Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

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OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers
3

Wateraddict wrote:

Thank you for the info and water has always been something I have just left behind or left in the car while off hiking. I'll look into this bag online this evening.

Wateraddict hikes without water... HUH? Wouldn't that be like seeing 007 on an op. without his WalterPPK?
Sorry, couldn't help it... LOL. 
Always glad to help, feel free shoot back any question once you've had time to review all this info.

Bobthearch
Bobthearch Veteran Member • Posts: 9,127
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers
2

Wateraddict wrote:

Thank you for the info and water has always been something I have just left behind or left in the car while off hiking. I'll look into this bag online this evening.

Tourists die here on account of forgetting water or running out.  One gallon per day is a good rule of thumb for hiking in hot conditions.

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Wildalaskaken
Wildalaskaken Contributing Member • Posts: 934
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Nice post. The answer is found in the Osprey catalog. Best packs made.

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Wildalaskaken
Wildalaskaken Contributing Member • Posts: 934
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers
1

Bobthearch wrote:

Wateraddict wrote:

Thank you for the info and water has always been something I have just left behind or left in the car while off hiking. I'll look into this bag online this evening.

Tourists die here on account of forgetting water or running out. One gallon per day is a good rule of thumb for hiking in hot conditions.

I blew through 1.5 liters one day in 3 hours just sitting in the heat.

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Bobthearch
Bobthearch Veteran Member • Posts: 9,127
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers
1

Wildalaskaken wrote:

Bobthearch wrote:

Wateraddict wrote:

Thank you for the info and water has always been something I have just left behind or left in the car while off hiking. I'll look into this bag online this evening.

Tourists die here on account of forgetting water or running out. One gallon per day is a good rule of thumb for hiking in hot conditions.

I blew through 1.5 liters one day in 3 hours just sitting in the heat.

Working in the outback of Australia we were required to carry 5 liters of ice water each day.  I drank every drop...

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Wildalaskaken
Wildalaskaken Contributing Member • Posts: 934
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers
2

Bobthearch wrote:

Wildalaskaken wrote:

Bobthearch wrote:

Wateraddict wrote:

Thank you for the info and water has always been something I have just left behind or left in the car while off hiking. I'll look into this bag online this evening.

Tourists die here on account of forgetting water or running out. One gallon per day is a good rule of thumb for hiking in hot conditions.

I blew through 1.5 liters one day in 3 hours just sitting in the heat.

Working in the outback of Australia we were required to carry 5 liters of ice water each day. I drank every drop...

Nicer in Alaska...never too hot and clean water everywhere so all you need is a Beaverfever Straw.

I would die here in Thailand if it wasnt for 7-11 and a hydration bladder.

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Wateraddict
Wateraddict Regular Member • Posts: 345
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Quite a substantial price hike between Canadian and US Amazon prices $268.00 Canadian plus a $63.00 import fee as opposed to $127 US Amazon. I will probably due better in the stores come Black Friday. We have several outdoor outfitters around my area so we will see what happens come sale day.

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OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Wateraddict wrote:

Quite a substantial price hike between Canadian and US Amazon prices $268.00 Canadian plus a $63.00 import fee as opposed to $127 US Amazon. I will probably due better in the stores come Black Friday. We have several outdoor outfitters around my area so we will see what happens come sale day.

For what pack?

Wateraddict
Wateraddict Regular Member • Posts: 345
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

The Deuter Futura Pro 36 pack

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OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Hmmm, it looks like Deuter doesn't have an official importer in Canada right now, which surprises me. May I ask in what part of the country you live? Feel free to PM me,.

Wateraddict
Wateraddict Regular Member • Posts: 345
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

I'm up in northern Ontario just a tad south of Algonquin Park. We have quite a few outdoor outfitters within a half hour drive that carry Deuter stuff so I will check them out instead of buying off of Amazon. Lots of choices up here for packs. There is a MEC store close to me as well. With black Friday coming up it should be a good opportunity to check out all the upcoming deals

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Bobthearch
Bobthearch Veteran Member • Posts: 9,127
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

The REI-brand packs are pretty good.  So are Osprey, Gregory, and many others.  I happen to be using a Marmot recently that I like very much.

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OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Wateraddict wrote:

I'm up in northern Ontario just a tad south of Algonquin Park. We have quite a few outdoor outfitters within a half hour drive that carry Deuter stuff so I will check them out instead of buying off of Amazon. Lots of choices up here for packs. There is a MEC store close to me as well. With black Friday coming up it should be a good opportunity to check out all the upcoming deals

Aaah, NOW I understand your moniker. Beautiful region you live in, lucky you!

