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Thread: How do you pack your dslr photography gear for a hike or backpacking trip?

  1. #1
    Outdoor Guru Wasatch Rebel's Avatar
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    How do you pack your dslr photography gear for a hike or backpacking trip?

    For Christmas I got the camera and then right after I began looking for some kind of protective bag to keep it in. I finally settled on a daypack type bag, thinking it would be a great way to go on day hikes with my camera and keep it protected. It's highly padded with lots of compartments for filters, lenses, and extra batteries. There's a drawback though--if I take that pack, I have no hydration system, not much extra room for a jacket and lunch etc. So, I guess I'm just wondering what you all do when hiking, and also, extended trips such as backpacking. I'm thinking I'll just have the camera itself, some extra batteries, a couple of filters, and maybe two lenses, but I have no idea of the best way to pack this stuff along.

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  3. #2
    Look into f-stop Gear or Clik Elite bags for adventure photographers. I have one from each company and they both make quality products....but they aren't cheap.
    Randy Langstraat
    ADVENTR.CO | Anasazi Photography

  4. #3
    Outdoor Guru Wasatch Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntrepidXJ View Post
    Look into f-stop Gear or Clik Elite bags for adventure photographers. I have one from each company and they both make quality products....but they aren't cheap.
    I gotta go cheap for now. Got any ideas for an inexpensive temporary solution?

  5. #4
    Check out the Lowepro Dryzone Rover. It has worked great for me! They are a little spendy brand new off their website, but I found one dirt cheap on ksl classifieds. It has a waterproof lower compartment for all the camera gear and lenses; and the upper compartment has a hydration system and more storage for other misc gear.

    http://products.lowepro.com/product/...er,1936,18.htm

  6. #5
    Outdoor Guru Wasatch Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahansen60 View Post
    Check out the Lowepro Dryzone Rover. It has worked great for me! They are a little spendy brand new off their website, but I found one dirt cheap on ksl classifieds. It has a waterproof lower compartment for all the camera gear and lenses; and the upper compartment has a hydration system and more storage for other misc gear.

    http://products.lowepro.com/product/...er,1936,18.htm
    Thanks. That looks really good for my long-term plans, but even at a highly reduced price, I wouldn't be able to afford that right now. What kind of things can I do that are basically homemade? Like putting the camera in a zip-lock freezer bag for protection from water. I don't know, I'm sure some folks out there have to go cheap like me for a while. And while we're at it, if you're hiking, do you generally keep your camera around your neck, for ease of getting to, or do you keep it in your pack?

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Wasatch Rebel View Post
    And while we're at it, if you're hiking, do you generally keep your camera around your neck, for ease of getting to, or do you keep it in your pack?
    I normally keep my camera out with my main walk-around lens on it. It does seem to get a little beat up this way, though.....but I hate having to dig through my pack to get my camera out for a quick shot.
    Randy Langstraat
    ADVENTR.CO | Anasazi Photography

  8. #7
    I usually keep my camera around my neck while hiking. I don't want to miss an opportunity to photograph an animal or something because it took me too long to get my camera out of my pack. If it starts to rain or snow I'll throw it in my pack to protect it though. I usually wear a small bag on my belt up front as well to hold a lens that I can swap out with real quick without having to take my backpack off. That way I can swap between wide angle and telephoto fairly quickly.

  9. #8
    I second the Click Elite bags that Intrepid mentioned, however I also second the fact that they are pretty pricey. I personally use a Pelican Box that fits my body and one lens, then if I want to take another lens I put it in a padded lens wrap. The Pelican Box gives pretty bomber protection.
    As far as carrying your camera or keeping it in the pack. I would love to keep my camera around my neck while I'm out hiking but I have had some really bad luck with dust and sand issues, the most recent one costing me over $500 to have both of my main lenses cleaned by Canon, and that's with me keeping my lenses in the pack primarily. So I guess that choice is up to you.
    Good luck in finding a bag that works for you. I think a lot of times it's kind of a trial and error thing, and the best bag is going to be situation dependent.

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  11. #9
    Outdoor Guru Wasatch Rebel's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the pointers. So what do you all do on a four or five day backpack trip? Obviously some of the packs mentioned don't hold all that much gear and food. And just so you know what I do have, I bought this pack from Amazon, which is the one that I can't fit anything else into, except camera gear. Well, I crammed my knife in there, but I had to strap my jacket to the outside. I fit a one liter water bottle inside as well. So there's a little room, but not nearly enough. It was cheap though, just doesn't quite meet my needs. Anyway, here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...r_mts_prod_img

  12. #10
    I shoot with micro 4/3rd system now and just use a fanny pack that will accommodate it; sometimes just have the body and a wide angle lens on it , and a second camera that has a decent macro and telephoto. You can get a fanny pack pretty much anywhere, even Wallyworld.
    You can rest when you're dead

  13. #11
    Trail Master jamesdak's Avatar
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    Yep, I carry the camera with a telephoto around my neck. Then I have a large backpack type photo bag for additional gear, water, jacket, etc. If I am going "lighter" I will carry a smaller backpack and then may use a fanny pack to carry jacket water, snacks, etc.
    Exercise is the elixir of life!

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Hour View Post
    I second the Click Elite bags that Intrepid mentioned, however I also second the fact that they are pretty pricey.
    I carry Clik Elite and would be happy to get you hooked up with one if you steer that direction.

