Day hiking with a pro DSLR - brainstorming for the ideal carrying system

Started Apr 18, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Julian Vrieslander
Julian Vrieslander Contributing Member • Posts: 974
Day hiking with a pro DSLR - brainstorming for the ideal carrying system

If I had a lick of sense, I would probably get a lighter camera. But no, I'm still torturing myself, hauling a D700, plus assorted other items (24-70, 14-24, sometimes a lightweight tripod), on day hikes into the mountains. I use a Marmot Talus daypack, with one large internal compartment. The packing system looks like this, from bottom to top: emergency gear (first aid kit, etc.), then food, then a rain tarp, then clothing (fleece jacket, rain shell, etc.), then the camera, lenses, and accessories, in plastic bags.

I've looked at backpacks designed for carrying photo gear, and there's always something that turns me off. Some are too heavy, burdened with features and structures that I don't need. Most have support systems that are much less comfortable than my Marmot pack. Almost all of them are designed to carry the heavy camera gear at the bottom of the pack. This might be a more stable arrangement for climbers, but for long distance walks, it is usually better to have the weight higher and closer to your head. Furthermore, when I take the pack off, I find it easier to access the camera gear if it is near the top.

Sling packs, the kind that you slide around until they are hanging on your chest, seem like a great idea on paper. But when I've played with them in a store, loading and unloading items seems awkward. And these packs are probably not large enough for some of my treks.

I would like to have just a bit more protection around the camera, so I am thinking about getting some sort of padded container to keep inside the Marmot pack. Clik Elite makes some nice zippered "camera capsules", but they are too wide for my pack.

Crumpler made something similar, but those products were discontinued. Maybe I'll try one of these simple neoprene zippered sacks:

There are certainly a lot of dedicated camera bags that could be stuffed inside a pack (Tamrac and others), but they tend to be bulkier and heavier than what I need.

Has anyone else tried an approach like this? Other ideas? Note that I'm not currently doing overnight hikes with sleeping bag, tent, stove, etc. If I was, I would definitely have to give up the D700 and f/2.8 lenses.

 Julian Vrieslander's gear list:Julian Vrieslander's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR +3 more
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