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Archive 2013 · Hiking Pack
  
 
JustinR
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p.1 #1 · Hiking Pack


Hi all,

I'm re-building my setup after my house was broken into - and my Mountainsmith DayFX lumbar pack was among the stolen items, it is unfortunately no longer made, so I am searching for a good camera pack to use while hiking. I've spent a fair bit of time hiking and am therefore kind of picky.

It NEEDS to have a proper waistbelt, I don't want to carry the weight on my shoulders, and I have a pretty long torso, so pretty much any backpack that doesn't have adjustable shoulder strap anchor points and a frame is out - unfortunately it looks like the only camera backpacks that meet these requirements are HUGE - I want something large enough for my 6D with a good sized zoom mounted (24-105) + 2-3 extra lenses (largest would probably be a 70-200 f/4) - NOT something that will carry all the equipment a pro would need to bring to a wedding shoot.

This brings me to the rub: I would really like another good lumbar pack, like the DayFX that was stolen - but again, it needs to be pretty large, and it needs to have a real waistbelt, not just a strap that's wider than the others. I tried the current Mountainsmith TourFX and while it was about the right size and fit comfortablyI felt like the quality of the product was no where near what I had been used to - the sides were lightly padded and floppy, and the interior liner was really loose and the fabic all felt somewhat thin - so it's on it's way back to B&H.

It looks like there are only a couple options for what I am looking at. The Clik Elite Reporter looks like a really good design, but is just barely big enough for what I want to do with it. The Think Tank Speed Racer also looks just barely large enough, but I am sure that the quality will be up to snuff. It's difficult to tell from pictures if the waistbelt of either of these is sturdy enough to really distribute the weight evenly.

Does anyone have experience with either of these bags or know of something else that I might be missing?

Thanks,

Justin




Apr 09, 2013 at 05:18 PM
rsk7
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p.1 #2 · Hiking Pack


Take a look at the Aarn Liquid Agility with Photo Pockets. I know it is unusual but it is great with weight distribution onto the waist, keeps your photo gear where you can access it, and gives you room to carry the non-photo stuff that can be important to have along depending on where you hike.

http://www.aarnusa.com/

If you don't like it they have a 30 day full return policy minus shipping so low risk to try it out unless you muck it up.



Apr 09, 2013 at 06:30 PM
lighthawk
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p.1 #3 · Hiking Pack


I had a Clik Elite Contrejour and sold it. The straps were low quality (overly big, but also very prone to getting fuzzy).
It's like they have good ideas, but the execution wasn't that good. I really wanted to like the pack, but the quality and the overall heaviness caused me to sell it at a loss on Ebay. I'm interested in the Lowe Flipside products for summer hiking.



Apr 12, 2013 at 04:52 PM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #4 · Hiking Pack


Check out Fstopgear.com. They are pricey, but man it's the best photography bag I've ever owned. The nicest thing about is the interchangeable ICUs. This means I can have one ICU that is huge and takes up most of the pack. This I would bring for shorter hikes or if I want all my gear. Then I have a smaller ICU for longer hikes when I am only bringing one body and a few lenses.

The built quality is like non other. I've been a hiker for a lot longer than I've been a photographer and it feels like a top quality hiking pack. Everything on it was so well thought out.



Apr 12, 2013 at 07:49 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #5 · Hiking Pack


I'll second Andy's recommendation of Fstop. I have the Tilopa BC and I can attest to the quality and comfort of the pack. Their packs are sometimes in short supply and therefore hard to get, but they do have a fairly generous return policy if you're not happy with your purchase.


Apr 12, 2013 at 08:40 PM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #6 · Hiking Pack


mitesh wrote:
I'll second Andy's recommendation of Fstop. I have the Tilopa BC and I can attest to the quality and comfort of the pack. Their packs are sometimes in short supply and therefore hard to get, but they do have a fairly generous return policy if you're not happy with your purchase.

I got the Tilopa BC as well. It was in stock a few weeks ago and so luckily it was here within a few days!

I've actually yet to find anyone say anything negative about F-stop bags. I had a Lowepro Trekker 400AW before this and the F-stop made me realize how awkward that bag was to carry while hiking.



Apr 12, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Charlie K.
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p.1 #7 · Hiking Pack


I can add another plus to the Fstop gear line. I have been through a lot of bags over the years and the Tilopa BC is the best bag I have owned to date. The ICU's make it the most versatile bag I have seen and the comfort when loaded heavily is second to none.


