4x5 camera backpack recomendations

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Atari1977, May 19, 2013.

  1. Atari1977

    Atari1977 Member

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    I just got my first 4x5 field camera, a Chamonix F1. It's great to finally have something less bulky than my Calumet mono-rail. With that said, I wanted to know if anyone had any recommendations for a camera backpack. I just need a good way to transport the camera, three or so lenses/boards, holders, and all the other bits and pieces that go with 4x5. Also I currently have a Manfrotto 290 tripod, are the standard Manfrotto cases the way to go for it?
     
  2. viridari

    viridari Member

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    Outside-the-box suggestion: have a look at Maxpedition. Their bags are military grade, full of pockets, and covered in webbing from which you can accessorize with other pouches of your choosing. I use some of their smaller bags for 35mm and 120 TLR "run & gun" gear, and also one of their smaller Versipack bags to carry film holders for my Crown Graphic (but I just carry the Graflex by its built-in handle; no need for a bag in my case).
     
  3. David Nardi

    David Nardi Member

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    I just use good 'ol Lowepro. I have a Super Trekker Pro for my 4x5. This bag has been discontinued. And I use the new Pro Trekker 600 AW for my 8x10. They're large bags but comfortably handle my needs. The Pro Trekker comes in 3 sizes (300, 400 & 600).
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I use a front opening backpack (REI version of a Kelty Red Wing). My lenses (3 plus some extra room) go in a fly fishing reel case with some extra separator that I got from Cabella's. I have a case from PhotoBackpacker for the camera, but I mostly just wrap it in the darkcloth. I can also fit in about 6 filmholders, a spot meter in a neoprene Zing case, loupe, etc in the bag somewhere. I mostly carry the camera on the tripod in the field. I think if I used LF more, I'd just get a shoulder bag to hold everything except the camera and have a separate bag for the camera and keep the camera on the tripod in the field.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    you might want to check out photobackpacker.com
    bruce has been a member of apug for a long long time
    and from all reports his product is what others strive for!
     
  6. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I second John's recommendation for Photobackpacker. Bought mine when I shot medium format, was easy to buy different cases when I went to 4x5. Still have the cases and can switch back if I want to dust the Hassy off some day. Was easy to repack the camera cases in a Pelican case for air travel to Cuba recently, while carrying film onboard in the modified Kelty. A truly versatile system.
     
  7. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    I have used a largish lumbar pack in conjunction with a fly-fishing vest for a couple of decades now. The lumbar pack has a shoulder strap as well, so never has to touch the ground. I simply unbuckle the hip belt and use it slung to one side, strap cross-body, and work directly from it.

    I find this set-up allows me more freedom to scramble, climb and hike and is more balanced than a backpack.

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  8. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    I like my Panda 402 from Kata - it has the ability to separate the main compartment into two, which I have divided into an upper which holds my film holders and lenses, and a lower compartment where I keep the camera. There is a front pocket which holds all the other stuff (loupe, meter, etc). The pack has a zippered compartment which allows the straps to be enclosed, and the ability to add a wheelie thingie which makes it easier to travel with through airports. The one complaint that I have with it is the method for tripod attachment - it has facility to hold a tripod strapped to the side of the pack, but I think that this is because I have such a heavy tripod, need to invest in a C.F. tripod....
    Panda402.jpg
     
  9. Atari1977

    Atari1977 Member

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    Well I checked photobackpacker, unfortunately their new backpacks aren't ready yet. In the meantime I've bought a camera case, and cases for my lenses. I'm just going to use a regular backpack to transport it until I can complete the photobackpacker system.
     
  10. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I bought a Lowepro Rover Pro AW (what an awkward name!) a couple of weeks ago in order to do hiking/backpacking. I can put 40lbs of camera gear in it and walk for 2 hours without any real discomfort. If anything, I realized the need for a lighter tripod. However, the pack is great and very well thought out. I can put my 5x7 and related gear into it or I also had a full RZ kit in it with plenty of room. I would like one of the photobackpacker cases for the 5x7 but need to measure my bag first.
     
