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Thread: Backpack for Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

  1. #1

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    Backpack for Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    Am interesting is hiking short distances with my 11x14 Chamonix. The system is currently housed inside a large Sinar Norma case. The case is no problem to haul around using a wheeled luggage carrier, but using the luggage carrier on a trail here in New England just not an option. I am looking to hike not more than a half mike from the car and usually more like less than a quarter mile. Camera, maybe 2 lenses, max 2 holders, etc. will have to be carried on my back. Ries tripod over the shoulder. So what I believe I am looking for is a backpack that will be able to carry the camera, 1-2 lenses, 1-2 film holders, and some accessories. Minimal padding needed to protect the equipment, but a good harness to support the weight a must.

    I want to begin a project of re-visiting some 12 waterfalls here in New England and photograph them with my 11x14. Most I have already photographed over the years with my 8x10, but now want to re-photograph them with my 11x14. Good thing is that most of the time I will need to carry only one lens with me. Unfortunately the backpack that I used to carry the 8x10 system can't be expandable to carry my 11x14.

    Have looked into bulk "backpack" carriers for canoes, but so far they seem to have rather flimsy and uncomfortable harnesses... hopefully someone out there with some actual personal experience with these can prove me wrong on this point.

    Suggestions and comments most welcome as always...

  2. #2

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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    Mule. Seriously, this sounds like a job for a USN Seal.

    Only thing I can think of is a modified aluminum bike trailer.

    I've got an Eastman 11X14, and a Samson tripod. I can make it to the shade in our backyard.

  3. #3

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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    Recommend that you be young. And strong.
    Peter Collins

    On the intent of the First Amendment: The press was to serve the governed, not the governors --Opinion, Hugo Black, Judge, Supreme Court, 1971 re the "Pentagon Papers."

  4. #4

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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    https://www.mekko.net/photobag/backseri.html

    My 11x14 Rochester King fits with three lenses, focus hood, and two holders. I’ve got one of the bigger bags, obviously. The C39, I think, since my camera is 16x16 closed and fits perfectly with room on top for the three lenses.

    I bought mine on eBay years ago. The last time I tried to email Mekko direct, I got no reply.

    It’s a great bag if you can find one.

  5. #5

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    Aug 2016
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    Scottsdale, AZ
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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    How about a modified golf bag cart?

    They can be found readily both new and used for not too much money and the ones with large-diameter wheels should roll over most obstacles without too much difficulty; if not, then they can be easily lifted over them instead.
    JG

    More of my photos can be seen at my photo-blog here: https://audiidudii.aminus3.com/

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    I have a Chamonix 11x14. I found a pack that fits it, lenses, and 2 to 4 holders.

    https://www.rei.com/product/867832/g...iABEgJHafD_BwE

    The only problem with it is that it is made for shorter people than me (6'3") -- it still works, but not a perfect fit. "Fits torso: 18 - 21 in. "

    I carried it across the sandstone formations in eastern Zion...that was a good stability test.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #7
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    How about an external frame? Lash whatever case you need to the frame.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  8. #8
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    Greg, the pack that Vaughn mentions in his post is what I have for my 14x17 and it swallows it up just fine. No problem for your 11x14. Now I'm 5'7" tall and the pack fits me just fine. See if you can find a used MEI backpack. Check them out and I may have one I could let go of for cheap if you are interested.

  9. #9

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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    Here is a photo of the pack Vaughn suggests. I bought one and love it. I can get my Chamonix 11x14, 2 lenses and 4 holders in it. I added padding to the bottom (there is none) and some between the camera and the holders. It works well but the overall weight is limiting.

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Hiking with an 11x14 View Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    How about an external frame? Lash whatever case you need to the frame.
    Actually -- this is the route I might take with my pack above. I am thinking of lashing it to a good external frame if I want to make any distance...rare trips of more than a couple miles out and back. My sister has a couple Kelty frames from the early 70s hanging in her garage.

    But I find the weight of using the 11x14 to be not much different than my 8x10 -- after all, it is mostly empty space (and 4 or 5 more pounds, the Chamonix are light and my 8x10 is a Zone VI ). Instead of six or seven 8x10 holders, I'll have two to four 11x14 holders. One (big) lens rather than 3 lenses. I use the same Ries tripod for both 8x10 and 11x14, so no added weight there. So over-all, not much different than the 60 pounds I carry when out using the 8x10. But being a significantly bigger/wider package makes it awkward to carry and handle until it gets on the tripod.

    The best thing about the canoe portage pack we have is that it is 11" deep. Deep enough for the camera and a couple padded 11x14 holders -- and an outside pocket that can hold a couple more.

    The mekko does look pretty nice. Something like my laptop case that fits 2 or 3 11x14 holders could be strapped to the back if one needed the film. The Chamonix is 17.5" x18.25" (according to website), so probably would not fit.

    Edited to add: The canoe bag is fairly light (the mekko is 11.25 pounds!). The canoe pack is built for its speciality use -- large amount of gear over short distances. It is not built for long hauls and rugged conditions. At my age, that suits me fine. I had to hike over some fairly uneven ground (to put it mildly) with the pack last April in Zion. The pack kept close to my body, and my center of gravity was good.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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