When we visited Rome a few weeks ago I had to realize that my current travel photo-backpack is not designed for long walks with heavy weight. In Rome we walked for hours each day and over 45km overall in three days. At the end of the second day my back hurts so bad that I could hardly move anymore. So the next day I only packed the absolute minimum equipment to carry through the city. Of course that day I missed a shot I could have nailed with another lens which I left in the hotel due to its weight. Of course I don't want this to happen again, hence this article.
When I planed and packed my gear for the trip it was a no brainer to use my Tamrac Expedition 5 since the Expedition 8 which I normaly use for day-hikes is not allowed to use as carry-on baggage because of its size (see Backpack Specification Table at the end of this article). On previous flight-trips the Tamrac Expedition 5 fits my needs because we could reach most of the planed locations with the rental car and only had some short hikes in the mountains or along the beaches. Thats fine with the Expedition 5 but when it comes to hikes from four up to eight hours or even longer you really need a decent hiking photo-backpack.
So back home I decided to do some research for a new travel / hiking photo-backpack with good hiking qualities and which is allowed to use as carry-on baggage for most of the airlines. After some days of reading and looking around in the web I had to realize that finding the right travel / hiking photo-backpack is not quite an easy task to accomplish. I had a short list of must-haves and some optional features listed below:
- Size: fits carry-on baggage regulations, but can take all my travel gear
(Tripod, 5DMkII, 17-40mm, 24-105mm, 70-200mm, S100, Underwater Housing,
some accessories like spare batteries, lenspen, filters, rainproof clothing
plus enough to drink and to eat for a hiking day)
- Comfort: a really decent waist strap, easy camera access
- Tripod: tripod mount in the middle of the pack
- Price: not necessarily more than 300.00 EUR
- Light weight of the backpack itself
- Delivery time and costs
I've spend days and did a lot of research in the web. I looked deeply at all the specs and read dozens of reviews on different shops and other outdoor / hiking websites. At the end there are surprisingly few backpacks that are designed for carrying weight comfortably during several long hiking days, provide easy camera access and are allowed to be used as carry-on baggage.
Long story short, the Tamrac Evolution 9, Lowepro Vertex 300 AW and the F-Stop Satori are the three finalists who have come to my shortlist. Unfortunately the Satori was out of stock and could not be delivered before end of the summer. It was also the most expensive one with about 350.00 EUR. Due to its delivery time the F-Stop was no choice any more. I had to choose between the Tamrac Evo 9 (149.00 EUR) and the Lowepro Vertext 300 (193.00 EUR). Both good choices I think, but I opted for the Vertex 300 because the straps of this backpack look a lot more comfortable to carry weight on the shoulders plus a better waist strap. Another decision criterion is the size and available space for photo gear. The Vertex 300 is big but fits the carry-on restrictions for baggage and nearly all space is usable for photo gear. Of course everyone can rearrange the formation of the separating elements inside the pack so you can put in some food, clothes etc. next to photo gear. The Evo 9 only has very limited space for photo gear and more additional space at the top of the pack for more hiking stuff which I don't really need. I finally ordered the Vertex and some days later I packed and tried it for the first time. So far I am happy with the choise. With all my travel gear the backpack was nice to carry, far better than the Expedition 5. Not exactly as comfortable as the Expedtition 8 but better than the Evolution 9, especially on long exhausting day hikes.
I am glad to finally have found a nice travel and hiking backpack with quick access to all my photo gear and I am looking forward to use it on my first hiking tour in the next days in Harz National Park and of course at the end of the summer on some exceptional mountain hikes during our trip to Lofoten, Norway.
Backback Specification Table:
|Tamrac Expedition 5||32 x 25 x 41 cm (12¾W x 10D x 16H in)||2,054 kg (4 lbs. 8 oz.)|
|Tamrac Expedition 8||33 x 34 x 56cm (13W x 13½D x 22H in)||3,293 kg (7 lb. 4 oz.)|
|Tamrac Evolution 9||33 x 28 x 50cm (13W x 11D x 19½H in)||2,268 kg (5 lbs.)|
|F-Stop Satori||25.4 x 30.5 x 66 (10D x 12W x 26H in)||1.850 kg (4.08 lbs (No ICU))|
|Lowepro Vertex 300 AW||33 x 26 x 55 cm (12.99W x 10.24D x 21.65H in)||3.700 kg (8.14 lbs)|
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There are 2 comments for this article | Write Comment | sort Comments: oldest first | News Stream
Well the bags are looking amazing. when I was with things to do in banff national park I was having a bag, I walked and hitchhiked so much with the backpack. Then I felt that it starts paining in my back. then I decide that I have to buy a new backpack for my next trip.
Hello Aanna, thanks a lot for you comment!
Yes, thats exactly what happend to me in Rome. With both backpacks, the Tamrac Expedition 8 or Lowepro Vertex 300 AW, I had no issues with my back while doing long hikes with all the equipment.