Recommendations for a camera bag for traveling

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by caspertodd, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. caspertodd

    caspertodd TPF Noob!

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    I am a new owner of a Canon Rebel Xt, and will be traveling to Rome soon. Just like any other crowded tourist destination, Rome has a lot of pickpockets. I need a bag that is secure, but will also travel well with a camera - especcially in a plane as a carry on. I have been looking at buying a pacsafe Treksafe 100, then purchasing a small hardcase for the camera and lense. This will aloow me to carry extra items such as a light jacket, MP3 player, extra point 'n shoot camera for my wife, and snacks. I will carry the camera most of the time around my neck with a pacsafe slashproof camera strap, so the bag doesn't necessarily have to have quick camera access. I am also looking at the Lowepro flipside 200 which has access to the compartments from the side that is on your back. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to look at?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I think you need to consider the type of bag that will be best for you. Do you want a backpack? They are more comfortable to carry but harder to access. They do leave the back of the bag in the open.

    A shoulder type bag allows for easier access and for you to keep an eye on the bag...but you may not want to have a bag on your shoulder all the time.

    A hybrid between the two is a sling style bag. It carries on your back but slings around for access. Check out the Lowepro Slingshot 200 or 300.

    I have travelled quite a bit with my Lowepro Computrekker AW. It's about the max size for carry on, it's got plenty of room for my camera gear and extra space for miscellaneous stuff. My only major problem is that it is hard to access your gear quickly and it is a big bulk mass on my back...I might prefer something that isn't such a lump.
    While I do think it's a good idea to take some precautions against possible crime...I personally don't think that should be the most important factor in any decision. Get whatever will be the most comfortable and practical for you...get insurance on your gear and have a good time.
     
  3. caspertodd

    caspertodd TPF Noob!

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    I like backpacks best, so that's really what I'm looking for. I'll take a look at the slingshot. Yeah, security has been my first concern not only because I LOVE this camera, but because it was hard enough talking me wife into allowing me to get this camera in the first place ;) I wouldn't want to have to talk her into it again if it gets stolen. I do like your idea of getting insurance and then just focusing more on practicality and confort.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Is it just the camera and one lens? You might consider a smaller & tighter camera bag that can go into a regular backpack. That would allow you more options and you could probably find a more comfortable travelling bag. Then you can take the camera bag out and carry that around your body while still wearing the backpack.
    I need a full camera backpack because of all the gear I tend to lug around. If it's only one camera and one lens, then you have more options.
    Do you have household insurance? My camera gear was covered under my home owner's policy, even when on vacation. I have a rider for my photo gear, which gives me a lower deductible on my equipment...but it's still covered under the whole policy.
    When I was in Costa Rica, and my camera was getting soaked (got caught in the rain forest without my bag) I was reassured that if my camera died, it was covered. Luckily, it was OK.
     
  5. caspertodd

    caspertodd TPF Noob!

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    I have the 55mm lense that came with the camera, and a 430ex flash. Definitely not much gear. I do have a home owners policy, but I think the deductible is somewhere around $500. I've never really thought about it covering items when travelling. I'll have to look into that in more detail. I like some of the lowepro stuff that has the camera compartment on the bottom, which leaves the top for miscellanous stuff. I just wasn't sure on the security of it. I'll have to go somewhere locally and check it out.

    I bet Costa Rica was a nice trip. Would love to go there sometime.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    I originally wanted one of those...but when I went to check them out in-person...I realized that the camera gear section was too small for what I wanted. Might be perfect for you though.

    Costa Rica was great, went there for my honeymoon in 2005. We went during the rainy season, though. Next time, I'd go during the dry season.
     
  7. Rome isn't that dangerous... there are some pick pockets (not as many) and the people snatching bags are looking for little old ladies, not young men that are probably fitter than they are. Your primary concern ought to be comfort and functionality. All the camera bags are equally "slash-resistant" (a funny image, there aren't actually blade-wielding thieves out there - the chance of accidental assault and grevious bodily harm are too high). Just have some common sense.

    Having said that, an over-the-shoulder bag works best. You can always slide it to the front in the extremely crowded parts of town where you're concerned about strangers in close proximity, but they are comfortable while easily accessible. I just did Cambodia and Vietnam for three weeks with a LowePro Slingbag 100. It's surprisingly big, though it won't have room for a light jacket or serious amounts of snacks (why bring snacks in Rome?!?!? They have the best food on earth!!)
     
  8. shivaswrath

    shivaswrath TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]
    I just got the LowePro toploader 75 and I was surprised at how large it was, but pleased with how it fit EVERYTHING I had with some room for growth.

    I will attach an image later this week of my setup,
    But I have everything listed in my signature in the bag + my tripod attached to the side via their "patented" slip lock system and a little cinch. It's nice and convenient, and I needed something to hold it all (including my little camcorder) while I wander the streets of Paris on my honeymoon in a month.

    The good part of the bag is that I have room to get a large f/2.8 lens, either a 70-200 or a 14-24, both heavy, large, and long, and can be accommodated on the body in the bag. If I had both, I could get a Lowepro lens holder and slip lock it into one of the loops.
    I have a small body now, but am considering a body upgrade to a D300 or D3 - both of which will easily fit with a large lens in this bag.