Good strategy on checking/buying these bags, always give your money to the local store. In the US, many will match an Amazon price anyway. Oh and BTW, prices on many good packs have already started dipping (we have a few folks in the group who were waiting for that and already purchased their packs.)

OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Morvegil wrote:

Good write up.

Thanks.

This thread just made me realize ill never do hard core hiking like this.

I'll second Bob's wise words and if I may, I'll add that hiking is so good for both the soul and the body that I have never had the feeling of doing anything extreme, to the contrary! The secret, if there's one, is to start with minimal mileage on easy trails, and to take time to enjoy and photograph your surroundings. The rest comes naturally.

But at the end of the day it simply comes to having the right info on "the right tool for the job," and that's in part why I started this conversation. Why spend twice or more on a product (PP photo pack) that is vastly inferior on the trail in so many ways?!

BTW, there are hard core trailsters, people like Xavier Thevenard, Killian Jornet, Jim Walmsley or François D'Haene. Here's an example of what they do on the trail, not my cup of tea, but it's pretty amazing:

https://www.outsideonline.com/2252601/francois-dhaene-breaks-john-muir-trail-record

Wateraddict
Wateraddict Regular Member • Posts: 345
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers
1

Discussing it here has given me a few options I had never thought about before so that is always a good thing. And Yes I would much rather give my money to some local store even though sometimes it is just easy to click a few buttons and get it delivered to the door.

With stuff like this I think it's also important to try it on and see how it feels for the real world. Outdoor outfitters can also give valuable insight into these sorts of things.

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Wordfool New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Interesting analysis, and some useful insight into the cons of photo backpacks in the field. While I agree that photo backpacks are not (and probably never will be) as good as properly-fitted, dedicated mountaineering/hiking packs when it comes to comfort, I'm also not someone who would expect them to be as good simply because they're not "dedicated" to one task.

All photo backpacks are inherently a compromise and always will be, despite what manufacturers will claim. They're designed for multiple things -- carrying/accessing photo gear plus one (or two) of the following): outdoorsy stuff, travel, urban security, style. When anything is designed to fulfill multiple incompatible tasks it will never excel at any one of them. The best hope is that it doesn't suck too badly at any one thing.

Having tried many photo packpacks over the years I've never been under the illusion that I could comfortably use one on a multi-day backcountry camping trip, just as I've never been under the illusion that one of my EDC backpacks I use around the city or for travel could be used on 30 mile hike.

What I look for in a photo backpack (and why I asked about the new Shimoda Action X series in another thread you kindly replied to) is something that could work on, say, a 10-mile hike with relative comfort and easy access to my gear. I try to limit the size of any photo backpack I use because I know I'll more quickly notice the compromised harness system of a bigger and heavier photo backpack -- if I need to carry a lot of heavy gear over distance I'll stuff an ICU into a "proper" hiking pack.

I'm reminded of when, back in the day, I traveled all over the US with a heavy 65-liter Karrimor pack that would probably be considered dated by today's lightweight, TMP standards but nonetheless had a well designed and adjustable harness, hip belt and aluminum stays (molded to the shape of my back) and was staggeringly comfortable to carry, even when fully loaded.

N Smith Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

starfly wrote:

N Smith wrote:

Great thread and oh so true!

I spent ages looking for a setup that worked for me and used the Jack Wolfskin ACS photopack for a while as it had a decent harness and trampoline back. Unfortunately the hip belt was not so good, there was not much room for any other gear and the pack was a little too short.

Since then I've witched to an Osprey Stratos with a camera bag insert. The side zipper allows access to my gear without having to open the top flap if I need to.

I still don't know why none of the camera backpack companies or even a company like Peak Design still haven't brought out a backpack with a decent carrying system for photography gear.

I was just experimenting last week with the Stratos 36 backpack at my local REI, trying to fit in a camera cube (Peak Design Medium Camera Cube) and seeing if I could easily access gear through the side zipper. I just couldn't get it to work smoothly. Which ICU are you using?

Sorry to take so long to reply. I bought the ICU from Amazon

https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00ME00YVO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The link is to amazon.de but you should be able to find it elsewhere too.

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starfly Contributing Member • Posts: 624
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Chris 222 wrote:

starfly wrote:

Chris 222 wrote:

Wateraddict wrote:

Not on ski trips but on short hikes with snow shoes and in the winter Yes. I love the winter for the type of photography I do. Light hiking and average use. If you have any other recommendations I would be all ears.