  15. #13
    Outdoor Guru Wasatch Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bo_Beck View Post
    I carry Clik Elite and would be happy to get you hooked up with one if you steer that direction.
    Thanks, Bo. I'll keep that in mind.

  16. #14
    I keep my Nikon dslr in the camera case with the lenses while driving. Case is open next to me if I'm grabbing shots through the window (yes, I've gotten some good ones that way - usually not on I15 though..lol). When hiking I either have it around my neck or in a backpack with other essentials. My backpack is a youth size to keep it smaller. I put bandanas in between the camera and other items, lenses in baggies. Camera fits perfectly. Usually the only time its in the pack is if I'm scrambling and really need both hands.

    My Nikon has been through 120 degrees for 3 days in HITR down to below zero when I forgot it was in the jeep. Works great. I've had dust cleaned out of it twice, and the only time I broke a lens was dropping it on the sidewalk in front of my house! Go figure! My attitude is you will never get a once in a lifetime shot if it's locked up in the case!

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  18. #15
    I've put a lot of thought into this, as I want to take my camera with me and have it accessible yet protected. My situation is compounded by the fact my camera is the full-frame Canon 5D Mark 2, which isn't the smallest DSLR out there.

    I want my camera accessible. I also want water with me on my trips, which means hydration pack. Common wisdon is that water and electonics don't mix (which is true), but on the other hand, I have NEVER had my hydration pack leak (anywhere other than the bite valve anyway).

    Here's where I'm at now:

    Pack: I use an older CamelBack Rim Runner. Big hydration bag, reasonable space for gear. All camera paraphernalia goes there, as well as other normal hiking stuff. "Paraphernalia" is defined as extra filters, lenses, etc. The smaller paraphernalia goes in the camera bag itself. Tripod straps to the outside of the pack, although I also made a shoulder strap for the tripod in case I'm just going on a short jaunt.

    Camera: I use a waist-belted LowePro Toploader Zoom. However, any waist-belted bag that does the same thing should work for you. Further, I replaced the camera strap with a tactical single-point rifle sling. (Hey, someone gave it to me for my AR, and I didn't like it for that, but I love it for this application!) It attaches to the camera with a secure quick-release buckle, and when the camera is out of the case, it hangs at my right side with the grip right at hand level. I put the sling on last, so it's on top of all the other straps (pack, etc.). This combination keeps the camera fairly readily accessible, and yet reasonably protected. Part of what makes this work well for me is I have the RRS L-bracket on the camera, which gives me an alternate sling mounting point that allows the camera to hang sideways (grip up), instead of up and down (prism up).

    Most of my heavy-use small accessories live right in the camera bag (polarizer, cable release, bubble level, extra battery). That way if I want to go take pics, all I need to do is grab the camera bag.

    This camera on my waist is a bit heavy, but I got used to it.

    I also have a GPS with me at all times, mostly so I can geotag my pics post-processing. It usually clips to the shoulder strap of the CamelBack.

    If you want to make your own straps, go to strapworks.com. They are a good inexpensive source for webbing, buckles, etc.

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  21. #17
    For years now I've been using the Case Logic SLR Zoom Holster ( http://www.caselogic.com/slr_zoom_ho...ductid=1347175 ). I've thrashed two of them over the years, Case Logic has warrantied both of them. From hiking in the Wind Rivers to Yellowstone and deer and elk hunting in the Bear River Mountains, this case has held up for the beating I've given it. My Nikon D80 has never been damaged even though the case has been beat up. The older SLR holsters had a belt loop, the new holster still does, but the Zoom Holster in this link does not. I've had to rig it up so it can be strapped on by belt straps. I also tie twin on the handle then tie that to my shoulder strap, that will keep it from rubbing your leg. It's easy to pull my camera out for quick photos. Back when I had it in my pack I got real lazy and never took it out for many shots, I'm sure I missed some great shots by doing that. This pic is from a few years ago up in Yellowstone fishing, and that's the older case. I wish I had bought a few of those older cases, if I would have known they would change the style. The older ones kept the water out in a light drizzle. Name:  Ladd On.jpg
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  22. #18
    For longer hikes, I also keep my DSLR around my neck. I connect with a few of those key chain carabiners to my bag straps. It works great for pointing a clicking and offers a quick release when I need to get something better. I gave up extra lenses and instead bring along an 18-270. It works good enough for the weight compromise. I use a clear 5L SealLine in case it rains. I just carry it in the top of my bag and clip it on should the need arise. I've been rained out more than a few times using this setup and it's never failed.

  23. #19
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    I bought this one for hiking into the Grand, exceptional room for camera, lens and gear but still very limited on space for other camping items.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tamrac-Adventu...7800668&sr=1-1

    I think everything is a compromise of one sort or the other.

  24. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by IntrepidXJ View Post
    Look into f-stop Gear or Clik Elite bags for adventure photographers. I have one from each company and they both make quality products....but they aren't cheap.
    I've really used my new f-stop gear Tilopa BC lately and I must say that I've been very happy with it. I like it a lot better than the Clik Elite Hiker I had been using. I currently have a large ICU, but I think I'm going to pickup a medium so I can fit more other gear in the pack.

    What I really like is the ability to remove the ICU and use it as a regular backpack, too. It's pretty versatile.
    Randy Langstraat
    ADVENTR.CO | Anasazi Photography

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