View Full Version : How do I get my 8X10 field camera and gear out into the field

steve Barth
27-Feb-2000, 09:28
I acquired a Deardorff 8X10 camera, some lenses and related gear. I have made s everal trips out and about and worked close to my vehicle. I am having some dif ficulty figuring out the best way to pack the gear so I can get a mile or so awa y from my truck. The problem is not the weight it is the bulk. I have a 4-lens 4X5 system and have managed to get all I need into one backpack. Not so for th e Deardorff. Some logistical enlightenment would be greatly appreciated.

Sean Billy Bob Boy yates
27-Feb-2000, 11:56
What kind of terrain are you talking about? Lots of trees and bushes and undergrowth or what?

My approach has been to do something like this - case with holders, lenses, filters in left hand, camera, affixed securely to tripod with legs extended on right shoulder, right arm over tripod legs, darkcloth folded up and used as pad between shoulder and tripod head/camera. I believe Weston, Adams, and Morley Baer among others have used this approach. That might work for you with the lenses, holders, etc. in the pack on your back and the camera/tripod over which ever shoulder is comfortable.

But this is a function of where you're hiking too - the tripod could easily snag over-hanging branches, etc.

Gordon Hutchings does a variation of this with a shoulder bag, limiting himself to two lenses (one convertible) and 4 holders. You might try contacting Ron Wisner and ask him how he got his gear to the TOP of the Golden Gaste Bridge - www.wisner.com. Try Charles P. "Chuck" Farmer as well.

Another option is some manner of wheeled conveyance - a child's little red wagon, a peanut cart, a handtruck, etc. or maybe a llama

Natha Congdon
27-Feb-2000, 12:48
My answer after thinking about it a lot was the f64 BPX backpack. Not as well made as some, but totally designed with an 8 X 10 system in mind (unlike almost all others). There is a central area that accomadates the camera, room for holders and a compartment for lenses. Added benefit: take off the modular side packs and it is_regulation airline size_! I have taken my 8 X 10 to Italy, China, S Africa, etc in the last year and not had a problem. I've had one side modified so I can strap on my tripod. I'm no athlete, but I can carry the whole system this way comfortably for hours over most terrain (I'm not necessarily talking about scaling a mountainside here, but that's my limitation.) This would definitely be my choice, and happens also to be what Ron Wisner recommends. He sells them, but they are $75 cheaper from f64 themselves - I think you can find on-line. Don't listen to the people who tell you that 8 X 10 can't be portable -- it just ain't so! (And you don't have to be the Charles Atlas either).


Paul Schilliger
27-Feb-2000, 15:23
The Tenba PBH (H for Huge) is very convenient if you are not afraid of big loads . It has an upper compartment with removable soft case containing the camera and a few holders. Th ere is plenty of space if you want to carry some food and water and a jacket in addition to all t he photographic gear. You can have it on a Kelty Frame for long hikes, but the standard version is lighter and plenty for a few miles walks.

Peter Hughes
27-Feb-2000, 18:17
Get a large frame backpack, the kind designed for serious hikers. I used to carry my 8x10 Deardorff, 2 lenses and 3 holders in such a pack--a Kelty exterior frame.

Then I developed bursitus in my left heel and a herniated muscle in my back. And so I switched to medium format.

A couple of months ago I traded my 8x10 outfit for a Canon EOS-3.


Bill Glickman
27-Feb-2000, 20:20
Steve, I suffer the same dilemna. If I shoot close to the vehicle, then I use a large industrial strength tote bag.. You can buy one at lands ends mail order clothing. I can hold the 8x10 and film holders, dark cloth and a lens or two in it I wear a photo vest for meters loupes, etc..... I carry the tripod with my other hand. I have not yet found a backpack for my Toyo 810MII, but if someone has a specific reccomendation, I would love to hear about it. The weight of this equip. adds up fast. When not going over tough terrain, I am considering getting a new cart on the market called a sherpa cart. It has small bike wheels, about 12" diamater so you can move over rocks easily without knocking your rig over. My back is sore enough from my 4x5 rig and accessoires, 50 lbs, on a 6 hr hike, my back is aching. Photo back packs from whatI have been told do not have anywhere near the wieghtbearing comforts as hiker backpacks! And good hiker backpacks are half the price of photo backpacks, here is the link to sherpa carts! If any one buys one let me know how it works out!


