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Thread started 01 Oct 2010 (Friday) 12:34
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Hiking backpack for a woman

 
misshotnspicy
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Oct 01, 2010 12:34 |  #1

Hi Guys & Gals,

I was wondering if anyone has any recommendation on a good & comfortable camera backpack for a day hike. I'm 5'2" with a short torso and will be carrying a 5dii, 17-40, 70-200 f4 IS, & some filters. Ideally, I would like a separate compartment to carry a hydration pack, a jacket or fleece, some food or snacks, my tripod, be waterproof, & more importantly allows me to access my camera easily.

Thanks in advance,
Laura


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Jill-of-all-Trades
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Oct 01, 2010 12:39 |  #2

I would probably look into getting a hiking backpack and an insert for the camera gear. I know I had a hard time trying to find a good pack that fit right. They always seem to be made for tall people. I went to an outfitters here where the staff are trained to find the right fit and know their stuff. Then you'll have a good, versatile, backpack that is also a camera bag.


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misshotnspicy
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Oct 01, 2010 12:48 |  #3

Jill-of-all-Trades wrote in post #11015107 (external link)
I would probably look into getting a hiking backpack and an insert for the camera gear. I know I had a hard time trying to find a good pack that fit right. They always seem to be made for tall people. I went to an outfitters here where the staff are trained to find the right fit and know their stuff. Then you'll have a good, versatile, backpack that is also a camera bag.

Thank you very much for the advice. I was looking into purchasing a camera insert as well as I think that's probably the best solution. I was wondering though, can you access your camera gears easily with a regular hiking backpack along with a jacket/fleece & food pack?

Thanks,
Laura


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Jill-of-all-Trades
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Oct 01, 2010 13:39 |  #4

It would all depend on how you pack it. Mine has the zipper that goes across the top and down both sides so it opens quite far. Anything that I won't need often I pack in the bottom. Use my jacket as extra padding on the bottom. There are many different styles out there, you may find one that has separate top and bottom compartments.


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tvphotog
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Oct 01, 2010 15:01 |  #5

My favorite backpack ever is the Rotation 360 (external link). It allows access without taking the pack off! It is built like a tank by ThinkTank (no surprise), and is very good for women and men with short torsos, as the pack back support seems to be fitted that way.

Shoulder straps are extremely well padded, and the waist belt is that of a trekking pack---wide, padded and supportive, as most of the weight should be on your hips, not shoulders.

It's expensive, as you pay for the above accessibility, and I don't know if you can put in your jacket, but certainly your snacks and gear. Look at the above videos. I sold two other packs when I got this.

You can roll your jacket and strap it below the pack...there's a place for that. The tripod fits easily on the back with dedicated straps and pocket. There are attachments along both sides for addable bags and gizmos.

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Jill-of-all-Trades
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Oct 01, 2010 22:31 |  #6

One thing to definitely pay attention to is how much the backpack weighs its self. The pack shown above weighs 5.5 to 7.5 pounds empty, depending on what accessories you use. Putting camera gear in this will add the weight up very quickly.
A well designed hiking pack will weigh 1-2 pounds empty.
And remember... a loaded backpack should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight.


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lannes
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Oct 01, 2010 23:07 |  #7

Jill-of-all-Trades wrote in post #11018187 (external link)
One thing to definitely pay attention to is how much the backpack weighs its self. The pack shown above weighs 5.5 to 7.5 pounds empty, depending on what accessories you use. Putting camera gear in this will add the weight up very quickly.
A well designed hiking pack will weigh 1-2 pounds empty.
And remember... a loaded backpack should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight.

+1 good advice, I think a camera insert is the best advice, for serious hiking get a pack that fits you first, then fit the camera gear


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Roobaix
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Oct 02, 2010 06:23 |  #8

+1 to the advice of getting a hiking backpack and an insert. It will be much lighter than a photo specific backpack.

As far as brands, I'm a huge fan of Osprey and Gregory. They both make excellent packs. They both have womens specific models, and they both have a line of "lighter" bags. I'd advice to head to a brick & motar store so you can get fitted. Nothing is worse than a pack that doesn't fit you properly. As far as decent national chain stores go, REI would be my number one pick and some EMS stores aren't too shabby either.


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tvphotog
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Oct 02, 2010 06:37 |  #9

Jill-of-all-Trades wrote in post #11018187 (external link)
One thing to definitely pay attention to is how much the backpack weighs its self. The pack shown above weighs 5.5 to 7.5 pounds empty, depending on what accessories you use. Putting camera gear in this will add the weight up very quickly.
A well designed hiking pack will weigh 1-2 pounds empty.
And remember... a loaded backpack should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight.

Compared to the Tamrac Expedition 5 which I sold, a true camera pack, the Rotation weighs just a pound more, which is the weight of the bottom frame for the accessible area, the wide waistbelt with attached small pack and exceptional padding for the spine pad and the shoulder padding. It's little to pay for the convenience. That's the weight of two rolls of pennies.

And this is a true camera pack, with all the necessary features. Size for size, they're all about the same weight because of protective padding and features.

Getting a standard trekking pack and trying to convert it into a protective camera pack with makeshift padding is a recipe for disaster for your gear, IMO. Even with an added padding compartments, the exterior is unpadded. You're not carrying jeans, T shirts and food, but thousands of dollars worth of equipment. And inaccesible through a top or side opening as well. It's like trying to re-invent the wheel.


