Mistakes were made.


TPF Noob!
Nov 9, 2015
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Orlando, FL
Can others edit my Photos
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Here it is...

I decided that I would love to get into photography. My experience is mainly using my phone to take pictures. After researching online, I bought a Nikon D7200 kit with the 18-140 lens. I purchased it from B&H Photo which, along with a few essentials, came with a standard box like Ruggard shoulder bag. I carry a backpack with me everywhere I go. Everywhere. So, I figured I would pick up a backpack for everything. After going on the Ruggard site and finding one video of their backpacks, I purchased their Thunderhead 55, also from B&H. When it came I wasn't really expecting it to be as big as it was. When I decided on it, I thought in my laptop, gopro stuff and the new camera with lens and one more lens that I wanted to buy. It easily fits all of that and can do more but it is huge. I did the measurements, compared those to 3 day packs I own and watched the one video I found of someone wearing it. So, I thought I had a decent mental of picture of its size...I didn't hahaha.

Fast forward a few weeks- The shoulder bag that B&H threw in, is the cameras home. It easily holds the camera with the 18-140 lens attached, hood on backwards while it's in it and it works great for the little bit I have used the camera, so far. But with a second lens, it just wont be big enough anymore and I'm not a huge fan of having a shoulder bag on and wearing the camera, at the same time.

I am buying the Nikon VR 70-300 lens this weekend and I would love to pick up a new backpack as well, to hold the few things I carry/will be carrying with me when I go out to look for things to shoot. I have tried a few of my Maxpedition bags and none of them offer the protection I want with the camera gear I'm going to carry. (Im not surprised since they aren't camera bags to begin with but was hopeful in the beginning)

Finally.. My question... Does anyone know of any small, slim backpacks or even a small gearslinger available? I have found a lot from various makers but I dont want to repeat with the noob trap I set for myself and promptly fell into a few weeks ago.

It will need to carry -
Nikon D7200 with strap and one of the following lenses attached with the other lens in it the bag
18-140 lens with hood backwards during storage
70-300 lens with hood backwards during storage
A Nikon flash (undecided which but there will be one purchased in the future)
A polarizing filter for each lens in its own factory protective case
A few SD cards
Cleaning cloth/kit

I don't plan on taking tons of camera gear with me everywhere, I don't see myself getting a tripod for quite some time either. I would honestly just like a pack that is as small as possible and can protect the gear mentioned, well. Ive carried heavy ( my personal opinion =+40lb) gearslingers, my shoulder was not a fan of those days no matter how long or short they were. But in this case, what I am going to carry shouldn't weigh enough to be a real issue. So, I sm open to a gearslinger as well. Though two straps and no waist strap are preferred (I am more than willing to simply cut a waist strap off if needed, having one from the factory is not a deal breaker). I'm also not worried about cost as much as I am size and quality.

I would honestly appreciate any suggestions the community may have. I really hope this wasn't too long and that I included all the necessary info you may need to give me an honest suggestion. Also, I have a Ruggard Thunderhead 55 for sale, if anyone is interested. I took the tags off but it hasn't been out of the house . If you're interested in it, shoot me a PM and make me an offer hahaha.

Thanks in advance and my best, to all.
I carry a huge, heavy D3x with a 45mm/2.8 pancake on it, a 70-300 VR-G, and an 85mm/1.8 and a 24/2.8 in a waist pack. The two 500 ml water bottle holders hold 1) the 70-300 VR on the right hand side, and 2) the 85 and the 24mm mounted back-to-back on two Nikon rear lens caps taped together, using the locking lugs on the old-style Nikon rear caps. If I want to, I can take the camera and the 45-P lens out of the main compartment, and carry the SB-800 flash AND another lens,or two, in the main compartment.

I have a massive LowePro Trekker or something....I hate it unless I am hiking in a good distance, or need to carry a lot of lenses. I detest backpacks to "shoot out of". To me, they are only useful as a packing-in method.

The LESS I carry, the more I like things. Working out of a waist pack is so,so liberating! As the American sporting good companies have gotten into offering waist/fanny packs, the options have become more numerous, the sizes larger, and the price tags much higher. If you are wearing the camera, then many of the modern outdoorsman type waist packs are amply large! Some of the new camo pattern ones sold at the very biggest fishing and outdoors stores are 1.5x larger or even 2x larger than what used to be considered a waist pack. Some of the ones meant for day hikers and sold at Walmart are $15 or less, and are surprisingly adept at carrying medium-sized zooms like the 70-300 VR--which is very close to the size of many of the included 500 ml water bottles that these inexpensive waist packs are being sold with in some cases. The 70-300 will fit snugly in a water bottle holder.
My answer (is not going to make you happy) but for things like this I find there is no substitute for going into the store and trying, handling, screwing around with, every single bag they have and then taking the one that annoys me least.

B&H has a huge in store display area.

I realize this does you no good in Florida.

For just a camera and lens, I also tend to use a "normal" bag and line it with sheets of foam, or make a foam sleeve / pocket for each item. The less it looks like a camera bag, the less likely it is to get pilfered.
I use one of the LowPro backpacks and to be honest it just goes with me from place to place but when I'm actually shooting a family or wedding etc I wear a belt that I've put together over the years....people mock me.....I'm getting use to it though. Wide load coming through!
I never thought about a belt or waist pack, I have been mocked in the past and I'm sure it will happen in the future lol :) and I never thought about lining a pack with thick foam. Honestly, appreciate the info, everyone.
I have the lowepro flip side 300, and it fits everything you would need. It's smaller and more compact, yet offers stability and the option of carrying a tripod/monopod on the outside.

I can easily carry my D750, 70-200, D600, 50, my wide angle, and a flash. It even has a small removable zipper compartment that can store remotes, clothes, batteries, etc. Straps and pouch on the outside for a tripod, and a water bottle holder on the side. The zipper is on the front side of the backpack (towards your back), so you don't have to worry about thievery if you do any urban travel. Overall its a nice little pack
Which is more likely to get your car broken into or stolen from under your chair at lunch?



I have at least 7 different bags, ranging in price from the $30 Canon backpack (now sold as the Amazon Essentials camera backpack) to a $400 Lowepro Vertex 300. My personal favorite for size and versatility is still the old Lowepro Fastpack 350. It's inexpensive, about the size of the Jansport you used to wear to high school (maybe a little bigger), holds a pro body with 5 lenses, filters, a flash, a laptop/tablet (or both), and has flat storage for pens, memory card wallets, etc and "dimensional" storage in the top for wallet/sunglasses/batteries/phone/ etc. It has recently been redesigned and renamed as the Fastpack BP 250 AW II and has been improved with the addition of a tripod carrying strap. Of course there is also the smaller Fastpack BP 150 AW II which is the same layout but smaller. Think "prosumer DSLR, two lenses and a flash" in the camera compartment rather than "pro body, five lenses and a flash". Instead of a laptop in the back (maybe a small netbook sized unit) you can put a tablet. The Fastpack 150 is only $100 and the Fastpack 250 is a pretty damned good deal at $130. Granted if you don't need to carry a laptop/tablet there are a lot of options in the #30-$50 range. . . . . .
I looked for the trunk on my minivan.... Can't seem to find it. ;-)

Anyhow, my own bag isn't unicorns and hello kitty... the I use most fits a camera w/ a lens and a second lens and is just a plain blue cordura shoulder bag with some foam sides, bottom and dividers in it.

I have two Lowepro backpacks, and even the small one is just more than I'm usually willing to carry around. I used to use them a lot more, so maybe it's more about living someplace with more walking and less driving these days, than about the bags themselves.

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