I love photographing beautiful & scenic not-for-usual-tourist kind of places. Been to few jungles & mountains, locally or in Indonesia. Been searching for the perfect bag for ages. I already have a lot of camera bags. All of them are Lowepro. From Nova 4, Off-trail II (sold), Computrekker AW (sold), Inversion 200AW, Computrekker Plus AW, Top-loader 75AW and Primus AW. My favorite at the moment is the Primus but it is not ergonomic & killing my back for a long hiking. For someone with prolapsed disc, this is not good. During the last outdoor adventure up to more than 2000m high Mount Rinjani, I can’t simply carry my own bag, the Primus. I had to rely on the porter to carry all my bags. But I soon discovered than carrying heavier loads with my Deuter Quantum 55-10L, a proper backpack for hiking, seems ‘lighter’ than the Primus. Therefore I believe that a suitable bag matters.
Since then I have been searching for a suitable solutions for such activity. These are few possible solutions:
- Use my Deuter Quantum plus Lowepro Toploader (over my chest) – Cons: I find it difficult to descend with huge bag on my chest. It was difficult to see my own step. And the number of lenses able to be carried is limited & I need to use pouches for each lens & put them inside my Quantum. Pro: Easy access to my camera (and one lens) – therefore more picture or else, I will just use my P&S.
- Buy Domke inserts & put it into my Deuter Futura 35L. I’ll put the rest of the stuff like cloth, jacket etc on top of the camera. Cons: It will be a nightmare to remove the camera from the bag during the hiking. Meaning less picture from the DSLR. This combo is just meant to carry the camera & lenses from point A to point B.
- f-stop bags!! Just found out about this bag & its extraordinary Internal-Camera-Unit (ICU). The ICU serves as paddings for the camera & lenses, and the best thing is that it has special access to all the camera & accessories. However I still need to put down the bag to get the camera. So, I can take out the camera but it won’t be handy. And the major cons is the price! A Tilopa + ICU = USD290. And the courier charge from US to Malaysia using UPS is another USD280!! More pictures of f-stop gears’ products available here.
So for now, I may have to choose Option #1 as I don’t have to spend anymore $$. I just need to descend slowly.
Me with the toploader when climbing Mount Nuang in Selangor.
Note (June 2010): I have bought more bags including f-stopgear Tilopa which had cost me RM1000 with the internal compartment unit but it is not suitable for deep tropical jungle trekking. Now testing the ThinTank Photo waist bags solution.