2 posts

The Truth About Camera Backpacks

The truth about camera backpacks is they’re universally shit. There is not one on the market that is properly designed for hiking. At one time there was the Clik Elite Large Hiker, but Clik Elite went out of business several years ago. The camera compartment on that bag was quite small.

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A backpack, a backpack, my kingdom for a (good) backpack!

Ripping off Shakespeare again for a lead in line. But hey, he might have ripped off another writer too so why not.

The debate around which is a better option – backpack, sling bag, shoulder bag, holster, etc. – is almost as fervent as which camera manufacturer is better. I am firmly in the backpack camp. Having done a fair bit of hiking and camping when I was younger I like backpacks and am a strong believer that for the photographer on the go; nature, landscape, wildlife, trail walking, hill climbing and the rest of it, backpacks are the preferred option. Backpacks distribute weight evenly, unlike single strap bags which can put undue stress on one side of the body. Good packs will have a waist belt to position the majority of the weight on the hips which are the strongest bones in the body (you DO NOT want to carry the weight of a pack on your shoulders – this is a surefire path to fatigue and potential long term injury). Properly made backpacks will be light but strong, have compartments for separating gear and have a good number of external pockets for holding things like water bottles or other small items we want to have easy access to. The downside with backpacks is they’re not as speedy as some other options. With but a few exceptions, you have to take them off to get at your gear and I’m not convinced that the ones with the spin around compartment are all that good anyway.

Here’s the problem: I have yet to find a really good backpack for photographers. All the big makers have packs – Tamrac, Lowepro, Kata, Domke, Tenba and the rest. I currently have a Tamrac Adventure 7 and an Adventure 9. The Adventure 9 isn’t bad. It fits more like a backpack (when I don’t have my laptop in it), has a good waist belt, the compartments are decently sized and is reasonably comfortable for day hiking. But it’s still not optimal by a long way. The Adventure 7 is a nice, small pack that I can sling over one shoulder when I’m just going in the car or when I’m walking around in an urban setting but it’s not a good trail pack. Continue reading