  11. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I also tried photobackpacker, but they seem to refuse to add internal dimensions on their site, so I went with ThinkTank, a little too small for what I need so I'm actually going to have to get an insert custom made for a hiking back pack. Meanwhile I'm using the ThinkTank bag to hond my RZ kit which it does perfectly.
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I have a strong preference for true external frame "vintage" US-mfg backpacks like Kelty (not to be confused with the glorified book bags now
    made in China under that label), or older Camp Trails or Jansport brand (again not to be confused with the flimsy trash currently being
    imported). The last time I spotted a brand-new unused vintage 70's pack at a garage sale I got it for five bucks. It had been in someone's
    closet unused all those years. You can carry all kinds of gear in these. No need for redundant heavy foam padding inside. Just use some bubble
    packing or a lightwt down jacket. I carried a Sinar monorail system tens of thousands of miles this way, along with full loads of camping gear.
     
  13. nonuniform

    nonuniform Member

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    I went with the Photobackpacker cases for cameras and lenses, and a Kelty Red Wing. Contrary to the previous poster that is unhappy with the quality of the current Kelty packs, mine is holding up well and can carry 2 4x5 cameras in cases, 3 lenses, 10 film holders, a Mamiya 6, a Nikon D800 with an extra lens and 2 SB800 flashes.

    It's heavy, but a comfortable load. I don't normally pack that much, but it gives you an idea of what's possible. I've yet to find a camera-specific bag that I truly enjoy using, and I've bought/sold/returned many bags from all the major sources.
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I wasn't talking about "camera" packs, but about real packs. Take that load you've got and add a week's worth of food, a tent, and all your
    essentials for the outdoors and then see how well it holds up.
     
  15. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    If any of my packs or cases are lacking dimensions, please let me know. As far as I am aware, all dimensions are provided.

    By the way, the new RPT/Granite Gear P3 backpack is now in stock and we have now added an SLR/DSLR enclosure for those who prefer that configuration. For those familiar with the P2 backpacks, the new P3 is 1.5 pounds lighter and has an even more efficient suspension.

    Bruce
     
  16. OldBikerPete

    OldBikerPete Member

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    Hello Atari1977.
    My preference is to find a good backpack of suitable size. It must also have a 'clamshell' front which zips open to completely expose the compartment within. I then go to my local rubber supplier (Your profile doesn't say where you are so I'll quote an Australian supplier) Clarke rubber and get them to cut a lump of high-density sponge rubber which fits neatly into the pack and a piece of 10mm very high-density foam sheet to form a lid. Depending on how deep the pack is, you may want another piece of sheet for the back - see later. Total cost about $40. I then take that home and, using a sharp knife, cut pockets for all the bits I want to carry. If the pockets go all the way through the block of sponge, you will want that extra piece of VHD foam to form a backing which you glue to the back of the block to form the bottom for the pockets. I used a Katmandu daypack for 8 years treated in this fashion to carry my 5x4 kit which survived falls, drops and airline luggage handling before my kit got too big. I then treated a JanSport full pack the same way. That now carries more kit than the daypack with room left over for food, drink a raincoat and still some room.
    Peter.
    PS. Both packs were bought second-hand on eBay. The daypack was $10 and the full pack was $80.
     
  17. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Finally a real backpacker!

    Took 70lbs into the Grand Canyon back in 2010 for my Kodachrome trip, it was awesome!

    I didn't use a hard frame pack, but it wasn't exactly a soft frame either, sorta in between.

    Sadly the market couldn't handle the the hybrid frame pack.

    I would point out that there are some really great non-frame packs that do hold up well, they just cost a lot more than $5 haha


    Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    One option to consider is whatever you have for an existing bag (assuming you have one and you like it) lashed to a packframe with a shelf. Essentially what Drew Wiley described, but removing the nylon bag. Mine is an old Boy Scout pack (so old the bag was canvas, not nylon).

