Serious backcountry setup ?
/forum/topic/1171639/0



workerdrone
Registered: Dec 29, 2010
Total Posts: 1158
Country: United States

I grew up backpacking and camping, often staying out for days at a time or camping in the full winter. So I'm familiar with what I want to bring under any conditions to stay alive and comfortable outdoors.

What I'm struggling with a bit is what to do if I want to take an extended trip with a good camera kit, which I've never done before. Always just brought a point 'n shoot and micro tripod before.

Most of the packs I see seem to be focused on bringing lot of camera gear and not on the pack mule's needs, or separating things like wet clothes, water bottles, filthy gear, fuel bottles, etc from said expensive camera gear.

Thinking maybe I would just put a pelican case with body and couple lenses in my large backpacking pack and strap a tripod to the outside, but what do serious wilderness / wildlife photogs use to get into the backcountry and stay there? Are there packs I'm not aware of that hit this balance nicely without lugging a pelican along with the works?

The internal pelican doesn't work either if I want to rent a super tele and protect it, which is another thing I'm considering if I plan a nice backcountry trip.

The gura gear kiboko looks nice for large lenses but not for the hiking / camping part. What else?



workerdrone
Registered: Dec 29, 2010
Total Posts: 1158
Country: United States

In addition to the camera gear I'd be carrying fair amount of clothing, solo tent or hammock, tarp, sleeping bag, cooking kit, water bottles and filter, first aid, saw, food bag, rope or bear vault to give folks some idea. Crampons and/or snowshoes in the winter.



mpmendenhall
Registered: Aug 09, 2008
Total Posts: 2034
Country: United States

Trashbags for waterproofing. Wrap lenses in clothes for padding. Thick wool socks make great lens pouches; from inside a ziploc bag, the lens doesn't even care how used the socks are. Lugging extra boxes/cases/padding/etc. on top of what you already need just adds weight and misery --- the more you can improvise with what you already have, the better.



workerdrone
Registered: Dec 29, 2010
Total Posts: 1158
Country: United States

haha I should've seen that coming - yes, makes sense. I tend to really baby my photo gear and I've seen my pack floating downriver or bouncing down a steep slope or being crushed under 200+ lbs of falling me before so I was thinking along other, more elegant lines but that approach probably makes the most sense. Curious what alternatives are out there though.



photomax
Registered: Apr 25, 2008
Total Posts: 83
Country: United States

Look at www.fstopgear.com. Their gear is camera ready but designed for serious hiking.



workerdrone
Registered: Dec 29, 2010
Total Posts: 1158
Country: United States

^nice - suprised I haven't looked at their stuff before.



dgdg
Registered: Jul 20, 2011
Total Posts: 2470
Country: United States

I like the Loka and icu for daytrips.
You'll need one of there bigger bags.
A small icu might be handy with a large pack, but I like the sock, ziplock, and trash bag idea. You can never have enough thick ply trash bags.



PeaktoPeek
Registered: Dec 20, 2005
Total Posts: 1965
Country: United States

For backpacking I use a top-loader type case which I attach to the harness of my "real" backpack using a couple of clips. I usually carry my DSLR in that with a wide angle zoom so its ready to go while I'm hiking on the trail. I also usually toss in something like a 70-200 in a lowepro lens case -- usually on top of my gear in the back. I also usually pack a much smaller daypack to use after I've established a basecamp in the backcountry.
Paul



rsk7
Registered: Feb 27, 2004
Total Posts: 284
Country: United States

Look at the Aarn setup with the photopockets for camera and lens. Leaves your back pack for the camping stuff and carry the camera and lens in the front photopockets. Camera and lens are accessible and the balance is nice with all that weight distributed too.

http://www.aarnusa.com/balancepockets.htm

I just haven't seen any other system yet that can dual purpose as well.



