How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

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How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby michellek » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:18 pm

My husband carries a large camera and lenses and we've been trying to figure out how to best travel with it. He wants to have it all on hand, but we'll be traveling with a pack or daypack and doing activities that might require our hands (like hiking Machu Pichu, or even just regular traveling around). Does anyone have any tips on how to carry a camera (and another lens, preferably) on your front without having it swinging around as you hike & move, while still wearing a pack with all its straps on your back and hips? We've looked at tons of harnesses, belts, and straps, and it's hard to figure out how to carry hiking gear as well. How do you guys travel with your SLRs?

Thanks for your input!
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby Zuleika » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:31 pm

Hi Michelle - we've already been having this debate on this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2750&start=30
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby thecakeisalie » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:31 pm

I carry mine around my neck when hiking, and occasionally it does bounce and swing, but I usually use my free hand to steady it. This means I do not use trekking poles so that I have at least one hand to cushion my fall if stumble. If I do need trekking poles, I will use the chest strap on my back to "lock" the camera into my chest, or just stow the camera in my pack. And for the pack itself, I use normal backpacks and daypacks (not camera bags), and wrap the lenses and camera body in tshirts, bandanas, and other textiles for padding.

Bottom line is that it is not always easy, convenient, or light to travel with photography gear. But that's the way it is, and you need to decide what level of discomfort you are willing to bear to get the photos you want. Good luck!
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby PaulTeolis » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:57 pm

A toploader camera bag is a great solution. It straps to your chest with a harness and is out of the way. You can remove your camera easily to shoot and attach small lens cases on the side if need be.

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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:57 pm

I use a holster bag -- camera goes down in it lens down and I can choose to sling a harness over my shoulder and/or strap it to my waist. Which option I choose depends on what else I'm packing and what the environment is like. Either way, I can have it at the ready in seconds (a few more seconds if I've zipped the top shut). I would often carry it as a fanny pack with a spare lens case strapped to the "belt". The bag has a front pocket that will hold filters, rain cover, lens cloth and spare battery.
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby Reditor » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:00 am

I like the "slingshot" bags from Lowepro. Keep them on your back, but "sling" them around to your front when you need to change lenses or get a camera out. I normally keep my camera around my neck, swinging around like crazy though.....and only put it back in the bag when things get rainy, rough or dirty.
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby Zuleika » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:45 pm

All good ideas - but if your hiking don't you have a hiking daypack on your back? I know I do - how do you operate your slingshot then? I have to carry a lot more besides just my camera gear.
Also, I found that when you have a waist pack - it makes it extremely difficult to climb anything - it gets in the way of flexing my hips/knees. I guess this depends on what sort of hiking you do - but I tend to have a lot of ups/downs on my treks - and I like to see my feet when Im going down.
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:57 pm

Zuleika, when I'm climbing, the holster bag slings around my waist to the side -- that way it's instantly accessible but out of the way of my legs. The only time it's in front of me would be if I'm concerned about theft or being "too wide". I've used this system literally for decades, never had a problem with it.
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby michellek » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:34 am

Explorer, what system/holster/belt do you use?
:)
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby Zuleika » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:54 am

Yes I'm interested too - which sort? I need to take a look.
And can you get them with hydration compatibility?
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Re: How to hike with an SLR & accessories?

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:41 am

No hydration capability but I have a Camelbak daypack if I want that. I'll have to look into taking a picture of the holster -- I bought it in Korea at a Unicorn shop but it's a very similar design to leatherette ones I've had in the US. Essentially it's a single camera case large enough to hold an SLR with a 28-105 lens (or thereabouts) made with ballistic nylon with some padding all around. There's an integrated 2-inch wide waistbelt with quick-release buckle and little mesh pockets at the flaps connecting the waist band to the holster case itself (good size for keys or memory chips), D-rings to connect an adjustable sling, and a front pocket with a Velcro flap that's large enough to hold a spare battery and charger for the Canon XSi as well as an Op/Tech Rain Shield plastic cover and lens cloth.

The top flap zips shut and the waistbelt/flaps can tuck into a concealed pocket in the back of the case for when I am using the sling instead of the belt. I've gotten to where I can put a lens case and small P&S backup camera on the waistbelt, leaving both hands free when I want them and allowing me to do quick lens changes as well.

In profile, it looks something like http://www.cameta.com/Lowepro-Topload-Zoom-2-Digital-SLR-Holster-Camera-Bag-Case-Green-28591.cfm or http://www.cameta.com/Tamrac-515-Compact-Zoom-Pak-Digital-SLR-Camera-Bag-Holster-Case-Navy-Blue-16643.cfm. I had a similar system (minus waistbelt) for my AE-1 Program 25 years ago.
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