Good luck....

Erik Ryberg
28-Feb-2000, 11:28

Last year I discovered a Kelty pack that is like a very large book-bag style backpack. It has a simple rigid back sewn inside the pack and the thing about it is that it is very wide but not that tall. My Deardorff and three or four film holders fits in the main compartment easily, and lenses etc. fit in the pockets. The pack is quite inexpensive and still made. It's called a Kelty Redwing and thanks to the fact that it was made by starving enslaved people in some foreign country (like all packs I was able to find) it is quite cheap, under 100$. The nicest thing about it is it has a humongous zipper that goes all the way around the pack so it is very easy to get at your gear and keep everything in the right place while you are doing so.

The only problem is the tripod. I use a Ries and I simply cannot carry the thing on my back. So my solution, sigh, is to make two trips. I am usually travelling off-trail and I just don't want to risk taking a fall with all my equipment on my back. Also, you don't want to arrive at your site completely winded.

Good shooting,

John Kasaian
20-Dec-2006, 19:39
One of those roll around soft coolers that come with a plastic cart works. The cart isn't so useful unless you're on pavement, but the cooler is held on with velcro and has a shoulder strap. I can get my v8 'dorff and more film holders than I care to carry in the main compartment with a dark cloth for a cushion. The two front pockets will each hold a 6x6 lensboard with lens tucked in a zip lock for dust abatement. The outside pockets hold maps, notebook, filters. The loupe hangs around my neck and I carry the tripod (or rig it with a ---all for about $29 US at the big box stores. Its quite do-able for short excursions.

John Kasaian
20-Dec-2006, 19:40
I meant rig the tripod with a rifle strap----oops

John O'Connell
21-Dec-2006, 07:57
If I'm walking far enough that I can't just keep the assembled camera over my shoulder, I pack it an internal frame Gregory pack. I do not camp with the camera, and I've probably never walked more than 10 miles to a location and back with the equipment in the pack.

If you're only walking a mile, I'd just keep the camera assembled and attached to the tripod over my shoulder. An ordinary blackpack or shoulder bag will hold your extra lenses, sundries, and a few filmholders.

The big logistical problems in 8x10 are filmholders and lenses. My lenses get packed individually in Tupperware containers, and end up bulky but manageable. As for filmholders, I generally only carry 4, and that works out OK.

David A. Goldfarb
21-Dec-2006, 08:43
With my 8x10" Gowland, I use a knapsack designed for laptop computers, and I can carry the camera, usually 3-5 holders, darkcloth, 6 lenses, meter, and filters in the bag, and the tripod goes on a strap over my shoulder. I've taken this kit on day hikes of a few miles each way.

I could probably get more compact with the lenses, say by switching my 12" Dagor and 19" Artar for comparable Fujinon-C or G-Claron lenses, and getting a more compact lens than the 10" WF Ektar. The other 3 lenses are small wideangles. If you have small lenses, put them on smaller lensboards and use a lensboard adapter. I recently acquired a Busch Vademecum casket set and am having it shutter mounted. It isn't as sharp as the Goerz lenses, but is quite compact and has some character, so I might try that when I want to go really light with the 8x10" or 11x14".

I don't like having a tripod attached to a pack. If it's on the back of the pack, it gets some leverage, so it feels heavier, and if it's on the side, it can pull the pack to one side. On a strap, I can switch shoulders and it stays close to my body, and I can lean one arm on it as I walk or grab it quickly to set it up or use as a walking stick on rough terrain.

