoulder strap since I need to distribute the weight evenly or my sciatica would flare up when I walk.

    Translation : Needs to be a both-shoulder backpack.

    2) Because when I "go for a walk" I'll usually be outside for like 12+ hours, there's a good chance I'll sweat a lot, with my national geographic backpack, while it is well padded on the back, it absorbs moisture like crazy so when I get home the back of the backpack is completely wet and stays like that overnight.

    Translation : Back-padding that's not only comfortable but allows for airflow to help keep it dry from sweat.

    Preferable but not high priority options :
    - Width/Height to hold a single notebook/textbook in addition to gear (for when I'm half-packing for college, and not planning on a full-gear trip)
    - Firm backing so that the bag can stand up straight when I set it down (ex: no flopping over cuz I got a camera in top and not much in bottom, etc).
    - Ability to attach a monopod or tripod (my monopod is a smaller carbon fiber with a 496RC2 ballhead, but the tripod is a heavier 3021 with a 3-way)
    - Rain Cover
    - Compartments are vertical in nature so that when it's on my back it's not shifted sideways in transit.

    Higher Priority preference:
    - Lots of little compartments on the outside for batteries, filters, etc.
    - Weather Resistant and Durable (I've had to sew/patch a tear once on the right shoulder strap of my national geographic bag)
    - Has some sort of spot either by attachment or pull out to place water bottles/etc.
    - Plenty of compartments, preferably with some that can be enclosed.
    - An exterior "loose" compartment for things that can be thrown in, and quickly grabbed from.
    - Under $80-ish

    This is a picture of my 'small' setup which may vary by one or two lens, but essentially this all fits into the small shoulder bag. The Jupiter-11 135mm f/4 can be left at home to allow for the speedlight to be slipped into the side instead. This configuration allows for the camera body to fit into the bag as well.

    Basically carries my full 'portable' range of lens, 9mm /f8, 12mm f/2.0, 20mm f/1.7, 45mm f/1.8 and the 135mm f/4. I usually slim it to just the 12, 20, and 45 when I want to go lighter.

    PinUBnJ.

    And this is probably the 'most' I would carry when not carrying a textbook/notebook in the top compartment.

    yE1EdTv.

    CbtcIcD.

    A couple I was looking at online (Mainly at B&H with ones showing Student Discounts)

    Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack II
    Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack II MB MA-BP-A2 B&H Photo

    Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack M
    Manfrotto Advanced Tri Backpack M (Medium) MB MA-BP-TM B&H Photo

    Vanguard Reno 41
    Vanguard Reno 41 DSLR Backpack (Khaki Green) RENO 41KG B&H Photo
     
  2. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    Hi KBeezie,
    It's too bad it's no longer available, but I'd recommend something like the F-Stop Kenti I got on clearance. It's really comfortable and built like a hiking backpack with good straps, breathable back padding, and a padded waist belt. I think you should look for a backpack with those kind of features, especially the padded waist belt. That will help put more of the weight on your hips and take it off your shoulders. That should help your sciatica.

    I think a backpack with a hydration reservoir pocket would also be a good idea if you're going to be out for 12 hours+. The Kenti has that, and also has side access zippers so I can slip a shoulder strap and swing it to my side to get gear out without putting it on the ground. Some packs have side access, or if you prefer, back access so you don't have to put it strap side down on the ground. Keeps the straps clean.

    You might consider some of the Mindshift Gear backpacks. Backpacks | MindShift Gear
     
  3. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Good note about the waist strap, it makes sense considering how sore my shoulders can get and if I'm twisting most of that weight is pulling at my upper body rather than around my back as a whole.

    Saturday when I went out I took a walk thru kent trails while also carrying the Manfrotto 3021 with the 3-way head (a really old 9lb aluminum tripod) with my right arm, sometimes with the camera snapped into the tripod head between destinations, as to keep the back of the camera off my stomach. Basically I would hold the mid section of the tripod with my hand down at my waist with the tripod head rested up against my shoulder (like hold a soldier may carry a rifle in a march). Edit swapping off the 3-way for my 488RC0 ballhead shaves 2lb off the tripod weight.

