Here is an answer I posted a few months ago on the LF Forum. As carrying LF gear is a recurrent question, I thought it would be interesting to share my experience with the LF community.
My gear :
A Linhof Master Technika 4x5", with 6 lenses, (58 to 400 mm, some are large XL lenses) Quickload or Fidelity holders, 20 sheet films, 2 6x9 roll-film holders, 545 and 550 polaroid backs with films, right angle reflex attachement, and accessories (L508 spotmeter, inclinometer, darkcloth...).
Tripod : a Gitzo G1329 Carbon-fiber, with a G1570 low profile head.
Analysis of the problem
<ol><li>A standard backpack like my Lowepro Super-Trekker gives the best storage capacity but carrying it on the back presents some dangers and drawbacks.
<li>The backpack itself is heavy, and when it is full, it is very very heavy (more than 25 Kg).
<li>I'm 55 years old and with 2 prostheses of hip, carrying the Super-Trekker on my back is very painful after a few hours.
<li>The side torsion movement when unloading the backpack is very dangerous for the spinal column.
<li>You must leave the bag on the ground. I like to go in forests, and, if the ground is wet, the bag must be isolated from mud or water...
<li>All photo backpacks with very small wheels are maybe very convenient in railroad stations or airports, but, downtown, with the pavements and the inequalities of the ground, it is a true pain. In countryside or forests, it is completely impossible.</ol>
First trials :
Following advices of other large format photographers, I tried first to use luggage caddies or golf carriers :
When using such a carrier, drawbacks are obvious :
<ul><li>Because of the backpack's weight and the reduced spacing between the very small wheels, I found it was very difficult to pull the caddy behind me without seeing it frequently rocking. Quite impossible in cross-country.
<li>Moreover, the two-wheeled caddy (even the two-wheeled Sherpa cart) can't be left without holding it when I stop walking.</ul>
The solution :
I bought a used 3-wheeled baby-stroller, "Everest" model by french manufacturer "Bébé Comfort" (you can see it on their website in english : http://www.bebeconfort.com/UK/voir.htm.
The same kind of stroller can be bought everywhere, new or used.
I attached the Super Trekker backpack on it, by means of velcro straps fixed in the side passers. (As far as I know, Lowepro bags are the only backpacks with these side passers)
<ul><li>The wheels are very large and are equipped with inflatable tires mounted on shock absorbers. Therefore carrying the backpack is very comfortable and vibrations are completely reduced. (Lenses, shutters and other precision equipments are protected).
<li>I can use it downtown or in countryside, forests, on quite all ways (of course no hill-climbing...) but with no efforts !
<li>The tripod and head are securely attached on the side of the backpack.
<li>On three wheels, the whole carriage is very stable, without swings, and it holds upright by itself when I stop walking.
<li>The stroller can be pushed or pulled, and it is very easy to drive it and to raise it for crossing pavements and small obstacles.
<li>I can stop immediately without holding the carriage, or laying the bag on the ground, and the bag never falls.
<li>The stroller has a speed reducer on the front wheel (priceless in the slopes) and brakes on both aft wheels.
<li>When stopping, the bag is never in contact with the ground (water, mud or moisture) and, once opened, it presents all its contents like on an oblique cradle. This allows a complete and easy access to the camera and all accessories.
<li>The stroller is collapsible, and all three wheels can be dismounted for stocking it in a car.</ul>
<ul><li>The price (about $200 used in mint condition), but I consider that my health, and the cost of photographic equipment have much more value !
<li>The stroller's weight, added to the bag's one.
<li> It is sometimes difficult to carry the stroller and the bag up- and downstairs, but not impossible.</ul>
When using the stroller and the bag on it, I am much less tired when I find something worth to be photographied.
When I carried all the gear on my back, I was often exhausted, and sometimes completely disgusted. "A 35 mm camera was so light and less cumbersome...Why the hell did I bought this d.. camera !"
Since I use this system, as I am much less tired to carry the backpack, I found again a real pleasure to use the LF camera.
Moreover, I recovered my concentration to appreciate the beauty of landscapes and all what I see.
I also avoided making multiple mistakes, as I often did when I was too tired.
I hope this will help many people carrying their LF gear. I will try to send some photos as soon as I'll have made them.
I intend to improve my "LF-Stroller" system, and I would like to know if someone has tested a similar carrying tool, and to share our experiments.