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Old September 29th, 2009, 12:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Camera Pack Recommendation

I posted this as part of a continuing thread I had going in another thread, but thought it might get more interest here.

Any experience with the following:

Lowepro | Super Trekker AW II Backpack | LP19800-PEF | B&H Photo

National Geographic | NG-5737 Earth Explorer Large | NG 5737

Clik Elite | Large Hiker Backpack (Gray) | CE402GR | B&H Photo

Kata | HB-205 GDC Hiker Backpack | KT HB-205 | B&H Photo Video

Lowepro | DryZone Rover Backpack (Yellow) | LP34733-PEF | B&H

Looking for something that can carry camera gear (Pentax K7, 3 or 4 lenses, tripod and head) and camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, and basic necessities like socks and layers) that will stand up to the elements well and is suitable for a multi-day excursion. I know the Kata has a modular system that allows you to add hip and chest bags to the backpack. The Lowepro claims waterproof (good idea for my canoe trips). The Click seems to be the most like a true hiking pack. Surprisingly, the NatGeo got some really shining reviews on B&H. I'm debating whether to go with a single pack that can do it all (if there is one), or just get a small camera bag that I can comfortably carry along with a hiking pack.

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Old September 30th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #2
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Check out Petrol Bags, they make some nice gear, very fond of them at the moment.
Or could you just use a standard rucksack with individual padded camera and lens pouches inside?
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Old October 1st, 2009, 06:48 AM   #3
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Lowepro Aw II

I have this backpack and used it a while filming during the winter on the shore.

You can strap on camping essentials, I guess, and it's adjustable enough to make for a comfy hike.

I found it waterproof enough to stand out in the rain and wind for quite a while, but wouldn't risk it in a canoe or anywhere else it might end up in the water.

If you need a bag to have quick access to other lenses, filters, shades, covers etc. it's a bit bulky to swing on and off or round your shoulder. Also makes you a fairly huge object - and a not very stealthy one at that!

I'd happily use it to trek with (though its capacity isn't huge), but would combine with a smaller dry-sac to carry bits and bobs in once you've set up camp. It does come with with a little backpack baggy, but it isn't very waterproof or very sturdy.

Also, don't expect to strap a decent video tripod to the AWII - you'll keel over backwards on the first incline (if you haven't wrecked your back by then).

The tripod cradle attachment is really only for lightweight stills 'pods.

- x
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Old October 5th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #4
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NG pack

I have the NG pack. I also backpack and film (with a Sony EX3, batteries, mattebox, filters, tripod, etc.). it's ALWAYS a challenge getting stuff in the backcountry.

Per the NG pack. It's outstanding in all the pockets and is really comfortable. I travel with it (on a plane) all the time, fully loaded. Would it work as a backpacking pack? You could make it work but I don't think it's what you want. The canvass material is slightly heavy (though lighter than it looks). The many pockets make its usefulness VERY HIGH but add excessive weight. It also uses a traditional "look" with snaps and buttons and flaps, etc that look cool, but also add silly weight. Further, you could fit your camera gear, lenses, etc. and most of your camping odds and ends pretty well (food is iffy) but no way to get anything bigger than a bivvy in there and a sack would HAVE to go on the outside. It isn't very deep.

Hope that helps.

P.S. What does work is 1) renting llamas or some pack animal, 2) going with a friend who can help carry the weight, 3) carrying the camera over your shoulder and tripod in other hand or tied to back (balance SUCKS with it, so don't try anything too gnarly), and always going ultra light on the gear and heavy on the food (you'll be up with the light anyway so sleep is secondary, but food energy is primary!). Best wishes.
Jonathan Ramsey
treeline film company
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Old October 13th, 2009, 02:47 AM   #5
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Tamrac Adventure 8

I think the Tamrac is fairly similar to the Lowepro in it's design. It can take most small eng type cameras/16mm kits, along with accessories and has a rear tripod cradle. Agree on not loading a large tripod here, I've nearly had a few incidents from being pulled over backwards. The bag just fits flight hold limits, but it is a little on the large side.
It has a front pocket for storing extra clothes, plus plenty of external loops.
Had this bag coming up to 3 years now, and it's still in pretty good shape.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 02:37 AM   #6
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You may want to take a look at the Lowepro Computrekker Plus AW. It is a big bag (not the size of the Super Trekker of course) but it swallows really quite a lot of stuff. I bought one to replaced my Mini Trekker that was terribly over stuffed and now have 2, one for video and one for stills. With video, I can fit in a Canon H1 with the viewfinder detached but still in the main compartment, rail system, follow focus, 20x stock lens and a couple of accessories. The large front pocket can take a lot of stuff too.

Lowepro | CompuTrekker Plus AW Backpack | LP34705-PEF | B&H

If the bag is too small for some trips, you can always buy additional pouches that go onto the main bag itself. I reckon that the Think Tank system will work superbly with this bag. I have the TT too but have not found a need to carry both systems.


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Old October 15th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #7
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I'm not a fan of a single pack for everything. First, I find backpacks to be too difficult to draw from if you have to set up in a hurry. Second when possible, I want to leave tent and other camping equipment behind when I go out to record for the day. For years I've used Porta Brace's HIP-4 Hip Pack. Very fast to get a camera in and out. I also carry a light daypack for anything else (poncho, first aid, more water, etc). Unfortunately, the HIP-4 isn't large enough for my EX-1 so I'm working on an alternative but it won't be a backpack, at least no backpack where you have to remove the pack to access the camera.
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