Camera bag advice

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Tom
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Hi All,

Looking for a bit of advice.

I currently have a Lowepro Whistler 450 AWII, which is a great bag. However, it's heavy, cumbersome and not really great for hiking up mountains all day.

I generally carry, Sony mirrorless body, 16-35mm f4, 24-105mm f4, Sigma 100-400mm, carbon fibre tripod, then misc accessories such as filters etc.

I am looking for something that can carry all of that kit, with space for a jacket or two in the pockets, that will be lighter and less cumbersome.

Yesterday I hiked 15 miles, climbed 5000ft and it was just a lot to cart around all day. I may have to look at the lenses I carry at some point, but for now I think a more suitable hiking bag could make a huge difference.

I was wondering if anyone could suggest any suitable bags?

Main essential is having rear access.

Thanks
 
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Martin
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If it was me, and it has been in the past, I would start with looking at the kit you carry. I would have thought that taking the 24-105 was not really necessary for mountain hiking as the others, with a bit of movement on your part, could carry the load. In addition, I have seldom really required a huge telephoto while out walking and at over a kilogram you really are adding weight to your travels. Instead of carrying lenses to cover every eventuality perhaps you could have single lens days and leave everything else at home, it can be quite liberating.

But that's just me, otherwise I can't comment on bags apart from to say that if you carry heavy weights you will need a heavy bag so perhaps you already have what you need.
 

nandbytes

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I was going to recommend one of the peak design ones but they don't have rear access. Is that a deal breaker for you?

Could certainly recommend a change in lenses.
I've gone down the route of tamron 17-28+tamron 28-200mm and I'm much happier as a result for hiking.
 
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Lee
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I don't think lighter and less cumbersome are really possible or worth the expense as that's mainly down to what you carry in it. You could probably find something that is more comfortable though.

Shimoda or the like would probably be your best bet.
 
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Have a look at the ThinkTank Rotation 180 series. Snapperstuff are the UK distributors. There is a sale on now but not sure if any of them are in the sale.
 
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TGphoto
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If it was me, and it has been in the past, I would start with looking at the kit you carry. I would have thought that taking the 24-105 was not really necessary for mountain hiking as the others, with a bit of movement on your part, could carry the load. In addition, I have seldom really required a huge telephoto while out walking and at over a kilogram you really are adding weight to your travels. Instead of carrying lenses to cover every eventuality perhaps you could have single lens days and leave everything else at home, it can be quite liberating.

But that's just me, otherwise I can't comment on bags apart from to say that if you carry heavy weights you will need a heavy bag so perhaps you already have what you need.
Yeah it's something to consider in the future, though yesterday morning I needed all 3 lenses. I shot at 16mm, 400mm and a range of stuff in between haha. If my telephoto was 70mm rather than 100mm that would help.

I literally only have a telephoto for when I'm in the mountains, I like to pick out details with it so not something I'd be willing to sacrifice.

I was going to recommend one of the peak design ones but they don't have rear access. Is that a deal breaker for you?

Could certainly recommend a change in lenses.
I've gone down the route of tamron 17-28+tamron 28-200mm and I'm much happier as a result for hiking.
Rear access definitely a deal breaker for me. I always see the peak design ones a more city type bags rather than mountain hiking.

I am actually considering that exact change of kit at the minute. Just a little concerned about the quality of 28-200mm vs my current lenses. Other option is looking at the Tamron 70-300mm to save some weight and the new Sigma 27-70.


I have one of these which I've used only once or twice. It was quite an expensive bag.
My photography has taken a different direction and it is sat in the cupboard doing nothing.
In excellent condition.

Let me know if interested.

Thanks for letting me know, not sure if it's big enough but could be a solution if I cut down my kit.

Any idea how much you'd be looking for? (obviously we'd use a proper classifieds ad)

I don't think lighter and less cumbersome are really possible or worth the expense as that's mainly down to what you carry in it. You could probably find something that is more comfortable though.

Shimoda or the like would probably be your best bet.
Have considered Shimoda, they do seem to certainly be lighter which would be good.

Very helpful, thanks

Have a look at the ThinkTank Rotation 180 series. Snapperstuff are the UK distributors. There is a sale on now but not sure if any of them are in the sale.
Thank you, I'll have a look.
 
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Peter
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Peter123 said:
I have one of these which I've used only once or twice. It was quite an expensive bag.
My photography has taken a different direction and it is sat in the cupboard doing nothing.
In excellent condition.