Apr 13, 2013 at 07:34 PM
sangdabom73
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p.1 #8 · Hiking Pack


Another one here to +1 on F-Stop backpacks. I've been using Loka for several years now and it is definitely an awesome backpack. I used it on RMNP hiking and also number of snowboarding/skiing trips and it never disappointed me. Only inconvenience is that you will have to unload the pack from your back to put the camera in and out. However, I dont really think thats bothered me whole lot, because I never had to access the packs very often when I go hiking and take landscape shots. It's not like I should be ready to take actions shots that would require me to swap/access camera bodies and lenses quickly.


Apr 13, 2013 at 07:58 PM
CorwinGraves
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p.1 #9 · Hiking Pack


These F-Stop bags are beautifully designed and well thought out, though I suppose they are made for those looking to carry mostly camera gear. It doesn't seem to me, for instance, that one could carry a sleeping bag and other backpacking gear along with an ICU.

Can someone comment on this?



Apr 13, 2013 at 10:16 PM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #10 · Hiking Pack


CorwinGraves wrote:
These F-Stop bags are beautifully designed and well thought out, though I suppose they are made for those looking to carry mostly camera gear. It doesn't seem to me, for instance, that one could carry a sleeping bag and other backpacking gear along with an ICU.

Can someone comment on this?

That's actually the beauty of F-stop bags, you can carry as much or as little camera gear as you want with different sized ICUs. So you can get a small ICU and it won't take up much of your bag at all. The bag also has these loops in which you can attach their strap system (it was a bummer that you had to pay extra for straps, but worth it) so you could easily strap on a sleeping bag/mat/tent/etc.

Here's an idea of what the small ICU looks like




and here's a good diagram of how much room each ICU takes up in the Tilopa BC bag, they have a bag one bigger than this as well as a handful that are smaller bags.



This bag is literally a backpackers bag with a camera unit built in (well interchangeably built in). You won't find a better backpacking bag that can specifically hold camera gear.



Apr 14, 2013 at 12:17 AM
 

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river rover
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p.1 #11 · Hiking Pack


Have a tilopa BC with the small shallow ICU and then I picked up a mountainsmith Kit Cube which, while slightly wider than the 11.5 inches of the F-stop Gear ICU still is comparable to the Medium Shallow ICU. The medium ICU's seem to be in heavy demand, and so is frequently out of stock...

http://www.ebags.com/product/mountainsmith/kit-cube-traveler-camera-bag/208555?productid=10121082&sourceid=ADWPRODUCT&couponid=55583734&CAWELAID=778167299&adtype=pla&gclid=CLa8-fHyyLYCFQVU4Aod1XIACA

My Normal Backpacking packs are a Black Diamond Axis 33, Osprey Atmos 65 and Arcteryx Bora 80. Honestly the FStop falls slightly behing all of the above on comfort of carry due to the lack of a true lumbar pad, but it's pretty close.

I can use the MS box and tilopa for day trips and the small ICU and Tilopa for Weekend trips with a reduced camera load. One of the big pluses to the F_stop pack is the external attachment points that accept standard Molle gear. I generally carry my 5D Mark II and 100 -400 in a Lowepro chest pack so it's handy for wildlife...



Apr 14, 2013 at 12:35 AM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #12 · Hiking Pack


river rover wrote:
My Normal Backpacking packs are a Black Diamond Axis 33, Osprey Atmos 65 and Arcteryx Bora 80. Honestly the FStop falls slightly behing all of the above on comfort of carry due to the lack of a true lumbar pad, but it's pretty close.

I can use the MS box and tilopa for day trips and the small ICU and Tilopa for Weekend trips with a reduced camera load. One of the big pluses to the F_stop pack is the external attachment points that accept standard Molle gear. I generally carry my 5D Mark II and 100 -400 in a
...Show more

I would agree, it's not quite up to par with my actual backpacking packs (but it's fairly close) But it's destroys every photography specific pack I've owned. The Clik Elite Hiker pack was terrible. For being almost as big as my Tilopa it didn't carry half what my F-stop does. It's also crazy heavy while empty, and killed my back on longer hikes.

The Molle system was a genius idea on there part. I don't have any MOLLE attachments yet but I've been shopping for some. Any recommendations? Probably going to get a waterbottle one for when I don't want to use the bladder. And I might end up getting a camera or lens molle attachment for quick access. But haven't decided on an F-stop one or a third party one.



Apr 14, 2013 at 01:04 AM
CorwinGraves
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p.1 #13 · Hiking Pack


Thanks, Peak Photo. The ICU fitting guide is really helpful.

I use a Gregory Baltoro 70 for backpacking and I'm considering just purchasing an ICU for that bag rather than buying a completely new setup. I like the Baltoro quite a bit, but one thing that bothers me is having loose lenses and other photo gear within the main compartment. I use the Canon L pouches for lenses, but I would prefer something even more secure. It would also be nice to have somewhere secure to put my camera body at night or when not in use.



