Toploader AW 65
Toploader AW 65 (courtesy, Lowepro)

How can I protect my camera from getting dinged in Yosemite?

I going on a seven-day backpacking trip to Yosemite and would like to take along my Nikon D70 camera. What is the best pack or way to carry this camera so it is easily accessible but protected from the elements? Paul Elizabeth, New Jersey

Toploader AW 65

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A D70, very nice indeed! Nikon’s SLR D70 ($650 street price for body; is one of several cameras now on the market that offer near-pro quality for a reasonable price. I’ve been looking at Canon’s equivalent, the Digital Rebel XT ($600; but haven’t yet pulled the trigger. I’m still a little bugged by how rapidly digital cameras become obsolescent.

Toploader AW 65 Toploader AW 65

Anyway, I digress. For your Nikon, I’d suggest a compact padded case that can be carried comfortably outside your pack. A good example is Lowepro’s Toploader 65 AW ($65; It’s a weather-resistant padded case specifically designed to carry a compact SLR like the D70 and a short zoom lens. A small accessory pocket holds spare batteries and lens cleaners. The Toploader 65 comes with a shoulder/neck strap, and for $10 more you can add a chest harness. That way you can keep the camera right in front and within easy reach, even while wearing a pack. For a longer zoom than, say, a 35-70mm, you might need a longer version of the Toploader, such as the Toploader 70 AW ($90).

Keep in mind that Nikon makes a case specifically for the D70, called the CF-D70 ($49; It’s a snug-fitting, semi-soft case, so doesn’t offer quite the protection of the Toploader, although it’s more compact. It’ll accommodate the camera and a zoom lens.

Happy shooting!

Read Outside Online’s Gear Blog for an opinionated peek at Mountainsmith’s new line of camera packs, perfect for a Yosemite foray or any outdoor expedition.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: courtesy, Lowepro