Let me know if interested.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lowepro-Photo-Sport-Backpack-Camera/dp/B00C69X7NA
Thanks for letting me know, not sure if it's big enough but could be a solution if I cut down my kit.

Any idea how much you'd be looking for? (obviously we'd use a proper classifieds ad)

It would be £60 delivered slow mail.
 

nandbytes

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Rear access definitely a deal breaker for me. I always see the peak design ones a more city type bags rather than mountain hiking.

I am actually considering that exact change of kit at the minute. Just a little concerned about the quality of 28-200mm vs my current lenses. Other option is looking at the Tamron 70-300mm to save some weight and the new Sigma 27-70.
The 28-200mm is quite a good lens especially if you stop down the lens a little bit for landscapes. Where is suffers really is with the bokeh, so don't expect magic there.

have a look at this:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgjvBQ16HE0&t=561s


as for the backpack and good one for hiking I personally use a f-stop (kenti) bag. If you are willing to fork out for one (no idea what implication Brexit has if any) they are unbeaten in terms of comfort and quality you get.
something like this may suit your needs:
 
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Rob
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The 28-200mm is quite a good lens especially if you stop down the lens a little bit for landscapes. Where is suffers really is with the bokeh, so don't expect magic there.

have a look at this:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgjvBQ16HE0&t=561s


as for the backpack and good one for hiking I personally use a f-stop (kenti) bag. If you are willing to fork out for one (no idea what implication Brexit has if any) they are unbeaten in terms of comfort and quality you get.
something like this may suit your needs:
The F stop Kashmir is specially designed for women. It’s the only f stop bag designed specially for women. There are is the Lola UL which slightly larger 37 litre ultra light bag.

The best bags for hiking are hiking bags but you’d have to give up rear access. F Stop is the next best option (other manufacturers have started to copy the idea of hiking orientated photography bags) and it’s main benefit is that it’s much more versatile than photography specific bags because the size of the ICUs can be varied. When out in the hills and mountains I carry just as much other kit specific to walk as I carry photography kit. My previous flip side 400 wouldn’t be suitable for hill walking as there isn’t the room for walking kit.

I like my F stop bags but I have to say my Osprey stratos hiking bag is more comfortable. If I can use that when hill walking instead of my f stop bags I do because it’s much more comfortable walking for hours.

Like @nandbytes I’ve recently got the tamron 28-200 specifically for hill walking. The plan will be to pair it with the 17-28 at some point in the future.
 
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Col
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Just to chime in regarding the think tank 180 bags, i have the rotation pro and while i really like it (excellent build quality, comfortable all day and great for taking none camera stuff with me too), it really doesn't hold much camera gear. The rotation bit, where the camera goes, with my system holds my d750 with either a 24-70 f2.8 or 17-35mm and my 70-200 (just). You can fit batteries etc in the little zipped pocket in it too, but other than those that is all. I tend to take whichever lens isn't on the camera out of those two in lens case in the main pocket, but that isn't really ideal either. Like i say, cracking bag, but the temptation for me now is to only take the wide angle and the zoom with me on trips rather than having the other lens in the main bag. Thankfully not a deal breaker for me since the wide angle covers most of the range i typically use for landscapes anyway, but worth knowing before such an expense.

Oh, the rotation system though is great, so nice being able to leave the bag on your back and put the camera away easily.
 
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If you are doing that sort of distance and ascent I suggest a normal rucksack, adjusted/fitted to your torso, with suitable camera inserts.

You'll lose something in terms access but I think it will be more comfortable.

Dave
 

nandbytes

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The F stop Kashmir is specially designed for women. It’s the only f stop bag designed specially for women. There are is the Lola UL which slightly larger 37 litre ultra light bag.

The best bags for hiking are hiking bags but you’d have to give up rear access. F Stop is the next best option (other manufacturers have started to copy the idea of hiking orientated photography bags) and it’s main benefit is that it’s much more versatile than photography specific bags because the size of the ICUs can be varied. When out in the hills and mountains I carry just as much other kit specific to walk as I carry photography kit. My previous flip side 400 wouldn’t be suitable for hill walking as there isn’t the room for walking kit.

I like my F stop bags but I have to say my Osprey stratos hiking bag is more comfortable. If I can use that when hill walking instead of my f stop bags I do because it’s much more comfortable walking for hours.

