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Thread: How is working out of a backpack?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Baton Rouge, LA

    How is working out of a backpack?

    I have been working out of a Kinesis belt system for several years. It works very well in the field, but not so well as hiking gear. It is also harder to pack up when you want to hit a restaurant. I am thinking about the Photobackpacker system - I already have their modified pack, so I would add their lens cases and a camera case. For folks with this system, how do you use it in the field, i.e., for changing lenses. I often work in places where I would prefer to not set anything on the ground. How easy is it to get things in and out while holding the bag in your hands?

  2. #2

    Re: How is working out of a backpack?

    er... i set the pack down on the ground and let it get dirty.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Austin TX

    Re: How is working out of a backpack?

    I use a cheapie Tamrac Extreme backpack with a TK 45 and 4 lenses with Quickloads only. I always remove from my back and set it down on a 2 X 3 ft. piece of plastic to keep it clean. The plastic is 6 mil polyethylene that folds up in my pocket. I'll temporarily set some of the equipment on the plastic while I shoot. The plastic is handy for wet grass and such - esp. in the early morning.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Northwest of Chicago

    Re: How is working out of a backpack?

    I use either a Kelty Redwing or an REI daypack, depending on what kit I'm using, and simply hang them from a hook on the center column of the tripod. One of my tripods is a Gitzo 1325 without a center column and I fabricated a hook attached to the underside of the top plate. I find this to be a very easy way to work and I don't have to worry about setting the pack down in the dirt. They are also raised up and I don't need to bend so much–an issue as I get older. The weight of the bag also helps to stabilize the tripod.

    Richard Wasserman

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Re: How is working out of a backpack?

    Hmm, for these heavy backpacks I don't see any way other than having to put them down on the ground. My tripod is always wrapped in a garbage bag (people assume it's a fishing rod where I live so I get ignored) and when I'm ready to set up, the backpack rests on the garbage bag.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    I think the photobackpacker products are great, particularly the lens cases. I lay the pack down and can't envision working efficiently out of it if it were hanging from the tripod. The pack opening seems designed to have the pack laying on its back. I vaguely remember Doremus Scudder having something on his website about working without putting anything on the ground. You may want to check his site.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Carmel Valley, CA

    Re: How is working out of a backpack?

    So far I've mostly worked with folding metal technical Meridians and a Super Graphic when in the field and working LF out of a backpack. Set-up involves fewer environmental issues since the camera stores the lens inside when folded up.

    I don't use the pack system you use, but do use lens wraps, and don't like them to be setting close to the ground even on a cloth for the loose crap that will inevitably blow onto them. For lens changes I stand my front-loader backpack upright, hopefully having left the lens in a top-most part of the pack, with the zipper open just enough to access down inside. If a piece isn't accessible or if doing something where I do need to set the pack down flat, I'll do so up off the ground on a large flat rock or whatever is handy. Last resort is a dry wash or sandy beach or in snow itself, but this is something I'd do without a great deal of hesitation unless it's rather windy or there's sifting snow.

    Cacti and fire-ants are perhaps the biggest hazards to watch for locally for when setting the pack down-- or, most importantly, before slipping it over my shoulders again.

    Issue with laying out any kind of fabric ground-cloth on sand, mud or whatnot is that you've afterwards got to stow it externally, or else you've just given a bunch of dust and grit egress inside your pack to find its way into your camera, lens, and film-holders. I figure a ground cloth isn't going to offer much additional in these conditions anyway, and a tripod apron would create more problems that it solves whenever breezy.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Seattle, WA

    Re: How is working out of a backpack?

    Like most of the responders on this thread, I set my pack down to get to my LF gear. For keeping your gear out of the mud, another option is to get some of the polycro groundsheets from Gossamer Gear. They're light and inexpensive, and reasonably durable given their weight.

    I'm probably going to get some of the Photobackpacker lenses cases and such, even though I don't use one of their backpacks. I think they'll help with organizing my gear so that it's more accessible. At least, I hope so. I don't ever attempt to use my LF camera without putting my pack down though, since it has both my camera and my outdoor gear (layers, shell, gloves, light, stove, shelter, sleep stuff, etc).

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Olalla, WA

    Re: How is working out of a backpack?

    I carry a large plastic garbage bag for sitting the backpack on in damp, muddy or just plain nasty situations. I don't think I could hand hold a large format backpack and set up camera lenses etc. while doing so. Way too awkward and the risk of dropping an expensive piece of gear too high.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Stevens Point, WI

    Re: How is working out of a backpack?

    I use the Photobackpacker packs. I set them on the ground but I don't let the bags get dirty. If the ground is wet, sandy, muddy, dusty, etc. I use space blanket cut in half. That packs up into the size of a compressible baseball and easily fits on one of the lower side mesh pockets on the pack. I also use it with a baby stroller. It fits sideways and it is easy enough to remove items that way.

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