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Thread: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

  1. #1
    Member nikonf's Avatar
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    Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    Hi,
    This is my first post here and I am very impressed by the level of knowledge I have found in these forums.
    I am going to Zion at the end of October and I will be bringing my Canon gear in a KATA backpack. I would also like to either take a Hasselblad film outfit or a 4x5 Linhof Technikardan-S or Wista SP metal folding camera with 4x5 film. I really don't know which backpack or case to purchase for the 120 or 4x5 outfit. I looked at the HPRC waterproof cases and backpacks on B&H and also the Think Tank carry-on luggage and backpacks on Adorama. If I take the 4x5, I will bring lenses of the following focall lengths - 65mm, 90mm, 110mm, 150mm, 210mm, and 300mm. I also notice KATA has bags that will accomodate 4x5 cameras and this may also work. I am 56 years old and I have a bad back and I am therefore going to wheel my gear around the trails in a B.O.B. Revolution Baby Stroller (Please try not to laugh).
    I appreciate any and all suggestions you fine people can provide.
    I would also appreciate any thoughts people have regarding Zeiss or Leica lenses on a Canon full-frame format DSLR. Currently, I am using the Leica-R APO 100mm f2.8 Macro and I find it to be vastly superior to my Canon optics.
    Many thanks,
    Mike

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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    If you have a bad back, I would suggest limiting your kit. Hiking with 4x5 with a bad back is not a recipe for enjoyment. I would suggest taking a limited Canon kit and a small hasselblad kit (no more than an 80, 50 and 150, waist-level finder and 1-2 magazines).
    I understand the impulse to bring all sorts of gear because it is a good excuse to use it, but it is going to be a lot more enjoyable if you don't have to push your gear around all day. A hassie with 80mm, 50mm and 150mm and two magazines will fit in a Domke 803 shoulder bag. No fuss and can be taken on an airline as your "handbag" in addition to a carry-on.
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  3. #3
    carbonmetrictree
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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    Hey Mike,

    I chose the HPRC 3500 case with foam for my travel option. I really like the design of their cases and the 3500 seems to be the only ergonomic solution for a hard case. I contacted HPRC's office to ask them about some of the cases and after the conversation, they said they will add a 1300 Ipod case in for free! After I receive the case on Wednesday, I'll do a review with some images for people to see. You might like the 2550 case, similar to Pelican's 1510. It meets TSA's standards for a carry on case and it does come with wheels. If you are flyiing to Zion, you might have a bit of trouble getting all of your glass into the 2550 for carry on. But, if you're flying, the sky's the limit for case sizes.

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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    If you have a bad back, I would suggest limiting your kit. Hiking with 4x5 with a bad back is not a recipe for enjoyment. I would suggest taking a limited Canon kit and a small hasselblad kit (no more than an 80, 50 and 150, waist-level finder and 1-2 magazines).
    I understand the impulse to bring all sorts of gear because it is a good excuse to use it, but it is going to be a lot more enjoyable if you don't have to push your gear around all day. A hassie with 80mm, 50mm and 150mm and two magazines will fit in a Domke 803 shoulder bag. No fuss and can be taken on an airline as your "handbag" in addition to a carry-on.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Stuart on this one. I too have a very bad back and Zion has a lot of vertical to contend with. So limit your weight and have fun.

    Woody

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    If you plan on hiking up the Virgin River, you'll want a regular back-pack and place your gear in kayaking dry-bags. If you're not planning on wading, only hiking, I'd go for comfort first, then weight. IOW get the most comfortable pack for you, even if that is a pack that carries more than you need as you don't have to fill it up, then keep it as light as possible by limiting extra pockets and excessive or unnecessary gear. Oh, and when hiking along the river bottom and edges, be careful of the quicksand -- I am serious here. If it looks like dry sand near a wetter patch, be cautious -- I got stuck in it once and it was not a fun experience, needed my tripod to pull myself out and never did get all of the sand out of it...

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  6. #6
    Member nikonf's Avatar
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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    Thanks for all of the great responses. Jack, will I be able to use a jogger stroller in Zion on any of the trails near the Virgin River? I could see going with a lightweight pack like Granite Gear Men's Nimbus Access FZ Light Pack or a similar Osprey or Gregory of similar construction. However, it would be ideal for me to have the jogger stroller in order to be able to carry a 35mm DSLR system and the 4x5 at the same time. I went to Zion in July 2006 and it was a nightmare trip. I took a carbon fiber sureveyor's tripod and the bold holding the Arca-Swiss ball head sheared off when I was on the first bus at Zion. It was July 4th weekend and impossible to get parts for the tripod from the manufacturer. Then the leg locks failed after I found bolts in a hardware store 50 miles from Zion. I ended up using a 2.5 pound carbon fiber spare tripod I had in my suitcase as an emergency. I never want to go through anything like this again. This ruined the entire trip. I also went to Bryce and I was not comfortable at the edge of the clifts with that tiny tripod and 40 mph winds. The first day I went there it was 37 degrees and sleeting.
    I also like to be able to meter with the 35mm body and use the 4x5 when the lighting conditions are perfect.
    Thanks for all the help,
    Mike

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    Hi Mike:

    IMO for most of the areas you want to get to in Zion, the stroller is not going to work. If you only plan on staying on the main road and the two or three short, paved trails, then sure it would be fine. But in my case, for all my best images there I went off-road
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Member nikonf's Avatar
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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    Hi Jack,
    Thanks, this is very important to know. Were you shooting 4x5 at Zion? Which backpack did you use?
    Mike
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Hi Mike:

    IMO for most of the areas you want to get to in Zion, the stroller is not going to work. If you only plan on staying on the main road and the two or three short, paved trails, then sure it would be fine. But in my case, for all my best images there I went off-road

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    Hi Mike:

    I have shot extensively with a 4x5 in Zion, and actually a Tecnikardan at the time Anyway, for the trip up the Virgin river --- only way to get up into the narrow canyons is hike the river itself --- I used a regular backpack, a Dana Swiftcurrent, and had all my gear inside dry bags, then put those in the pack. For the treks on the dry trails, I usually used my f64 medium backpack.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  10. #10
    Daryl Ovadia
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    Re: Backpack case or whatever for Zion Trip

    I just returned from Zion, my second trip. It certainly is a beautiful spot. If you plan a hike up the Narrows and the Virgin River consider taking minimal equipment as this can be tricky footing as you move back and forth from sand to 1-2 feet of water. Several outfitters in Springdale rent shoes etc for this walk. This last visit I took a Nikonos and photographed without the need for wet bags etc. The other parts of Zion are very vertical and I would also advocate a minimalist pack. Personally I find the shotgun approach counter productive as too much energy is spent transporting and setting up rather than photographing. The bus drivers are very knowledgable inside the park and might know good photo spots. Good luck!!!

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