Apr 14, 2013 at 04:56 AM
PeakPhoto
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p.1 #14 · Hiking Pack


CorwinGraves wrote:
Thanks, Peak Photo. The ICU fitting guide is really helpful.

I use a Gregory Baltoro 70 for backpacking and I'm considering just purchasing an ICU for that bag rather than buying a completely new setup. I like the Baltoro quite a bit, but one thing that bothers me is having loose lenses and other photo gear within the main compartment. I use the Canon L pouches for lenses, but I would prefer something even more secure. It would also be nice to have somewhere secure to put my camera body at night or when not in use.


If you're not really needing to access your gear during the trek then that would probably be your best bet! You could have your main camera and lens out while hiking, maybe get a belt lens case to have your second favorite lens at the ready.

But the ICU is great on its own, nice and padded so I would feel pretty safe putting it into a pack. Just make sure to check your specs and make sure it will fit.



Apr 14, 2013 at 05:06 PM
CorwinGraves
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p.1 #15 · Hiking Pack


Yeah, I would definitely need to get the correct sized ICU, since it's already a pretty tight squeeze getting everything to fit into the pack as it is. I use a Cotton Carrier system to keep the camera at the ready while on the move.


Apr 14, 2013 at 08:59 PM
pipspeak
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p.1 #16 · Hiking Pack


The TT Speed Racer holds a lot more gear than its size suggests and the waistbelt makes it pretty comfortable, more so if used in conjunction with the shoulder strap worn diagonally (the waist straps on version 1 are slightly better than on version 2 of the bag). I've used this for day hikes carrying a 1Ds3, 24-70, 70-200 and 16-35, plus accessories. Most importantly it's a dream to work out of. Just rotate it round to the front or side of your body and the lid opens away from you and the bag is just structured enough to retain its form making it easy to change lenses etc.

The downside is that there's no space for hiking extras (jacket, lunch etc.) unless you want to attach an extra pouch to one of the waist straps. It's also apparently not designed for skinny folks... I have a 32" waist and can only just adjust the straps to be tight enough!

I would not use this for technical hiking... having all the weight on your waist does unbalance you a bit when climbing and is not great for tight spots, but for easy hikes and urban outings I love it.




Apr 15, 2013 at 02:20 AM
JustinR
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p.1 #17 · Hiking Pack


pipspeak wrote:
The TT Speed Racer holds a lot more gear than its size suggests and the waistbelt makes it pretty comfortable, more so if used in conjunction with the shoulder strap worn diagonally (the waist straps on version 1 are slightly better than on version 2 of the bag). I've used this for day hikes carrying a 1Ds3, 24-70, 70-200 and 16-35, plus accessories. Most importantly it's a dream to work out of. Just rotate it round to the front or side of your body and the lid opens away from you and the bag is just structured enough to retain
...Show more

That might be a problem, as I have a 31" waist . . . good to hear that it will carry all I need.

It's unfortunate that so many have had issues with Clik Elite - their designs look like they're just what I need.

Thanks all for the recommendation for F-Stop, I have not heard of them before and they look like excellent products. All of their backpacks are a bit larger than what I am looking for here, but the Dakota modular serier (Kago belt + Navin + Harney) might be just what I am looking for.


Edited on Apr 16, 2013 at 12:00 AM · View previous versions



Apr 15, 2013 at 10:14 PM
vsg28
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p.1 #18 · Hiking Pack


If you got the cash for an F-stop bag, also consider the upcoming Mindshift rotation 180.


Apr 15, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Copypaste
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p.1 #19 · Hiking Pack


I'd consider the Lowepro Vertex 300 AW ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/487265-REG/Lowepro_LP35020_PEU_Vertex_300_AW_Backpack.html ) if I were you. I know it is a bit big, but you don't have to use all the space. I've used mine for SO many hikes. Several really long ones, up steep mountain sides. I love it, and wouldn't trade it for anything. It has been super durable through all my hikes and travels to Kenya. And btw, it is within the FAA requirements for carry on, so you can take all your camera gear with you on the plane. Pretty great.

I have personally found the extra space very useful for food, water and extra clothes when hiking. It is very comfortable and you can make so many adjustments to it to make it fit you perfectly.



Apr 16, 2013 at 11:28 PM
killersnowman
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p.1 #20 · Hiking Pack


the fstop bags are by far the best if you want to transport photo gear and still have room for hiking stuff. they are made to take camping/hiking gear and still keep your photo gear safe and easily accessible. i have the Loka. its is super comfy even when fully loaded


Apr 17, 2013 at 04:43 AM
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