    This can work particularly well with hard plastic or metal camera cases. But to access the equipment, you have to remove the pack, remove the lashings, and open the bag/case. Takes about as long to describe as it takes to do. You lash your tripod to the frame as well.

    The frames with a shelf aren't as common, but they are around. And the shelf is handy, but not essential. External frame backpacks are "out of favor", so (like Drew said) you can find them cheap at garage sales, thrift stores, and craigslist.
     
  19. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    I use the old Zone VI cases for my various cameras. For short distance I use a Tamrac harness to carry the case and for long I attach them to a back pack frame. Saves me from having to repack a backpack when I want a different camera or traveling with several larger backpacks.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Pack frames with a shelf are used by elk hunters etc, and the people that make them can supply custom bags. They aren't cheap, but could
    be made to carry even an ULF camera. Even dayhiking I prefer a true camping pack. I can slip anything into it - my 8x10 system, my Sinar
    Norma, a Pentax 6x7 kit, plus common sense day gear for weather. I get tired having to carry an extra coat and parka on autumn walks into
    aspen canyons in the Sierra. There is always some naive hiker or jogger fiver miles back in running shorts, tennis shoes, and a T-shirt - and
    then suddenly the sky goes from blue to black and it starts snowing. A twisted ankle or not enough walking speed, and their bodies will be
    found during the next summer's thaw. I did my youthful days of ultralight packing and 35mm cameras. Now I'm a big ole self-contained mule
    myself, carrying my motorhome on my back. But I do not see much need for a dedicated camera pack with a lot of redundant foam weight,
    when a down jacket and some lightwt bubble packing will do just as good a job - and then you're got your coat and parka etc on hand when
    you need it. Maybe not for everyone, but I hope to keep backpacking as long as possible with large format equip. I'm in my mid 60's now and
    the secret is just staying in shape - lugging that gear up hills every week. Getting a wonderful 8x10 shot in the process is sure a lot nicer
    experience than being a rat on a treadmill in some stinky gym.
     
  21. silveror0

    silveror0 Member

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    Totally agree. I don't do much real backpacking anymore (age has caught up with me), but did do a lot in the past and always used the original U.S. Kelty external packframes. Still have two of them - not for sale, but for nostalgia. They held up well under 82 lb loads that included climbing gear for glacier travel with Sinar Norma 4x5. 5x7 and 8x10 are a different story.
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    A lot of people bought nice gear way back when and never even used it. Within the last two years I've picked up a brand new Calif-made
    Kelty pack that just sat in someone's closet for decades, as well as several brand new vintage Camp Trails US mfg packs - all of these cost
    over $200 way back in the 70's, but I got one of em at a garage sale trading for a half empty qt of marine varnish. These were way better
    built than packs nowadays and I find them suitable for almost everything except as an airline carryon. For the latter application I have a good legal-sized airporter pack with shoulder straps tucked away. It will accept my Ebony 4x5 system or a 6x7 system, including my Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod and filmholders. I wouldn't want to do any serious backpacking that way, however. Now all I gotta do to be really in style for old
    age backpacking with a vintage Kelty is to replace the handle on my wooden ice axe. Alas, I too opted for a modern fiberglass version after
    taking a particularly interesting downhill exodus. The point of the old wooden axe and half the shaft have been inadvertently donated to
    mountaineering posterity, still up there somewhere... Then a couple years ago I took a good dunking in ice water when one of my nice new fiberglass trekking poles snapped during an early season ford, so newer tech isn't always better! Fortunately, I keep all my photo gear, clothing, and sleeping bag etc double-wrapped in big plastic garbage bags just for such incidents.
     
  23. Shadow Images

    Shadow Images Member

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    I loved my F64 backpack with the side pouches for the film holders. It is way lighter than the lowepro's I've had.
     
  24. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

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    Photo backpacker is about to release an updated line of packs. You may want to check them out.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  25. Ari

    Ari Advertiser Advertiser

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    Lowepro Flipside 400 or 500; it's very comfortable to use all day, and holds a lot of gear while keeping a small profile.