which camera backpack has the most space other than camera compartment

Started Jun 30, 2013 | Questions thread
mosswings
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Re: which camera backpack has the most space other than camera compartment
In reply to new type, Jul 1, 2013

new type wrote:

Most camera bag out there has little space or no space other than camera compartment

I find that quite inconvenient for travel or going hiking. I want a backpack has overall 35-45 liter big and able to hold 1 camera with vertical grip, 3-4medium size lens, side access would be better. I tried normal backpack with camera insert, but then I have to go through everything above the camera insert just to get the camera or changing lens.

And i also find all the weight (lenses and camera) at the bottom part of the backpack not very comfortable.

Does backpack like that exists?

There are several excellent adventure backpacks out there. In the 35-45L range, there is the f-stop series, as has been mentioned, but they're not side entry. However, the camera compartment size is adjustable by selecting the correct ICU for your camera kit. Lowe has come out with the Pro Rover series - nice bags, but similar to the f-stop and most other adventure backpacks in that they're designed to get you to the location, not shoot on the move. Click Elite makes a few packs with side entry. The Obscura is only 30 L and is actually rather inefficient in its storage methodology, but it does distribute the heavy items all along your back, a good thing for a pack with really no internal frame to speak of. It's pretty floppy. But it's quite popular if you carry a small-body camera and a small lens kit. For your purposes, the Contrejour series are the better packs. They do have a side entry for on-the-go shooting as well as back panel access, and they have real internal frames for carrying heavy loads. With a good suspension the fact that the camera gear is carried low is not that much of an issue.

ThinkTankPhoto's new spinoff, Mindshift Gear, has just introduced the Rotation 180, a fabulous 38L bag designed to be worked out of without ever having to take the pack off. It has a waistbelt bag that rotates to the front and a highly configurable upper compartment that will hold about 26L.

You might want to actually measure the volume of your total kit, as organized, with dividers, etc. You might be surprised to find that it consumes well over 10L - more likely close to 15. That makes it very difficult to create a 35-45L bag with a decent amount of hiking essentials space.

A word about side entry - it sounds great, but doesn't always work in practice. The Obscura, Contrejour, and the LowePro PhotoSport 200AW and ProSport 30 all have fairly simple side access compartments that extend all the way across the bag. When you start stacking kit items above or below the camera and lens on one side the load rapidly becomes unbalanced, and you run the risk of a lens falling out when you open the portal to access the camera (it's happened to me). Therefore, there's a reason why these manufacturers have designed these features more as holsters than full access compartments. The swing-to-front idea sounds cool, too, but it can be cumbersome and definitely becomes unworkable if the bag is too thick or too-high capacity. A few of these designs can be accessed in a reach-back sort of way reasonably.

With regards to loading the camera equipment in the bottom - if you're properly loading the bag - water and reasonably heavy items close to the back and higher up, bulky lighter weight things towards the outside - the problem you mention goes away. If your bag has a good suspension. Many don't.

Finally, you can roll your own.  I use a Lowe Alpine Airzone Quest 27L for my small kit.  This bag has an excellent trampoline suspension and a side access portal into which you can shove a holster bag or camera insert.  For your needs, the Airzone Pro 45L would be better.  I find the suspension on this series of bags worlds superior to almost all of the photo adventure bags I've tried.

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