    Biggest problem for me was how wet my backside got after half the day.

    It was a pretty fruitful walk though, but would have been nice if I could quickly access one or two small lens in sort of a 'standby' pouch.

    untitled_panorama1_1920_by_kbeezie-da9oyrz.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  4. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    You might consider getting a much lighter tripod. I have something similar to that 3021 and I would definitely not take it hiking. :)
    If you need to take a tripod, it would be well worth investing in a lighter, more packable tripod like a MeFoto Roadtrip. That alone would save you a lot of weight and pain. With your light kit, the 3021 is overkill and a back killer too.
     
  5. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    :p Financially I don't have a choice in the matter far as tripods go since all the much lighter-yet-stable configurations appear to be over the 200$ mark.

    I do have the carbon fiber monopod when I don't need to go over a second exposure.

    Though if a light tripod had a center column that I could hang my backpack from to stabilize it (since stabilization is important when doing something like 30 to 60 second exposures) that might be practical, assuming the legs could stand the weight of the backpack hung on the center, thus acting like a sand bag.

    Lighter tripods seem to vibrate too much with just a breeze.

    PS: This seems attractive in regards to the bottom compartment remaining vertical when loaded/unloaded and being worn.
    Case Logic Luminosity DSLR Split Pack (Medium) DSB-102 B&H Photo

    Edit:
    Though this one seems to offer a [temporary] solution for tripod carry, dead down the center of the back.
    Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack (Black) LP35185 B&H Photo Video
    Edit #2 : seems a number of reviews reports that the Lowepro Flipsides tend to get very sweaty on the backside in warmer weather.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  6. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    This seems somewhat promising for under 100 provided the backside doesn't retain sweat in transit.

     
  7. Quadna71

    Quadna71 Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    May 25, 2016
    I have a Case Logic bag that looks very similar to that one - I think mine may be an older variation. The back does breathe well and you can fit a ton of equipment in it. One of the best features that I like is how the bottom of the bag is flat and sealed so when you invariably set it down in wet grass it stays nice and dry inside the base of the bag. Mine is the SLR-206 in case you want to compare features with the one you listed above.

     
  8. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    So far that's the one (KSB-102) I keep leaning towards shown here : Case Logic Kilowatt Camera & Laptop Sling Backpack KSB-102

    My main concern is the quality of the fabric as some reviews that the caselogic fabric especially inside tears too easily (namely amazon, which is basically hit-or-miss in regards to their accuracy, and doesn't seem to be reflected on B&H, Adorama and web in general)

    Another I looked at was an Ikan explorer but there was a youtube video showing the shoulder strap tearing away after just two days and that's a major problem.

    The other concern I had with the caselogic is that I noticed in the picture they use a plastic brace for the strap, while it has only happened to me once on a Victorinox backpack, if that piece cracks the backpack is essentially useless for carrying.

    h5V8l2f.
     
  9. Quadna71

    Quadna71 Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    May 25, 2016
    I understand your concern over the single point of failure. I can't speak to strong the clasp truly is, only that I've had my bag since 2011 and haven't had an issue with the plastic cracking (or anything else for that matter). I'm not overly tough on my bags though so maybe that is why it's lasted. Have any of the reviews mentioned failure at that point?
     
  10. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Not on that product no, so far the more I search around the more likely the caselogic will be ideal for me especially since I'm using a mirrorless setup where none of the lens or body is anywhere close to the size of the DSLRs people tend to complain about. Also I'm not too rough with my bags, I don't like swinging them around or throwing them down, especially since sometimes I'll carry fountain pens in one of the smaller pocket and you don't exactly want to be handling the bag roughly with those within.

    Seems like that's the route I shall go.

