Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 918
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

TheBlackGrouse wrote:

Very good text, you know what you're talking about

Thank you. But as I said, I'm just one member of a large, incredibly experienced group with sub-groups that can be found hiking somewhere on this beautiful little planet just about every weekend. They made some really useful suggestions!

For multi-day hikes I don't use camera backpacks, I have several dedicated hiking packs.

Deuter Guide 45+: mountaineering pack with the lightweight 'alpine' suspension system and a flexible hip-belt. This pack has a side zipper that goes from top to bottom and a separated room for the sleeping bag. Faster access than a toploader. Things like shampoo, toothpaste, cleaning solution for contact lenses, wet clothes, extra drinks, everything that may leak go in the bottom compartment. The camera equipment and dry clothes are in the main compartment. Lightweight pack for shorter trips.

Mammut Trion Pro 50: backpanel access gives better organization, especially when shooting landscapes (Lee filters, holders, CPL, lens changes etc.). The large backpanel zipper is risky indeed in heavy rain. Then I take off the pack, put a large rain-cover around it and wait, or I wrap my insert in a waterproof cover. That said, I have carried this pack in 'normal' rain for 1-3 hours and had no problems. The F-Stop ICU, the second line of defense, is water resistant too. Not much but enough to stop some incoming water.

Mountain Hardwear South Col 70: large workhorse with in-built waterproof shell. Top-loader with a lot of options to attach gear. Functions as an expedition/approach pack with a smaller sling inside, used as insert and for day-trips.

Sadly no TMP here but for those who do not mind a sweat-drenched back/butt, these are 3 great packs you own! I am a bit surprised at the slant towards ski mountaineering/alpine climbing type of packs though, I had no idea you had such high peaks in the Netherlands!

Jokes aside, I'm not much into straight climbing these days but I have fond memories of my old Mammut, a real workhorse with very high quality (and a sky-high price, no wonder some call them the "Swiss Patagonia"!) That company's Alpine heritage shows in much of their gear, expensive stuff but well worth the money.

No fast access, I use several systems to carry my 7DII with 100-400 II while hiking. None of them is ideal. When in the forest you have 2-3 chances a day to shoot a rare or special bird. It has to be done in a few seconds so fast access is really important. And you never know when it happens.

Agreed, that is a real challenge, but there are solutions. The ones outlined in my OP work very well for many in our large group (and these are picky people!)

The Cotton Carrier system is great but adds a lot of weight (for a hiker) and it gets hot since your chest is covered.

Yup, and on top of that I was never able to make the CC harness work with a backpack (felt like the harnesses fought each other...) For quick access consider trying out the StrapShot, I'm away on assignment right now but here is a pix of a similar setup:

When I use it with a long zoom I add a little bungee that secures the front of the lens to my chest strap, works like a charm.

In the past I used the Think Tank Harness and connection kit but it is complicated and makes you feel like Spiderman. There may be situations when you need to get rid of you gear as quick as possible. We don't have bears and cougars here but instead our forests are populated with wild cattle (some sort of bred back Aurochs) that can be quite aggressive. I had to run for cover two times and was glad that it was easy to take of my backpack and holster. Of course, these are rare incidents but over the years strange things will happen.

Those wouldn't be the Highland breed (originally from Scotland) by any chance?

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