I am planning several multi-day backpacking trips in New Zealand with my Pentax 645D, 45-85mm zoom, and possibly my 80-160mm zoom. On multi-day backcountry photography trips, I usually either go horsepacking, or get a spot in the backcountry via mule, or go with enough people where I can share the load of some of my camping gear and carry my photo gear (I have very understanding friends). I usually use a large LowePro bag for these trips and attach a day pack to it; but for multi-day backpacking a day pack won't do.
For my upcoming New Zealand trip, my multi-day hikes will be solo. So, I need to carry a backpack. Does anyone have any tried-and-true ways to carry a medium format rig while still carrying a full backpack? I'll have a bivy, and an ultralight sleeping bag, but I'm trying to figure out how to carry my photo gear without having to open the backpack, while protecting it if I slip, fall, or just lose my balance.
I am considering a top-loaded case carried in front of me (something like http://products.lowepro.com/product/...-AW,2205,8.htm ); however, I don't like that as I believe it will get in the way of seeing where I am placing my feet while going downhill, and downhills in New Zealand can be very steep (this will be my 4th trip). The best thing I can think of is a hard case of approximate shape and size of the 645D+ 45-85mm zoom, but I have not yet identified anything like that.
Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you.