    Not only does it have a lot of pockets on all sides for small accessories, but the compartments in the bottom seem like it would be enough to fill most of my common gear with some planning. The top could hold a couple 'quick access' stuff, and on my off days looks like enough room to hold a small book, while also allowing me to slip in a notebook (as in paper not electronic) into the laptop slot. Also according to some of the reviews, it appears to have the same hard plastic bottom you mentioned in your 206.

    Edit went ahead and placed an order with B&H on the Caselogic KB102, especially since I needed to get a replacement lever for my Bogen 3021 (I got the one slightly more expensive one meant for Manfrotto 055 since it's the same single-spiral design as the 1980s 3021 I have) as well as a modeling lamp bulb for one of my Photogenic PL 750 that went out out some time ago ( :p kind of hard to use when not all the preview lights are on).
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  11. Quadna71

    Quadna71 Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    May 25, 2016
    Excellent. Hope it works well for you.
     
  12. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Since all three items qualified for expedited shipment, I should have everything by Wends. I'll be sure to get some pictures of it filled.
     
  13. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Jul 16, 2014
    Do have a closer look at the MeFoto Roadtrip. 3.6lb beats 9lb. :) Also has a hook at the bottom of the center column.
    MeFOTO RoadTrip Travel Tripod Kits - Choose Your Color!

    Buying through Greentoe.com ought to knock some off the price, maybe down to $170? I've used Greentoe several times over the past couple years and every experience has been great.
     
  14. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Would be something to plan for, especially if I can get my Nexus 4, Sigma 30/2.8, and some other stuff sold.

    Right now I made the tripod just shy past of 7lb by removing the 3-way head it originally had (this thing is from 1980s mind you), and replacing it with a 488RC0 ball head I no longer use on my heavier aluminum monopod. Which course made the top of the tripod much smaller in terms of carry angle. Not as controlled in terms of panning/etc but I'm not doing videos for the most part, and the ball head locks down much easier.

    Any tripod that can take a manfrotto/bogen head would be ideal to me (bonus if it already comes with a 3-way that I can swap off as I want).

    Though if I were to spend close to $200, I would probably just get this on the EDU discount (it's 197$)

    Manfrotto MT290XTC3US 290 Xtra Carbon Fiber Tripod MT290XTC3US

    And stick my smaller 496RC2 ballhead that's currently on my carbon fiber monopod onto it.

    To re-explain, tripod/monopod wise, I own a 3021 bogen with a 489RC0 + RC2 adapter, a generic carbon fiber monopod with a 496RC2 ballhead, and a manfrotto 682 monopod currently holding the 3047 3-way from the tripod, I have no plans to use the 682 as I haven't touched it in years ... I used to shoot with a 13lb Mamiya RB67 setup...
     
  15. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    late to the party...but that CL pack doesn't have a "breathable" back so don't expect much relief there. Nor is the suspension very comfortable looking. Given your criteria of carrying a relatively heavy load for 12hrs and not getting too sweaty I don't think you'll find anything in a dedicated "photo" backpack. My back hurts just looking at those torture devices on B&H. :) For a full day with a load you might look at modifying a "real" daypack with a mesh back w/air space and adjustable harness. I never carry that much photo gear when I go out for the day but I do carry food, extra clothes, puffy, raingear, etc. I currently have a couple of sizes of daypack for use depending on the circumstance. I'm using a 30L Gregory daypack for longer days and more stuff. Works as a carry-on too. Note the true mesh back separated from the back of the pack. Also have an 18L for shorter excursions. You'd obviously have to modify the bag for all of the photo stuff you carry.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. TheMenWhoDrawSheeps

    TheMenWhoDrawSheeps Mu-43 Regular

    152
    Jun 15, 2016
    There are few quite good in premium price range.
    Like kata bumplebee. The 222 is actually too big - it became my travel backpack, after i took out all the insides. Light, sturdy, there is fine Ventilation System keeping the whole backpack away from your body.

    But there is actually bumplebee 111 Mini, which might meet your needs perfectly.

