Transporting equipment - shoulder pain

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sid
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#1
(sorry if this has been covered before, my basic searches didn't reveal specific threads)

I am looking at ways I can transport/carry my gear smartly. In my recent travels (1 week) I walked for 5-8 miles daily on varying terrain with my camera backpack and my shoulders have been feeling it.

- 5D M2
- 70-200 2.8
- 24-70 2.8 Tamron
- 100 macro
- 50 1.4
- 580 flash and a gitzo tripod (very light)

I carry a basic Kata pack, back support isn't great. I am wondering if you folks have any recommendations for carrying gear. One could argue carrying all that gear is pointless, I would generally carry two lenses but at this occasion couldn't store gear anywhere secure.

I have considered the Lowepro light utility belt but would prefer to have other options before parting way with my precious quids

Thanks.
 
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Adam
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#2
Buy a better bag with better back support?

Other than that, ditch some gear. That seems like a crazy amount of stuff to carry unless you're being paid.

What kinds of things are you shooting on your walks?
 
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sid
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#3
Generally I would carry minimal gear (body + lens 1 or 2 + tripod) plus accessories such as spare batteries and cards etc, but that too can get uncomfortable after some time. I did mainly *scapes and some macro travelling around Japan. Couldn't really store my gear anywhere as I didn't stay overnight at the same place twice.

Yes replacing the backpack would make sense, any suggestions?
 
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#6
Perhoas you could also consider a waist bag..Spread Freak..I have dodgy shoulders and can't do backpacks at all most of the time, well nearly all of the time.
 
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Chris
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#7
You want a backpack with good broad soft shoulder straps, plus a goad broad soft waist belt. The waist belt let's you take a lot of the weight on your hips, much easier. It's important to get the straps adjusted just right. That may mean re-adjusting when you change from not wearing a jacket to wearing one.

Was there one of your lenses you didn't use? Did you ever use the f2.8 aperture on the big zoom?
 
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#8
Not sure which Kata backpack you have ? I have a couple of Kata bags and find them very supportive and well-padded but on the downside really heavy.
 
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#9
Maybe sometimes no matter how good the bag is,in the end if your going to be walking everyday with an fair size kit you are going to feel it
 
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sid
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#10
Thanks for your responses and suggestions. I am looking at the options mentioned here and they seem miles better than what I use to carry my gear

You want a backpack with good broad soft shoulder straps, plus a goad broad soft waist belt. The waist belt let's you take a lot of the weight on your hips, much easier. It's important to get the straps adjusted just right. That may mean re-adjusting when you change from not wearing a jacket to wearing one.

Was there one of your lenses you didn't use? Did you ever use the f2.8 aperture on the big zoom?
50mm 1.4 was the one I didn't use. Big zoom 2.8 aperture I did use for bird flight and an indoor sporting event

Not sure which Kata backpack you have ? I have a couple of Kata bags and find them very supportive and well-padded but on the downside really heavy.
The Kata I use is a few years old. It suited my needs well - light travel with my basic camera (5D M2 + 24-105 kit lens), laptop and some other bits and bobs

Maybe sometimes no matter how good the bag is,in the end if your going to be walking everyday with an fair size kit you are going to feel it
Fair point. Just looking at reducing/minimising the impact so I don't end up with messed up joints unable to lug around the most basic of kits.
 
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James
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#11
I guess all you can do is try out different backpacks, and look for one with decent waist and/or chest straps as mentioned.

I certainly wouldn't call that an insane amount of gear, as Adam says above. It's what, a bit under five kilos without the tripod? It seems odd that that would be causing you problems, unless you have a pre-existing condition. Have you tried adjusting the bag you're using currently? It could be that simply shortening the straps or something makes a big difference.
 
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#13
Lowepro flipside's are very good backpacks in imo. I tried the Tamrac Expedition but it felt like you had a box strapped to your bag and wasn't very comfortable, the flipside is much more comfortable for me.
 
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#14
Only five kilos? You may need to pay attention to your physique.

I retired early due to ill health due to having spent decades behind a desk. To recover elementary fitness I started walking around the streets with a DSLR. To begin with I could only manage two miles. Now years later I can happily stroll around for hours and miles carrying five kilos and a tripod. It's only when the weight exceeds five kilos that I need to switch to a backpack with two shoulder straps and a waist belt.

No doubt all that waking has strengthened me somewhat. But at least as important is that it has lightened me. I'm now about ten kilos lighter than when I retired. So when carrying five kilos of camera gear I'm still five kilos lighter than I was after decades of degenerating behind a desk. Note that the stress and wear on weight bearing joints goes up far worse than proportionally with weight. It goes up at least with with the square of the weight, some argue more than with the cube.
 
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#16
Hi Sid, I would echo Chris' comment about physical condition.

