Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    31
    Post Thanks / Like

    Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    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.
    Last edited by Terry; 5th February 2011 at 17:12. Reason: moved punctuation to make link work

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Dallas/Novosibirsk
    Posts
    632
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Unless you planning to toss backpack and fall - a lot, i recommend to not look into anything special case-wise. Just get wraps for you gear. More lightweight and compact. And you can put it into your regular pack.

  3. #3
    Senior Subscriber Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,306
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    If you need anything special, use a small square photo bag and strap it on under the lid. You want that weight reasonably high for balance, and under the lid it will be accessible. Or, use a larger backpack and lens wraps/pouches and pack your photo gear inside, but still near the top so it's accessible. The drawback with this is you have to unpack your photo gear to set up camp or cook. A small (and I mean as minimal as possible) photo bag under the lid is easily put aside, and it's nice to have if you want go shoot from camp. A tripod is best attached to an outside loop, also high.

    IMO.
    Last edited by Jan Brittenson; 5th February 2011 at 18:38. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Munich
    Posts
    876
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Well, I Never did Multi Day Tours, but I hiked with a large format camera a few lenses, a canon camera, a tripod. In total I had a weight of around 16-18 kg + 4-10L of water. While I can carry a backpack with 25kg for a very long time the fun isn't in it for me. I did around 20-30 trips like that last year.

    Now I know your gear will be a lot lighter, but you probably will end up carrying a lot more other stuff.

    I personally would not use my phase or LF systems for multi day trips. I know I probably could, but for me I just have more fun to carry less and cover more different locations and spots. So for me it would be, a Leica M9 + two lenses. This gives me great image quality and a extremely light gear pack.

    Now pack to your question, if I would do something like you suggested again, I would look for a hiking backpack with two ways to open it. Wrap your camera gear with some protection and put it in the lower part of the backpack.

  5. #5
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Might want to look at F Stop bags. Jack and I did some reviews on there products and a couple of them may just workout. They may even have a couple new ones now

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15444
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Munich
    Posts
    876
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    You should also look at http://www.clikelite.com/shop/ They have some great stuff as well.

  7. #7
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Have to say in all my years in photography , I find buying and deciding on which bag to use is maybe the most difficult purchase for me. I have been known to buy 3 and send 2 back after I put my gear in it for fit.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  8. #8
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    32 31' 37.06" N, 111 6' 0.9" W
    Posts
    4,334
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    I used a clicklite in Jackson Hole last year and was pleased - more than enough room to carry my Cambo WRS and extra lens and extra items.

    Don
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
    Blog
    Tucson AZ

  9. #9
    Subscriber and Workshop Member MGrayson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,575
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    4

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Have to say in all my years in photography , I find buying and deciding on which bag to use is maybe the most difficult purchase for me. I have been known to buy 3 and send 2 back after I put my gear in it for fit.
    I'm impressed by your restraint. I buy 3 and keep them all.

    Matt

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    N.S. Canada
    Posts
    2,010
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    I sometimes carry a larger slr in a toploader using a chest harness. Works very well and has camera readilly accessible. BUT if you do a face plan on rocks, you're screwed.

    A possible compromise might be clipping something like the following to a chest harness with quick release buckles. Basically a diy hardshell version of a toploader. You could kneel down, release the case from the harness, shoot, rinse repeat.

    Might be too small, but I think Pelican makes a harness for some of their cases as well.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...with_Foam.html

  11. #11
    tetsrfun
    Guest

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Might want to look at F Stop bags. Jack and I did some reviews on there products and a couple of them may just workout. They may even have a couple new ones now

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15444
    Another advantage of the F-Stop, in addition to the "tech harness" and frame, is the "ICU" system. The % of the pack used for camera gear vs camping stuff can be varied with the size of the "ICU". Packs are relatively expensive, the ICUs are ~$65.

    Steve

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Seattle, USA
    Posts
    400
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    The ICU part is the part I don't understand, and the pictures I've seen don't seem to be clarifying, unless I'm just not understanding them...

    OK, so let's imagine I use an ICU, and pack my photo gear (whatever sized ICU). How much of the 58L Satori bag's capacity is left over for hiking gear? Where is that space and is it contiguous? How do I access it? Obviously answer is different depending on ICU size--and bag: where can I find this table?

    I'm surprised they don't make this stuff very clear on their website--at least to my mind... Any help much appreciated!

  13. #13
    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Brad,

    There is a very thorough review here with photos showing space with various ICU's: Dan Carr Review

    I don't have an F-Stop but it does look intriguing. However, as I mentioned to the OP in his similar Lula thread, I find a lot of value in being able to wander with just my camera and a few things while backpacking. For example:
    1. Set up camp, hike several hundred meters away over rough terrain to get photos.
    2. Day hikes while at the same place for > 1 day.
    3. Close-by peak bagging.
    4. Stops while hiking.

    These situations lend themselves to carrying the camera and a few things, not the whole backpack. Not sure how "portable" the ICU's are without the whole backpack. This is why I carry a chestpouch, even if I stuff the pouch in the backpack while hiking.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    The ICU part is the part I don't understand, and the pictures I've seen don't seem to be clarifying, unless I'm just not understanding them...

