Travel backpack?

bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
edited October 10, 2014 in Accessories
Ok, 'grinners looking for a not so normal camera/travel backpack. I have one or two in mind, but wanted to see if anyone has any other ideas. I've been toting my Timbuk2 messenger bag with me all over the globe for quite awhile. Trouble is, the messenger bag hurts the shoulder after awhile and doesn't have a whole lot of capacity. I did add a camera insert which is handy, but then I don't have room for much else after that. So I'm considering getting a backpack that is more versatile as a camera bag and all around travel bag.

My requirements:

- comfy (padded shoulder straps, chest and/or waist belt)
- stealthy (no advertising to "steal me I contain expensive cameras!")
- good number of pockets for organization
- side or quick camera compartment access a plus
- weather resistant or pack cover a plus
- big enough camera compartment for one body, usually 1 or 2 spare lenses, batteries, flash
- external straps for tripod when needed
- other stuff carried is usually -> rain jacket, small umbrella, bottle of water, sunscreen, etc.

Considering sticking with Timbuk2, the new Sleuth looks legit ... http://bit.ly/SWtnUu

I do already have a LowePro Sport 200 AW for other pursuits, but don't think it's the best bag for international travels ... http://bit.ly/TWC1mG

Any other thoughts? Thanks! :thumb

Comments

  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Administrators Posts: 14,155 moderator
    edited June 14, 2014
    If you're considering a backpack I highly recommend the F-Stop Loka. The F-Stop bags open from the back - with the hip-belt loosened you can remove the shoulder straps and swing the bag around, unzip the camera compartment and access your gear.

    F-Stop just released a lighter-weight version of this bag, the Loka UL.

    Here's a link to a review that I posted in my blog - http://denisegoldberg.blogspot.com/2012/04/gear-review-f-stop-loka.html.

    --- Denise
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2014
    Also, heads up that airlines are about to diminish carry on sizes - probably won't affect a backpack so much, but worth checking new regulations!
  • ZBlackZBlack Registered Users Posts: 337 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2014
    I'm a big fan of the Mindshift Gear bags. The Rotation 180 Pro and the Panorama. Quality wise I would put them on par with F-Stop, but I will say I have not owned an F-stop bag, just basing this on my experiences in store and from friends who have one. I personally love the rotation aspect, but if that does not appeal to you, there are better options. If it does though, then I highly recommend them. The Pro bag is much larger and has pockets all over the place with various add-on accessories available for additional cost of course. The Pro bag can also open from the back, or top, so you can rotate the entire bag around and access the internals similar to the F-Stop bags.

    I keep my 6D with L-Bracket and a lens attached, and an additional lens, along with a towel, camera rain cover, filter and holders, batteries and extra memory cards in the rotating piece. All larger stuff like more lenses, overshoes, etc.. go in the main compartment.

    As much as I love the Mindshift bags, I haven't found any I like better style wise than the F-stops. I just love their styling!
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited June 15, 2014
    divamum wrote: »
    Also, heads up that airlines are about to dimish carry on sizes - probably won't affect a backpack so much, but worth checking new regulations!

    Since I have a magical crew badge this isn't a worry for myself thumb.gif Sorry for other folks, but always ask as your pilot or flight attendant might be a sympathetic photog and can help you out.
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited June 15, 2014
    If you're considering a backpack I highly recommend the F-Stop Loka. The F-Stop bags open from the back - with the hip-belt loosened you can remove the shoulder straps and swing the bag around, unzip the camera compartment and access your gear.

    F-Stop just released a lighter-weight version of this bag, the Loka UL.

    Here's a link to a review that I posted in my blog - http://denisegoldberg.blogspot.com/2012/04/gear-review-f-stop-loka.html.

    --- Denise

    Mmmm...liking the Loka UL, just wish I could get my hands one before buying.
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited June 15, 2014
    ZBlack wrote: »
    As much as I love the Mindshift bags, I haven't found any I like better style wise than the F-stops. I just love their styling!

    Mindshift looks promising, though I agree f-stop has better styling and I'm a sucker for aesthetics.
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Administrators Posts: 14,155 moderator
    edited June 15, 2014
    bike21 wrote: »
    Mmmm...liking the Loka UL, just wish I could get my hands one before buying.
    I just received my Loka UL, haven't had a chance to use it yet but that will come in the next couple of days! (I know, I know, I already have a Loka, but this one called out to me!).

    F-Stop has a 45-day satisfaction guarantee so if you don't like the back it looks like they will take it back - http://fstopgear.com/content/2012-02/45-day-satisfaction-guarantee. Looks like you can only return it on this program if you haven't used it, but at least that means there shouldn't be an issue if you don't like it. I've also found them to be very helpful on the phone.

    --- Denise
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited August 21, 2014
    Hey Denise - how do you like the Loka UL? I'm concerned it might be overkill/too big for my needs.
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Administrators Posts: 14,155 moderator
    edited August 21, 2014
    bike21 wrote: »
    Hey Denise - how do you like the Loka UL? I'm concerned it might be overkill/too big for my needs.
    I'm very happy with it.

