high-capacity bags that can be accessed without putting on the ground

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chasg Veteran Member • Posts: 3,558
high-capacity bags that can be accessed without putting on the ground

Hi All,

I'm going to be photographing a (famously muddy) 5-day music festival in June, and I'm looking for recommendations on bags from which I can access my considerable amount of kit without putting the bag down.

In the past, I have used a Lowepro Vertex 200 , a decent, weatherproof, camera-specific backpack that is just about the right size, but its equipment access is pretty standard: take it off, lay it on the ground (the bit that touches my back), open and access kit. I usually try to not put it on the ground (so I try to balance it on my knee, a nearby barrel, etc), but, inevitably, it gets wet/muddy and then my back gets it. Adding to the challenge, sometimes this event is quite dry (rare, but it happens!), and then it's a dust-bowl, and putting the bag on the ground then results in dust in the bag (almost more challenging than the mud...almost).

So, I'm hoping to get a recommendation for a bag that I can wear as a backpack (two straps for comfort and endurance, as my days are at least 15 hours, and sometimes even 24!), but be able to swing it around and open to get to my kit without having to put it on the ground.

This year I'll be wearing my two cameras full time (dual black rapid strap, so I won't need to put them in the bag), so the bag will need to carry:

  • 5 DSLR lenses (I carry a few speciality lenses, as well as the trilogy)
  • backup body (mirrorless)
  • a travel tripod and head (strapped to the outside)
  • tabletop tripod and head
  • clamp with ballhead
  • two speedlights
  • a full set of extra batteries for everything plus cables etc etc.
  • a compact folding stool (about the size of a travel tripod)

I'd be very happy if there were lots and lots of slots for straps on the outside, as sometimes I'll need to add on a motion-control timelapse rail + pan-tilt head. As a bonus, it'd be nice if the bag could fit a smaller-than-average Sigma 500mm F4.5 EX DG APO lens (not for this Festival, but I do travel with that lens occasionally).

(I know that this is a lot of kit, but it's been honed down to what I know I'll need, this is my 9th time photographing this festival).

I've just stumbled upon a thread where the Manfrotto Fast Backpack and Lowepro Fastpacks were mentioned. Both of these are half camera compartments, half other compartments. I'd prefer an all-camera compartment bag (with maybe some small supplementary pockets for my waterproofs). That said, I can get the Lowepro Fastpack PRO BP 250 AW III for £89, and that's an attractive price for this bag (even though it's not quite the configuration I'm looking for, seeing as it isn't all camera-compartment).

Can anyone recommend a bag that meets my criteria? Something that I can buy in the UK, and is less than £200? (I know an F-Stop bag will, awkwardly, do what I need, but they are out of my budget range at the moment). I haven't yet found a thread here, or a blog/review elsewhere via google, that discusses the bag that I hope exists.

Many thanks in advance for any pointers,

Chas

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