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Q:

Help! I need a pack for my photo gear

I'm a photographer and cinematographer, and I'm looking for a backpack that can double as a photo bag for hiking, skiing, and mountain climbing. I've found that Lowepro bags are too small. What do you recommend?

Osprey Aether 70, Gregory Z65, and Arc'teryx Altra 65 hiking backpacks

Osprey Aether 70, Gregory Z65, and Arc'teryx Altra 65     Photo: Courtesy of Osprey, Gregory, and Arc'teryx

A:You’re right, Mark: even though Lowepro and Tenba make some great camera backpacks, it's hard to find a dedicated camera bag that can really handle a multi-day load. You'll want to purchase a true backpacking or climbing pack and then adapt it to manage your photo stuff.

Look for a pack that's at least 3,800 cubic inches, and maybe a bit larger. You'll have enough room for a compact camping or climbing load, and enough space for several pieces of camera hardware. You’re probably packing a DSLR, a large zoom, a wide angle, and a pro-level digital camcorder of some sort. And chances are your bag needs to be tough: with all that glass, you'll be hauling a heavy load.

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