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Thread: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

  1. #21

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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    ... Does anyone have much experience with carrying most essentials in a photo vest?
    As I wrote in my previous post, I almost always wear a fly-fishing vest along with the lumbar pack. I use it to hold my meter (Pentax digital spot, on a lanyard), viewing filter, Voss filter holder, magnifying loupe, small tape measure, cleaning cloths, and a few other odds and ends (see below).

    In the pack is the Wista DX along with four lenses (90mm SA f/8, 135mm Plasmat, 203mm Ektar and 300mm Nikkor M), two sets of six filters in wallets (52mm and 67mm; #8, #15, #11, #25, polarizer and 80B plus stepping rings and a filter wrench). I carry my film holders and notebook in a separate over-the-shoulder pouch, which just fits six holders.

    However, I could get holders into the pack I linked to and eliminate the extra pouch. I like the pouch, though, since I hang it on the tightening knob for the center column of the tripod, which makes getting to the holders easy and provides a bit of weight to stabilize things.

    The lumbar pack sits at my side on the shoulder strap when not strapped on and is easy to work from and never has to sit on the (muddy, snowy, wet, dusty, sandy) ground.

    Back to the vest: I tried a "photo vest" but found it too long for my needs. The pack straps on at waist level and the vest had large pockets that were placed right where the hip belt for the pack strapped on, rendering them useless. A short fly-fishing vest, that doesn't quite reach to the waist holds lots, is cooler, and doesn't get trapped under the pack straps. I can't see the use of a Domke-type long photo vest together with a pack.

    Best,

    Doremus

  2. #22

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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Heroique View Post
    You’re remembering room for the 10 essentials, right?

    Since it’s a day hike from the car, you might be able to squeeze by with just 3 or 4.

    -----
    1. Navigation (map & compass)
    2. Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
    3. Insulation (extra clothing)
    4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
    5. First-aid supplies
    6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
    7. Repair kit and tools
    8. Nutrition (extra food)
    9. Hydration (extra water)
    10. Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)

    (The Mountaineers club, Seattle, who might have included insect repellent.)
    Oh yeah, I just listed the photo stuff, not my entire kit. I always have a liter water bottle with me (fits in a dedicated pouch on the pack strap) and my charged smart phone (for compass, gps, emergency calls when there's service, photos of maps, etc.), Swiss army knife, matches, two or three LED lights of varying sizes, sunglasses, sunscreen (small trial-size tube), wide-brimmed hat (on my head or slung on my back with its strap), a bandana (for everything from bandage material to washcloth), a "space blanket," a collapsible nylon bucket (sometimes I fill it with rocks and hang in on my tripod), a couple trash-can size garbage bags, a mini roll of duct tape (for everything from repairs to splints), and snacks when needed. I take the maximum clothing I think I might possibly need and simply strap the jacket, etc. from the pack when not in use. Plus I always have a pair of rugged, lightweight work gloves in my camera bag for use when scrambling over sharp rocks.

    Most of the stuff is in pockets in my fishing vest. It's amazing how small all of this can be. Except for the water bottle, most everything stays pockets in my vest and rarely gets used; it's just there for emergencies.

    Looking at these last two posts, one might think I'm carrying tons with me. However, my entire kit weighs in at just over 20lbs (including the tripod).

    Best,

    Doremus

  3. #23
    http://www.spiritsofsilver.com tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Although this may not be appropriate for you for years I have been using a Lowepro 350 AW Runner for 35mm and light LF and MF photography (Toyo 45cf, Pentax 645NII). It's a padded internal frame pack that protects the gear inside, carries well on the back, and holds 2 F6's and a selection of lenses such as the 35-70mm AF Nikkor and 80 200mm AF Nikkor which I have been using a lot of lately; or the Pentax with a selection of lenses; or the cf with 90mm Grandagon, 150mm Apo-Sironar -S (which folds-up with the camera) and 300mm Nikkor-M. Spot meter, dark cloth, cable releases, cleaning kit...etc all fit easily inside the pack even the f64 film holder case. A drop down holster for the feet of my series 0 Gitzo cf tripod and compression straps securely positions the tripod against the pack to prevent it from becoming loose and causing the weight balance to shift. The 22 folded length of the tripod/BH combination and its low weight make this pack system work for me. Heavier MF and LG cameras like the P67II and AX require a series 3 tripod which is too big and heavy for the pack so I use the 450 AW pack for those and the Super Trekker for the 810 MII. A nice thing about the 350 is that it is carry-on so you can carry everything with you on the airplane and not worry about it getting lost or stolen.

    Thomas

  4. #24

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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Doremus,

    What is the name of the pack you use?

  5. #25

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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by mitrajoon View Post
    Doremus,

    What is the name of the pack you use?
    I have an ancient Gregory lumbar pack that's no longer made. If I were to replace it, I'd get the Mountainsmith pack I mentioned (and tried to link to) in an earlier post.

    It's billed as "Mountainsmith Day Lumbar Pack." Here's the link to it now: https://www.rei.com/product/167691/m...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

    It's better than the Gregory I have; a bit larger and has water-bottle pouches built in (which could carry gear to) and a nice toggled flap for strapping on clothing (or darkcloth), etc.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus

  6. #26
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Woodbury View Post
    It got so the backpacks and bags weighed more than the stuff. It was time to rethink. I've always carried my camera mounted to the tripod resting on my shoulder. Dark cloth with a padded insert is used to pad my shoulder. ...
    This my preferred way, also, although I do less of it when on long expensive trips (NZ and Chile, for example) where a slip or fall that destroys the camera has greater impact on my photography.
    I put the darkcloth over the camera (4x5 or 5x7), followed by a waterproof stuff sack, a sturdy one. The sack protects the lens and camera from pointy sticks and nasty vines, and from rain. I like the design of the 5x7 Eastman View as it sits very well on the pod for going on one's shoulder...and not heavy for the format. Five to six holders go in an over-the-shoulder bag, just big enough to also add the light meter, a couple of food bars, filters and note-keeping stuff. Perhaps I'll take my phone if I need it to time long exposures. I can take photos without putting anything on the ground, which can be nice in wet areas or soggy weather.

