Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by tecboy, Dec 23, 2015.
I'm looking for a large backpack to carry all my camera gear. Any suggestion?
1) Define "All your gear" - lenses, cameras, lighting, tripods etc...
2) Define how far your travelling to sites, how you're getting there and how much moving around you do once on site. Sometimes a bag great for hiking is a pain for shooting portraits in a studio yet both can "carry all the gear"
4) Best way is to go see the bags yourself; you can get a feel for how big they are, how they carry your gear and even take your gear to the shop to make sure it all fits.
I have the Lowepro Vertex 300 AW. It's a nice bag. Fits a lot of stuff in it. Very customisable inside. Comfortable to wear. Complies with airline carry on dimensions. Heavy on it's own though (3.8Kg empty) If you're using it to go on air planes, you only have 6kg worth of gear before you hit the 10kg limit. While I could fit all my lenses and a few extras in it, I had to move some stuff to my other bag and even my suitcase to keep below the limit. If you aren't going to be flying, it's a great bag for excursions.
I use a Lowepro Slingshot 302AW. Technically not a backpack, it gives me the larger size of a backpack yet I still retain the convenience of "slinging" it around and grabbing my camera at a moments notice. It holds a gripped Canon T6s, Speedlight 43exii, 55-250, 50/1.8, 18-135, all batteries, chargers, cables, manuals, cleaning supplies and a film p&s with room to spare. It is designed to hold a DSLR with 70-200/2.8 attached. I love it!!
Overread's comments in Post #2 pretty well sum up some of the more important aspects of selecting a bag. For example, I would never, ever carry "all my gear" in a backpack and have nothing to shoot out of once I got where I was going. Backpacks are fine while on the move, but the very second you stop to shoot, they become a major pain in the azz. And as AKUK mentioned, the larger backpacks weight in the 3 to 4 kilogram range--empty!!! OMG!!!
I bought a very large photo backpack from LowePro in the early 2000's...I HATE it! Empty, it's heavier than a camera and zoom lens combo...I've gone back to shoulder bags and waist packs and individual ballistic nylon cases to carry certain lenses slung over a shoulder or across-body...
I will often transport gear in individual lens pouches and in wraps, in a small travel suitcase-type bag that's about 15 x 5 x 18 inches, and once I get where I am going, put the needed lenses and gear in to smaller, day-use or situational-use carrying devices: shoulder bag, messenger bag, waist pack, lens case, lens pouch,etc..
As an example when I travel or have to walk when I reach a destination I like a backpack - sure its slower but it carries more weight more evenly and thus lets you travel further. Especially if you're carrying heavier lenses and cameras.
Meanwhile when I do showjumping or any other activity where I'm mostly in a limited area and don't need to carry the bag the whole time whilst moving around then I'm happy to use a shoulderbag. It's far to heavy with my gear in for a long haul walk and would fatigue anyone very quickly with all the weight on one shoulder; but its ideal to work out of once on site.
On the flipside people who might have smaller lighter gear might walk miles with a shoudlerbag around town; but might still want a backpack if out in the countryside where a stable backpack is easier to manage than a shoudlerbag that flops around.
Well I'll go against the grain here; I love backpacks. I'd rather have weight distributed more evenly, I like the extra space, and I don't mind an extra pound or two (or kg, I actually hate that America had to go and invent our own measuring system that NO ONE else uses, but I'm far off topic here lol). I have a LowePro CompuRover AW, and it's not super light at 2.5kg dry. Typically, I only actually carry the backpack if I'm going far from my car or if I'm traveling. Otherwise, the backpack stays in the car, as I wouldn't want to carry any bag while I'm moving around shooting most things; I often have to get low or in awkward positions. If I'm traveling, I love having the extra space to put things I may accumulate in my travels. The bag I have has an upper compartment to store things in.
Ultimately it's your choice, there are tons of options out there. I can say this: LowePro's quality is outstanding. I have had this bag for almost 4 years, and has been through a lot. Multiple excursions through a couple countries in Asia, on my back all day long, carrying as much as my shoulders can handle, which includes a laptop. I use it nearly every time I use my camera, and it has shown no signs of wear. Well, I think it's slightly starting to pull away at one end of one of the strap seams, but very very slightly. Spending the money on a nice bag really paid off.
I got the Lowepro photo sport pro 30L a year ago and I still like the bag. Two minor complaints, straps are not comfortable with bag weight over 10 lbs or so and the main non-camera compartment for is just wide open so I glued velcro to it for the option of opening or closing it. It is more of an outdoor bag which is what I was looking for, it even includes a 2 liter hydration pack with an opening for the drink tube.
here is a link to it: lowepro photo sport 30L
I've got a 110 litre black deployment bag that I got from a military surplus site. It can be used as a hold all but has straps so it can also be used as a back pack. I use that if I need to transport all af my gear. But I find that mostly a lowepro 400AW just a great job at carrying all I need for week or two worth of lanscape and widlife shooting
I have a Lowepro; pretty sure it's a Pro Runner x450AW. The thing is huge. I can carry two bodies, five lenses, two flashes and a myriad of accessories.
But, as Derrell pointed out, once I get to where I'm shooting, it's a pain in the ass. I'll travel with all of my gear in it, but then I'll bring a smaller bag with me that I put the gear I'll actually need for a day. When I went to the Keys last month, I brought pretty much everything I have. Every morning, though, before heading out to shoot, I would pack what I'd need for the day's shooting. After all, there's not much of an opportunity to use a 100-400mm at Hemingway's house.
I have this backpack. Amazon.com : Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera and 15.4-Inch Laptop Backpack (Black) : Camera Bag : Camera & Photo
Is isn't super huge, but it's plenty big to travel with, carries my DSLR with 2 lenses, mirrorless system with 4 lenses and a flash. Plus my iPad.
What I didn't like about it at first, has become what I like best about it...the rubber base. It allows the backpack to stand upright, which becomes especially handy on those mornings with dew-soaked grass!
Any larger of a backpack (in my opinion only) becomes a non-working backpack, err luggage, and should have wheels.
I use the Apecase 2000. Great bag.
Ape Case - Camera Cases and Accessories | ACPRO2000 Digital SLR and Laptop Backpack
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