Gear for the Trail....

Started Mar 16, 2013 | Discussions
Craig from Nevada
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Gear for the Trail....
Mar 16, 2013

There is a fair amount of discussion here about gear--the merits of the 12-60mm versus the 14-54mm or a 11-22mm over just going 12-60mm.   These are important discussions to be sure, but the toughest choice I face with gear is how to carry it, particularly if you are a day hiker such as myself.

I am using a lowepro pack--AW400. With this I normally carry a lens or two--a 50-200mm and maybe the 8mm.  I also bring along binoculars, some snacks, lunch and water and more water

I also use a cotton carrier vest. This usually includes the e-5 and the 12-60mm.

I am pleased with the vest, which was overpriced and worth every cent of the price, but the pack is another story. Getting camera gear in is a pain.  I don't feel like there is adequate space for water.

Would I be better off with a regular day pack?

What do the hikers amongst us use?

Olympus E-5
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Roger Engelken
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Re: Gear for the Trail....
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Mar 16, 2013

Now that is the question.  I presently have a set of think tank sling-o-matic cases, four of them, as well as a rather large LowePro backpack.  On day trips, I go out with the Tracker and hit the forest service back roads in the nearby Rocky Mountains before hitting the hiking trail.  Most of the equipment stays in the truck, excepting one of the cases and perhaps two of the camera bodies.  They are not perfect, but then I am normally not in a big hurry and they work well enough.  Two bodies, each with a lens on them, outside the case, usually does the job.  The camera you have with you is, after all, the best camera out there at the moment.  Good luck with this one, I believe the right carrying gear is a harder nut to crack than the right camera gear on many an occasion.

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dharma108
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Re: Gear for the Trail....after a lot of experimenting
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Mar 16, 2013

After investing in a multitude of photography backpacks and finding deficiencies in all of them. Eg. Not enough space--no tripod attachment--inadequate hip belt--too expensive--I have now settled on a REI day pack. It has numerous storage spaces--loops and compression straps and water storage (both bottles and bladder) It has superb hip-belt and shoulder straps and about 35/40 liters of space.

When I packing photo gear, I just slide in pieces of foam-2"X 8"X 10" to separate camera bodies and lens. On a trip I may have two bodies, long zooms--Bigma and 50-200 +extenders--12-60-9-18--binocs--gadget bag--water--food and extra clothes. I found this set works far better than any camera bag I have used and the REI Daypack only cost about $80.00. It also comes with a waterproof cover zipped in at the bottom of the pack and carries this considerable amount of weight with comfort and ease.

Cheers, Dharma

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Ivo Verhaar
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Re: Gear for the Trail....after a lot of experimenting
In reply to dharma108, Mar 16, 2013

There are some options if you want to keep the camera ready...

Backpack with a separate holster for the camera

using the same holster as a torso pack, but not to big, you want to see your feet.

Rigging the camera directly to the shoulder straps with a soft pouch around it.

Using a REAL backpack will for that backpack part usually better any camera pack and for a lot less. Probably lighter also If you want it integrated, it is not easy, especially if they are over 10-15kg heavy and a pain to rotate under your arm (well my back is not happy with that).

I am pretty happy with my Think Tank Rotation 360, it is heavy, it is small (but you can add modules etc, making it bigger and heavier. It is possible to strap a camelbak blather to the exterior.. Though you might want to check on www.geigerrig.com for a blather with a filter, less need for much water.

