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Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?
  
 
Jasonuncloned
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


Hi everyone, I'm looking for a decent solution for carrying a camera and hiking. I've been looking at photography backpacks online and it seems to me that on just about every one of them I've looked at additional storage is an after thought and they are stuffed with as many compartments and pockets as possible. Not only does this feel like it would be unnecessarily heavy potentially, it's completely overkill for the amount of gear I'll have, and my experience level. I just have a Canon 70D along with an 18-55mm lens and a 55-250mm lens. Most of these pro style backpacks look more suited for someone with an extensive collection of lenses and are geared towards hiking in to a final destination, not shooting while hiking. If I end up doing a multi-day longer trip I would be more inclined to buy a separate insert and put it in a regular backpack vs. trying to fit a stove, a water purifier, water bottles, food, clothes, etc. into a camera backpack.

I would also like to avoid having to drop my bag every 15 or 20 min. and dig the camera out. Something that I can quickly access would be a big plus to me.

So Iím kind of leaning towards a trying out a front back or a chest holster style system. My concern with those is making sure that the holster or the straps wonít conflict with using a backpack at the same time. I donít want the holster straps to impede the shoulder straps of the actual backpack.

So far the only thing Iím seeing that looks like it would for sure work is the Ribz Front Pack:

Ribz Front Pack

My concern is how awkwardly a DSLR will fit. Has anyone tried one of these before?

Were you able to keep a camera with a smaller lens on it?

Iíd probably be using the 18-55mm by default.

In doing searches on Google I have seen some well reviewed camera specific products that are unfortunately now discontinued:

The CLIK Chest Pack:

CLIK Chest Pack

And the Mountainsmith Descent AT:

Mountainsmith Descent AT Review

The Descent looks to have been replaced by a Sling strap instead. Is there anything else like these on the market?

Iíve also seen that Lowenpro has a harness for their Toploader Sleeves:

Lowenpro Harness

This looks flimsy at best though and not something Iíd trust while Iím doing strenuous hiking with it on.

Think Tank also sells one:

Think Tank Harness

This looks much better made and more secure, Iím just wondering if it would interfere with a day pack straps though.

Anyone have anyone have any experience with these or other recommendations?



Oct 31, 2016 at 12:36 PM
ariot
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


I'm no hiking expert, but you may want to describe what kind of hiking you're going to do.

We hike rather casually. I carry a lot of gear, but water comes first. We always sort that out first before I pick the gear to take. I carry one hydration bottle and my wife carries a hydration pack plus food.

I use the thinktank holster pictured in your link, but not with the harness, just a shoulder strap. I also have a tripod with the body and lens on it most of the time.

Since the ribz is rather inexpensive and appears compatible with wearing hydration packs, I'm going to try it. I've read a few threads about it on here.

A regular old daypack with a hydration bladder is great too, throw in the second lens (wrapped) and extra stuff if you are going out of cell phone coverage areas (small first aid kit, space blanket, fire starter).

The 70D can stay out with the other lens on it, ready for the magic.



Oct 31, 2016 at 12:54 PM
Jasonuncloned
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


I'm mostly looking at it for Day Hiking. Anywhere from 2 to 8 or 10 miles in a day. I'm planning a trip to San Fransisco in a couple weeks and I'm going to do some shorter hikes in Big Sur, and maybe a longer full day one in Santa Cruz.

I did a weekend long, 22 mile trip last summer that just about killed me because I was doing it solo and I had no one to split up gear with. When you have the tent, the stove, the water purifier, the food, and appropriate water rations, etc. all to yourself it gets heavy real quick. That was about a 45 lb. backpack and that wasn't with my DSLR at the time. Had I tried to put in an insert, etc. it would have been even worse or required a bigger pack. I'm thinking that in the future unless I find someone else to go with I'm going to stick to Day Hiking.





Oct 31, 2016 at 01:04 PM
chez
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


The only issue with front packs is they block your direct view of the ground infront of you. Depending on the terrain you hike over, this might become a safety issue. Some of my treks require careful placement of my feet over dangerous terrain so anything obstructing my view of the terrain right in front of me would be dangerous.

