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Thread started 18 Nov 2010 (Thursday) 11:09
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Backpack vs Shoulder Bag?

Senior Member
278 posts
Joined Mar 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Nov 19, 2010 19:39 |  #16

Russ61 wrote in post #11314715 (external link)
.....over 30 years for me!

Backpacks are better as you carry more weight for longer durations and/or distance. Their disadvantage is that you have to take them off & back on everytime you want to access your gear. Shoulder bags are better for less gear and more frequent access. Their disadvantage is that they're less securely attached (ie you stumble and the shoulder bag is off) and they can MUCH more quickly tire you (your shoulder). I've had shoulder bags occasionally but usually get rid of 'em, reverting to backpacks. When I discovered Lowepro Slingshot 200 a couple of years ago I've used it exclusively except for long mtn hikes where other non photo gear is also needed (ie water, clothing, food, 1st aid, etc), using a backpack. Slingshots carry your gear largely on your back via a hip/waist pad, a shoulder strap, and a stabilizer strap that readily unclips to allow quickly pivoting around to your front and allowing not only access to your gear but also a shelving area for handling multiple items during lens etc exchanges.

Give into the reality that you'll own/need multiple bags. The earlier you concede that there is no such things as the universal perfect bag, you can then start to focus on getting the best small array of bags to cover all of your needs.

Well said and I was one of those persons that was looking for that mystery perfect bag and am content with having a shoulder bag and backpack. It depends on the shoot then I decide which bag to grab.

My Gear
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2,428 posts
Joined Oct 2008
Location: Orlando
Nov 19, 2010 19:57 |  #17

A shoulder bag gets real heavy if you have a lot of equipment that you are carrying for long time. The backpack works out better, but you got to take it off to get to anything. So get equipment case with wheels is a better solution or get a really good camera vest with big pockets. I have a old Nikon Vestrap and they were well made, but then they are no longer made. Fortunately I have extra camera straps for it, but I think that was the best vest out there and could carry a lot of equipment.

bcd01 - devices of enjoyment list :D

65 posts
Joined Aug 2010
Location: The Road
Nov 19, 2010 21:15 |  #18

I have one of each. The backpack I use for hiking in, much of my outdoor work, and rough conditions. The shoulder bag is larger and often travels with me on longer assignments. I can fit more in the shoulder bag and find it is becoming my bag of choice for most assignments due to ease of access / security in crowds where I can sling it in front of me and watch the zippers.

Multiple bags are a must if you are photographing in various conditions. Both my bags have been out in blizzards and logged hours on semi-tropic rivers... it's just about matching the bag to the assignment.

Fire Girl Photography
www.FireGirlPhotograph​ (external link)
www.FireGirlPhotograph​ (external link)
Outdoor and Current Events Photography

1,638 posts
Likes: 102
Joined Jan 2008
Location: houston, tx
Nov 19, 2010 21:18 |  #19

007 wrote in post #11309410 (external link)
"you'll soon learn that there's no one bag that can do it all."

Amen... still looking for the right bag.. over a year..

i agree...

i have been through

- lowepro slingshot 200
- crumpler 7mdh new style
- crumpler 7mdh old style
- a laptop hurley backpack with a camera insert in it
- incase sling
- lowepro messenger exchange
- kata dr-247
- dakine sequence backpack

out of those i still have the lowepro messenger exchange, incase sling, hurley backpack, and the dakine backpack

all of those have their different uses. when i want to carry different things.

Senior Member
281 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Jan 2008
Location: Sunny San Diego
Nov 20, 2010 00:02 |  #20

I've got both a shoulder bag and a backpack. I use the backpack when out hiking or biking and use the shoulder bag when I'm covering events or short photowalks during my lunch break.

[URL="http://photograp​​.php?p=9262644&postcou​nt=2114"]Gear List

1,318 posts
Gallery: 4 photos
Likes: 216
Joined Mar 2010
Location: Illinois
Nov 21, 2010 01:20 as a reply to  @ RIgnacio's post |  #21

need the one for the occasion....

http://www.bhphotovide​ …25-REG/Tenba_632_311.html (external link)

love this when long hikes

http://www.bhphotovide​ …erse_200_AW_Bel​tpack.html (external link)

walkaround,,,very comfortable and roomy

lowepro slingshot 300

my favorite bag for day trips

want ....

http://www.bhphotovide​ …200_Modular_Bel​tpack.html (external link)

Nikon D850 and a bunch of stuff, I have learned a lot here when I was shooting Canon, staying to keep learning..."Every time I set up I learn something new".

