Backpacking with my camera and laptop??
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Dec 18, 2012 12:23 PM Last Post By: CheersTerry
Nov 14, 2012 6:51 PM
Backpacking with my camera and laptop??Hiya,
I'm going to be travelling soon, and I plan to do a lot of backpacking, so of course I'm looking for a really good backpack.
I also do a lot of photography so having my dslr camera with my, plus my two lenses and my 15" laptop will be essential.
I've been looking at a lot of the camera/laptop bags that are specifically for carrying these things but they all seem to be pretty small with not much room for personal items, I was looking for a backpack that I could put everything I'm taking with me in, but one that will keep my camera and laptop separate and safe, not in my things getting banged around and scratched up.
Does anyone know where I can find these, if anyone has one, what brand is it and would you recommend I get one?
Nov 15, 2012 1:13 AM
1Be very careful. I have one where the product is good but the company a disaster (it took them around a year to sell me a rain cover for it and still after 15 months they have not supplied the other bits from the same order !!!). There excuse is always "We never expected the high demand we have experienced" but getting towards a year and a half that excuse tends to wear a bit thin.
Good product is useless if you can't get the bits you need to use it. In my case, the rain cover was important and the pack was expensive enough that I could not afford a 2nd camera bag. So instead of enabling me to do more photography, it ended up restricting what I could be because I became very weather dependant - which is worse than useless.
I wont post the name of the company on a public forum as I have a lot of reservations about that type of thing. A bit of a conflict really because I feel others should be aware of how the company operates but I don't like the public aspect. Happy to discuss via private message.
Nov 20, 2012 12:21 AM
2Hi......I did a 7 week trip last year in China/Cambodia/Thailand with a DSLR/70-200/17-55. I thought I needed both lenses but only used the 17-55. Took plenty of memory cards instead of a computer.......
I think you should put your gear into a bag (computer, camera. lenses etc) and go for a few hours walk with it all.......just remember while travelling that it will all go EVERYWHERE with you....to eat, sightsee, dunny stops etc......you will be surprised at how heavy it all becomes and what a nuisance it will be. And you will be watched......there are people out there who dont have the gear we have, and would love to have it more than you do.....
I use a Lowepro backpack that has 2 sections.....the bottom half comfortably holds the camera with the 2 lenses, and the battery charger, and zips undone from either side. The top section holds around 6 litres of stuff........plenty of room for a drink bottle, rain coat, sunglasses, etc......and there is a pull out raincoat at the bottom.. Also straps for holding a tripod or monopod. Just remember to put a patch over the name badge so its not a sitting target for thieves, advertising camera gear......
Not sure what model it is, but was around $100 and very comfy to wear.
Nov 27, 2012 3:19 AM
3If you don’t find what you are looking for, have you considered using a daypack with laptop sleeve? You could then insert it into a regular travel pack, zip up and go. You would have to load the main pack 2/3 full to have enough room. Your camera gear has two bags of protection against the odd bag slasher
I use a shoulder/messenger bag in this way and then insert into main travel pack, when travelling or long hoofing it. Note best to have a main travel pack which can still be used as carry on luggage!
Nov 27, 2012 10:18 AM
4We're travelling for a year with a DSLR, couple of lenses and laptop as well. What works best for us in a main backpack (50-70L) plus a small back pack as well on our front. We keep our cameras in the front so whilst in transit they are always in sight, and when we go out for a day we can leave the big bag behind and take a small one. Also handy for getting on buses and planes where you can keep you're essentials on you rather than check them in. Just our thoughts, everyone does it their way!
Dec 2, 2012 12:16 PM
5Also, consider what you are carrying in the light of budget and the type of travel you will be doing and the gear you already have (and what you are looking to do with that gear). So if you are traveling for a couple of weeks you will probably want to live with the gear you already have. However, if you are travelling for 6+ months then maybe look at your gear more carefully. So if your 15" laptop is getting a bit tired (battery on its last legs, processor/memory becoming limited) then maybe think about a replacement. Some people use Photoshop when packages like Lightroom do most things a professional photographer wants and will happily run on e.g. MacBook Air (or even the rMBP 13). OK, expensive, but if you are going to be replacing the stuff in 6 months time anyway, it will make a big difference (and many professionals use Lightroom on MacBook Air in the field).
Look at what you are intending to do/achieve. If long term travelling and you always shoot RAW then you may want to post processed images whilst still away (or maybe shoot combined RAW+JPEG and put the JPEGs on your blog, archiving the RAWs for processing when you finally return home). If you really need to process RAWs whilst still travelling (and I would), nothing I have seen for tablets seems to be up to anything much - I don't have a tablet, keep thinking but cannot see the s/w I would want (given people (like myself) shooting RAW are often being fussier about the final image).
