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Carrying a DSLR on an Ultralight Tour

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Carrying a DSLR on an Ultralight Tour

Old 06-27-13, 08:24 PM
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Carrying a DSLR on an Ultralight Tour

I've been going through a lot of gear, so when something really turns my head, I want to talk about it. I'll be day-hiking and touring with this camera-toting setup, and maybe my fellow photogs can gain a little inspiration from what I see as an awesome way to carry your rig without a lot of superflous space.

I'm going on another bike tour this year, almost certainly through eastern Canada, coming up in August. I've been picking up gear to do it lightly, but I will be traveling with a laptop so it isn't going to be as UL as my last tour. Nevertheless, weight matters; freedom from pounds means more miles and more places. I won't be bringing jeans.

I always carry my DSLR, though, because it's a hobby. So I needed a new way to carry it while on the bike that spared the sensitive equipment from vibration; It had to be on my body.

On a whim, I grabbed the following; an Osprey Viper 7:

And added their "Grab Bag" to the front of it.

This combination was instantly intuitive. My camera nests inside a Crumpler Haven (S). This is a neat little padded insert that turns the Osprey into a camera bag. It fit in the Viper 7 like it was nested for it.

The hydration bladder that came with it was an abomination. It was all plastic and cordura, way too heavy. I use 2L Platypus bottles to hold water, and wasn't going to need it. When I took it out, I had a sleeve where I could stow a folded Thermarest Z-Lite Sit Pad, which I use for mending cold spots in my hammock and sitting around camp. It sounds kitschy and unnecessary, but being able to quick-draw the sit pad on lunch stops will be a luxury on tour. A serious luxury. This rather elegant configuration also further protected the camera and made the pack a lot more comfortable. I also took out the removable plastic frame sheet. I liked how Osprey made everything heavy and cumbersome removable/optional, with the exception of the buckle on the sternum strap, but I will find a replacement.

Finally, I knew from the first bike tour that I like access while riding. I counted my money, checked a compass, brushed my teeth, fetched energy bars, and applied sunscreen while riding every day, and a hip pouch made it possible. But, the hip pouch was atrociously uncomfortable (Embrace the Suck). The grab bag is generously padded, and rests higher; all the access and none of the grinding into my hip bones. Plus, I can easily access my phone for map checks. This system works flawlessly; I can't wait to use it on tour.

Last tour, I used an unpadded hydration pack that wrapped around my upper hips and a hip pack that wrapped around my lower hips. I looked like an armadillo, and while my Ultralight mantra was fulfilled, it wasn't comfortable. I had about 15lbs of gear total, strapped to the bike and body in the most frustratingly obtuse possible. live and learn! The mesh padding, lack of hip hugging, and breathing room of this setup is a night-and-day difference. it's not for everyone, but it's definitely for me.

Hope this review was as fun to read as it was to write; I love my new camera bag!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Osprey.jpg (10.2 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg
Osprey Grab bag.jpg (11.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg
Crumpler.jpg (20.0 KB, 4 views)

Last edited by mdilthey; 06-27-13 at 09:02 PM.
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