Senior Member
691 posts
Joined Nov 2006
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Nov 21, 2010 08:57 |  #22

For me, a backpack is for transporting gear, and a shoulder bag is for shooting out of. (external link)

Cream of the Crop
14,060 posts
Likes: 6
Joined Jan 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Nov 21, 2010 10:48 |  #23

My opinion, also. I don't own any backpacks. My first and last experience with one was with a Fastpack which was not all that comfortable and not very fast.

I don't hike nor transport my gear great distances with a bag on my person so have not found a need for a backpack. For walking around I use a 6MDH or just bring 1 body with a lens mounted, for those just in case I want to take a shot.

Bohdan - I may be, and probably am, completely wrong.
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Agent ­ 655
98 posts
Joined Jan 2009
Nov 21, 2010 12:26 |  #24

I had a shoulder bag and am thinking about getting a Kata 3N1 to get more room, plus the option of either a backpack for longer treks, or a shoulder bag for quick trips.

Junior Member
26 posts
Joined Jun 2008
Location: NYC
Nov 23, 2010 21:39 as a reply to  @ Agent 655's post |  #25

I bought a Crumpler 8 Million Dollar Home a few months ago from B&H. While I was there the salesman almost insisted that I buy a backpack instead but I resisted the pressure.

Big mistake. I've only used the 8MDH once and it was just too heavy when fully loaded.

Next step is to increase my post count and sell the 8MDH here!

62 posts
Joined Jul 2010
Nov 23, 2010 21:50 as a reply to  @ hbr245b's post |  #26

i'm just not that comfortable using backpacks. i got myself one before and i was just not comfortable with it, it is much easier to carry when you have a lot of gear, i dont know why but i'm still more comfortable with a shoulder bag.

3,083 posts
Likes: 187
Joined Mar 2007
Location: Philadelphia Suburbs
Nov 23, 2010 23:12 |  #27

The Tamrac Evolution series and Lowepro Fastpack allow you to wear as a traditional backpack but have side access like the Slingsot.
The Tamrac allows you to convert to Sling strap configuration.

Canon 5D Mark III (x2), BG-E11 Grips, 7D (x2) BG-E7 Grips, Canon Lenses 16-35 f/4 L IS, 17-40 f/4 L, 24-70 f/4 L IS, 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II, 70-200 f/4 L IS, 70-200 f/4 L IS Version II, 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS Version II, TS-E 24 f/3.5 L II, 100 f/2.8 L Macro IS, 10-22 f3.5-4.5, 17-55 f/2.8 L IS, 85 f/1.8, Canon 1.4 Extender III, 5 Canon 600 EX-RT, 2 Canon ST-E3 Transmitters, Canon Pixma PRO-10 Printer

Cream of the Crop
32,091 posts
Gallery: 5 photos
Likes: 127
Joined Oct 2005
Location: Northern VA
Nov 24, 2010 05:54 |  #28

I have a lot of bags, all kinds. I have to admit, I don't like backpacks for only 1 reason, it's impossible to work out of them without taking the bag off. I am usually in tight spots and unable to put the bag down, so I prefer a good sling bag or a good shoulder bag I wear like a sling.

The most important reason to get one is comfort and how you use the backpack. I love my Kata 465 for hiking, but I'm not in a pressure situation usually to change lenses or take out 2 or 3 lenses at a time. The Adventure 9 I have is my travel bag when I have to take a 17 inch laptop, but I don't work out of it, it's for travel only. Then there is the TT UD40 for travel for a smaller computer, but it's heavy to carry around the airport.

With all the wonderful kinds of backpacks out there, there is one you can get and be happy.

Suzie - Still Speaking Canonese!
5DIV, SONY a7iii, 7D2, G12, M100, M50, 5 L's & 2 Primes, 25 bags.
My children and grandchildren are the reason, but it's the passion that drives me to get the perfect image of everything.

Savas ­ K
1,425 posts
Joined May 2007
Nov 24, 2010 16:48 |  #29

So much gear and different shooting situations require different bags. Shoulder and backpack both have a place. I would offer that multiple pockets for gadgets in a bag can be a pain in use. I forget what small doodad is in what pocket, and the doodad winds up pretty important and creates stress when searching for it.

Senior Member
634 posts
Likes: 13
Joined Dec 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
Nov 24, 2010 17:01 |  #30

Russ61 wrote in post #11314715 (external link)
.....over 30 years for me!
Give into the reality that you'll own/need multiple bags. The earlier you concede that there is no such things as the universal perfect bag, you can then start to focus on getting the best small array of bags to cover all of your needs.

Agreed. :)

If I am only carrying a couple things and around the city or a simple easy hike then I'd just take a shoulder bag since its not that heavy and its easy to access.

If I am actually going on a hike or up a mountain then I will always take a backpack since it distributes the load much better. While the access is more of a pain, the advantages out weight that disadvantage.

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Backpack vs Shoulder Bag?
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