If I want quick access to my camera when hiking, I use an attachment which allows my camera to attach to my should strap or my pants belt and has a method to quickly remove the camera when I want to take a few shots.



Oct 31, 2016 at 01:06 PM
Jasonuncloned
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


chez wrote:
The only issue with front packs is they block your direct view of the ground infront of you. Depending on the terrain you hike over, this might become a safety issue. Some of my treks require careful placement of my feet over dangerous terrain so anything obstructing my view of the terrain right in front of me would be dangerous.

If I want quick access to my camera when hiking, I use an attachment which allows my camera to attach to my should strap or my pants belt and has a method to quickly remove the camera when I want to
...Show more

Thanks a good point that I hadn't thought of. Given that I'll probably be hiking in some higher elevations on my trip I'll have to consider that foot placement may be important there too.

So are you using something like this?

Peak Design Camera Capture Clip

And if so, how truely sturdy is the attachement point?

Does it keep enough tension that the camera is really staying in the position you place it in?

Does it tend to wobble around on you as you hike?

My concern would be that it would be flopping around on me or that I could accidentally whack it if it were on my hip, or that it could impede my range of motion on my shoulder.



Oct 31, 2016 at 01:38 PM
VictorJB
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


My recommendation for you would actually be the Mindshift Gear Holster series. I believe this one would suit you well and can be worn in many different styles.
http://www.mindshiftgear.com/products/multi-mount-holster-20



Oct 31, 2016 at 01:38 PM
jharter
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


I have tried a few of those options:

Think Tank harness system is excellent when coupled with one of the padded belts. Pretty comfortable. By adding various packs the system is versatile and you can carry a lot of gear. However, the packs are bulky to pack when traveling by plane. If you are city walking the whole thing is awkward to take off and put back on. The system would not work well with a backpack with a hip belt. Also, the waist belt will ride down your hips (even when using the shoulder harness) unless you really cinch it tight which is less comfortable and more sweaty.

The Ribz pack is my current favorite but it is what it is - very simple. Unless you have no belly, walking with it zipped together is a little constricting when the pack is filled with camera gear. Depending on how the gear is arranged, it can poke at your sides and feel uncomfortable. Therefore, I almost always wear mine unzipped. For casual hiking that is secure enough. I would want to zip it up if I were scrambling over rocks or walking in such a way that the packs would swing or be almost upside down. But I try not to walk that way!

The Ribz has no padding. It is not arranged like a photo pack so you have to be creative and not over stuff it.

The Ribz is very comfortable and does not bind into my shoulders even if wearing all day. It is relatively easy to take off an on. One nice thing with the Ribz relative to the Think Tank belt system is that it is easy to sit down while wearing it e.g. in a car, bus, subway, etc. The Ribz is fairly secure in a crowd if you keep it zipped up because everything is right in front of you and you can rest each arm on one side of it. The Ribz packs down to almost nothing when empty so it is easy to pack in a carry on if you travel with a larger kit/bag and then use a subset of your gear for day use.

I use the Ribz with a Sony A7rII attached to one lens on one side 2 additional lenses on the other side. The lenses are the 16-35/4, 55/1.8, and 90/2.8 macro. I also carry a pair of Leica 10x25 binoculars, lens cloths, wireless releases, lens pen, Fotosharp camera rain jacket in the outer pockets. I can fit smaller filter wallets in the main compartments along with the camera gear - I use circular filters so I have a filter wallet for each lens. If I take all of my filters, I will put them is a different pack. The packs I use to supplement the Ribz are a super lightweight Sea to Summit silnylon backpack and the Thinktank lightweight (unpadded) belt with an accessory pouch. The latter is good for a water bottle, filters, miscellaneous. The backpack is good for a rain jacket, lunch, reflector, etc.

One annoyance of the Ribz pack is when you remove the camera and lens from one side so that all of the weight is on the opposite side. The weighted side tends to pull and elongate the straps in its side. A simple tug evens things out. I think I could fix it with a tweak to the harness (e.g. a safety pin) but I have not bothered. Just a little thing that bugs me.



