How Do You Carry Your Camera While Backpacking?

Perry

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In another thread I’ve been asking for advice on selecting a camera. https://backcountrypost.com/threads/thinking-seriously-about-a-real-camera.7229/ In consideration of cameras that are too big to carry in a pocket what do you all use to carry your camera while on the trail? I’m assuming your solution allows for quick deployment to catch those wow shots. Please tell or show what you do so I can decide whether or not to go bigger than pocket-sized. Any other considerations?


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regehr

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#4
DSLR: key is to keep it from bouncing, which is annoying and will smash the lens on a rock when you bend over or are scrambling. I have a utility sling like the one linked above, and like it, but something like this is even more secure:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CM63TNE/?tag=backcountrypo-20

Point and shoot: if it's not in my hand it's in a ziplock bag in my front pocket. Only goes into my pack when I'm doing serious scrambling or crossing water.
 
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#5
Mounted to the tripod, which I carry in my right hand or over my shoulder.
 
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#7
I did a lot of research into options and decided to use the Cotton Carrier Strapshot that attaches/ties in to your pack and wraps around the strap of your pack itself - it also has a security tether that further attaches to the camera to prevent accidental drops in case you don't quite secure the camera in the holster on your strap. Super-easy to use - just attach a small metal piece to the bottom of your camera where the tripod would usually attach, that piece fits into a slot in the holster on your pack strap and is unlocked or locked by simply twisting the camera about 90 degrees, great for taking photos on the go!

For standard day trips this usually works out fine but the ideal system (if you're using the Strapshot) would be to have two of them, with one on each strap, so you could alter which shoulder was bearing the extra weight over the course of the day. Now, that might not be necessary for you, but I carry a big DSLR and the lenses aren't light lenses either, so having that on your shoulder for those long days and big gains starts to weigh on you in a literal way.

For the coming season as I pursue big peaks again I'll buy a second Strapshot so I can move the camera from one strap to the other. This is awesome for me because I can get my DSLR from completely secure (I've used this to keep my camera while ascending challenging scrambling routes on lots of class 3 scrambling with exposure and even a fair amount in the class 4 range of difficulty with significant exposure without any worry about the security of the camera itself). Occasionally I'll take the camera off the Strapshot and put it in my pack for particular areas of going through high water in canyons, etc., but it's an extremely capable thing and has allowed me to use my DSLR as often as I used to use my point and shoot camera if I'm so inclined.

A couple of use notes for outdoor/landscape stuff: This is a great unit to keep your DSLR immediately accessible while you're hiking with a pack, and it's good on just about any kind of terrain you'd normally be dealing with. Again, for those rarer times you might not want your camera strapped to the front of you - like glacier/steep snow and ice ascents or fording significant streams/water crossings in canyons, etc. it's very easy to detach the camera from the hostler and stash it in your main pack or dry bag or whatever you've got to keep it more safe, and then to put it back on later. The biggest logistical challenge I've found to using this is if you're planning on doing serious landscape photography with a tripod you have to remove the Strapshot attachment in order to attach the tripod; that takes a minute or two of your time, but that is the biggest challenge I've found to using this. For me, most of my day is spent hiking and taking handheld shots, so having my camera immediately accessible where I just pop it out of the holster and it's already up almost in shooting position even while in the holster where I just need to take off the lens cap and shoot works great for me. My favorite thing about this unit is that I can keep my DSLR set-up out and that accessible on the vast majority of (often) complex terrain I deal with.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...ier_233_ev1_strapshot_for_full_size_dslr.html

There's my Nikon D810 with large 16-35mm f/4 on class 3 terrain up high on Middle Teton from early September. I just detach the Strapshot units from my big backpack to my smaller daypack as needed for summiting peaks. Works great! :)
 
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#8
I carry my mirrorless M5 in my pocket, and my SL2 also fits if I decide to take it instead. I know you asked for solutions in case you went with a larger DSLR, but backpacking with a lot of camera gear gets old really fast. Simple is best. The smaller cameras take just as good of photos, in general, and unless you're into full-frame stuff and want to make large prints, keep it simple for happiness on the trail.
 
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#9
One more photographic plug for the strapshot here too - it handles class 4 terrain like this just fine.

