Ideas for Camera and Lens Carry Inside a Backpack

Perry

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I recently relented and made the jump to a DSLR (Sony A6600) and three lenses. I'm trying to come up with the best way to carry any/all of this gear inside my backpack. I have a PD Capture Clip for carrying the camera with an attached lens externally when weather is good. But, I know there will be times I'll need to put it inside.

I'm thinking that at a minimum I need some kind of case for each piece to keep them from banging against each other and other things in the pack. There are many commercially available lens cases to choose from. Are there ones that are better than others? Not so sure what is the best thing to protect the camera.

Obviously I'm looking for lightweight options here but of course I want to protect my investment. What are all you using? I'm not opposed to good DYI solutions either. Just looking for suggestions so I don't have to make multiple dumb purchases to find what works well.

???
 

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regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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Hi Perry! This isn't necessarily what you want, since you said you want three lenses, but my strategy is to never change lenses in the field (since I'm in the desert as much as in the mountains, and don't want dust or sand in there) and just keep the camera in a thin dry bag. Padding is provided by whatever jacket or other soft item happens to be available in my pack -- there's always something to keep it safe, it seems like. Same might work for multiple components. Even with this strategy, the thing that eventually killed my last DSLR was dust/sand getting into the lens zoom mechanisms.

I think the most useful DSLR accessories I ever bought were a strap that keeps the thing tight against my chest instead of swinging against a rock when I lean over forwards, and then also a clear lens protector for when, for whatever reason, I wasn't using the strap and I lean forwards and the thing smashes against a rock anyway.
 

b.stark

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Same on the one lens thing. I really hate carrying too much glass in the wilderness. One lens with a reasonable range and good optical quality is way more useful than multiple lenses... seems I almost always have the wrong lens on, and dropping pack to change lenses while on a hike gets old VERY fast for me.

I like having multiple lenses when I'm doing photography, say, from my car. But even on day hikes, I find it more of a pain than a benefit.

That said, when backpacking or day hiking I agree that as long as you have enough jackets/layers in your pack, there's always someplace reasonably safe for a lens. I do keep some plastic bags or dry bags along at all times in case of rain or risky waterway crossings.
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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I carried my old Sony a1 and best me see in a fanny sack mounted frontwise so I could access it easily.
 

Perry

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Aug 8, 2016
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Hi Perry! This isn't necessarily what you want, since you said you want three lenses, but my strategy is to never change lenses in the field (since I'm in the desert as much as in the mountains, and don't want dust or sand in there) and just keep the camera in a thin dry bag. Padding is provided by whatever jacket or other soft item happens to be available in my pack -- there's always something to keep it safe, it seems like. Same might work for multiple components. Even with this strategy, the thing that eventually killed my last DSLR was dust/sand getting into the lens zoom mechanisms.

I think the most useful DSLR accessories I ever bought were a strap that keeps the thing tight against my chest instead of swinging against a rock when I lean over forwards, and then also a clear lens protector for when, for whatever reason, I wasn't using the strap and I lean forwards and the thing smashes against a rock anyway.
I hear ya and I think eventually I'll end up at that place, too. It's all very new to me now so I'm trying out each lens until I figure out what works best and what I can do with the camera. I have a Sigma 16 mm 1.4 that I think will end up being my go-to lens. I also have a 16-55 2.8 which wouldn't give me quite as shallow depth of field as the 16mm for those intimate shots and vlogging. For a long reach I have a 70-350 4.5-6.3. I want to do it all but I am trying to be realistic when it is on my back :)
 

Perry

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Same on the one lens thing. I really hate carrying too much glass in the wilderness. One lens with a reasonable range and good optical quality is way more useful than multiple lenses... seems I almost always have the wrong lens on, and dropping pack to change lenses while on a hike gets old VERY fast for me.

I like having multiple lenses when I'm doing photography, say, from my car. But even on day hikes, I find it more of a pain than a benefit.

That said, when backpacking or day hiking I agree that as long as you have enough jackets/layers in your pack, there's always someplace reasonably safe for a lens. I do keep some plastic bags or dry bags along at all times in case of rain or risky waterway crossings.
Right now I'm just getting out on day hikes so the pack is mostly empty so things tend to shift around a lot. On a fuller pack I can see a jacket wrap doing just fine. I generally have a pack liner but I do like the idea of a dry bag for some additional security and for when I may be loading out my pack in the evenings or at stops in poor weather.
 