    OK, so let's imagine I use an ICU, and pack my photo gear (whatever sized ICU). How much of the 58L Satori bag's capacity is left over for hiking gear? Where is that space and is it contiguous? How do I access it? Obviously answer is different depending on ICU size--and bag: where can I find this table?

    I'm surprised they don't make this stuff very clear on their website--at least to my mind... Any help much appreciated!

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Dallas/Novosibirsk
    Posts
    632
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Have to say in all my years in photography , I find buying and deciding on which bag to use is maybe the most difficult purchase for me. I have been known to buy 3 and send 2 back after I put my gear in it for fit.
    So (he asking casually) , which ones you kept? You know.. just for pure research purposes...

  15. #15
    tetsrfun
    Guest

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    The ICU part is the part I don't understand, and the pictures I've seen don't seem to be clarifying, unless I'm just not understanding them...

    OK, so let's imagine I use an ICU, and pack my photo gear (whatever sized ICU). How much of the 58L Satori bag's capacity is left over for hiking gear? Where is that space and is it contiguous? How do I access it? Obviously answer is different depending on ICU size--and bag: where can I find this table?

    I'm surprised they don't make this stuff very clear on their website--at least to my mind... Any help much appreciated!
    I don't know how much this will help but pics of XL-ICU and two L-ICUs to show what could be carried..the gray interior is the latest.

    Side shot to show relative size and that they are portable without the Back pack.

    Last, L-ICU in a Tilopa back pack to show rear access to camera gear. Enough extra room for day hike or light duty over night.

    Currently my recommendation would be for day hikes, a large or medium ICU in a Loka back pack and for multi-day outings a medium or small in the "new" Satori when it is available.

    Steve

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Posts
    2,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    http://photobackpacker.com/home.asp

    It is made for 4x5, but it is completely customizable. I have one, and it is the best backpack I have ever had, photo or otherwise. It is basically a high end backpacking pack adapted into a camera bag, and modular so that things carry well. There is a medium format sized case that works well for me. I managed to fit a 203FE in there with the 110/2 on it, along with a 180/4, 50/2.8, 80/2.8, SWC and extra magazine. This only fills the bottom of the pack (or the top depending on where you put the case), while the rest has plenty of room for all the rest of your gear. It is fully-adjustable and carries beautifully. It is also extremely light compared to dedicated camera backpacks. I would say this looks exactly like what you are looking for, but of course, needs vary.

    The medium format sized case is removable, padded, zippered and very light, so it can be taken out if necessary and protect the gear just as it is. It does not have any straps however...just velcro attachments.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Zug/Zurich (Switzerland), Dubai, Sydney
    Posts
    334
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    I'm guessing most of these posts, as well meaning as they are, have not done too many multi-day solo hikes.
    Every gram you carry gets agonized over. A lot of the hikes in NZ are rocky, muddy and wet.
    If you must take your Pentax (in my view too heavy and bulky for solo multiday Kiwi hikes), then I would use wraps as suggested early on here. Any additional bag you use adds too much weight.
    Personally, I would take an Alpa (TC or STC), just one lens (avoiding the HR digarons - too heavy) and a high pixel-count back. I would use one of the lens wraps my Phase gear came with and that would get double bagged in ziploc bags if it rains.
    If you haven't yet chosen your pack, consider these from Aarn- the load distribution system is the best I've seen (I have 3 different packs for different types of hikes). Also, some of the load is carried in front (left and right outriggers, so you can see your feet).Balance and posture are much better, so traversing uneven ground is less treacherous. I carry my camera in the front so it is accessible. It's NZ proven and ultra light too.

    http://www.aarnpacks.com/

    Gave a good trip, stay safe and get some great pictures.

    Cheers,
    Siebel
    "In the end, it's all about the pictures"
    www.bryansiebel.com

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Sugar Land, TX
    Posts
    109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    I don't know much about New Zealand, but I have done several multi-day solos in Colorado and everything is about in space and weight. Bryan is spot on, every gram counts and I would find a way to do with less.

    Last summer, I did a 3 day 25 mile photo hike @ 7 - 13.5 K ft solo. I addition to standard gear, I started out with an little M8 and 4 itty, bitty, M lens and a ultra light carbon fiber tripod. After a day, I left three of the lens and other non-essentials in a safe hide-away and learned to live with a single lens.

    I really like the idea of the counter-weight aarn packs. It make a lot of sense.

    Sounds like a GREAT time. Enjoy.

  19. #19
    Shelby Lewis
    Guest

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Not to hijack... but what are you guys sleeping in? I'm going out to play baroque trumpet in (and shoot photos for) the American Bach Soloists Academy this summer (in San Fran.) and am thinking of going out a week early and hiking up to thousand islands lake (a bit from Mammoth, CA). Not only am I agonizing about how heavy my camera gear is... but choosing a lightweight tent is bothering me too. The freestanding tents that are considered ultralight are not so "ultralight" when you add camera gear to the mix... but they do offer nice weather protection. Bivies and Tarps are light, but offer much less protection.