    From a size standpoint it is the same size as the Loka - but with a medium shallow ICU in it, it feels a bit smaller. I think that's primarily because I have a large (regular) ICU in the Loka. I've used the UL around home, and I used it on my recent wander in Newfoundland. The backpack makes a lot of sense to me; with the hip belt it is very comfortable to wear / use.

    What are you comparing it to? And why do you think it may be too big?

    --- Denise
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited August 21, 2014
    Well, here is my shortlist for now...

    Timbuk2 Sleuth - great looking pack, but dislike that the tripod mount would cover up access to the zippers on the back pockets. Might be a touch small too.

    Vanguard Sedona 51 - actually have this one on the way from B&H, so we'll see how I like it. It seems to check off most of my list. I got the smaller version last week, but it was waaaay too small.

    Dakine Sequence - I dig the aesthetics and the storage cube seems to have plenty of space. Not sure how much extra storage for other goodies though.

    Kenti & Guru from fstop - both have great features, and seem to be the right size.

    Manfrotto Prolight - also expensive, but I'd like to see it up close.

    Burton Focus - just found this one and looks promising.

    I just think 37L is overkill for a travel/carry on bag that will be used for many different missions. Perhaps I'm just over thinking this one :)
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Administrators Posts: 14,155 moderator
    edited August 22, 2014
    bike21 wrote: »
    Well, here is my shortlist for now...
    ...I just think 37L is overkill for a travel/carry on bag that will be used for many different missions. Perhaps I'm just over thinking this one :)
    Why not order the Loka UL for comparison purposes? I just compared the dimensions to those of the Vanguard Sedona 51 that you listed and they are very close in size. The loka is 2 inches taller - but if the bag is not stuffed I'm not sure that would be noticeable. The internal ICU and the fact the bag opens from the back is huge (to me). The opening in the back sounds a bit odd until you see that you can leave the hip belt on, loosen it, remove the shoulder straps, swing the pack to the front, unzip, and access camera and lenses.

    I'll be interested in hearing both your decision and how you like your choice after using it for a while.

    --- Denise
  • trooperstroopers Registered Users Posts: 317 Major grins
    edited August 25, 2014
    I use and love Timubuk2's Espionage camera bag.
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2014
    troopers wrote: »
    I use and love Timubuk2's Espionage camera bag.

    Hmm...like the look of that one was well. Does it have any small organizer pockets beyond the fold out portion on the front? Anything you'd change about it?
  • AndyAndy Registered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2014
    We *love* the r180 pro and the panorama from Mindshift. Here's our review
    http://muenchworkshops.com/blog/2014/3/17/review-mindshift-rotation180-panorama
  • trooperstroopers Registered Users Posts: 317 Major grins
    edited August 27, 2014
    bike21 wrote: »
    Hmm...like the look of that one was well. Does it have any small organizer pockets beyond the fold out portion on the front? Anything you'd change about it?

    There's a small pocket with zipper (for business cards and the like) on the exterior where the top portion folds over, and two(?) small pockets without zipper/velcro inside the top compartment.

    I use the bag when I road bike (the messenger bags were killing my shoulders), and love it. It's very solid, and certainly satisfies many of the bullet points that you identified.

    I think I have about 10 camera bags, each for its own purpose...combine all 10 bags into one, and that would be ideal...lol. Seriously, I wished the bag would have a dedicated pocket for keys, wallet, phone, etc. Other than that, it's great...plus, you can't beat Timbuk2 customer service. If you're in SF, get to the retail store.
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited September 1, 2014
    Thanks Robert, sounds promising just wish it had a few more tweaks. I went ahead and ordered the Kenti from fstop and I should have it by Thursday when I return from my my trip so I'm hoping it works out. Just concerned about size, but I still think the Loka is just too big for my travel needs.

    I think I should design my own backpack :)
  • ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,870 moderator
    edited September 2, 2014
    bike21 wrote: »
    Thanks Robert, sounds promising just wish it had a few more tweaks. I went ahead and ordered the Kenti from fstop and I should have it by Thursday when I return from my my trip so I'm hoping it works out. Just concerned about size, but I still think the Loka is just too big for my travel needs.

    I think I should design my own backpack :)

    I've been very happy with my Loka. The thing about FSTOP Gear is the ability to choose the "right" ICU for the job. I have a medium and it gives me a bit of room for other stuff in the top. Goes in the OH bins pretty easily too.

    Anxious to hear your opinion on the Kenti.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited September 4, 2014
    Just got back from my trip and came home to find my Kenti waiting! First impressions are very good, the smaller size seems fine as I'm looking for an all arounder that doubles as my personal carry on that I can still put between my feet if needed or squeeze in the overhead without worry. I'll report back as soon as I get some good use of it. Thanks for the tips & thoughts, this one just might do it!
  • ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,870 moderator
    edited September 4, 2014
    bike21 wrote: »
    Just got back from my trip and came home to find my Kenti waiting! First impressions are very good, the smaller size seems fine as I'm looking for an all arounder that doubles as my personal carry on that I can still put between my feet if needed or squeeze in the overhead without worry. I'll report back as soon as I get some good use of it. Thanks for the tips & thoughts, this one just might do it!

