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Good camping/hiking/photo backpacks?

John Song , Dec 08, 1997; 09:37 p.m.

I am thinking about buying a Lowepro Super/Photo/Pro TrekkerAW for hiking/camping purpose and have a couple questions regarding the bag. Does it only fit camera equipments? I mean, I would like to get something that will hold my sleeping bag, small one person tent, cooking utensils, cloths, THEN my camera equipment; as I like to travel where cars cannot access. Would a Super Trekker AW good choice? or is it not good for actual camping/hiking? Would I be better off using my hiking metal framed camping back pack? (I've been using K2 hiking backpack) Though I can probably put more stuff in it, I am not sure how to protect my equipments as it is not padded well. Any hikers out there with comments? I would like to pack all necessary stuff for 3-4 days living in the wilderness plus 2 cameras (maybe 1), 3 large zooms(possibly 2), 2 primes and a large telephoto 300 F/2.8(I usually end up borrowing 300 F/4 instead), a couple bricks of films and a Gitzo 1228. I am pretty good/expertised at hiking several days in the wilderness and I've done hiking many time with 40 lbs bag for several days at a time. So weight isn't a big problem, though it is a problem, I just need to find a bag that will hold all my stuff and serve my purpose well. I've been happy with my Lowepro Orion AW so I would like to check out the Lowepro Photo/Pro/Super Trekker AW(I've also read Mr. Greenspun's review). BTW, which will suit my purpose the best? Super Trekker, Pro Trekker or Photo Trekker? Or shall I just stick with my K2 hiking back pack?

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Nes Suno , Dec 08, 1997; 10:34 p.m.

The Lowepro photographer's backpacks look to be optimized for the hiking photographer, not for the camper/hiker with a ton of photography equipment. (Check out the images on their web site, call for a catalog, or go to your local pro shop for a hands-on inspection.)

There are ample ways in protecting camera gear without resorting to a photography-only backpack. In your case, I believe you will be hauling too much equipment. 2 cameras (3 lbs.), 3 large zooms (4 lbs.), 2 primes (2 lbs.), large 300/2.8 (6.5 lbs.), Gitzo 1228 + light ballhead (4 lbs.), film (1 lb.), filters/lens cleaner/hoods/etc. (0.5 lb.) = 21 lbs. nominally.

If my web browser is correct (http://www.lowepro.com), the Super Trekker AW itself is 11 lbs. 11 oz. That's a 32 lbs. load on your back and you don't even have a handkerchief. If you can get your sleeping gear, clothes, 4 days food/water, etc. into an 8 lbs. package, then go for it.

John Song , Dec 09, 1997; 12:56 a.m.

Oh my, I didn't know that the bag weighs 11 lbs. I will probably reaching close to 55 lbs even after dropping 300 F/2.8 and 1 camera body. Do you guys know of any lighter bags that can be used for hiking? I am pretty sure my K2 pack weighs only about 6 lbs.

What other alternatives(besides the photo pack) do I have for protecting my equipment? thanks y'all

John Song , Dec 09, 1997; 12:56 a.m.

Oh my, I didn't know that the bag weighs 11 lbs. I will probably reaching close to 55 lbs even after dropping 300 F/2.8 and 1 camera body. Do you guys know of any lighter bags that can be used for hiking? I am pretty sure my K2 pack weighs only about 6 lbs.

What other alternatives(besides the photo pack) do I have for protecting my equipment? thanks y'all

P. Aing , Dec 09, 1997; 01:38 a.m.

For your load, there was a thread "Weight of MF equipment in the field" in the Medium Format Digest at : http://db.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00024E

Bottom line : customerize your regular backpack with foam or similar material. There are backpack which are more convenient to use. There is no room for (a lot of) non-photographic equipment in a camera bag.

Jeff Spirer , Dec 09, 1997; 01:44 a.m.

While we are on backpacks...I am thinking about buying one for travel, not camping, in which case I don't care too much about putting much other than photo equipment in it. I have an opportunity to buy a used Domke backpack, but have seen little info about this. Any comments? Or on backpacks in general for non-camping use?

Nes Suno , Dec 09, 1997; 02:18 a.m.

I've been fairly successful in protecting my SLR with a Zing neoprene case, wrapping that in a sweatshirt, towel, etc. My standard "kit" would be a wide-angle prime (a 21/2.8, for example) and a telephoto zoom (e.g., 80-200/4). The 28/2.8 is a nice compact, snapshot lens. However, a Yashica T4 Super has a 35/3.5 and obviously could be used a the print film snapshot pocket camera.

If sweatshirts and cotton towels aren't in your hiking checklist, you might consider bubble wrap bags. Either that or you can wrap your camera equipment in foam. The photographer bags are made of this stuff plus the nylon covering and big price tag; heck, I've seen this foam stuff in boxes to ship $8000 computer monitors.

Jeff, when I want to let gorilla baggage handlers (or the automated system at Denver Stapleton) thrash my equipment, I opt for a thermo-extruded polyethylene case, like those from Thermodyne (search the photo.net Q&A forum for the address). Backpacks are great for carrying things on your back, but not as great for carrying things in the cargo hold of an aircraft that is part of the fleet of a major air carrier.

Philip Greenspun , Dec 09, 1997; 12:01 p.m.

To the folks just above: if you want a backpack that is designed to be checked through on an airplane flight, Lightware makes one. It is similar in construction to their regular cases.

To John Song: A Super Trekker would protect your cameras better than a regular backpack, but I don't think it will hold much more than the equipment list you've set forth. So you will have to strap your tent to the top, live on grubs, etc. The Super Trekker is probably narrower than the average internal frame backpack, though the huge pockets on the outside (I use them for film) make up for this to some extent.

Clearly hiring a Sherpa is the right thing!

Ravi Aglave , Dec 09, 1997; 12:54 p.m.

This is not really a response but an extension of the original question. What are the suggestions for a guy who is onl 5'7" and weighs 140#? Also, if you stick all your gear in the pack on your back, is it not a hassle to remove it every time you want to take a picture on the way? I usually manage with a small waist pack and have sucessfully carried one slr, a 200/2.8, a 19-35 and a normal 50/1.8 with couple of filters and film thrown in. Before i had the waist pack, i carried a similar gear around my neck down the Grand Canyon and almost broke it. One of my observations is that the waist pack, turned in front obviously balances your weight on the back and gives more stability, prevents back aches and is more accessible. But it may not work for everybody.

Jeff Spirer , Dec 09, 1997; 01:27 p.m.

Sean, my concern is far less for carrying on the airplane, but more for on-ground travel. I just returned from Mexico, and from where I was staying to town I had to walk a mile, ride a boat, ride a bus, and then walk more. All this time I also had a child attached to one arm. I carried a large camera bag and a) it couldn't carry all my equipment, and b0 it was a major headache much of the time and I would have preferred something I could have carried on my back. This is why I have been thinking of a backpack.


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