Oct 31, 2016 at 02:27 PM
jharter
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


I have the peak design capture clip also. It is a very clever device. It is solidly built and there are no worries about sturdiness. It is designed to fasten itself to virtually any kind of should strap you are likely to have. It can hold one or two lenses, although 1 lens seems most functional to me. The advantage is that it is very lightweight vs. carrying a pack. So you could carry your camera on a shoulder strap with the capture clip attached and be done with it.

However, that affords protection at all from the elements and is not very secure for hiking. You would still have to deal with filters and miscellaneous items. I think it is a great idea for day walks in a city, sightseeing, etc. But it is not enough for me in general. FYI, it does attach to the Ribz shoulder straps but I find it to floppy when a lens is attached so I don't use it with Ribz.



Oct 31, 2016 at 02:36 PM
Jasonuncloned
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


Thanks jharter! This is a huge help!

So from what you've said so far the Ribz does seem like it would work for me.

The dimensions of the body for the 2 cameras in comparison isn't too far off:

Canon 70D is 139 x 104 x 79 mm / 5.47 x 4.11 x 3.09″

Sony 7RII is 127 x 96 x 60 mm / 5 x 3.78 x 2.36″

so more or less mine is a 1/4" taller and 5/8" Wider for the body size. Do you find it difficult to pull it in and out of the pocket with a lens on, or is that relatively easy to do?

As long as it isn't absolutely "stuffed" in there and a hassle to zip, etc. to get it in I think I'd be fine with stowing the camera in one of the pockets.

It does sound pretty basic but it is at least covered from the elements unlike just using a neck strap or a Design Capture Clip and I like the idea of quick access. Being able to sit with it on too like you pointed out in comparison to the Think Tank setup would be nice too. I could see keeping it on most of the day unless I'm taking a long extended break.

Does it pose a visibility issue for you much in terms of being able to look down and see the ground in front of you if you need to pay closer attention to feet placement as you hike?

That would be the only other concern I have as some people pointed out.



Oct 31, 2016 at 03:18 PM
chez
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


Jasonuncloned wrote:
Thanks a good point that I hadn't thought of. Given that I'll probably be hiking in some higher elevations on my trip I'll have to consider that foot placement may be important there too.

So are you using something like this?

Peak Design Camera Capture Clip

And if so, how truely sturdy is the attachement point?

Does it keep enough tension that the camera is really staying in the position you place it in?

Does it tend to wobble around on you as you hike?

My concern would be that it would be flopping around on me or that I could accidentally whack it if
...Show more

I use the Peak Design clip attached to my belt with camera and 16-35 zoom lens. It is very sturdy, does not sway as you walk and if it's raining, it is under my rain coat. I also have a trekking pack which is used to carry the rest of my gear along with other clothes, some food and emergency gear.

I've hiked extensively through Kauai, the Canadian Rockies and Arizona using this system with no issues. I've travelled through South East Asia on various trips through crowded streets and remote mountains using the clip and it worked fine.

It's cheap enough to try out. I don't like the idea of obscuring my feet as that leaves you open to turning an ankle or worse. I have not found a front pack that offers a good support system which leaves pain in my shoulders after a day of hiking. A proper trekking pack with a great support system coupled with the camera clip is the best system I've found for hiking.



Oct 31, 2016 at 03:42 PM
 

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OregonSun
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


I have used the Cotton Carrier chest harness extensively and it is a great solution for keeping a camera comfortably at the ready. The mesh back work fine with a backpack over it and it holds a camera/lens steady enough for Mt. Biking, Skiing, Kayaking, etc. It would probably be overkill for a mirrorless but works great with a DSLR. The largest combo I've used on it is a gripped 7Dii with 400mm 5.6.

I just pop a shower cap over the lens and camera for rain protection (doesn't work for the 400mm, obviously).

Heron

Edited on Oct 31, 2016 at 07:50 PM · View previous versions



Oct 31, 2016 at 03:55 PM
jharter
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


I misspoke on Peak Designs. I have the Capture Lens Clip.

I think your camera would fit.