I often have to carry 3 times that weight (a working wildlife photographer) and on odd occasions, may have to help clients with their gears too, for similar distances. It is not easy if you're not used to it but you can certainly train yourself prior a trip just to be a little bit fitter.

The few Kata bags I've used in the past have all been very good with their design but I use ThinkTank and Kiboko now, purely for size and most importantly, for weight. Like most, I have used Lowepro also but when compared, they are not very light in construction.

Hope this helps.
 
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sid
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#17
Thanks for your replies. I am generally quite fit (or consider myself to be) - martial arts and weight training by hobby and a reasonable amount of cardio. However, whilst looking around for packs I booked me in to have my shoulders/back looked at ... turns out I not only have a shoulder impingement but also weak Trapezius which force my neck muscles to work harder getting very very tight. Any weight on shoulders then adds to the pressure.

It will take months before my upper body is strong enough again but at least now I know what I need to work on. I do still need to take weight off my shoulders :D, so a good back/belt system will still help. I don't think I want to lock my gear up for that long.

Some very good tips/suggestions on here thank you and keep em coming. I will try out different packs this weekend see what they feel like.

Sid
 
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#19
At the end of the day 5 kilos is still a significant amount of extra weight for the body to be carrying around (even without an injury) and so you should always look at getting a bag that is most comfortable and distributes the weight as evenly as possible. Another tick in the box for the flipside. I have the flipside 400 and the waist strap is very sturdy and takes a lot of weight off the shoulders.
 
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Dave
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#21
Agree with the alternative Ned suggested. There is probably no need for a huge sack but there are plenty of medium sized sacks with good suport, and then get some foam inserts (Google 'Camera inserts for rucksacks' - there are plenty on Ebay) to fit the sack.

Dave
 
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Ian
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#22
Why so much equipment???

Plan your expeditions to require less stuff. You don't have to give up the camera, but seriously that is just too much stuff.

Not surprised it is being a pain.
 
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#23
You want a backpack with good broad soft shoulder straps, plus a goad broad soft waist belt. The waist belt let's you take a lot of the weight on your hips, much easier. It's important to get the straps adjusted just right. That may mean re-adjusting when you change from not wearing a jacket to wearing one.
This the waist belt takes the weight not your shoulders.

Backs are weird. I can carry 12kg backpack all day just fine, or drop down to 6kg for walkabout/travelling, but a few hours of my camera over my shoulder and I get a pain in between my shoulder blades. I've changed strap and now switched to a wrist grip.
 
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Darren
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#24
As others have said, a good pack, we'll adjusted will place the weight on your hips.

This means that you'll have the shoulder straps a bit looser than feels "right", that's where the chest strap comes in to stop the straps slipping and keeps the weight off your brachial artery.

So before you splash out make sure the pack you have is properly adjusted. I readjust every time I take my flipside 400 off.

My little dance starts with slipping the pack on, do the chest strap up, tighten the shoulder straps up as tight as is comfortable (sometimes with a little jump or two to get the pack nice and high.) Next, do up the waist belt up nice and snug, then slacken the shoulder straps until the weight is on your hips.

Give that a go and see if it helps.
 
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#27
I am a relatively fit and healthy guy but no matter what bags I've tried, I've still had shoulder pains after long periods of carrying.

I agree with some of the points raised above. Yes, some bags help distribute the weight more, but when it comes down to it, it's all about planning. I know it's not always possible but you have to try and take the minimum you need.
 

LongLensPhotography

Th..th..that's all folks!
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15,098
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Wuhan BAT
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#28
chest straps help, and having weight close to your body
that and obviously nice soft and WIDE shoulder straps. That gear should be OK. Sometimes I take a little less (f/4, not f/2.8 long lens), sometimes a fair bit more... Tripod (> 3kg metal beast) always in hand ready for action. I can't say I notice it that much. This is for climbing highland peaks, etc - so not your gentle walk in the park.
 
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Steve
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#29
For my current trip I bought a new Lowpro Flipside 200 Sport, which carries:

7D with Sigma 150-600 S attached (or 70-200 f2.8 - depending on the occasion)
6D body
24-105L
CF tripod.
Bins
Water
Stuff...

Earlier this week I did a 10k hike without issue, and I have a bad back.... A decent backpack that distributes the load is a prerequisite for this type of work. On shorter trips I may often strap my scope on too, but I've left that at home while I'm away.

I went out the other day with a lightweight bag and the 6D+24-105 and my shoulder was painful all the following day. Good bags are really important in this hobby. The 200 Flipside Sport has a very good waist belt and a comfortable chest strap. Carry it as high on your back as you can.
 
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Mark
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#30
I could suggest buying my expedition 6x bag in the classifieds.......

I've got the 7x and they are brilliant

Or get a micro 4/3 Olympus kit and ditch the SLR........
 
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