Tom, the colours will amaze you. It's just a shame for you guys in the US that our dollar is so high at the moment. It's sort of the reverse of what us Aussies have had to put up with for a couple of decades. If you've been watching Oprah, you know what she thinks of Oz now, so you should come on down. There's quite a few LF shooters in Melbourne and I know that they had a get together for Ralph Lambrecht when he was here a month or so ago. We are friendly folk.
I used to use foam rubber like Old Biker Pete, but I found that it was a bit too floppy for me, which is why I swapped to polystyrene. I have my 8x10 in the back pack proper in the top compartment and my light meter, cable release, blower brush. filters etc in the small compartment at the bottom of the bag (enclosed in hard foam-compartmentalised), and then I have my film holders in the daypack attached to the main backpack. I carry my tripod in my hand and swap when my hand gets tired.
Good luck with whatever route yuo choose.
Mike