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Joseph O'Neil
23-May-2007, 07:52
For about 7- 8 years I have been using a Lowepro classic trekker backpack. Here's a link to the new version, which is the same size as what i have:

http://www.lowepro.com/Products/Backpacks/classic/Photo_Trekker_Classic.aspx

Well with the addition of a new 90mm lens i just bought, my backpack is a wee bit too small now. I carry my 4x5 Tachihara, about 6 lenses, spot meter, loupe, about 6 film plates and a variety of filters, and a couple first aid items (like band aids and iodine).

A lot of photo stores in the local area have Lowepro backpacks, bigger ones, but man - they are huge! Alomost too big, and most of the larger ones I see around here have these waterproof zippers that probally do a good job, but man, what a PITA to open and close.

What do people suggest, if anything, that is a step larger than the Lowepro I have now? I would be happy to look at other brands, but around here, there are no other photo backpacks in stock.

Here's another question - those padded dividers you see inside camera cases and photo backpacks - can you buy those seperately? One store near me has some excellent hiking backpacks in stock, and I could adapt one of those to use if I had the padded divider I think.

That's another problem I find - buying backpacks is a bit like buying a pair of shoes - you almost have to try one on to see if it is comfortable or not. That's what I found with the larger Lowepro backpacks, just too larger, too much for me

thanks
joe

Nick_3536
23-May-2007, 08:04
When I get my act together I'm going down to MEC to grab one of

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442621015&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302700149&bmUID=1175106165765

Those. It's not a "photo" back but then that's okay with me. They also have the bigger Gregory which might be too big.

If you aren't a MEC member you need to buy a membership. $5 lifetime?

PBrooks
23-May-2007, 08:40
hello Joseph, you might want to look into www.photobackpacker.com, they are excellent and have different sizes to fit your needs plus the padded compartments for your multiple lenses, they have individual and multi-compartmented, plus it will be lighter than any of the other photo pack on the market as they are modified Kelty packs. I just got mine in for 8x10 and its great! Plus I know this probably doesn't mean much to some but it did for me, when I opened the box there was a hand written thank you from the owner thanking me for my purchase. Now thats customer relations!
Just my 2-cents
Phillip

Vaughn
23-May-2007, 08:49
Nick,

That looks to be a top-loader. I used a top-loader for my 4x5 and 5x7 and it worked fine -- the camera was on the bottom and I had to empty the pack to photograph. I only had one lens and a minimum of stuff that were in two small stuff-sacks.

But since then, I have found a pack for my 8x10 with a front panel that zips off to be much easier all around. I don't have to find a dry piece of ground to set everything on, etc. I cut a piece of closed-cell foam (backpacking sleeping pad) that goes over the equipment before I zip the pack up -- I use it to set equipment on instead of the ground, and use it to sit on while waiting for the light (instead of trying to sit on snow or rough rocks!)

Joe, the pack I got is not a "photo" pack -- I made my own dividers using more of that same closed-cell foam sleeping pad and glue.

Vaughn

Jack Flesher
23-May-2007, 08:59
I use a Dana Designs panel loader -- in fact I own two of them, depending on the duration and amount of gear I need to schlep. Not even sure they're still made, but the models are the Swiftcurrent and Stillwater.

Nick_3536
23-May-2007, 09:04
Nick,

That looks to be a top-loader. I used a top-loader for my 4x5 and 5x7 and it worked fine -- the camera was on the bottom and I had to empty the pack to photograph. I only had one lens and a minimum of stuff that were in two small stuff-sacks.



I think it has a side access to but basically a top loader. They have a bigger one with full access but it seems over kill for anything less then 8x10.

Terence McDonagh
23-May-2007, 09:12
I have the Z55 Gregory. It's the most comfortable pack I've ever worn, but only so-so for photography. It has a "shelf" pocket inside which inhibits pulling big, bulky items out, especially if you have anything in the pocket.

My other pet peeves with it are that it is just a bit too small as a good weekend pack, especially with camera gear, and at least last year's version was not hydration bladder compatible.

Eric James
23-May-2007, 10:31
What fits one person well may be a disaster on your back. If it's feasible, drive to Ann Arbor MI on a day that Randy or Roger is scheduled to work at The Bivouac on State Street - they have the finest selection of packs anywhere and these two gentlemen have been fitting packs for years. Spend the day - Ann Arbor is a great town!