21-Dec-2006, 08:54
Obviously you need this:


The best part is that this is so much more environmentaly friendly than a methane releasing llama or xak.

Terence McDonagh
21-Dec-2006, 09:07

Go for the military-style one.

Alan Rabe
21-Dec-2006, 13:58
I don't know, Batteries are hardly environmentally friendly when discarded. But even so, the thought of some lazy jerk out in the pristine woods wheeling around on a Segway is just a bit dusgusting.

Turner Reich
21-Dec-2006, 16:30
Terence, do you have the military style pack and frame? I just took a look and am really interested.


Doug Dolde
21-Dec-2006, 20:49
How about a Sherpa Cart?


21-Dec-2006, 21:07

I use a jogging stroller with the BIG wheels... it holds my LowePro Supper Trekker AW II filled with most everything I need (Dorff 8x10, 4 lenses, dark cloth, loupe, 8 - 10 holders, meter, and 475 Manfrotto pod.)

With the larger wheels... it'll go over a bit rougher terrain as well.


21-Dec-2006, 21:29


Turner Reich
21-Dec-2006, 22:37
Is anyone really using a Sherpa Cart? Would they be allowed everywhere? My only other choice is the Azora backpack which has a chair built in to the frame. I am giving a lot of thought to that one. Where to put the tripod on the backpack?

Turner Reich
23-Dec-2006, 02:47
Does anyone have the Azora backpack with built in chair frame? I would like to know how you like it and which model you choose for you photography equipment.


Dave Langendonk
23-Dec-2006, 17:05
After looking at baby joggers, sherpa carts, golf carts, etc., I landed on this solution:


I use this to carry several Lowepro backpacks (8x10 & 4x5 gear), film holders, tripod, etc. I just use bunjee cords to hold everything to the cart. It will go over rough terrain and even up and down stairs fully loaded. Over fairly level dirt trails it's very easy to carry a lot of gear. Best solution I've seen yet for the bulky LF gear.

Graeme Hird
24-Dec-2006, 05:39
The original post was made nearly 7 years ago. I reckon he's either figured it out by now .... or bought himself a Yak. :D

Jess Lee
24-Dec-2006, 14:52
The original post was made nearly 7 years ago. I reckon he's either figured it out by now .... or bought himself a Yak. :D

8x10 does slow one down.:rolleyes:

neil poulsen
24-Dec-2006, 15:32
The original post was made nearly 7 years ago. I reckon he's either figured it out by now .... or bought himself a Yak. :D

That's funny.

I'm glad it came up, though. I wasn't familiar with the Sherp Cart. I like the large wheels, which makes it better for rough terrain. When resting in a tipped position, the pack stays horizontal.

Ralph Barker
25-Dec-2006, 09:19
The large diameter wheels on the Sherpa Cart are nice for solid ground, but not so good for soggy or sandy terrain. The cheap ($70~) folding golf cart I use has 4" wide wheels, which seem to work better in that respect.

Joel Brown
25-Dec-2006, 11:53
I'm using a dual jogging stroller with large wheels. The seats are side-by-side, so the stroller is quite wide, but I use it to get down to the beach at San Onofre, Ca. One seat has my f64 backpack with 8x10 Deardorff and lenses. The other seat has my large cooler with 12 film holders in it. My Zone VI wooden tripod is centered down the middle and strapped down. Beach umbrella, 2 beach chairs, towels, Subway sandwiches, drinks, suntan lotion, and reflector are all added to the mix. Sometimes I will carry the f64 backpack on my back and use the empty seat for more film or my RB 67 system. It is quite heavy but since I'm not carring it, it doesn't matter how heavy it is. One thing I use alot is the front brake to slow me down on the long downhill path from the parking lot to the beach. Going uphill after the shoot is another matter!

