kaitlyn2004 wrote in post #18489494
Just wondering why you say this? I'm THINKING regardless I'd be hiking with the camera on a strap around me, and I suppose on longer hiking adventures you aren't just suddenly/randomly stopping to change lenses and take photos... but I do worry about the access to gear being quite difficult - virtually all seem to be top-load, and I've seen some with side zippers but they just don't look big enough to access gear through
Access to gear is a trade-off to balance with the need to carry heavy loads comfortably. As an example, if I were just worried about gear access only I would carry my Domke F1x shoulder bag. It is easy to work out of, is always accessible at my side, etc. I certainly can't backpack into the wilderness with it however. My Fstop I can hike really well with, and carry all my gear (35 lbs or so) but I have to take it off to change a lens, etc. Also, if I'm carrying all my gear, the Fstop frankly just doesn't have enough room inside or outside to also carry what I would need for a multi-day trip. Even if it did, it would be relatively heavy (60 lbs minimum if I carry my photo gear). At that way, no camera pack I'm aware of has a suspension system to really carry that load comfortably especially if you are crossing streams or scrambling down hill sides.
Now, you could minimize your photo equipment, which I personally would have to in order to have room for backpacking gear for more than a single night out. You have a tent, sleeping bag, food, water or the equipment to filter it, change of clothes, etc. The Fstop bags, nice as they are, don't carry these items all that well. The tent and sleeping bag in particular would need to be strapped to the outside, and unless you have a really small tripod that would need to be on the outside as well. It can and does make for a somewhat unbalanced load on a bag that doesn't have a true suspension system for carrying it.
My Bora 90 however, has a sleeping bag compartment, the ability to pack a tent inside it if I really need to, as well as the ability to carry my photo equipment inside it. What I usually do is carry a photo vest to use when I'm actually shooting, which gives me something to work out of without carrying the pack around.
Everyone has different needs when shooting. My equipment is such that I need the ability to carry a significant amount of weight if I'm out for more than a night, and after using an Fstop for years (and I love the pack) it just isn't really meant for that purpose in my opinion. Could it be done? Of course, but I don't think it would be very enjoyable...too many compromises to make.