Ann Arbor Bivouac
336 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 761-6207

Nick_3536
23-May-2007, 10:34
I have the Z55 Gregory. It's the most comfortable pack I've ever worn, but only so-so for photography. It has a "shelf" pocket inside which inhibits pulling big, bulky items out, especially if you have anything in the pocket.

My other pet peeves with it are that it is just a bit too small as a good weekend pack, especially with camera gear, and at least last year's version was not hydration bladder compatible.

I thought the Z55 was brand new this year? :confused:

Vaughn
23-May-2007, 11:42
I think it has a side access to but basically a top loader. They have a bigger one with full access but it seems over kill for anything less then 8x10.

I have a full-size pack (Gregory, bought in ~1981) that is a top loader with side access. Side access is not that convienent for regular use (you can't see what you want to grab).

But it was a nice pack...huge. I use to put the pack I had my 4x5 in down inside the Gregory for 11 day backpack trips down into the Grand Canyon -- back in the days when I could carry 85 pounds (and I wonder why I have knee problems, LOL!)

Vaughn

Gordon Moat
23-May-2007, 12:02
Can you add a SlipLock pouch for the extra lens? LowePro makes several simple pouch designs. I added a couple of the largest Sliplock 60 AW to my CompuTrekker for the occaissional extras I might want to carry. This would be cheaper than getting another bag, especially if you are already comfortable with your LowePro Classic.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Nick_3536
23-May-2007, 12:23
But it was a nice pack...huge. I use to put the pack I had my 4x5 in down inside the Gregory for 11 day backpack trips down into the Grand Canyon -- back in the days when I could carry 85 pounds (and I wonder why I have knee problems, LOL!)

Vaughn

I think I could crawl into a Gregory Whitney and close the zipper behind me :D Bit much for not being more then a few hours from the car.

Vaughn
23-May-2007, 12:49
I think I could crawl into a Gregory Whitney and close the zipper behind me :D Bit much for not being more then a few hours from the car.

My Gregory did not seem so big -- after all, I was 6'4" and 220 pounds of muscle from buildling and maintaining trails in the wilderness all summer and planting trees in the winter. It has been 16 years since I stopped doing that kind of work and now I'm 6'3" if I really stretch and 240 lbs -- of which 30 pounds is definitely not muscle!

But then I try to keep my pack down to 65 pounds now...and I stop a lot to enjoy the views! If I ever want to take the 8x10 into the wilderness, I am afraid that will mean mules or llamas!

Vaughn

Terence McDonagh
23-May-2007, 13:19
I've been looking at the Osprey Atmos 65 as my next bag, and handing over the Gregory to my brother.

Mine might be a slightly older version. It looks identical, and the only difference in description is that the waist belt now has mesh pockets.

Nick_3536
23-May-2007, 13:24
My Gregory did not seem so big -- after all, I was 6'4" and 220 pounds of muscle from buildling and maintaining trails in the wilderness all summer and planting trees in the winter. It has been 16 years since I stopped doing that kind of work and now I'm 6'3" if I really stretch and 240 lbs -- of which 30 pounds is definitely not muscle!

But then I try to keep my pack down to 65 pounds now...and I stop a lot to enjoy the views! If I ever want to take the 8x10 into the wilderness, I am afraid that will mean mules or llamas!

Vaughn

You've got a good six inches on me. I can lift the weight but it's still a big back next to me :D

Joseph O'Neil
23-May-2007, 14:40
HI guys;
Well so far, my best answer looks like a combination to two things. I like the individual cases on the Photobackpacker web page. They look neat, and i have had a couple people off list reccomend those to me.

Then I do have a good store not far form me that has an excellent selection of all sorts and styles of backpacks, so with the cases ahead of time, I might then go get a decent fitting backpack.

The one bit of advice that what works for one person might be a disaster for antother is right on., but keep tlaking, I am geting good idea. :)
joe

gari beet
23-May-2007, 15:09
Hey Joseph, I have several LowePro's, inc a couple of phototrekkers. The newer phototrekker AWII is a little larger than the classic you have, also a little squarer so may have the extra room you need?
I have just bought a supertrekker and they can be quite large it has to be said.

They are criticised for being heavy, but I find that they fit so well and are rigid enough that weight is less of an issue than with a poor fitting or "soft framed" pack.

Lowepro do make a series of cases that are designed to fit in the Peli cases, they would work really well if you can find a backpack of the same dimensions etc. Also they have just released the new Vertex range which may have sizes thet work for you.