Turner Reich
27-Dec-2006, 23:06
"Everything old is new again"
Would it matter if the thread was a hundred years old? If the question is still being thought about my some of us then it is topical and current. I for one will be reading everything on this thread so that in the Spring I can get out and get around with my equipment.

Dave Langendonk
28-Dec-2006, 09:40
The large diameter wheels on the Sherpa Cart are nice for solid ground, but not so good for soggy or sandy terrain. The cheap ($70~) folding golf cart I use has 4" wide wheels, which seem to work better in that respect.

Ralph: That's pretty cool. I think I actually have that same golf cart. The reason I didn't choose it for my LF gear is that I've dumped my golf bag over numerous times when on uneven ground. The wheelbase seems too narrow for the load. That's what I like about the deer cart. Wide wheel base, 300# capacity, large wheels and relatively light weight. The handle is large enough so that two people can pull it up steep inclines if needed. It also folds up flat for storage or transport. I haven't taken it over sand dunes yet so I can't vouch for its performance there but everywhere else I've taken it it's worked well.

Terence McDonagh
28-Dec-2006, 09:59
Terence, do you have the military style pack and frame? I just took a look and am really interested.


I have it, but lent it to my brother for long-term use. For HEAVY loads it's better than my standard backpacking backpacks as it transfers heavy loads to the hips better and minimizes the shifting. I used it for carrying an 8x20 Korona and had room to spare. There is standard ALICE-type webbing around the top and on the bottom. I used nylon straps to lash it to these. I would have preferred to strap it dead center, but this kept the top flap up, so I had to settle for the sides.

The quality is first-rate. I'm very happy with it. The secondary pockets can hold just about everything imaginable. I've put a whole MF kit in two and a nice big lunch in the third.

My one "complaint" is I wish the harness was a little more adjustable. At a little over 6'-2" I have yet to find ANY packs that are perfect for me. This one is about the same as my hiking pack and fits about a 21" torso.

Turner Reich
29-Dec-2006, 08:07
Equipment adds up in weight and extras, the Sherpa Cart can't climb boulders or go across rivers but then neither do I. It would take the load off my body but pushing and pulling puts a strain on too. I like the military pack and frame but I would have to avoid the tendency to over load and get it too heavy. It's a hard choice but I am leaning toward the pack.

Ralph Barker
29-Dec-2006, 13:12
I used a borrowed military pack frame a few years back, and loaded it up with about 70 pounds of gear for hiking around the trails of Yosemite.

The big difference was that I attached it to my son's back, as he had just gotten out of Marine Corps Boot Camp. ;)

Turner Reich
29-Dec-2006, 19:03
Ralph when I got out of boot camp I could carry an RV on my shoulders. They worked me over and over trying to get me into the Navy Seals. Now I'm looking at Sherpa carts! I think I will get a drag bag, tie it to my leg and drag it up the paths in Yosemite. I hope that C1 is as tough as I think it is!

Ralph Barker
29-Dec-2006, 21:48
Turner - I "hear" you. When my son and I got up to Mirror Lake, we sat down, and he said, "Wow. I got my heart rate up to 80!" Absent such a two-legged "mule", the Sherpa cart, or some other wheeled substitute sounds like a great choice. No need to ding the C1 with the rocks along the trail. ;)

Richard Wasserman
30-Dec-2006, 09:16
I use a Sherpa Cart to drag around an extensive 4x5 Sinar Norma kit and like it a lot. I work primarily in urban areas and if I venture into "wilderness" areas it's on well groomed trails. The Sherpa works well on fairly smooth surfaces and handles the occassional rocky patch well, but it would not be my first choice for for rough terrain. It holds a great deal of gear, balances well, and is easy to maneuver. Plus it fits my macho image better than a jogging stroller. It also has a smaller footprint than a stroller which helps in crowded places. As much as I like the Sherpa Cart, I do have a light weight kit consisting of a Wista DX and 3 lenses that I carry in a Kelty Redwing pack for when I don't need the Norma and if I'm going where the world is muddy and bumpy.