    Minibee 111-UL | Kata Bags
     
  17. gpburdell

    gpburdell Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Jul 16, 2014
    Ha, sounds like the collection I used to have. :D One of my projects after fully committing to MFT was to downsize the ancillary stuff as appropriate, and that included the RC2/RC0 QR systems.

    I respectfully suggest you might consider Arca Swiss (and clone) possibilities as you fit out new support items. Much as I enjoyed the "snap in" ability of the Manfroto RC systems, I find I've become fond of the Arca style -- particularly since putting an aftermarket ECG2 clone grip on my EM5markII that has an Arca compatible bottom rail. No need to have a plate, it just goes right into the clamp on my tripod or monopod (Sirui P326 with Benro IH0 head)

    As for the MT290XT tripod - looks nice. Three leg sections certainly beats four (or five) for greater stability. Just watch the folded length. When I bought a tripod for hiking I also considered travel, and thus wanted to be sure it could fit into airline carry-on size luggage.
     
  18. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I agree with gpburdell. That MT290XT might look good and with only three sections, somewhat sturdier than one with more sections. But, the folded length is still quite long and that could be unwieldy. It's only shorter in relation to the 3021. Consider this option. Instead of getting a large tripod that extends to your height when extended, how about one that's tall enough when you're seated? You can have a light, compact, stable tripod if you get one that does not extend to six feet. I figure in most landscape cases, unless you're trying to get over some foreground objects, a shorter tripod may do just as well as a tall tripod, and will substantially relax your requirements and reduce your packed size and weight. In fact, if you can find a rock to put it on, something as small as a MeFoto DayTrip or a tabletop tripod may work just as well. For your light gear, it'd probably be more than good enough. If you're going to put an Olympus 300 Pro on it, well that's another story. :)
     
  19. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Which do not seem to be made anymore.


    Seems like it would be less absorbent and faster to dry than the canvas-over-foam backing I am currently using :

    VhkWGLF.

    OOrVzZLg.

    SA50XjG.

    On the case logic I know the mesh is separate from the backing because in the videos and strap configuration photographs, the straps as well as the waist strap tucks in between the divided space between the mesh and backing. Basically the mesh is only connected across the bottom, very top center, and along the sides, opened at the corners (more so at the top).

    I don't really want to completely change tripod/monopod systems at this point as I already have the plates and heads, and I don't mind the RC2 (The little square one). I might change the legs sooner, and then eventually replace the ball head or 3-way to one that uses the smaller plate directly.

    But if I were to come into some money to just replace it all at once I'll consider that. The 3021 I have is a three leg section. I'm usually extending the lowest/thinnest legs first, since I can easily adjust the middle legs without bending over from there. My carbon fiber monopod (which just says COSMO MPC-1984 on the grip) is a 4 section, and takes the manfrotto/bogen heads. Also my plates already had their screws replaced for blackrapids (though it's been a while since I even used that system, but the screws are nicer/quicker to get attached). So would rather not change the plates I already use so soon.
     
  20. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    694
    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    :p The reason the MT290XT was chosen at a glance wasn't for size but because it was the cheapest Carbon Fiber B&H had listed that could take a manfrotto head with a weight of 4.4lb with a load capacity of 11lb, roughly twice what I would expect to use, just in case I pick up a spotting scope or something, my current setup would be around 5.5lb if using the Rokinon 85/1.4 including the 2lb weight of the existing ball head.

    This could work, as it is half the weight of the carbon fiber one, and seems to take manfrotto heads, but never heard of the Oben brand, but it has a load limit of 11lb, and with the ballhead attached it would be about 26" folded. (my 3021 is 30" folded with the ballhead rotated back)

    Oben AC-1341 Aluminum Tripod AC-1341 B&H Photo Video

    But this looks good too in terms of folding down to 13", supports 22lb, has a vertical column I can weight on, just not sure about twist locks or if it will accept a manfrotto head.

    Sirui T-1005X 5-Section Aluminum Tripod SUT1005X B&H Photo Video
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016