After years of carrying shoulder bags, I’ve finally given up on them or rather my neck, shoulders and back have 😦 . After getting repeated health-related problems with them I’ve switched to a rucksack/backpack.
After looking around I found a very nicely made one made by National Geographic/Manfrotto which ticks all the boxes for my needs, doesn’t look like a camera bag and also gives more room to pack a few extra items like a waterproof, drinks bottle, passport, travel docs etc.. It spreads the weight much better and I’m hoping that it’ll help with alleviating my various aches and pains. The clincher was that this backpack is currently on sale at half price on the Manfrotto website. I found an excellent review article here that goes into a lot of detail – http://stevelosh.com/blog/2015/07/nat-geo-mc5350/ . It also has the extra benefit of fitting my National Geographic rain cover 🙂 and its small enough to qualify as carry-on luggage on aircraft and will go in an overhead locker.
Some pics –
The flap cover has a small zip up pocket where the stripe design is that can hold a few items. There are also two generously-sized zip pockets on the sides shown in the photo below. Above one of the pockets there is a strap so a small monopod or perhaps a table top tripod (not a big tripod) could be attached on the side.
I added OP/TECH Uni Adapter Loop XL System Connectors to the D-Rings to fit in with my other OP/TECH straps and fittings so that the camera can be hung directly from the pack which in turn will take the weight of the camera and lens away from my neck. EDIT: I found a better way to connect the camera to the backpack straps, see this post for details.
Padded camera equipment compartment (removable if desired) containing Olympus OM-D EM-1 with grip and 12-40mm zoom lens and OP/TECH HAT/HOOD attached, 2 spare batteries in waterproof storage cases, 40-150mm zoom lens, 7.5mm fisheye lens and spare memory card case (under fisheye lens). All the gear I need to get to frequently.
Inside: National Geographic rain cover for the bag (the orange-coloured thing) 🙂 , ThinkTANK emergency camera rain cover and pouch, small first aid kit, GPS data logger, Anker Astro 6.7 mAH USB powerbank and waterproof jacket. You can’t see in the photo but in front of them is a large zip pocket in which I’ve packed a few other items including a couple of ND filters, Micro USB cables, USB camera battery charger, OP/TECH wrist strap and the straps that go with the OP/TECH systems connectors. See this post for more information on my OP/TECH and thinkTANK gear.
Alternative gear load out.
I have no affiliation with any of the manufacturers of the equipment mentioned in this post.
PS. I forgot to mention that the backpack also has a very large padded compartment which they claim will accommodate a 17 inch laptop. You can just see the zip for it on the left in the second on my photos. I’m not using it but I have no reason to doubt them on size and it swallows up my 10 inch Android tablet with ease. I’m using it to store a large dry bag folded flat which is capable of going over the whole backpack if required.