Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 912
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

starfly wrote:

Chris 222 wrote:

starfly wrote:

Well, I'm returning all these packs and will revisit my search in about 6 months or so, maybe there will be other packs on the market by then I can look at. I was not in urgent need of a new pack and just wasn't fully satisfied by any of these packs:

The Osprey Archeon 45, while a nice pack from a feature and durability perspective, I just found to be very uncomfortable; the hip belt is very hard and not well padded, the shoulder straps the same, and the back of the pack doesn't fit my fairly curved lower back well at all. Feels like I'm wearing a block, and it was also the heaviest by far out of the 3 I tried.

The Deuter Trail Pro 36 just doesn't feel like it properly transfers the load to my hips somehow, otherwise liked the pack. I wish there was a Deuter Futura version that had similar features to the Trail Pro 36, but alas, the only Futura with front access is the Futura 26, which would be too small, or the Futura Vario 50+10 which is way too big for a daypack. I'd still prefer a TMP back overall.

The Gregory Zulu 40 overall is the most comfortable, but also the smallest of the bunch in terms of internal pack space, so slightly less versatile as a photography backpack. But otherwise it nicely hugs my body, and transfers the load to my hips well. Also fits my curved lower back quite well. I may revisit this pack in 6 months if there aren't any other new packs out on the market.

Thanks for the detailed feedback on those 3 packs starfly.

Your notes on the Osprey Archeon are pretty close to that of those in my group who tried it (they also did not like the sky-high price.) Outdoor product manufacturers have been at the forefront of intelligent recycling (turning used plastics and other petroleum-derived stuff into brand new products) and the Archeon line is Osprey's latest effort. But it seems to be a bit of lip service (it's recycled, PFC free nylon but still has a prop 65 warning, and no Bluesign certification) and Osprey does have more comfortable bags.

Deuter has been leading the recycling efforts and word is that they are closing in on a new line of products based on 100% recycled fabric but at this point I don't know more than that. In the meantime, I agree that the Futura Pro 40 has a more sensible and comfortable design than the non-TMP Pro 36. FWIW the Deuter Futura Vario 50+10 is just a tad wider and taller than the Pro 40 (but just as streamlined a design) and it is only one pound heavier. After one of our members, who also owns both packs, posted that when his wife helped him clip on the packs eyes-closed, he could not tell which was which, many of us tried it as we were just as surprised, it's true! The hip belt pockets are also a bit larger and will take a 1" compact cam (too tight on the 40 unless you own a bar-soap Sony.) Anyhow, I personally use both packs but for anyone who can only afford one I would recommend the Vario.

Agreed about the latest Gregory Zulu, it's a nice, lower-quality but lower-priced alternative and they are far more comfortable than the previous lines. My Stout 35 was built with stronger materials but it saw zero use after I bought the Deuter Futura Pro 40, it was just a night and day type of difference.

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