Photo Bag vs. Backpack - Or (gasp) Both!?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by astrostu, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    So, I'm really trying to figure this out within the next 2 days since I'll be flying out on a trip Sept. 28.

    I'm a fan of camera bags. I find them easy to access, you can carry them in a variety of ways, they don't hang on your back making you sweat when it's hot out, and you can also have a backpack for other stuff (like a water bottle) at the same time.

    BUT, a camera bag that would carry all of my equipment plus have room to grow in the next 2-4 years (another 2 lenses, another flash, and a second body) would need to be the size of the Lowepro Nova 200 AW or 5 AW (the latter being discontinued, I'm told), or nearly the size of the Magnum AW. In other words, those are MASSIVE BAGS to be carrying on your shoulder. Alternatively, the Lowepro Mini Trekker AW backpack should work for me with room to grow.

    So now I'm starting to seriously consider whether or not its wise to actually have both a bag and a backpack, each serving their own purposes. For example, for my upcoming trip, I'm going to be driving to a lot of places, then getting out and walking around for a half hour to an hour, photographing, and then coming back to the car, likely needing 1-2 lens changes plus a tripod (though the tripod isn't a necessity). I think the backpack would be good for that. Alternatively, when I go to the campus observatory or to a friend's wedding, a bag with readily accessibly gear that can just sit next to the computer would be easiest.

    Does that make sense? Have other people found this to be a good approach? Any other advice?
     
  2. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    get a back pack, you wont regret it, I have a camera bag that goes on my shoulder and after a couple of hours it makes one shoulder ache, It also swings down when I bend over, so i spend most my time faffting about with the bag so it is comfortable and still.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Makes perfect sense!
    I know many who use a shoulder bag when they go camping (since their back is loaded with other stuff) but will happily use a backpack when out walking.
    The only downside of a backpack is that it does mean you have to stop and take it off and opening to change lenses, whilst a shoulder bag will let you remain standing and change. But of course the shoulder bag can get wieghtly when you are on a longer walk or carrying heavier lenses - that is where a proper backpack comes in handy
    Also the mini tekker has two dowsides - firstly if you use the slipknot packs on the side (I do one for a waterbottle holder and the other for a smaller bag) they cover over the side clips that really need to be in place and secure for good walking - makes it a little slower at opening but not to a huge degree. The other problem is its not the best for holding a tripod - idealy you want the tripod close to you back - one one side of the bag with another heavy object (lens) on the other side to balance the bag, but the minitekker holds the tripod out infront of the bag - which means if a god distance from you back which makes it heavier to carry - it also won't be able to use its AW cover with the tripod attached (so you have to take it off and carry it).

    That said I am very please with my bag - holds a good amout of kit securely and is a decent size!

    edit - Rachel is right about the bag shifting - I shoot macro and much prefer the secure and still backpack over a shoulder bag for that reason
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've found that different bags are better for different situations...and of course, I have several different bags and want a few more yet.

    I have a backpack (Lowepro Computrekker AW) and it's my main bag, but using a backpack is often a pain. Not only is it slow to take off and access the gear, but you must lay the bag down to really open it fully...and you must put the straps on the bottom...so if you are in a messy environment, your straps will get dirty. With a good solid shoulder bag, the bottom is always the bottom and you could set the bag down into a mud puddle if need be.

    But for hiking or walking around, a backpack will make your day a lot more enjoyable than a heavy shoulder bag.

    Have you considered the sling type bags?
     
  5. mimstrel

    mimstrel TPF Noob!

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    If things are light enough and my backpack solid enough, I carry a backpack on one shoulder. Then, I swing it under my arm to access, pull out what I want, and swing it back behind me. You have to have the right style of backpack for this - if the front opens all the way things will fall on the ground (but I don't trust that style anyway!). If its too heavy to do this a shoulder bag would be a bad idea anyway, IMO.
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a camera bag, and a backpack where this bag (+ some extra goodies such as a laptop, rain protection, tele lens and all that) fits in.
    So during shooting I take the camera bag out and use it for fast access, if I expect to stop shooting for more than 1 hr, I put the camera bag back into the backpack.
     
  7. FlyingWithFish

    FlyingWithFish TPF Noob!

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    There are many bags for many different purposes. In my closet, over the years for work, I have collected dozens of bags, backpacks, rolling bags, shoulder bags, belt systems, and they each have their own use.

    For backpacks alone I have 5 I can think of off the top of my head. One is the 'big bag', another is the 'carry it all compactly' bag, there there is the 'day bag', the 'quick news/corporate shoot' bag and of course the 'I just like this bag so I keep it' bag.

    For shoulder bags, I have many bags for different purposes.

    So does it make sense to have both? It sure does! Does it make sense to travel with both? Maybe not. That has quite a few variables in it to see if it is worthwhile, but only you can make that choice.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish
     
  8. Brian Austin

    Brian Austin TPF Noob!

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    I use a three bag system:

    1. Pelican PCS179 Roller bag: primary "urban" and travel bag. This goes with me to weddings (along with another roller bag for lights) and air trips. It's usually the default bag.

    2. LowePro Nature Trekker II AW: long hikes backpack, especially in the rocks. Carries a lot but it's heavy. Not a great hot weather (especially in AZ) bag. Very well designed for balance and long treks.

    3. Tamrac MAS system on a hip belt: local/shorter hikes with limited equipment. dSLR body with lens in the primary bag, a few lens cases (one or two with water bottles), and an accessory bag for GPS, flashlight, compass, etc..

    Typically, I'll bring one of the bigger bags and the Tamrac, which has a shoulder strap on the camera bag. Since it's modular, I can adapt to whatever I'm doing and leave the rest in the truck.
     
  9. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    Alright, I'm headed back to the stores tomorrow morning to look more specifically at backpacks (since I didn't give them a real fair shot when I looked over the weekend). Hopefully I'll be able to easily settle on one then, check prices online, and either go back to the store or order online for delivery by the following Saturday.

    And yes, Mike, I did look at the sling bags and I found them uncomfortable. I'll try again, but I don't think I'll get one.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    remember to take your kit with you when you go to the shop - somethings are worth testing in store and if you have a local with a good range of bags on display take you kit and see how well it really fits into the bag
     
  11. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    But of course - that's what I did last time and how I know the Nova 4 doesn't work for me but the Nova 200 does. It also just ups my resolve to get a bigger bag since I trek into the store with my current bag and two other lens bags dangling from my hand.
     
  12. KabeXTi

    KabeXTi TPF Noob!

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    I have a Lowepro backpack and I couldn't be happier!
     

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