Best thing of the rotation 360 is you can get a E-3 with 12-60swd attached and a 50-200swd in the belt pack and just rotate it out when needed. http://www.rotation360.com

And sometimes you see one second hand of fleebay http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=rotation+360&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313&_nkw=rotation+360+thinktank&_sacat=0 because new they are uh expensive at 300usd www.rotation360.com

want to get it new, money no issue, then better take a hard look at the V2.0 of the rotation 360 the 180 from mindshift gear http://www.mindshiftgear.com which is a loooot roomier, lighter etc... and a bit more expensive. Available from approx april And still on my shortlist also... So far only theoretical nitpicking thing i could find the belt pack is a lot bigger, meaning it also sticks further out, which is an issue if you carry it separately... Or maybe not, not sure on it. Realy hope to see that pack in real life soon

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Olympus: E-3, 12-60SWD, EX25,EC20, FL50R, 50-200SWD, XZ-2.
Thinktank: Rotation 360, Change Up, some modules
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iverhaar

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Ivo Verhaar
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Re: Gear for the Trail....after a lot of experimenting
In reply to Ivo Verhaar, Mar 16, 2013

Regarding water, if you have to carry a lot, but there is a stream nearby it might be worth considiering a http://www.geigerrig.com pack with a inline filter (bacteria and chem). Oh and you can spray/rinse with those packs to clean also.

If possible even if hydration packs are tough as nails, all connections can fail so try to keep them outside of your backpack, an E-3 and swd is more or less splashproof and seems to survive a short dunk, but nobody likes to find out for how long or that the spare batteries CF cards etc where drowned or that warm sweater..

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Olympus: E-3, 12-60SWD, EX25,EC20, FL50R, 50-200SWD, XZ-2.
Thinktank: Rotation 360, Change Up, some modules
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iverhaar

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Pikme
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my experience
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Mar 16, 2013

I've given up on packs altogether.

I've tried just about everything and every combination, but always run into the same three problems:  1.  if it is comfortable to carry, then it is not convenient to get to when needed (e.g. I have very nice Lowepro back pack that lets me carry tons of weight easily, but I have to take it off to get to anything.);  2.  If the gear is easily accessible, then it gets in the way of hiking or just isn't comfortable (e.g. shoulder bags, hip/waist packs, etc.);  3.  water is heavy, awkward, necessary, heavy and awkward to carry.

I've settled on this for awhile now:  camera and main lens slung over opposite shoulder with quick release  black rapid strap, second lens jammed into a very light, cheap, soft and small waist belt bag.  It isn't designed for this usage at all, there is no protection for the lens and I have to really jam it in to fit, but it is small and light, stays out of the way unlike 'real' camera waist packs, and the belt does double duty by serving as a method of holding my dogs' leashes tethered to me.

And that is why I love Olympus - I can take just two lenses (12-60 and 50-200 SWD)(one on the camera and one in the small bag) to have everything I need (and can supplement with just t/c and ext tube in my pockets, if I want).  And, none of the gear is protected but none has had any problems even though I do this at least weekly for years with my Oly gear. I've fallen numerous times on rocks, in mud and even in water, I might get hurt but my gear just cleans up and keeps working. Now I more frequently use m4/3 gear, but I treat it the same except with smaller and lighter leather cord shoulder strap.  If I bring a tripod, I just carry it in my hand.  I also have a Trektech Go Pro that doubles as walking stick and monopod, so now I often forego the tripod and use that instead (darn IS is making me a lazy photographer).

The only thing I still haven't figured out is what to do about the water!  I keep buying and trying various containers, belts, loops, etc., but still find water to be heavy, awkward and necessary.  If I had bigger dogs, I would make them carry the water.


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Torlang
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Re: Gear for the Trail....
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Mar 16, 2013

When hiking, I use the 620 w/ kit lenses. If a day trip,  I use an Osprey Stratos pack. Overnights: Osprey  Aether 60. Love both.

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E-5 / E-620 / 50-200 SWD / 12-60 SWD / FL-50R's and other studio Paraphernalia

 Torlang's gear list:Torlang's gear list
Olympus E-5 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Olympus 12-40mm F2.8
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John Iversen
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Re: Gear for the Trail....
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Mar 17, 2013

The following is the result of long experimentation and many, many miles walking (30% trail, 70% no trail/bush trekking).  I could never find a photo backpack that really fit correctly or worked for me.  And it seems like if the word “photographic” gets added to it the price doubles.  And they were all heavy.

So just a plain jane smallish daypack for me . . .

