The Perfect Packs for Keeping Professional Photo Gear Safe and Accessible while hiking a 14er
Clinging to a pickaxe on the side of a 14er is not the most opportune moment to reach into your pack and grab your DSLR, but with the earth sinking and rising into deep canyons and jagged peaks all around you, the shutter is certainly calling. This was the experience that John Lemaster, photographer and equipment specialist at Mike’s Camera in Boulder, described as his deepest regret.
“I had never actually been above the clouds and it was just amazing,” John recalled. “It was like standing over an ocean of clouds, but I didn’t take as many pictures as I wanted to because I couldn’t access my equipment. I was too worried about falling and holding on.”
John was on the summit of Mt. Hood, “which is like climbing the flatirons with an ice axe,” he said. “If I were to do that again, I would take a backpack that would have easy access, because the easier you can get to your equipment, the more pictures you’re going to take.”
To show his support for The Colorado 54, we asked John to give us the rundown on the best photography gear for mountaineers to help keep equipment safe and accessible. Plus, don’t forget that photographers participating in The Colorado 54 will have the opportunity to enter to win a DSLR from Canon on ascent day, among other prizes.
A durable daypack displays the ultimate accessibility
The MindShift Rotation 180 allows you to safely access your camera gear without ever taking off your pack. Unzipping a side pocket allows your entire protected camera case to swivel out of the back and around your front on the secured waist strap, meaning your gear is never at risk of falling.
“This pack is especially good if you’re trying to hold onto an iceaxe with one hand and pull out your DSLR,” John said. The pack also contains a storage area perfect for your extra layers and lunch.
A Backpacking Bag for Serious Equipment Storage
The Lowepro Rover Pro AW series is the most ideal option for extended backpacking journeys. The pack has all of the standard features of a high end backpacking pack, including an internal frame, dry back, and supported straps, but also comes with two removable camera cases. Although you do have to take off the pack to access your equipment, you can safely store multiple cameras and lenses, as well as securely carry a tripod.
The light and tight daypack for bikers and climbers
For day trips, the Lowepro Photo Sport series offers a safe storage solution for your camera body and lenses, while also providing all of the essential elements of your average day pack. The bag is outfitted to hold a 3L water bladder and has drawstring element that allows photographers to hold all their equipment tight while bouncing around on a mountain bike or glissading down a snowy mountain side.
The Photo Sport series comes in both backpack and slingback versions, both with side access to your equipment, but John recommends the backpack for more even support on a long hike.
Which pack will be perfect for your adventure? Consider your needs and the nature of your hike and remember, the safety of yourself and the safety of your equipment should be your primary concerns while preparing for a backcountry expedition.