As I plan for my own long term travels (probably a couple of years away due to commitments) I was intending DSLR, plus 100-400, maybe extension tubes plus laptop, plus chargers. That idea has gone now because e.g. out for a walk my day pack is 8Kg without computers and just a fleece and waterproof !! Also, I have assumed that whatever I do take stands a reasonable chance of being stolen at some point and I would not want that to ruin everything. So I now plan for a hybrid (to be purchased nearer departure as technology keeps improving) and probably a tablet (hoping decent s/w will become available) - but none of that helps you. Note you can already get hybrid bodies that can take DSLR lenses with the same sensors as used in DSLRs. OK, not suitable for everything (e.g. photos where subject is moving fast due to lags in the display screen) but again, depends of what you are using it all for.
Also, if doing photography to the point where you need a large laptop, consider the security of your photos. If you have (presumably) large image files, can you get adequate internet bandwidth/capacity to upload them (in case the laptop and all your pics get stolen) ?
Dec 8, 2012 4:07 PM
6One thought; it seems to have become an accepted fact, if you leave gear in your room, such as a laptop you are asking for it to be stolen. As such you must carry all your electronic gear with you at all times or lock things in a hotel safe.... This is a traveller’s myth
In 8 years of travelling with laptops, in SEAsia, Europe, N and Central America I have not had a problem. I’m staying budget places, not high end, either have friends and acquaintances who travel have extensively travelled with laptops. I leave all those electronic things; chargers, speakers, laptops, buffalo drives, extra lenses and extra camera – basically I tour around with one (I have 2) cameras in a Patagonia sling and leave the rest of my gear in the room. Be prudent but don’t be a pack llama!
Dec 8, 2012 8:42 PM
7Forget about keeping your camera/laptop separate from everything else at all times.
When you're travelling keep your laptop, camera package and all valuables, documents, etc. with you at all times in a daypack. All your clothes and everything else is in a travel backpack which can be checked luggage if necessary.
When you've reached your destination secure your laptop, one back-up hard drive, all the peripherals, chargers, etc. in something like this. Your clothes and everything else are stored as usual in your backpack. Your day-to-day camera shooting package, another back-up hard drive if you're anal and whatever else you need daily is in the daypack.
While you're out exploring you have everything you require to take photos while your laptop and everything else of importance is safe from crimes of opportunity and your backpack is happy too.
If you pack carefully this can ALL fit inside in a carry-sized backpack, no worries.
Dec 9, 2012 8:56 AM
8I am not a Pacsafe fan at all Terry. One, I think they actually scream, 'steal me' and secondly and equally if not more important, they weight way too much. They are 'slash proof' not CUT proof in any case.
A common enough complaint by backpackers who have used them is that they left them with everyone else's bags at the end of the rail car and the whole pack was stolen.
Pleistocene, you do not say if you stay in hostels. The most common place for a backpacker to have something stolen is in a hostel (not in a budget hotel in Outer Mongolia or wherever). Invariably, by other backpackers. Sad but true.
There will always be a risk of theft when travelling. In some cases to a lesser degree than in other cases. There is no guaranteed answer to that problem. That is what insurance is for.
Dec 9, 2012 9:38 AM
9First of all you are confusing the large Pacsafe product for backpacks with the small safe that I linked to above. They have nothing whatsoever in common so all your points about backpacks at the back of train, etc. are immaterial.
There is no "screaming" when the small safe I use is secured out of sight attached to a bed frame, etc. If attached to some other immovable object in the hostel/hotel room it's simple to prop the backpack in front of it to hide it, or even just throw a t-shit over it to make it disappear. It weighs less than 500 grams. It rolls up to less than the size of foot long submarine sandwich.
When I'm carrying my still/video package with laptop and peripherals worth $15,000+ it serves as an inexpensive, completely portable and hassle-free means to give some piece of mind that those expensive components are safe from all run-of-the-mill crimes of opportunity.
Dec 9, 2012 9:52 AM
10$15k, ouch. Hope you have good insurance just in case Terry. I would certainly agree that something that valuable does merit some consideration for security even if it adds weight to your load. The 500 grams is nothing relative to the weight of the camera gear itself anyway. So as you say, different strokes.
When is someone going to invent a professional quality LIGHT WEIGHT camera. LOL
Dec 13, 2012 5:32 PM
11The most common place for a backpacker to have something stolen is in a hostel (not in a budget hotel in Outer Mongolia or wherever). Invariably, by other backpackers. Sad but true.
Going to be very very difficult to find a hostel in SEA, but you can look. In fact outside or europe and N America. I like the CT gear idea and C&P the info to my gear folder. That said, I don't think the OP is going to be caring 15,000 worth of gear.
Hopefully the Op has went ot another site by now :))
Dec 13, 2012 6:17 PM
Dec 14, 2012 4:58 PM
Dec 14, 2012 5:06 PM
14I'm sure the misunderstanding is because English is not my first (or second) language but there are innumerable backpacker hostels/guest houses scattered all through SE Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Central America. I've long since lost count how many I've stayed in.
Perhaps we have a different understanding what a hostel is... my fault, I'm sure...
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