    Can't wait. Which ICU did you get?
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited September 4, 2014
    ian408 wrote: »
    Can't wait. Which ICU did you get?

    None the above, which is part of the reason I like it. It's their only bag that doesn't need an ICU and you can access your gear from both sides of the bag. It has configurable dividers like other bags do.
  • ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,870 moderator
    edited September 4, 2014
    Cool. I have to admit there are times when I carry mine like a day pack with gear in wraps and no ICU. Works pretty well :D
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • NikonsandVstromsNikonsandVstroms Registered Users Posts: 990 Major grins
    edited September 5, 2014
    This doesn't fit all of your requirements but it's cheap (45 dollars, IIRC I got mine for ~25 on black Friday) so it might be good for someone else looking at this thread:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CF5OGP8/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1535523722&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B002VPE1WK&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0Q2D0VWWSMBKX8T273K8

    It's "Amazon Basics" so about as nondescript as you could get and it'll hold a decent amount of gear and a laptop. I've used it for about a year so far and it seems to be a good quality bag and worth way more than the 25 bucks I paid! Even at 45 it's a deal.
  • DeborahLDeborahL Registered Users Posts: 40 Big grins
    edited September 12, 2014
    bike21 wrote: »
    Ok, 'grinners looking for a not so normal camera/travel backpack. I have one or two in mind, but wanted to see if anyone has any other ideas. I've been toting my Timbuk2 messenger bag with me all over the globe for quite awhile. Trouble is, the messenger bag hurts the shoulder after awhile and doesn't have a whole lot of capacity. I did add a camera insert which is handy, but then I don't have room for much else after that. So I'm considering getting a backpack that is more versatile as a camera bag and all around travel bag.

    My requirements:

    - comfy (padded shoulder straps, chest and/or waist belt)
    - stealthy (no advertising to "steal me I contain expensive cameras!")
    - good number of pockets for organization
    - side or quick camera compartment access a plus
    - weather resistant or pack cover a plus
    - big enough camera compartment for one body, usually 1 or 2 spare lenses, batteries, flash
    - external straps for tripod when needed
    - other stuff carried is usually -> rain jacket, small umbrella, bottle of water, sunscreen, etc.

    Considering sticking with Timbuk2, the new Sleuth looks legit ... http://bit.ly/SWtnUu

    I do already have a LowePro Sport 200 AW for other pursuits, but don't think it's the best bag for international travels ... http://bit.ly/TWC1mG

    Any other thoughts? Thanks! thumb.gif

    Have a look in your local military surplus store. Troops carry an astonishing amount of stuff over very long distances. The packs designed for their use are rugged, ergonomically padded, and have lots of pockets for stashing small things. If you are doing serious hiking, look at the Camelbak and Osprey websites. Both have packs that include integrated water systems.
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2014
    DeborahL wrote: »
    Have a look in your local military surplus store. Troops carry an astonishing amount of stuff over very long distances. The packs designed for their use are rugged, ergonomically padded, and have lots of pockets for stashing small things. If you are doing serious hiking, look at the Camelbak and Osprey websites. Both have packs that include integrated water systems.

    Another good idea, I've seen some cool looking black military bags out there. However, I just loaded up the Kenti for a test run around the house (it's cold & wet outside!!) and I think I've found the bag I wanted. Loaded everything I needed just fine and feels comfy. 4 lenses, 1 body, misc accessories, tripod on outside, filter sleeve, rain jacket, book, passport, mtb magazines (a must), headphones, pen, USB cable, etc. Ready to travel!

    Taking a holiday in about two weeks somewhere far off so I'll report back after that thumb.gif
  • DeborahLDeborahL Registered Users Posts: 40 Big grins
    edited September 13, 2014
    bike21 wrote: »
    Another good idea, I've seen some cool looking black military bags out there. However, I just loaded up the Kenti for a test run around the house (it's cold & wet outside!!) and I think I've found the bag I wanted. Loaded everything I needed just fine and feels comfy. 4 lenses, 1 body, misc accessories, tripod on outside, filter sleeve, rain jacket, book, passport, mtb magazines (a must), headphones, pen, USB cable, etc. Ready to travel!

    Taking a holiday in about two weeks somewhere far off so I'll report back after that thumb.gif

    Safe and fun travels! Looking forward to the photos!
  • bike21bike21 Registered Users Posts: 836 Major grins
    edited October 10, 2014
    Back from Amsterdam and the first trip with the Kenti. Gotta say I really dig it! I'll share more info about the pack later (and photos!) but overall it is a smart pack that does the trick. My fears about it being too small have subsided though if I had my druthers it would be a touch bigger with a few refinements. For now I think it's the best all around travel bag I've come across.
  • ian408ian408 Administrators Posts: 21,870 moderator
    edited October 10, 2014
    Outstanding! Thanks for the updates.
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
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