The heart of my carrying system is a standard Cotton Carrier chest rig combined with a Quechua Forclaz 25 Ultralight daypack.  Once the straps and rigging have been adjusted, the two do not bind, chafe, or otherwise conflict with each other or your range of movement going over rough terrain.

Here’s a nice advertising pic of the Quechua; mine doesn’t look anything like that anymore (high mileage), but is still weatherproof!  By the way, the 25 stands for 25 litre capacity and it weighs in at 850 grams (13.6) ounces which is crazy light.

Note that the top flap is also a nice sized pocket and the pack has two almost full length, roomy slash pockets to either side.  Note also the black stripe running running the length of the center of the back of the pack.  That is a full length zipper weathersealed with some kind of silicon rubber flaps (that’s the black) which means you can lay the pack down and unzip the whole thing, which means immediate access to all your gear instead of digging down layer by layer from the top.  This is an absolute winner for carrying a ruck when photo gear is involved.

But that is by no means the whole system if you do a lot of backcountry walking.

Ok . . . the list:

Photographic -

  • E-30 plus either 50-200mmSWD with 1.4 teleconverter or 12-60mm rides on the Cotton Carrier, choice of lens depending on what I’m primarily shooting that day.
  • A second E-30 with the other of the two lenses mentioned above rides in the ruck.
  • A Manfrotto 190 CXPRO4 carbon tripod is strapped to the back of the ruck using the bungee rigging built into it.  Sometimes I just take along my ancient but sturdy Slik monopod instead.
  • The 7-14mm rides in the left outside slash pocket.
  • Spare batteries, lens cleaning stuff, filters ride in the top flap pocket.

Other Necessary Gear –

  • Two 1 liter alloy water bottles, but the following part is critical -  I bought a pair of insulation sleeves which are made to fit the water bottles exactly – basically cordura shells padded with 8mm closed cell foam insulation.  This means that you can put the bottles however you like with camera gear, and they provide protective padding against abrasion or impact.  Works beautifully.  My usual setup is to put one bottle in the right hand outside slash pocket, and the other across the bottom of the pack along with a medium/small first aid kit that is also in a padded pouch.  Together, they make a great base for the other body and lens.
  • A small hand pumped hightech water purifying filter for the evil lurking in the clearest of waters.  I’ve no great urge to get dysentery, giardiasis, or liver flukes – just to name a few, but a liter of water is a kilogram of weight.  The filtering unit weighs a whole lot less.  In country where water is available to filter, I usually carry only one liter.
  • A 15”x15” folding sitting pad.  I made it out of a chunk of 3/8” closed cell backpacking sleeping pad which I cut into 3” strips and then taped together with indoor-outdoor carpet tape (way better than duct tape) so that it folds up accordion style into a 1 ½’ x 3” x 15” packet.  More padding for stuff in the ruck; you can fold it up or unfold it to suit the load. You may get a chuckle out of the idea of a sitting pad, but try sitting for several hours on 150 degree Centi desert sand or on 8 degree Centi sopping wet Irish bog ground  while wildlife shooting.
  • Lensatic compass and appropriate maps.  If you think you can rely on a GPS unit or a cellphone to save your lost butt you’ve a good chance of ending up DOA.
  • High protein, high fat food.  Dry salami, cheese, nuts.  And a couple pieces of fruit.  A few energy bars for emergency – if I get caught out overnight.
  • Weather gear, depending on climate and forecast.
  • Spare pair of boot socks . . . more nice padding.
  • If I’m going out into some waaay back country I add a little emergency signaling and shelter kit.

How it all adds up:

  • The full kit of camera gear weighs 12 ½ pounds. If I forego the second body and the 7-14mm, it drops down to 9 ½ pounds. If I also forego the tripod it drops to 5 ½ pounds.
  • Depending on conditions and choices, the rest of the stuff will weigh 6 - 10 1/2 pounds including food and water.
  • So you’re looking at a dead minimum load of 11 ½ pounds, and a max of 23 pounds.  If you really plan ahead, its likely that you will end up using a dozen variations on the theme. 
  • However, all are definitely manageable for day hiking, and manageable also over difficult terrain, though your progress will be slower.