Last but not least, the Tamrac Expedition series look good from what I have seen in the stores. The larger one looked a little bigger than my phototrekkers.

I am considering getting a Tachi in the next week or two, how do you find the rigidity for the weight?

Cheers

Gari

Eric James
23-May-2007, 15:19
Hey Joseph,
Lowepro do make a series of cases that are designed to fit in the Peli cases...
Cheers

Gari

This is the LowePro Omni Series - the Omni Sport fits my Ebony RW45E and my old SV45U2 quite well. This is the first thing that I put in my pack - it fits perfectly at the bottom of the main compartment.

I have two Gnass lens cases and two other accessories bags stacked on top of the Omni Sport - this compartmentalized approach works well for me. The pack is a waterproof top-loader - the Arcteryx Bora55.

Brian Ellis
23-May-2007, 23:47
I use an F64 8x10 backpack for my 4x5 system (Tachihara, 5 lenses, light meter, filters, dark cloth, a few other accessories and about as many holders as I want to carry but usually I carry about 6-10 or one box of Readyloads plus holder. That leaves plenty of room in the top compartment for water bottle, lunch, etc. I also have a LowePro Trekker 4x5 pack of some sort, I forget the model designation but at the time I bought it I believe it was the second largest pack LowePro made. I like the F64 8x10 much better, it holds more and weighs less.

Matus Kalisky
24-May-2007, 03:44
- Josephf -

I am in a very similar situation, I have Tachihara 4x5 and by now 3 lenses (out of which one is 400mm tele) + DSLR insted of aspotmeter - and also find the Lowepro too bulky. I am saving money for the Kinesis Journeyman P450 (http://www.kgear.com/p/P450.html) togerher with their optional accesories like the V092 (http://www.kgear.com/p/V092.html?PHPSESSID=2b61d798a7ce9d43f12f9a656eef5252) case and the film holder pouch F500 (http://www.kgear.com/f/F500.html). Their stuff looks well done, users seem to like it and it is thought out in a very clever way what I like. For the lenses I plan to get a lens case (http://www.photobackpacker.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=RPT&Product_Code=LS-1150-4&Category_Code=RPT02) from Photobackpacker. I already have their camera case I like a lot (very light and strong enough for me).

The only problem is that the total price will go above $300 :o . But on the other hand you can use the V092 case separately for a minimal setup.

The F.64 back designed for 8x10 look also interesting to me as it has two separate departements what I find nice for a long day trips.

Good luck.

Jack Flesher
24-May-2007, 08:59
I should add I like the f64 packs too for their light weight and low bulk relative to other dedicated photo packs. However their suspension system is simple and IMO not adequate for long treks with lots of weight. For those situations, I use the large f64 as the insert for my Dana.

Here is a shot showing the two combined -- that's the f64 Large pack and a Gitzo 1325 pod with Arca head for size relation. The combined weight of those two packs is 9 pounds (4 kilos) and is less than what a Lowe Super Trekker weighs by itself, yet it will carry a lot more equipment a lot more comfortably:


http://jack.cameraphile.org/albums/album08/f64_inside_Dana.jpg

http://jack.cameraphile.org/albums/album08/Dana_loaded.jpg


Cheers,

Alan Davenport
24-May-2007, 09:24
I'm using a Lowe Super Trekker AW. It's plenty big enough for my 4x5 kit, but the sumbitch has the worst suspension of any pack I ever had on my back. I've been considering making some inserts for my old external-frame Kelty.

Keith Pitman
24-May-2007, 10:13
Two other alternatives to a larger pack: Carry less stuff, e.g., four lenses instead of six; or, get a pouch that attaches to the outside of your current Lowepro to carry some of the stuff. I have a separate Lowepro pack that is meant to be a daypack that attaches to the outside that I use when I'm doing a long hike. I also have a smaller pouch that I got years ago from EMS that I use for lunch, waterbottle, fleece vest, etc.

Joseph O'Neil
24-May-2007, 11:25
I'm using a Lowe Super Trekker AW. It's plenty big enough for my 4x5 kit, but the sumbitch has the worst suspension of any pack I ever had on my back. I've been considering making some inserts for my old external-frame Kelty.

That is something I have found too. You never realize how uncomfortable a backpack is until you try something different & better fitting or better adjusted for weight. I also find even when I use the waist strap, the weight shifts badly for me on steep inclines, and can throw off your centre of gravity. :(

joe