Bobat
Registered: Oct 20, 2010
Total Posts: 39
Country: United States

PeaktoPeek wrote:
For backpacking I use a top-loader type case which I attach to the harness of my "real" backpack using a couple of clips. I usually carry my DSLR in that with a wide angle zoom so its ready to go while I'm hiking on the trail. I also usually toss in something like a 70-200 in a lowepro lens case -- usually on top of my gear in the back. I also usually pack a much smaller daypack to use after I've established a basecamp in the backcountry.
Paul


That's how I do it as well. I clip a ThinkTank Digital Holster to my chest strap. Gives me instant access to the camera without having to take off my pack. It's big enough to hold a camera with 70-200 attached (hood reversed). If I want to bring a second lens I put it in a separate lens case and either attach it to the holster or put it at the top of my pack (Gregory Baltoro 70).



workerdrone
Registered: Dec 29, 2010
Total Posts: 1158
Country: United States

Interesting suggestions, that I might not run across even with hours of research on my own. Thanks and keep 'em coming!



dsjtecserv
Registered: May 09, 2010
Total Posts: 1534
Country: United States

For day hiking I use a photo-specific pack (F-Stop Tilopa on order). For multi-day trips I use my regular backpack (Six Moon Designs Starlight, very light weight for its toughness). The camera an main lens go in a Think Tank Holster on the pack belt left side, and a wide angle lens and a few other things like Cokin filter holders, polarizer, etc., go in a medium-sized Lowe-Pro belt pouch on the other side of the belt. Tripod goes in a side packet of the pack. Other stuff such as batteries, cards, pano gear and misc accessories go in silnylon sacks or plastic bags in other outside pockets. In the rare event that I take a telephoto zoom it goes in the main pack bag in a small dry bag.

Once I get my F-Stop ICUs I many try a small one in the top of the regular pack, but really, I haven't had a problem with having everything on the outside. I need to have quart and gallon ziplocks available for rain, but otherwise no safety/protection problems. This has worked for two to three-night jaunts, but I would probably want to pare it back for a real long-distance hike where more food needs to be carried; it would be too much weight all told.

In short, for true hiking trips, I think you are better off adapting a regular backpack for photo use rather than the other way around.

Dave



Bliz
Registered: Sep 10, 2011
Total Posts: 157
Country: United States

If im out for overnight or up to two weeks I take the Lowepro holster that fits 7D/17-55 attached to the external of my Kifaru Longhunter which is a 7200cube pack and put the 100-400 inside the pack wrapped in a plastic bag/jacket. Day hikes I just put all the camera gear into a Mountainsmith Tour FX and drop it in a pack or strap it externally to a frame.



binary visions
Registered: Dec 28, 2004
Total Posts: 2292
Country: United States

dsjtecserv wrote:
In short, for true hiking trips, I think you are better off adapting a regular backpack for photo use rather than the other way around.


I agree with this.

Photo-specific packs are great if you don't have to carry a lot of hiking gear, but if you're actually getting out into the backcountry on a multi day trip, 10 times out of 10 I'll take a real hiking pack and just tuck my camera gear in as best I can.

I took a D300, 70-300, 10-20, 50mm f/1.4, and 90mm macro along with a tripod on a 9-day hiking trip in the Andes. I packed it all in my Osprey bag around my clothes, arranged it so the lenses were as accessible as possible, and was grateful every day for such a comfortable hiking pack. I've yet to find a photo pack that carries hiking gear as well or as comfortably as a good dedicated hiking bag.

The pack had a rain cover that kept it dry in most situations, and I had several cheap ponchos that would cover me and the bag for when it really started to come down. Other than that, I had some bags to wrap gear that needed to be put next to anything dirty/wet, and that was about the only concession I made to the photography equipment - protection was provided by unused clothes. I treat my gear very carefully, but the realities of hiking mean that you're going to be very uncomfortable if you try to pad it out much; you just have to accept that things can break.



AmbientMike
Registered: Feb 04, 2010
Total Posts: 1404
Country: United States

Used bubble wrap with a book type backpack day hiking a couple years ago. I have floated cameras in ziploc bags, of course if there is a hole...

Don't leave wet stuff in plastic bags. Condensation can be a problem too.