Salskov

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"Shoot with what you got"

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Skeeterbytes
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Re: Gear for the Trail....
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Mar 17, 2013

Craig from Nevada wrote:

There is a fair amount of discussion here about gear--the merits of the 12-60mm versus the 14-54mm or a 11-22mm over just going 12-60mm. These are important discussions to be sure, but the toughest choice I face with gear is how to carry it, particularly if you are a day hiker such as myself.

I am using a lowepro pack--AW400. With this I normally carry a lens or two--a 50-200mm and maybe the 8mm. I also bring along binoculars, some snacks, lunch and water and more water

I also use a cotton carrier vest. This usually includes the e-5 and the 12-60mm.

I am pleased with the vest, which was overpriced and worth every cent of the price, but the pack is another story. Getting camera gear in is a pain. I don't feel like there is adequate space for water.

Would I be better off with a regular day pack?

What do the hikers amongst us use?

A pet peeve--it seems the camera backpack makers either ignore support and suspension entirely (hey, these padded shoulder straps are all you need!) or build some honking stout bag then slap on an overkill suspension, strap and waistbelt combo that's intended to hide the fact the pack doesn't really fit.

For day hikes when I lug photo gear I want a perimeter-frame pack with a functioning waist belt (not just a webbing strap) and either adjustable back length or available in sizes to match my torso. Add waist belt pockets, side pockets I can reach w/o removing the pack, panel-loading main compartment (perimeter zip rather than top-loading) and plentiful reinforced external attachment points.

I currently use Gregory and Osprey packs that share this configuration. They're different volumes for differing conditions and loads, now discontinued so the models aren't germane here.

I've added a chest pack to tote my E-M5 or I suppose, the E-30--I doubt the E-5 fits. The E-M5 (yeah, wrong forum) is pretty much my ideal backpacking camera--but I still love my E-lenses.

Cheers,

Rick

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Art_P
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My 'pack'
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Mar 17, 2013

Holds 3 lenses, spare batteries and memory, GPS, and lunch... OM-D and pancake lens fits in one of the big pockets, but I may make use of some Velcro strapping to secure the camera while slung over a shoulder.

Sleeves removable for warmer weather, and the whole thing rolls up into its back pocket if needed.

Oh, this was after the first time through the wash...  several applications of fabric cleaner and a couple more trips through the wash and it's starting to look a bit better... still has stains, but a bit less grime.  But it's 15 years old and holding together pretty well.

Oh, I also have a mesh vest for hot weather hiking.



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Art P
"I am a creature of contrast,
of light and shadow.
I live where the two play together,
I thrive on the conflict"

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AzimLiza
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Re: Gear for the Trail....
In reply to Craig from Nevada, Mar 17, 2013

A regular dayhiker myself. At least 3-5 times a month . Mostly short trail between 2-5 hours walk. Up to 14 hours "dayhiking":). Only in hot and rainy Malaysian wheather.

After walking 14 hours I don't think anyone will really care if they are actually bring along even the best camera in the world.

For short dayhike; 2-3 hours:

1) 25 litres North face bag with 1.5-2L of water in hydration bladder

2) E620 + 14-54mm in small Naneu  correspondent C5 (with rain coat)

3) Olympus Xz1 in small bag hang on to main bag shoulder strap

For longer "dayhike"

1) Deuter Groden 35L with raincoat . 3L water in hydration bladder with another 2-3 litres extra water.

2)Olympus Xz1 in small bag hang on to main bag shoulder strap

After the last long dayhike I totally left my DSLR at home and just bring the xz1. Since all my dayhike start in the morning until afternoon, xz1 is actually good enough since I never print photo and only share them in the web. And more importantly xz1 has very useful macro mode.

E620 ,14-54mm in small Naneu bag.

Deuter Groden 35, xz1 in small bag.

Most common setup; North Face 25L, hydration bladder, xz1 in small bag.

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Azimliza

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