Camera backpacks for air travel (and day hiking)

bfluegiebfluegie Registered Users Posts: 751 Major grins

Is anyone familiar with the F-stop Kashmir and Guru? Either would hold the camera gear I take with me when I travel, but the Kashmir is 1.5” longer in the largest dimension. Kashmir: 20.5”x12.5”x11” (52x31.8x27.9 cm); Guru: 19”x12”x10.5” (48.3x30.5x26.7 cm). I would probably take a 13” laptop in the backpack, but could make do with a 10.5” tablet in a pinch. If I am checking luggage it doesn’t matter since the backpack would then fall within the carry-on bag size limits and either would work. But for trips when I am only going with carry-on the backpack would then be considered my personal item and would have to fall within those size limits. Actually, based on dimensions even the Guru would be 1” too tall to qualify as a personal item since most airlines restrict the longest dimension to 18” but I am confident that it would fit under the seat. My current backpack is also 20.5” but I don’t fill the top part all the way and it compresses enough to fit under the seat. The F-stop bags have an internal frame so I don’t know if that would work.

My current backpack is the discontinued Tamrac Adventure 9 and it holds a lot--more than I need actually. I usually travel with my D7200 with 17-50 f/2.8 attached, a 12-24 f/4, and either a 55-200 f/4-5.6 or a 70-300 f/4.5-5.6. Sometimes a 90 mm macro but usually not these days. I also take a pocket camera, filters, spare batteries, etc. There is a zippered compartment that goes along my back for a laptop. My tripod goes in my suitcase. But lately that bag, even with just my camera and two lenses has been getting kind of painful. Part of the problem is that I think this bag is not designed for a 5’5” woman. The “waist belt” is just an unpadded strap that doesn’t allow the load to be transferred to the hips. I’m not really sure what it does. It doesn’t help me so I usually don’t use it. The sternum strap is equally useless.

The F-stop bags look like they have functional hip belts. Another option is to use an actual hiking backpack as described in this PetaPixel article. The advantage of going that route is that I can probably find places to try on the bags for fit which I can't do with the F-stop bags.

I will be doing some day hikes with whatever bag I use, so I would need room for a jacket, lunch, water bottle, etc., in addition to the camera gear. But none of that would have to be in the bag when I am on the plane. I do want a way to attach my tripod, again not on the plane. I haven’t attached a tripod to my current bag so I usually just carry it when hiking. I have been known to use it as a hiking pole in a pinch. Also, I usually hike with my camera on an OP/TECH sling strap.

So, if anyone has knowledge of the F-stop bags, or other thoughts or suggestions, I would be interested. Thanks.



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    kbevphotokbevphoto Registered Users Posts: 110 Major grins

    I've really liked my Everyday Backpack from Peak Design. I have a larger one, which holds my full kit when I fly. I throw some stuff in the safe on location so i have a lighter bag when i'm out in the daytime. It does take a bit of adjusting to get in a good spot for wearing it longer but the overall usefulness is hard to beat. Prior to this bag, i used a ThinkTank bag for traveling (flights) and packs a less bulky daypack in my luggage which took up all kinds of space. Having a single bag for both has been huge.


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    bfluegiebfluegie Registered Users Posts: 751 Major grins
    edited May 6, 2022

    My belated update: I did end up getting the f/stop Guru and it has been working pretty well for me so far. I’m just very selective with the lenses I take on the trail with me now, and even what I take on flights. I usually only hike with one extra lens and have so far limited my air travel gear to one body (and sometimes a small camera like an Oly Tough TG-5) and three lenses max. This fits into the shallow small ICU. I also have a shallow medium ICU. If for some reason I wanted to take more lenses on a flight I have a small roller bag that fits under the seat that will hold the medium ICU. I would then use the Guru without ICU for the personal stuff I want on the plane with me. I also take a 13” laptop and external hard drive which I put in a padded sleeve in the appropriate compartment of the Guru. I haven’t tried the small roller bag on a commuter plane yet, but I expect it would fit in the overhead if not under the seat. The Guru does fit under the seat of most planes and in the overhead on commuter flights.

    If I decide to replace the Guru at some point, I will look at the Peak Design bag. I’ve been reading good reviews about it and I appreciate your first hand comments @kbevphoto. At that time I also will try out some hiking backpacks.

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