Like @nandbytes I’ve recently got the tamron 28-200 specifically for hill walking. The plan will be to pair it with the 17-28 at some point in the future.
I cannot see anywhere that suggests its for women for designed for a specific gender in mind. in fact the first picture of it on their marketing is with it on a man.
what makes you say/think its for women?

personally I use f-stop kenti which is amazing and very comfortable. don't think they make it anymore and I personally don't like rear zip. I like having quick side access.
 
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SFTPhotography

Ranger Smith
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Steve
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Tamrac Anvil 27.

No rear access and marginally more comfortable on the shoulders, maybe, than yours.

The Whistler 450 though is an incredible bag.

I suspect the lenses are what's weighing you down and if you need them all discomfort is the cost of doing business.
 
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Jeremy Moore
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Yeah it's something to consider in the future, though yesterday morning I needed all 3 lenses. I shot at 16mm, 400mm and a range of stuff in between haha. If my telephoto was 70mm rather than 100mm that would help.

I literally only have a telephoto for when I'm in the mountains, I like to pick out details with it so not something I'd be willing to sacrifice.



Rear access definitely a deal breaker for me. I always see the peak design ones a more city type bags rather than mountain hiking.

I am actually considering that exact change of kit at the minute. Just a little concerned about the quality of 28-200mm vs my current lenses. Other option is looking at the Tamron 70-300mm to save some weight and the new Sigma 27-70.




Thanks for letting me know, not sure if it's big enough but could be a solution if I cut down my kit.

Any idea how much you'd be looking for? (obviously we'd use a proper classifieds ad)



Have considered Shimoda, they do seem to certainly be lighter which would be good.



Very helpful, thanks



Thank you, I'll have a look.

I really, really wanted to like the Rotation bag. But it is very short on pockets for cards, batteries, and other odds and sods that I had to return it.

I've now got a Shimoda Action X30, which ticks ALL the boxes for a day pack - good solid section for camera gear, lots of pockets for water bottle or flask, odds and sods etc. and a completely separate section (unlike the F-stop range) for clothing, snacks, etc. Expensive though!

Edit :it does have side access as well as rear but i've never used it as such.
 
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Andrew
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Tamrac Anvil 27.

No rear access and marginally more comfortable on the shoulders, maybe, than yours.

The Whistler 450 though is an incredible bag.

I suspect the lenses are what's weighing you down and if you need them all discomfort is the cost of doing business.
The LowePro Whistler bags are brutes. I have the smaller 350 and it's probably just a bit under 3Kg empty. I would guess that the 450 mentioned is probably another half kilo on top of that.

I don't think of the Whistler as something I'd pick as first choice to go up larger hills. I'd go lighter unless expecting very wet weather. For me it's for hikes of up to a few miles out and a few miles back at lower levels and again - in particular where I think I might get exposed to very wet weather - I've never felt the need to use the rain cover.
 
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Col
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I really, really wanted to like the Rotation bag. But it is very short on pockets for cards, batteries, and other odds and sods that I had to return it.

I've now got a Shimoda Action X30, which ticks ALL the boxes for a day pack - good solid section for camera gear, lots of pockets for water bottle or flask, odds and sods etc. and a completely separate section (unlike the F-stop range) for clothing, snacks, etc. Expensive though!

Edit :it does have side access as well as rear but i've never used it as such.
i think it was quite possibly yourself who mentioned to me about the lack of pockets in the rotation bags. I must admit i am considering getting the additional top pocket which converts the pro to the pro deluxe version, but overall i haven't struggled on the pocket front and would just like the top bit as it enables you to use it like a strap for a jacket or other such item to go under . The normal/none pro models i definitely agree though as they are just straight sided and lack pockets generally.
 

SFTPhotography

Ranger Smith
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The LowePro Whistler bags are brutes. I have the smaller 350 and it's probably just a bit under 3Kg empty. I would guess that the 450 mentioned is probably another half kilo on top of that.

I don't think of the Whistler as something I'd pick as first choice to go up larger hills. I'd go lighter unless expecting very wet weather. For me it's for hikes of up to a few miles out and a few miles back at lower levels and again - in particular where I think I might get exposed to very wet weather - I've never felt the need to use the rain cover.
Valid point. I just picked mine up empty and its not light. I've had no issues with discomfort but I've not hiked as extensively as the OP has with mine on..
 
