I finally got the backpack I wanted

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Suntan Veteran Member • Posts: 5,915
I finally got the backpack I wanted
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I have an existing Kata R102 backpack that I have used for years. It's a great pack that can carry two bodies and a number of lenses. It's always been very reliable, stable and comfortable. However, it is rather heavy, has no water bottle pocket, no real space for non-camera gear, and getting the camera out requires taking off the pack.

I've wanted a new pack for a while now, one that is more tailored to day trips with the family. Where I can bring the camera for the day, but the day isn't specifically about the camera. As such, the desire was for a pack with a padded compartment that can carry just a D750 with grip and 24-120vr mounted, as well as either a flash or an additional small lens in the padded camera compartment; or the camera with grip mounted with a 70-200vr. In addition to a padded camera compartment I wanted space to carry a day's gear (food, jackets for me and the kids, etc.) Some water bottle pockets, plus a small inner zip pocket to securely hold a wallet and pair of keys. In addition to what I wanted, is what I didn't want. I didn't want a bunch of extra pockets everywhere, a laptop pocket, a water bladder pocket, etc. Just one big space. Also, I had a desire to be able to open and easily retrieve the camera with one hand, while slinging the bag around like a slinger bag. Lastly, there were a number of small (first world problems type) details that I desired. A zippered opening to the main compartment that would not get hung up on zipper flaps outside, or binding inside; also, the ability to cinch down the bag without blocking the zipper, and the ability to grab and return a water bottle without having to take the pack off (or throw out my should trying to grab a water bottle.)

Now, I'm sure I could have found a pack that met most of my desires, but I decided to make one myself, so that it met all of my desires. That's what I did.

The pack is made primarily out of 210D gridstop nylon (nylon fabric with white spectra fibers woven in to increase wear, tear resistance, and strength. It isn't as durable as full blown 1000D Cordura, but it is much lighter, and still holds up really well. The complete pack weighs in at 3 lbs. The padded camera compartment has 1/2" open cell foam protection, with plastic shielding in certain spots for protection and to maintain rigidity even with a big opening in the side (the camera closure doesn't need to be zipped closed to maintain bag integrity like most bags.) The camera opening is "oversized" compared to traditional camera backpacks, which helps a lot in making it really easy to grab the camera out with one hand, while on the move.

The closure for the camera compartment is a simple side release buckle that has the female half securely affixed to the bag (as opposed to flopping around on a short bit of webbing) again to facilitate single handed use.

The shoulder straps are copied from the "S" style straps on my Osprey backpacking pack with slight modifications to make them fit me just right. Further the pack has a full size plastic sheet suspension that stabilizes the pack, prevents things from poking the back, and keeps the padded camera compartment secure. Thick padding at the lower back and shoulder blades keep the pack stable and comfortable on the back, with space for airflow. In addition, the exaggerated "S" shape in the straps helps to keep the pack from falling down when slinging it around to grab the camera, and also stays well out of the way when bringing the camera up to eye level.

There's an outside, stretchy pocket for water bottle on the other side.

And also a "bottom pocket" that I shamelessly stole from Pa'lante Packs ( https://palantepacks.com ) because it is a great idea. You can grab a bottle, or snack out from the bottom pocket without taking the bag off, and not contorting your arm to try and grab something out of the side pocket (too many years of playing hockey means my shoulders can't do that any more.)

Lastly, the large storage pocket is about 22L in size. Closed by a large YKK zipper with a straight pull, and no flaps to get hung up on. The compression shock cord is tightened down without covering over the zipper, so access to the compartment is unimpeded even when cinched down.

Having completed it, there's a few things I would do differently, but overall I'm really happy how it turned out.

 Suntan's gear list:Suntan's gear list
Panasonic LX100 Nikon D300 Nikon D750
Canon EOS 1000D (EOS Rebel XS / Kiss F Digital) Nikon D750
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