Brendan S

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Mar 19, 2016
Messages
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I’ve tried a lot of combos and have been happy with the PD clip with the PD shell cover for the cam (A7RII) and then a Zpacks multi pack on my hipbelt for lenses/a couple batteries/snack/water treatment. Lenses are in cheap neoprene sleeves. If I’m swimming or weather gets crazy I’ll throw them in a small dry bag in my pack but usually that combo is pretty safe from the elements.

I definitely get the single lens or camera thing and love fixed lens/single focal length cameras (carried the Sigma Merrills for years) but if photography is a big part of being out there for you, a couple extra lenses are fun, assuming they are nice and compact. One of those sensor blower things can be handy or just fix in post.
 

b.stark

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For my sony a6300, I have been pretty happy with the 16-70 f/4. A bit limited for doing wildlife, but for general landscape it's fine and keeps me from lugging a bunch of primes. The peak design clip is nice when I use a daypack with suitable straps. Around home though, hikes are short so I've been using a running vest to keep things light lately. For that, I've been using a sony rx100 vii. Fits in one of the pockets on the front of the vest for easy access, and a lot more zoom range. Doesn't have quite the horsepower of a mirrorless far as image quality is concerned. Theres always a compromise somewhere.
 

DocRob

New Member
Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
1
I recently relented and made the jump to a DSLR (Sony A6600) and three lenses. I'm trying to come up with the best way to carry any/all of this gear inside my backpack. I have a PD Capture Clip for carrying the camera with an attached lens externally when weather is good. But, I know there will be times I'll need to put it inside.

I'm thinking that at a minimum I need some kind of case for each piece to keep them from banging against each other and other things in the pack. There are many commercially available lens cases to choose from. Are there ones that are better than others? Not so sure what is the best thing to protect the camera.

Obviously I'm looking for lightweight options here but of course I want to protect my investment. What are all you using? I'm not opposed to good DYI solutions either. Just looking for suggestions so I don't have to make multiple dumb purchases to find what works well.

???
Olympus OM-D EM1 Mk III (or M II used is also good) with your choice of lense...maybe can go with just two lenses. The IBIS system will save you from using a tripod much plus you can carry a lighter tripod to support this lightweight camera. Panasonic has similar offering with a bit less dynamic range.
 

SteveR

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Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
382
Have hiked and skied with an older APS-C Pentax DSLR for years, and now- more usually with a Panasonic m4/3. The Pentax has what seems to be an incurable dust issue- I've tried blowing, cleaning, vacuuming but there is always some that pops back onto the sensor sooner rather than later. Fixable in post but very annoying! With that camera I often switched lenses in the field, so...ditto to carrying the camera with your "usual" or most versatile lense installed, and avoiding changing lenses if possible. I don't use mine often, but usually bring along a telephoto in a small soft case inside my pack. I also keep a couple of large freezer bags handy and then stuff everything inside the pack, if a deluge happens.
 

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Perry

Formerly Cuberant
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Joined
Aug 8, 2016
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1,960
Have hiked and skied with an older APS-C Pentax DSLR for years, and now- more usually with a Panasonic m4/3. The Pentax has what seems to be an incurable dust issue- I've tried blowing, cleaning, vacuuming but there is always some that pops back onto the sensor sooner rather than later. Fixable in post but very annoying! With that camera I often switched lenses in the field, so...ditto to carrying the camera with your "usual" or most versatile lense installed, and avoiding changing lenses if possible. I don't use mine often, but usually bring along a telephoto in a small soft case inside my pack. I also keep a couple of large freezer bags handy and then stuff everything inside the pack, if a deluge happens.
Freezer bags are the bomb! My wife can't figure out how come I buy them so often! :D
 

gnwatts

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I have a Sony DSC-RX10 III, it has a 20MP CMOS sensor, 4K video, and a sweet 24-600 equivalent F2.4 Zeiss lens. it is technically a point and shoot, as the lens is not removable. I use it on all of my river and hiking trips. I use a smallish Clik case for trips.
 

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