The packs taper a bit as they extend forward to the middle. That would limit the length of your camera/lens combo e.g. no 70-200/2.8. The zipped center is the thinnest part which helps you see down. It is much better visibility than with any of the conventional chest packs but not as good as with the Think Tank belt system which does not affect view.. Like I said though, I have never walked around with mine zipped in the center. I make a point of always zipping closed the compartments - the main compartment has a long zipper and I don't want anything loose in there to fall out.

The zippers in the main compartments are a little thin for my taste. But they do seem durable. I can zip and unzip with one hand although two hands is quicker and easier.



Oct 31, 2016 at 04:15 PM
jharter
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


One more thing - each of the main compartments has two elasticized mesh compartments closest to your body. With the lenses I mentioned, all fit in those compartments except that the 16-35 fits comfortably only with the lens hood removed. DSLR lenses are sometimes larger so they might have to float loose or in wraps depending on the size.

It is easy to pull the camera out and put it back in when the zipper is fully opened.



Oct 31, 2016 at 04:18 PM
CreationBear
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


Lots of great input already, but another option if you're also in the market for a new pack would be to make sure its hipbelt has molle/PAL's loops--if so, you could attach a holster like the f-stop Gear "Navin" and not have it obscure your view if you're traversing gnarly terrain.


Oct 31, 2016 at 06:54 PM
Jasonuncloned
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


jharter wrote:
I misspoke on Peak Designs. I have the Capture Lens Clip.

I think your camera would fit.

The packs taper a bit as they extend forward to the middle. That would limit the length of your camera/lens combo e.g. no 70-200/2.8. The zipped center is the thinnest part which helps you see down. It is much better visibility than with any of the conventional chest packs but not as good as with the Think Tank belt system which does not affect view.. Like I said though, I have never walked around with mine zipped in the center. I make a point of
...Show more

Great. So in regards to it tapering is it easier to insert the camera with the lens towards the zipper and the body towards your hips then?

If so is it likely that you would ever likely bang your hand on the body of the camera as you swing your arms?

And the bottom of the pouches wouldn't interfere with a waist belt for a backpack right?

Not sure if I would zip the center myself. I guess it depends on the fit of it and how much support it still provides on zipped. I've definitely got a beer gut going and I have about a 38" waist so I'll probably think about ordering the XL just to be safe.




Oct 31, 2016 at 08:40 PM
jharter
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


Sounds like we are similar. Get the XL.

Yes, I insert the camera with the lens facing forward.

I have not noticed my arms banging the packs. Usually carrying a tripod in one arm with the other free.

The pouches should not have down far enough to interfere with a waist belt and they are adjustable.



Oct 31, 2016 at 10:29 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


The RIBZ have *very* spacious pockets and only come in two sizes (I have the L/XL). You might want to go to their site and check dimensions before buying. I believe I could easily have gone with the smaller size (S/M) and I had a large waist (44") before losing 20kgs !

There is more discussion on the RIBZ here : http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1455233



Nov 01, 2016 at 03:29 AM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


I used to ski with the LowePro Toploader 75AW (and their harness)
on my chest. No problems, extensive dirt bike/ATV use as well. These
days I'm shooting longer lenses so I'm using the TT Glass Taxi BP.



Nov 01, 2016 at 01:48 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Chest Pack or Holster Harnesses for hiking?


I use a shoulder bag and have the strap over my neck so the strap is at an angle across my torso. I can slide the bag to the front to get to something and then slide it against my back where it is completely stable and does not move around at all whether I am going on flat ground or up or down a steep hill.

I like a bag with a cover flap and a quick release buckle as compared to a zipper and a bag with an outside pocket where I can put small items like filters, lens cleaning items, snack bar, etc. that I don't want inside the main compartment.

I start with the inside dimensions of the bag based on the longest lens that I want to put inside. Then I go to the B&H Photo Video website and start using the filters to select for a shoulder bag and with the depth that will accommodate the longest lens I want to put inside. A narrow deep bag I find better than a long wide bag in terms of not having it hit against anything while moving about.



Nov 02, 2016 at 10:03 PM







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