Backpack wish list

I was visiting with my friend Melanie today at the Arlington Camera annual open house about various and sundry things and the topic of a rugged, outdoor backpack designed to carry camera gear as well as other necessities of a hike in the outdoors.

I have a great pack now, but it’s more along the lines of a city pack that’s designed to carry your gear from your car to your workspace or nearby shoot location.  It comfortably carries one camera + lens, a 70-200 and an 11-16, plus assorted and sundry items like batteries, filters, flash, etc.

The problem is that there’s really no room for water, food and emergency items like firestarters, gps, etc.

Being a big shot camera mogul, Melanie told me that she’s got some contacts in the camera bag world and would put in a request for me.  I thought the concept was worth sharing here, maybe someone else has already invented the wheel!

Here’s my wish list in a camera pack:

Rugged – ripproof and waterproof would be a good start.  There should be plenty of padding to protect the gear inside.
Storage for camera stuff that’s waterproof (stuff equals bodies, coupla lenses, filters, batts, flash). Filters and batts should be easily accessible!  I should not have to dig for things I might need in a hurry.

Storage on top that’s compartmentalized for small camp stove (and gas), dehydrated ‘camp’ food, first aid kit, firemaking stuff, knife, gps/compass, poncho, emergency blanket (the small silver ones…)  My existing pack has a space like this on top, but it’s not compartmentalized and it’s a major pain in the ass to sort through it looking for a widget.

Camelback/water bladder – for me this is a vital necessity.  My existing pack has a generous space for carrying a computer but I can say with some degree of certainty that I will not be carrying a ‘puter on any hike longer than from my car to my office.  I’d much rather have access to water!

A REAL waist belt with support/cushion and not just a strap.  Anyone who’s ever hiked more than a mile knows that you don’t carry the weight on your shoulders but on your hips.  My existing pack has a thin nylon belt that I’m thinking about cutting off as all it does is get in the way.

From the outside it should not scream $3000  WORTH OF CAMERA GEAR INSIDE!  If I’m going on a short hike and don’t want to carry the pack, I should feel reasonably comfortable about leaving the pack in the back seat of my truck and not giving anyone the urge to break in and snag my goodies.

Essentially I’m talking about  a day pack that will hold enough gear for an out/back type hike with room for lunch and emergency supplies in case something bad happens.


~ by Derrick Birdsall on November 20, 2010.

8 Responses to “Backpack wish list”

  1. I’ve got a Lowepro Orion which is small daypack style bag with camera/gear storage on bottom and day hiking storage on top. Its o.k. for real short trips without a lot of gear.
    I also have a Mountainsmith bag (Parralax I think) which is huge and stout but will reasonably carry every piece of camera equipment I own, and then some.
    Brett Edge is sponsored by F-Stop bags and though I haven’t seen them in person they appear to be actual backpacks (!) that can carry camera gear.
    Most of what I’ve read from people who do a lot of backpacking and photography is, “learn to leave stuff at home”.


  2. Sounds like we need to invent something!!! I believe that there’s clearly a need for it… now we just need someone to design it! And make it! And sell it! LOL.


  3. My mom and dad used to make their own gear like this. Dad would design it and Mom would find the material and stitch it up. Nowadays, without those skills it’s a little harder to get exactly what you want. I’m not sure who designs the packs I have seen, but they don’t seem all that practical, though they sure have an outrageous price tag. Dad backpacked camera gear several ways. One way applied to when he thought he would use the camera often. In this scenario he would have on his regular backpack and then his camera bag would be on a single shoulder strap he could also put across his shoulders. When he saw a pic he could slip the shoulder bag off over his head and even keep the backpack on or take it off also, but the shoulder bag contained his camera gear.


  4. I’ve been using the Kinesis Journeyman Pack for almost a year and couldn’t be any happier with it. I’d say it meets all of your criteria and then goes up over the top with more features.

    I reviewed it on my blog a few months ago:

    (I have no affiliation whatsoever with Kinesis; just a happy customer)



    and a review:
    I don’t know, looks interesting though.


  6. […] On Dec. 10, I posted an article titled Your Dream Lowepro Bag and solicited responses from our Lowepro Facebook page and our Twitter site. I also received some helpful notes via email. One photographer, Derrick Birdsall, even pointed us to his blog for a post on the topic. […]


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