    I'm quite pleased with their ingenuity and build quality.
     
  9. caspertodd

    caspertodd TPF Noob!

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    The snacks are actually for the plane. Believe me, my wife and I are really looking forward to the food there!

    I was looking at the top loader bags too, and they look like they would be awckward to me and always get in my way...kinda looks like I'm carrying a baby around (which might be appropriate considering how I baby my new camera).

    So far I like the flipside 300 the best. It seems to be practical and secure. I know I'm probably being paranoid, but this is my first time to Europe. I usually travel to the beach (Hawaii, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos), and don't really carry anything with me other than on the plane. I did a Google search for Rome and all I could find was pickpocket stuff, I do a search for pickpocket and all I find is Rome. Even the Pacsafe website has a Rome map in the example photos of the backpack :lol:. I just want to avoid having my camera stolen and then being depressed about it the whole trip even if I have insurance. After talking with people who have been there though, none of them were pickpocketed, or even witnessed a pickpocket. They probably won't focus on a 6'3" 220lbs guy that has a deathgrip on his stuff anyways.

    As far as the bag goes, the Flipside does look comfortable, and looks like it will hold future equipment that I may end up purchasing also. It looks llike it protects everything well.
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Personally I have the non-laptop version of this http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/388729-REG/Lowepro_34731_Lowepro_CompuRover_AW_Backpack.html and if you don't have a ton of gear it is perfect fo traveling. You could probably hold a decent body with a kit lens 1-2 extra lenes a flash and some small accessories. Plus the top compartment can carry a good bit of stuff, not a ton but mabye some food for the day and if you have a packable one a light jacket or 2. Also there are pretty sizeable water bottle pockets on the side so you can keep that outside. It also has a rain cover that kept my gear dry through an extremely heavy rainfall that I was stuck in in Mexico for 10+ minutes.
     
  11. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    I was flying a lot years ago and wanted a travel bag to cover motor racing - I ended up with a Lowepro Mini Trekker. They still make the same thing:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/279323-REG/Lowepro_1990310_Mini_Trekker_Classic_Backpack.html

    Here's a (really horrible) picture of it loaded up:

    [​IMG]

    I've had the thing for 15 years or so, and it's carried multiple bodies, lenses, batteries, flashes, dirt, paperwork, those stupidly large sprorts press credentials, photo vests (sporting events issue these ugly things, gotta wear 'em) and SNACKS too. Pack carefully, you can get a few sammiches and a few water bottles in there.

    Now it's big, but not TOO big - you might grow into it. I have mine loaded tight...when I get my 70-200 I'm practically hosed for space - there are a LOY of loop straps on the sides to attach additional/temporary cases. When I'd rent a super zoomer, I'd strap it on the side of the backpack.

    Meanwhile, that little thingie that Shivaswrath showed looks very promising for an ultra-portable kit, and the pickpocket thing is a little harder when it's on your hip, under you hand.

    The warning has been made - you can carry the backpacks on a plane, fling them around pretty roughly (not TOO rough, though. Padding only goes so far), carry them over one shoulder comfortably like a college student like I did for years, hike until you drop (mine has surprisingly comfortable hip straps), slog through a deluge to the apex of the hairpin at the track at Long Beach in a pouring rain and pull out dry equipment and a poncho, and they will hold together like they're made of steel. I love Lowepro.

    ...but it's VERY hard to stop and see something you want to shoot fast, then get a camera into play. The holster, you unzip, yank, focus, "click".

    I love my mini trekker. You want to carry a laptop as well, see Mike's bit, although I squoze (?) a little compaq in mine once (no padding on the back, though). I think the holster works best for travel. I have one of those too, but not as nice as the one shown here. How much is that thing?
     
  12. caspertodd

    caspertodd TPF Noob!

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    I ended up buying a Lowepro flipside 300. With this bag I get the security I want, and the padding I need for my camera. It is surprising how much stuff this backpack will hold. The only downside is that since I do not have a battery grip yet, the camera is slightly loose in there. The build quality is excellent. It is definitely well designed. On Lowepro's website they show how you can buckle the waist strap and then flip the backpack around to access the camera, and although this is very easy to do, it is a little strange looking. My coworkers had a nice little chuckle when I showed them this feature, and I believe I heard them use the word “disturbing”.

    Pros: Quality built, very secure, a LOT of room in a somewhat small backpack, great padding, good organizing pockets for memory card…etc, sternum and waist strap help support backpack, hidden tripod pocket, nice handle on top for carrying

    Cons: No real quick access to camera, doesn’t hold camera very tight if you do not have a battery grip (may be able to reorganize partitions though to resolve this)


    For me, security was important. This is one of the few backpacks designed for cameras that give you that. So far I am very pleased with it. Since I only own the camera, flash and two lenses, this backpack will give me enough room for my portable DVD player and MP3 player for me to take on the plane for Italy. I should be able to fit a few snacks in there as well.
     

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