Which backpack do you use?

Jan 26, 2005
Marysville, WA
A number of years ago I gave up on backpacks, per se, and started building a modular system. After combinations of the Tenba and Lowepro harnesses I settled on a Kinessis system and I have found the harness and belt to be very comfortable. What I like is that I can add/subtract bits and pieces as needed. As I started building this prior to Think Tank, I could not compare, but from what I have seen Think Tank makes some very fine gear as well.

For point of reference, I have carried the following with this system at the same time:
Mounted on the harness:
1-D300 with 400 f2.8 + TC mounted
1-D300 with 200-400 + TC mounted
1-Gitzo 1325 tripod and Gimbal head
Mounted on the waist belt:
1-Accessory pouch with extra batteries, CF, Cell phone
1-Lens pouch with 17-55
1-Water bottle pouch

For further reference, I'm a 59 year-old, a bit overweight male not in the greatest shape ever :wink:, and while I would not want to do a 20 mile hike with all this stuff, a mile or two is quite doable, as long as it isn't straight up.

So, take a look at the modular bits. While they are not cheap, you might just find that in the long run it is less expensive than the 42 backpacks you will eventually end up with :biggrin:
Feb 10, 2009
I use the Camelback Ranger pack.It is large enough and, it has the bladder for water. Living in Az you can never have enough water.


I had a SafePaq, a generic photobag. Did it's job but I wanted something to be able to hold all my stuff. So I ended up getting a Tamrac Pro 12. It holds it all (70-200 f2.8, 17-55 f2.8, and some other lenses and two flashes). Heavy, but it's all there.

The fastpack 100 is a nice bag as it forces you to carry little and is small. Good to trek and bike with.
May 14, 2008
I don't own a backpack other than for large format gear, it becomes a necessity and there are specialty packs just for LF. I used to buy Kenessis stuff, but honestly, Think Tank has left them in the dust. Someone asked about waist packs, don't underestimate the size of the Think Tank Speed Racer. I carry a Hasselblad 500 series body with 45 degree finder, back, and lens mounted, two additional lenses (including 180mm f4 or 250mm f5.6), up to four backs, a SB-800, and loads of film and do-dads in mine. It comes with a shoulder strap, which when loaded down, makes this pack much more tolerable. It would easily cary a D3 with 70-200 mounted (hood reversed) along with a 24-70 and lots of accessories.
Mar 13, 2009
Coralville, Iowa
I have a recon bag too but I don't think I could use it as a camera bag. Putting everything into a large pocket and having them bang against each other will bother me too much to be comfortable while I'm shooting. Personally, I'm not a fan of the ones that "look" like a camera backpack - which is one of the reasons why I like the think tanks, since they don't look like a camera backpack.
Well....that's fine, but things hardly "bang" against each other. I did say that everything is in padded neoprene pouches/bags/containers. They don't get scratched up, get banged around, or anything.

I guess my main beef with camera dedicated bags/backpacks, is that first of all, they are really only "good" for holding cameras. I mean yes you can take out the spacers and use it for other things, but at the end of the day they won't hold as much as a regular daypack (due to the padding) and having to re-insert every spacer gets irritating fast. Also regardless of the padding, if you accidentally drop your gear from any meaningful height (just a couple feet), there will probably be damage to your lenses (internal elements shifting, etc...) Yes I do speak from experience from using a Lowepro backpack.

After going through something like two Lowepros, three Thinktanks, one Crumpler, I finally sold all of them and just got a bunch of padded neoprene pouches. If my personal experience means anything, I guess I just felt like I was paying for a not very versatile in day to day use, potentially irritating, and expensive bags/backpacks with padding that apparently isn't as useful as I had believed...but that's just me.

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