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I cannot see anywhere that suggests its for women for designed for a specific gender in mind. in fact the first picture of it on their marketing is with it on a man.
what makes you say/think its for women?

personally I use f-stop kenti which is amazing and very comfortable. don't think they make it anymore and I personally don't like rear zip. I like having quick side access.
It looks like F Stop have changed it to ‘shorter torso photographers’. A few years back it was definitely designed for women in mind.


I haven’t read any f stop pages recently so I didn’t know they changed the wording. I’m guessing all their bags are now ‘unisex’ even though the torso lengths are quite different.

Getting the torso length right for you is important as all f stop bags are different torso lengths and fixed too. This is one point where hiking bags from the likes of Osprey are better. The Osprey stratos I have has an adjustable torso length so you can get it to fit you perfectly. That makes it much more comfortable.

I like f stop bags but I’ve come to conclusion that the ultimate f stop bag for me would be the size/capacity of the Ajna with the harness of the tilopa, material of the mountain series but with the mesh side pockets (still keeping the zipped side pockets of the mountain series) and hip belt pockets of the UL series. If they made that bag I’d probably buy it in a heartbeat!
 
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Had the same problem and decided to try a Osprey Kamber bag. Rear entry and mounting points for tripod as it is a ski bag. Also switched out my 24-70 2.8 for the Tamron 28-200 mentioned a few times above.
Bag comes on Thursday and I still need to source a ICU once I can measure it accurately.
I also have the 450 Whistler and agree it is a great bag but not for long walks up big hills :)

Dave.
 

nandbytes

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It looks like F Stop have changed it to ‘shorter torso photographers’. A few years back it was definitely designed for women in mind.


I haven’t read any f stop pages recently so I didn’t know they changed the wording. I’m guessing all their bags are now ‘unisex’ even though the torso lengths are quite different.

Getting the torso length right for you is important as all f stop bags are different torso lengths and fixed too. This is one point where hiking bags from the likes of Osprey are better. The Osprey stratos I have has an adjustable torso length so you can get it to fit you perfectly. That makes it much more comfortable.
ah! interesting. might take a look at the osprey bags, though I am not really in the market for a bag.
 
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ah! interesting. might take a look at the osprey bags, though I am not really in the market for a bag.
The Soelden is the newer version of the Kamber but only available in 26 and 32L. The Kamber was available in a larger 42L as well. You can remove the top section and make it lighter and around 7L smaller. Ideal for short or longer trips.

The Atlas Athlete looks like a great bag as well - but try finding one :(
 
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Had the same problem and decided to try a Osprey Kamber bag. Rear entry and mounting points for tripod as it is a ski bag. Also switched out my 24-70 2.8 for the Tamron 28-200 mentioned a few times above.
Bag comes on Thursday and I still need to source a ICU once I can measure it accurately.
I also have the 450 Whistler and agree it is a great bag but not for long walks up big hills :)

Dave.
The Pacsafe medium is a tight but good fit (y)
 
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TGphoto
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Had the same problem and decided to try a Osprey Kamber bag. Rear entry and mounting points for tripod as it is a ski bag. Also switched out my 24-70 2.8 for the Tamron 28-200 mentioned a few times above.
Bag comes on Thursday and I still need to source a ICU once I can measure it accurately.
I also have the 450 Whistler and agree it is a great bag but not for long walks up big hills :)

Dave.
I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on that when you’ve tried it.

thanks
 
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Dave Cattlin
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Had the same problem and decided to try a Osprey Kamber bag. Rear entry and mounting points for tripod as it is a ski bag. Also switched out my 24-70 2.8 for the Tamron 28-200 mentioned a few times above.
Bag comes on Thursday and I still need to source a ICU once I can measure it accurately.
I also have the 450 Whistler and agree it is a great bag but not for long walks up big hills :)

Dave.
Hi there Dave

Please let me know if you find an insert you are happy with

Dave
 
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The Osprey Kamber 42 bag arrived yesterday - ended up sending it back due to a couple of reasons.
The bag has a lot of straps around the top of the bag and they just kept getting in the way when I tried to do simple things like open the back up.
The top strap for fitting a tripod is continuous across the back of the bag so tightening it was a pain and would be with differing amounts of things in the bag.
The bag was also too short for me as I could only get a S/M.

Ended up ordering a Shimoda Action X30 to try and get the best of both worlds.

Dave.
 
