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Jeff Nolten wrote:
OTOH, I am a fan of using padded camera thingies inside my pack. Very few of the camera packs I've tried are at all comfortable for a long haul and none of them give any consideration that you might want to carry something besides camera gear. I made a simple top loading three holer (oval tube with two dividers and a bottom) that can hang inside several different pack sizes. Weighs 6 oz. Hangs from loops I install inside near the top shoulder strap attachment. Weight carries well there. Holds 100-400, 24-105, and 100L lenses plus the 5D body...Show more →
I too far prefer non-photography backpacks to photography backpacks for both day-to-day shooting and more extensive, rugged travel-based work-- such as ski-touring in Kashmir a week after a multi-day camel trek through the Thar Dessert that I did this winter.
Camera bags always disappoint me. They offer slightly faster access (not very important to me; my cameras are out when needed, and not when not), far more padding than I need, all at the cost of being bulky and less comfortable and providing far less storage for non-camera stuff. Most of the time I don't even like using big slip-in dividers/padding.
But I think some qualification is needed: I shoot with two small bodies (5D2 + Fuji X-E1) and a few primes, and sometimes a small, carbon travel tripod. At most I have all this, a couple extra batteries, and perhaps a filter or two; often I have one of the bodies, two lenses, and that's it.
I suspect that if you're hauling multiple zooms, primes over 200mm, or lots of accessory gear the equation changes completely. When I shot weddings w/ 1-series bodies and f/2.8 zooms + fast primes-- I enjoyed using a Lowepro backpack. But that mainly wasn't travel-based. And I didn't shoot from the bags. I merely used the bags to keep everything stored/ready/organized. I'd leave the bag in an inconspicuous place at the wedding, carry what I needed, and have an assistant return to the bag to download/copy files to my laptop.
Bags are such personal preference items. I've been thrilled with a Northface Hotshot, BCA (ski touring), Crumpler (non-photo), and Deuter, and for day-to-day stuff a small Aunts & Uncles Buddy leather bag (http://www.auntsanduncles.de/kollektionensss/good_old_friends/good_old_friends_i#buddy)