I had a Nikon D500 with Tokina 11-22mm f/2.8 on here, so just a little smaller than the D810 set-up I've got now, but they both carry the same on this unit. No way I'd take anything less secure than this on challenging mountain terrain without keeping my camera in some enclosed case or in my pack.

 
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#10
I carry my mirrorless M5 in my pocket, and my SL2 also fits if I decide to take it instead. I know you asked for solutions in case you went with a larger DSLR, but backpacking with a lot of camera gear gets old really fast. Simple is best. The smaller cameras take just as good of photos, in general, and unless you're into full-frame stuff and want to make large prints, keep it simple for happiness on the trail.
I absolutely agree - unless you're wanting to be able to produce large prints, etc., there are lots of very capable small and convenient cameras to carry with you. You've gotta love serious photography in order to internally justify lugging the big camera, lenses, filters, tripod, etc., lots of miles over tricky terrain...Glad there's a camera set up out there for just about everyone's needs and wants. :)
 
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#11
The entire backpacking trip?
If I have to do some serious scrambling and can't prop it up ahead of me I'll jam it in my bag, but yeah otherwise that's how I carry it. It doesn't bang on me, strangle me, knock against stuff if I bend over. Readily accessible. Probably sounds like a pain, but it's really not lol.

edit: remember I shoot as much (or more) video as stills along the way. I'd go nuts if I had to constantly attach/de-attach the camera body from the tripod
 

Wyatt Carson

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#12
OpTech Bino Cam harness for as long as I've hiked with a DSLR. I connect it too the camera bag and not the camera though. It sort of sticks to my stomach when doing those awkward. hiking maneuvers and protects the camera and a spare lens, leaving them right at hand. I've used both the elastic and webbing versions but don't like the slight bouncing of the elastic.
 
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#13
edit: remember I shoot as much (or more) video as stills along the way. I'd go nuts if I had to constantly attach/de-attach the camera body from the tripod
Oh, I guess that makes sense for video. I don't take video or watch outdoor videos, so that thought never really crossed my mind.
 
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#15
I actually just bought an Osprey ultralight camera case for my Sony a6000. I don't know how well it works yet; heading out tomorrow. But it can hook to the waist belt of my pack and is just the right size for the a6000 w/ kit lense (or similar).
 

Perry

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I did a lot of research into options and decided to use the Cotton Carrier Strapshot that attaches/ties in to your pack and wraps around the strap of your pack itself - it also has a security tether that further attaches to the camera to prevent accidental drops in case you don't quite secure the camera in the holster on your strap. Super-easy to use - just attach a small metal piece to the bottom of your camera where the tripod would usually attach, that piece fits into a slot in the holster on your pack strap and is unlocked or locked by simply twisting the camera about 90 degrees, great for taking photos on the go!

<snip>
I really like that Strapshot... pricey but probably well worth it.
 

Perry

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OpTech Bino Cam harness for as long as I've hiked with a DSLR. I connect it too the camera bag and not the camera though. It sort of sticks to my stomach when doing those awkward. hiking maneuvers and protects the camera and a spare lens, leaving them right at hand. I've used both the elastic and webbing versions but don't like the slight bouncing of the elastic.
I like that. Seems like it would have minimal bounce.
 

Perry

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I actually just bought an Osprey ultralight camera case for my Sony a6000. I don't know how well it works yet; heading out tomorrow. But it can hook to the waist belt of my pack and is just the right size for the a6000 w/ kit lense (or similar).
How does it attach to your waist strap? Loops?
 
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#19
Wow! That's dedication!
Haha, I swear it's really no burden. It's like holding a spear, and sometimes I use it as a walking stick. Feels better to me than having more weight hanging from my upper body.
 
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#20
One more photographic plug for the strapshot here too - it handles class 4 terrain like this just fine.

I had a Nikon D500 with Tokina 11-22mm f/2.8 on here, so just a little smaller than the D810 set-up I've got now, but they both carry the same on this unit. No way I'd take anything less secure than this on challenging mountain terrain without keeping my camera in some enclosed case or in my pack.

I hadn't seen the strap shot before but seems like the fact that the PD capture/capture pro uses a tripod plate as its mount is a huge advantage? Am I missing something? Like I can take off my camera and have it mounted in seconds without any other parts. Kinda hard to tell exactly how it works so I might be wrong. I agree though that the strapless, firm mount to a shoulder strap or hip belt solution is hard to beat for scrambling and hiking.
 

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