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argyle
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Oct 02, 2010 06:44 as a reply to  @ Roobaix's post |  #10

If you go this route, look for a backpack that has two entry points. A vast majority of hiking backpacks are top-loading only. This means that if you use a camera insert, it will either be at the bottom where you'd need to rummage through whatever is on top (clothing, snacks, etc) just to retrieve a lens or any other piece of photo gear. Likewise, if you put your necessities on the bottom and camera insert at the top, you'd have to try and fish out whatever item you'd need as well. Best to look for a pack with top/bottom or top/full side entry points. There's also the issue of placing a bladder inside the pack along with your camera gear. Judging by what you'd like to carry, I'd guess that you'd be looking at a pack in the 30-35 liter range...a pack of this size should meet your needs.

I've been using a Lowepro Rover AW II pack for a few years now. As far as "camera" backpacks go, its relatively light (a hair over 3 pounds), has two separate compartments for camera gear (bottom) and necessities (top). Excellent tripod carrier, external water bottle pockets, built-in rain cover, and a decent harness system...really works well for short or long day hikes. There's also a waterproof version, Dryzone Rover. Camera compartment is fully waterproof as opposed to just being water resistant. This one's a bit heavier (about 5 pounds), and designed with a bladder pocket in the upper compartment. Not sure if the Rover AW II is too large for you, though.

I just picked up a Deuter internal frame trail pack at REI in Dallas a few weeks back and attempting to modify it into a camera backpack (has two entry points, top and bottom). So far, the modification looks good. Once I get the tripod mod figured out, I'll post a few pics (I prefer the tripod down the center of the pack, which is taking some figuring out).


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Shadowblade
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Oct 02, 2010 07:15 |  #11

Same as for anyone else - forget the camera backpack. Get a belt and harness system to carry the lenses (and weight of the lenses) on your hips, then wear a proper backpack or daypack designed for hiking, not a backpack-shaped camera bag designed by a camera bag manufacturer.




  
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Oct 02, 2010 07:34 |  #12

Shadowblade wrote in post #11019504 (external link)
Same as for anyone else - forget the camera backpack. Get a belt and harness system to carry the lenses (and weight of the lenses) on your hips, then wear a proper backpack or daypack designed for hiking, not a backpack-shaped camera bag designed by a camera bag manufacturer.

Not very conducive for hiking...when trying to go up and over obstacles they will definitely get in the way, even more so if you need to do any "fanny sliding". I guess it all depends on the type of "hiking" that one does. Not all "camera" backpacks are dysfunctional, although many are.


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Shadowblade
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Oct 02, 2010 07:42 |  #13

argyle wrote in post #11019562 (external link)
Not very conducive for hiking...when trying to go up and over obstacles they will definitely get in the way, even more so if you need to do any "fanny sliding". I guess it all depends on the type of "hiking" that one does. Not all "camera" backpacks are dysfunctional, although many are.

I use a belt and harness for mountaineering, including trekking to base camp - it's fantastic! Takes the load off the back, has a lower centre of gravity and, custom made, can even take a carabiner so that you can latch in your gear as well as yourself! I'd never go back to a camera backpack.

As for sliding, most large backpacks will come down quite low; also, with a bit of juggling, you can usually manage to avoid any large pouches at the back (your two or three camera holsters will be towards the front, on each side, for instance, as will the large lens cases; smaller ones you can latch onto the shoulder and chest straps.




  
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misshotnspicy
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Oct 03, 2010 21:40 |  #14

Thanks for everyone's wonderful advice. I just got back from a weekend hike in the Hill Country here in TX. I definitely need a bigger & more comfortable hiking bag as I had my 2 Labradors with me as well and I needed to bring their water bowls, etc too. The camera bag I have now was definitely made for someone who is 5'9" and just didn't have enough room to fit my extras. I think I need to stop by REI and get fitted with a proper day hiking bag with 2 entry points and add the camera insert later on. I have a backpacking bag, but I think it might be a little big for a day hike.

Thanks Jay.


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Oct 04, 2010 14:18 |  #15

misshotnspicy wrote in post #11028053 (external link)
Thanks for everyone's wonderful advice. I just got back from a weekend hike in the Hill Country here in TX. I definitely need a bigger & more comfortable hiking bag as I had my 2 Labradors with me as well and I needed to bring their water bowls, etc too. The camera bag I have now was definitely made for someone who is 5'9" and just didn't have enough room to fit my extras. I think I need to stop by REI and get fitted with a proper day hiking bag with 2 entry points and add the camera insert later on. I have a backpacking bag, but I think it might be a little big for a day hike.

Thanks Jay.

If you're going to use that bag, I suggest wrapping lenses and bodies with these padded covers. They'll give you more security in a non-camera pack. They're cheap and well made.

[URL="http://[URL][URL​]http://www.bhphotovid​eo.com/c/search?Ntt=te​nba+messenger+wraps&N=​0&InitialSearch=yes"]Photo [URL="http://[URL]www.​bhphotovideo.com/c/sea​rch?Ntt=tenba+messenge​r+wraps&N=0&InitialSea​rch=yes"]courtesy B&H


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