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Hi there Dave

Please let me know if you find an insert you are happy with

Dave
Dave - I measured up the bag and almost bought this insert:


As you will see above - I returned the bag so didn't buy the insert in the end.

Dave.
 
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The Osprey Kamber 42 bag arrived yesterday - ended up sending it back due to a couple of reasons.
The bag has a lot of straps around the top of the bag and they just kept getting in the way when I tried to do simple things like open the back up.
The top strap for fitting a tripod is continuous across the back of the bag so tightening it was a pain and would be with differing amounts of things in the bag.
The bag was also too short for me as I could only get a S/M.

Ended up ordering a Shimoda Action X30 to try and get the best of both worlds.

Dave.
That's a shame as the Kamber was on my short list. There aren't that many back opening hiking bags (actually ski backpacks) - the Deuter Freerider Pro being another I came across.

I'm currently using a Lowepro Flipside 400 and whilst I like the rear opening meaning you can put your bag down and your back doesn't get dirty. However it's not the most comfortable for me and once you've got your gear in there's very little space for anything else.

I hope the Shimoda works out for you but it would be interesting if you could please share your thoughts when it arrives
 
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That's a shame as the Kamber was on my short list. There aren't that many back opening hiking bags (actually ski backpacks) - the Deuter Freerider Pro being another I came across.

I'm currently using a Lowepro Flipside 400 and whilst I like the rear opening meaning you can put your bag down and your back doesn't get dirty. However it's not the most comfortable for me and once you've got your gear in there's very little space for anything else.

I hope the Shimoda works out for you but it would be interesting if you could please share your thoughts when it arrives
I had the (still got actually) the Flipside 400 & it's fine if you are driving & taking photos. As soon as I started walking/hiking & covering more miles it had to be replaced!
 
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I had the (still got actually) the Flipside 400 & it's fine if you are driving & taking photos. As soon as I started walking/hiking & covering more miles it had to be replaced!
There is definitely something in the design of proper hiking bags that makes them so much better than photography bags for carrying heavy loads. The anti gravity harness on the osprey hiking bag I have is so comfortable. I wore it to walk up Scafell Pike last year and hardly knew it was there. The trade off with photography bags vs hiking bags is easier access versus better harness. I think your back will thank you in the long term over a little more difficulty access camera kit whilst out. I’ve started to notice more pro landscape photographers have started using hiking bags rather than photography bags. It makes sense when they are likely to be hiking to one place, photograph then walk back. There isn’t as much need for constant easy access.

Choosing the right bag is difficult as everyones needs are usually very different.
 
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Dave - I measured up the bag and almost bought this insert:


As you will see above - I returned the bag so didn't buy the insert in the end.

Dave.
Thanks so much for taking the time Dave

Insert ordered (though in orange :))

Dave
 
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There is definitely something in the design of proper hiking bags that makes them so much better than photography bags for carrying heavy loads. The anti gravity harness on the osprey hiking bag I have is so comfortable. I wore it to walk up Scafell Pike last year and hardly knew it was there. The trade off with photography bags vs hiking bags is easier access versus better harness. I think your back will thank you in the long term over a little more difficulty access camera kit whilst out. I’ve started to notice more pro landscape photographers have started using hiking bags rather than photography bags. It makes sense when they are likely to be hiking to one place, photograph then walk back. There isn’t as much need for constant easy access.

Choosing the right bag is difficult as everyones needs are usually very different.
Yes, without a doubt! I haven't used my Flipside for..... Many years now. It's more of a at home storage place!
 
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Jim
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Have you looked at the mindshift ultralight dual. Comes in 25l or 36l sizes. Camera insert btm, space for other kit above and you can strap tripod to it.
 
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Just to add to the advice party, have a look at the WANDRD PRVKE 21. Really well thought out bag and with the photography pack covers pretty much all the bases. RRP can be a little steep but seems to often be on offer.
 
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When looking for a hiking bag I came across this article:


I went with the Osprey stratos 24 thinking it could double as a camera bag if needed but it was mainly bought as a hiking bag. I’ve not yet sorted out a specific camera insert for it. I just use it when taking only a camera with one lens attached at the moment. If I was buying again I’d probably buy the 34 litre size as it has an extra compartment at the base with zip access. There are also 26 and 36 litre sizes too. They have a traditional pouch and draw string close which I’m not a big fan of for this size bag. The 36 has a side zip opening to the main section as well as the bottom compartment.
 
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