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Thread: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Annapolis, Maryland

    Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    So I seem to have a decent size backpack for day use. I'm afraid the F64 would be mega sized and I'd knock around and overload it. But I'm carrying a meter (actually 2 - with the Sekonic hung around my neck), an F64 film holder bag -which totally blew up last weekend (it holds 6 and 6 seems too tight to not have accidents), camera et al. And I think I just need to remove all the inside cases and get some better dividers. And then I'm carrying a tripod freehand together with a notebook, phone, etc. Am I going far? Nah. Not anytime soon. But soon enough it warms up and that changes the equation in terms of how well the carry works. Like to go farther than 10 minutes from the car though.

    But this had me looking around. And I'm curious what folks are doing these days. Especially those of us / you who've been at this game a while, but may have switched backpacks recently. Yes, the photobackpacker P3 looks awesome, but it's been a while since it's been available. And is the F64 gargantuan for 4X5? Especially if you don't want or need the temptation to become a burro (or act like one)?

  2. #2

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    Quote Originally Posted by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau View Post
    Am I going far?
    This is a question that gets asked a lot, but I always thought we should take it from a different angle: given your list of possible travel scenarios, what is your minimum load-out for hiking safely and responsibly? Just add 1000-1500 cu in/15-20 pounds for your camera gear to that number and that will probably sift your choices a bit.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    Best one for 4x5 with exactly what you list (but pricey) I find is the F-Stop Ajna (40L) with a large ICU. The ICU holds the camera and 3-4 lenses, and there’s enough room for meter, cloth, filters, jacket and water. It opens in the back with full access so it doesn’t get dirty when you put it down (that’s important! Imagine having to open from the front and then all the dirt is on the side that goes against your back). Not cheap but a great solution, comfortable enough for a day hike. Tripod on the center front or the sides (don’t like that as it breaks the balance but it’s possible).

    Best for 8x10 is a different answer. I personally use a hiking bag with a custom size “ICU”, and a tenba insert for lenses, plus a pouch for small stuff. I have to go to a large bag because of the width of the camera, and also I don’t want to have only “top loading”. Not many options exist with an opening of 13-14”, I went with a Gregory Baltoro 95 (95L). Very comfortable even at 60-70 lbs load for multi day hiking. Tons of room for additional hiking gear, food, supplies, gps, water and clothes.

  4. #4
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    I hiked a lot with very similar kit and I just did it with a pretty normal size camelback backpack I usually hike with. I saw no reason to carry weight in padding like those backpacks made for cameras have a lot of.

    I wrapped the body in my rain jacket, which also served as my darkcloth. That went in the bottom next to three grafmatics in a gallon ziplock. Three lenses, meter, and small accessories went on top of those in a photobackpacker long lens case. Tripod strapped onto one side or carried in hand partially extended like a walking stick.

  5. #5
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Ottawa, Canada

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    I used to use a Lowepro Flipside 400, pretty light and compact.
    It held a Wista RF, three lenses, a couple of Grafmatics, and then loupe, meter, etc. Tripod was strapped to the pack.
    I traveled that way for over 3 months in Europe one summer/fall, it was a good pack for that kind of gear.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Bend, OR

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    I do something pretty similar with a Mindshift First light 30- it seems to have plenty of room and is not overly cumbersome, heavy or uncomfortable. I wouldnt use it for anything backpacking related, but for day trips it seems to work very well for me. I carry an Arca 4x5 typically with 5-6 film holders, 3 lenses, lightmeter, loupe, dark cloth and filter sachet. I hand carry my tripod although it could lash onto the pack if necessary.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 1999

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    I just bought a very nice, second-hand Lowepro Mini Trekker backpack. It holds my Wista DX, Pentax spot meter, two lenses, loupe and about five or six film holders. There’s also room for all the usual bits and pieces, such as filters, cable releases, dark cloth, etc.

  8. #8
    Alan Klein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    New Jersey was NYC

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    I settled on the F64 for my Chamonix 45H-1. But my camera doesn;t compress like the F2. I tried a pack with roller wheels and an extendable handle to pull the thing. They install the handle down the middle so I could not get my camera to fit as the handle takes up too much space in the middle.

  9. #9
    David Schaller
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Williamstown, MA

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    I always recommend a good backpack, not a photo branded one. I think Dana Gleason designs the best load-carrying frames. This is a 15 year old Dana Designs that I use for 4x5. His newer packs are Mystery Ranch, and have a great new zipper system.

  10. #10
    austin granger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Portland, Oregon

    Re: Backpacks for 4X5 with 3 small lenses and Chamonix F2

    I like my Tenba Shootout 24L backpack. It almost seems made for large format. I have the Chamonix Hs-1 and three lenses. The holders go into a pocket on the front, and I recently added an F64 pouch on the side to carry more holders for a recent trip. My folded dark cloth (not shown) goes across the camera and lenses. Lunch is put in the top section where my meter is. In all I'd say that while the Tenba is not large enough for multi-day trips, it works great for a long day hike.
    Click image for larger version. 

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