I have been trying to find a good pack for packing camera gear. Although there are camera backpacks out there, they do not allow me to carry personal stuff, and they don't seem to be that well made. My question is...without hiring a sherpa, what company makes a "real" backpack that would allow me to carry both. I have looked at the Deuter Futura Pro 42, and would make the bottom compartment into the camera storage. I will go out for a day, maybe a day and night. Thanks a lot! Daryl Wheat Ridge, CO
I dunno, this one seems relatively easy. As someone who once lugged a whole bunch of camera equipment (much wiser nowI carry a little digital Canon G10, $400, and nothing else), my solution is: A pack that carries well and carries what you need is paramount. Hit that bar, then retrofit for camera gear.
Because, as you say, there are no camera-friendly packs that cross over into the backpacking arena. Lowepros Super Trekker ($596) is big but strictly built for cameras. It doesnt even have a "gear" compartment.
I think a really good camera-toting pack would be the Gregory Whitney ($359). Its a classic, big internal-frame packnearly 6,000 cubic inches of capacity, fabulous suspension, ruggedly made. And...lots of ways to pack stuff, with multiple pockets and zippers.
For less money, REIs Mars pack ($200) is a little smaller but very similar in design. It also has multiple access points for stashing gear.
I always liked to add outside compartments, and would strap on after-market bits. Those are hard to find these days, but Arc'teryx still makes a good add-on external pocketthe Accessory Pocket ($30). It can be fitted to any compression straps and can hold a couple of short lenses or one longer telephoto. Osprey also makes a line of useful add-on pockets called DigiStows, which as the name implies are designed for todays digital gadgets. They run $15 to $25.