    What is also nice about carrying a camera this way, is that when one is stepping up or down, one can rest the tripod's feet on the ground and one does not need to lift the weight of the tripod and camera up with one's knees or back. My 8x10 is carried in a pack, but the 17 pound tripod is hand-carried and is sometimes treated as a big walking stick. Keeps my hands and arms exercised. As a bonus, the hipbelt for my 8x10 pack (a travel pack) fits so well, that my lower back problem so is excellently supported that my back feels better with the pack on.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #27
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Any decent pack will have an effective hip belt, and hopefully room for more than just camera gear, like a jacket, raincoat, lunch, and water bottle. But I use real external frame backpacks, which can hold a hecka lot more, and are more comfortable, though bulkier. Note the vintage Kelty pack on a previous post. The problem with official camera packs is that they use a lot of heavy redundant foam rubber cushioning, whereas ordinary bubble packing works at least as well, is easier to clean, and weighs almost nothing. I make dividers out of high-quality foamboard like Gator, likewise especially light. And on mountain trips, I wrap the camera with my goosedown jacket, which is superb for both cushioning and insulation.

    I only use a shoulder bag for my little Ebony 4X5 folder on short walks. They're harder on the back. But I do often use a smaller shoulder bag for my 6X9 RF or P67 with a single lens, and carry the tripod rifle-style over the shoulder. I carried both MF systems that way last week for about 4 miles, using a two shoulder bags, one over each shoulder. But the next day after that kind of thing, I always feel more sore than if I had carried even much more weight in a real backpack. I can easily carry an 8X10 system in my external frame packs, or a fully configured Sinar 4X5 monorail. I'll either bunji cord a wooden Ries tripod to that back, or tuck a collapsed CF tripod under the top flap. Both hand are free that way to use trekking poles.

    There are still a lots of old barely-used classic US made Kelty's being listed, typically advertised as "vintage". They're far better made than the present import variety. Just be aware of outrageous shipping fees in the fine print of some of those listings. They aren't fragile or heavy to ship, so look for a reasonable rate too. Be aware of the sizing options. It's not a one-size-fits-all system. Spare parts are no longer available, so check the condition of the straps, back support mesh, and waistband carefully. Clevis pins and rings are easy to find. You always want spares of those anyway; and the first thing I do is replace the original aluminum ones with more durable stainless steel equivalents from McMaster.

  8. #28

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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    I have an ancient Gregory lumbar pack that's no longer made. If I were to replace it, I'd get the Mountainsmith pack I mentioned (and tried to link to) in an earlier post.

    It's billed as "Mountainsmith Day Lumbar Pack." Here's the link to it now: https://www.rei.com/product/167691/m...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

    It's better than the Gregory I have; a bit larger and has water-bottle pouches built in (which could carry gear to) and a nice toggled flap for strapping on clothing (or darkcloth), etc.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus
    Thxs!

  9. #29

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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    Check out Atlas packs - very customizable and come in two different models. The Atlas Athlete is huge and will hold much more than your list but would give you plenty of room for jackets and other "gear". The Adventure pack might be the right fit.
    For all camera packs check the depth of the ICUs and make sure it will accommodate your gear. If you can find the 2019/2020 Atlas models used you will save big bucks, but they only have one origami section at top of ICU, vs the 2022 has 2 which gives you more options.
    I also use the Shimoda 60L pack for my 5x12 but use it more as a top loader rather than a true camera pack. I found cheaper ICUs than those offered by Shimoda.

    I also used a center split clamshell design from Tenba for many years but it did not have the support once I started adding to the gear and eventually hurt to carry it. Camera in top, lenses and holders in bottom.

    Neither of these packs are lightweight but they are durable and should last a long time. Your gear will grow and change.
    Also consider how you can attach a tripod. Even on a moderate hike freeing your hands can make a huge difference.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  10. #30

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    Re: Light weight 4X5 gear backpack recommendations

    I'll chime in as my requirements are very similar to the OP's needs.
    For hiking I have settled on the lightweight approach with:

    TOHO FC-45X modified as recommended by Kerry Thalmann (wonderful LF resource).
    135mm Apo-Sironar
    240mm Fujinon-A
    Cokin-A Filter System w/ Yellow, Red, Orange, Polarizer
    Grafmatic Film Holders
    Pentax Digital Spotmeter with an extra battery
    Manfrotto 055MF4 with Scratch Leveler, Arca-Swiss D4 Head
    Harrison Focusing Cloth (small)
    Lens Cleaning kit, 2 Cable Releases
    Compass, First-Aid Kit, Swiss Army Knife, etc.
    Mountain Hardwear Splitter Backpack with Rain Cover
    Trekking Poles - they really help to keep me steady on the more difficult or slippery trails.

    The whole kit is light enough for longer hikes. The pack has room for food, snacks and has side pockets for water bottles. Sometimes I even bring a light-weight ISOPRO-type stove for the fun of it.

    I have the MIDO Film Holder System but I need to practice using it before making it part of the kit. The MIDO holders' dark slides need to be removed and inserted in a very particular and fluid way or the film will be completely fogged.

    Before I got the TOHO camera I was hiking with the Linhof Tech with one lens (135mm); it was compact but still too way too heavy and felt the need for a longer focal length for some situations.

    TOHO camera info here:

    http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm

    Happy Trails!

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