The Freerider Pro 30 is a super-well built bag (typical of this brand) but like many winter packs it has no water bottle pockets. We tend to ignore hydration in the winter but it's a mistake since we dehydrate just as quickly, especially at altitude. Anyhow, you can still stick an insulated bottle inside the pack but then you have to drop your bag any time you want a sip. But the bigger problem in my book, is the fact that this pack doesn't have a rain cover, a big no-no when you have photo gear inside.

FWIW if I were in your shoes I'd go with the Deuter Futura Pro 40 which is a true 4-season pack and has far more options for photo gear access (see post #1 for the gory details) and hydration. You also get a TMP with considerably better weight spread, meaning that in practice both the bag and the load feel much lighter. Alternatively, the Deuter Futura 36 Pro, a standard PP bag, has a side zipper but I'd caution about the practicality of this type of access. It's actually easier and less messy to just drop your pack vertical in the snow (the bottom is waterproof) and access your lenses in the ICU at the top of the bag. Both these packs should also be really nice for putting your snow shoes either in the stretch front pocket or lashed to the 4 loops on the top cover. BTW, both these models are under $130 now which is a steal.

Does this make sense?

You probably mean the Trail Pro 36, as the Futura Pro 36 is just a slightly smaller version of the Futura Pro 40

The Trail Pro 36 as an FYI does not have side access. That zipper you see on the side is just a zipped side pocket. It does have front panel access, and depending on how you have the zipper it can double as sort of side-access. I otherwise concur with you that more often than not, side-access zippers aren't that practical for photography purposes. It's usually not very easy to access an ICU through a side access zipper. A front access panel tends work a bit better.

I just picked up the Trail Pro 36 alongside the Gregory Zulu 40 I picked up last week, as I wanted to compare the two and see how they work. Initial impression is that the Zulu feels a bit more comfortable on my back, but the Trail Pro 36 might be a little bit easier to work with, partly because the TMP suspension on the Zulu means the bag is somewhat curved instead of more straight on a more traditional back like the Deuter, which makes it more finnicky to deal with ICUs and tripods internally for example.

Not sure yet which one I'll keep, or if I'll return both. I just laid my eye on a new Osprey Archeon series of packs, in particular the 45L version caught my eye. Quite a bit more expensive though and they're not in any stores, yet, at least not where I live. They seem very durable and I like the features it offers. No TMP back, but I'm not married to that idea as I'll have a sweaty back no matter what. The 45L appears to have very easy access to the entire pack, something the Zulu and Trail Pro 36 both have as well but less convenient/easy.

Anyway, I'm not in a rush to get a pack, I may just decide to return both packs and wait until I can see the Archeon in store to try it on and see if I like its features.

I also wanted to thank you for sharing your findings here about these 2 packs. I hope you have time to get out on the trail and test them with a full load. Keep us posted !

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.

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OP Chris 222 Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers
1

For those who are interested in using the same solution most folks now use in my group, i.e. placing your most used photo gear in a "portable ICU / insert" that fits inside your TMP hiking pack and doubles as waist or shoulder bag (see post #1 in this thread) LowePro has a really nice Black Friday sale right now with price drops of 30-40% on most latest Nova bags in camo or black. I would definitely jump on this myself if I my old Nova weren't still going so strong:

https://www.lowepro.com/us-en/catalogsearch/result/?q=nova

Hope this helps.

Bobthearch
Bobthearch Veteran Member • Posts: 9,127
Re: Best backpack / rucksack for hiking photographers

Chris 222 wrote:

For those who are interested in using the same solution most folks now use in my group, i.e. placing your most used photo gear in a "portable ICU / insert" that fits inside your TMP hiking pack and doubles as waist or shoulder bag (see post #1 in this thread) LowePro has a really nice Black Friday sale right now with price drops of 30-40% on most latest Nova bags in camo or black. I would definitely jump on this myself if I my old Nova weren't still going so strong:

https://www.lowepro.com/us-en/catalogsearch/result/?q=nova

Hope this helps.

If the size is sufficient, the 160 suited me great for a D5000 and a couple of lenses. It was slender enough for comfortable shoulder carry, sat flat on the ground or car seat, and was super durable.

But moving in the Nova series, I found the 170 and 180 sizes far too bulky and boxy for comfortable carry - too wide and too flat.

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