I want to branch out and try my hand at some landscape photography. I might be taking a trip out west this summer to do some shooting in Nevada and then San Fransisco and I was looking to get a comfortable backpacking pack that will hold my camera. I’ve done quite a bit of east coast hiking and climbing before, I’ve actually done Mt. Washington twice, but I’ve never brought my DSLR kit up a mountain. The backpack I have now (LowePro Pro Runner 200) is much more of a day pack and is not nearly qualified enough for a day long trek. Any suggestions on alternatives?
Thanks for the email. I’ve been partial to the f-stop brand since stumbling upon them a year ago. Until then I used LowePro (and I still like certain packs of theirs, especially their rollerbags) like the one you linked to. For what you mention, I would suggest the f-stop Loka http://fstopgear.com/loka . It’s more spendy than a LowePro of comparable size, but the expandability is very useful. Depending on the amount of photo gear you want to take, you can get a smaller or larger ICU (Internal Camera Unit) and the rest of the space is available to hiking gear and the 10 essentials. The packs are meant to be backpacks first, then camera bags, so the fit and comfort on the trail is paramount. Also, the internal organization is useful, with spots for cards and filters on the opening flap.
As for comfort with a DSLR, I use the larger brother of this pack, the Satori EXP and while it is not the same pack, the suspension system is essentially the same. Weight is kept mainly on the hips as a good backpack should and the stability is what you would find in a dedicated Dana Design or Osprey pack made just for hiking. Not only that, having the door of the bag be on the back side helps keep the pack clean (at least the part that sits on your body) so I find I use it more as I can just drop it in the dirt and not worry about where I set it. It might sound little, but it was after using the EXP that I converted over to this style of pack as I am not often near a nice clean surface when I want to access my camera.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to follow up if you have other questions.