    Are you guys that hike using trekking-pole-based shelters, ultralight non-freestanding tents, or freestanding tents?

    ... and I take it most of you use down bags since they are light and stuff down to very small sizes so easily?

    Great thread!

  20. #20
    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Shelby,

    I've been to Thousand Island Lake several times; great trip. I would suggest going in and out via different routes, i.e. river trail in and high trail out. That way you get to see more. The hike itself is not all that hard.

    I've done it with a tent and also with a bivy. If I went back I would go the bivy route with a down bag, depending on when you go. There is a good chance the weather will be great, so the risk of a miserable night in the rain / snow is minimal. This is a relatively short trip, so if things get miserable you can always hike back out in several hours. If you are going to be out more than two nights I would switch to a tent.

    Dave
    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Not to hijack... but what are you guys sleeping in? I'm going out to play baroque trumpet in (and shoot photos for) the American Bach Soloists Academy this summer (in San Fran.) and am thinking of going out a week early and hiking up to thousand islands lake (a bit from Mammoth, CA). Not only am I agonizing about how heavy my camera gear is... but choosing a lightweight tent is bothering me too. The freestanding tents that are considered ultralight are not so "ultralight" when you add camera gear to the mix... but they do offer nice weather protection. Bivies and Tarps are light, but offer much less protection.

    Are you guys that hike using trekking-pole-based shelters, ultralight non-freestanding tents, or freestanding tents?

    ... and I take it most of you use down bags since they are light and stuff down to very small sizes so easily?

    Great thread!

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Zug/Zurich (Switzerland), Dubai, Sydney
    Posts
    334
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Shelby, I sleep in a Mountain Hardware bivvy most times.It has an internal frame, so you can be fully enclosed but not feel like you are in a body bag as the frame keeps the fabric off your face. I also have an ultralight one man tent made by Exped which I use if I might be staying in a spot for more than one night. I use a synthetic bag. Down bags don't do so well in really humid conditions as they progressively collect damp and lose insulation in these conditions. I use an Exped 3/4 length down filled air mattress under the sleeping bag.
    Cheers,
    Siebel
    "In the end, it's all about the pictures"
    www.bryansiebel.com

  22. #22
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Sugar Land, TX
    Posts
    109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Shelby, sounds like a fun trip.

    I have a REI quarter dome tent (light and comfortable), a Big Agnes lost ranger sleeping bag (big enough to move around in and very light and compact), Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pad (a MUST HAVE), camping pillow, micro stove, water purifier, Benro CF travel Angel tripod & head, glock 9mm (man's best friend), freeze-dried yum yum food, and most important a bear vault.

    Grams, baby grams... it all adds up.

    Have fun

    Tim

  23. #23
    Senior Subscriber Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,306
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Medium Format Hard Case or Backpack for Multi-day Backpacking Trips

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Not to hijack... but what are you guys sleeping in? I'm going out to play baroque trumpet in (and shoot photos for) the American Bach Soloists Academy this summer (in San Fran.) and am thinking of going out a week early and hiking up to thousand islands lake (a bit from Mammoth, CA). Not only am I agonizing about how heavy my camera gear is... but choosing a lightweight tent is bothering me too!
    The Sierra isn't too bad - most elevation gain is over modest grades, trails are well maintained usually, maps are good and guidebooks are aplenty. I'd totally recommend anything up in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, out of Clovis or Mammoth, or Yosemite NP.

    I use a Stephenson Warmlite 2RS with reflective liner and zipper sides - for all seasons. It's about 13 years old now and shows no signs of age yet. It has stood up to horizontal rain, getting completely buried in wet snow overnight (shoveling your way out of pitch black buried tent in the morning is an experience), and many hot days. The 2-person tent is, to me, effectively one person and gear, especially in winter. It's a roomy winter bivvy. The Bibler I-tent is a good choice too, slightly less prone to condensation (it has a brushed liner), but much warmer in summer. Black Diamond bought Bibler a few years back (7-8 years IIRC).

    For warm season overnight trips I go with a Gregory Summit pack; they're no longer made and I'm not sure what the current equivalent is. My mainstay the rest of the time is a Gregory Whitney or Gregory Chaos depending on season and pack needs. But picking a pack is like picking a boot - it has to fit or you're screwed. Gregory just fits my body well. (I use a women's boot because of the narrower heel pocket. Fit is more important than any other consideration.)

    I like Marmot sleeping bags - they're sized right for my 6'0 170lb body. Not too short, not too long, not too wide, not too tight. And they're warm for their weight. A winter bag needs to block condensation; if it gets wet you'll be cold. In the summer I carry a fleece blanket. A thermarest 3/4 pad except in winter when I use a full length plus a closed-foam pad for ground insulation. I carry a sleeping bag slightly on the cool side then carry a warm mid layer I can sleep in should it be cold. Nothing sucks more than a 15-degree bag on a 45 degree night. Whatever body part is in contact with it will get sweaty while the rest is cold. Better to bring a 35 degree bag and be prepared to dress up to sleep in 5-10, with maybe 15-25 more normal.

    I hate to tell people what I use, because they might go buy it thinking it's going to work as well for them... There are so many individual factors. Not unlike cameras.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •