with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Equipment Lust – Pack It For Keeps

Graphic of someone carrying a huge backpack up a hillI just don’t understand it. We research and plan our camera purchase, saving up for that $800 lens and $1000 camera body, giving up eating out and other frivolous expenditures to have the perfect camera. Then we rush out to the local Our Art Wolfe camera pack on the beach in Californiadepartment store to spend $19.95 to carry it all. A camera bag is one of the most under-purchased pieces of camera equipment. Remember it is protecting your investment so pick wisely.

We’ve written an article going into depth about what makes a good camera bag, but here are some specifics to get you started.

What makes it a good one?

A good case is one that carries everything you need, is easy to carry, flexible, and protects your gear from itself and the elements. There are many brands, kinds and types. Many nature photographers prefer a backpack or fanny pack model rather than an over the shoulder bag as there is a lot of walking, hiking and sometimes climbing involved in nature photography.

Check the construction, inside and out
Make sure the stitching is solid and well done. Check out the fabric used. Will it be waterproof and protective of your gear? Make sure it is well built and has the features you require.
Take it for a test drive
Tamrac Camera BagsBring your equipment into the shop and put it all in the bag. Does everything have a place? Is it accessible for your specific needs or will you have to dig through it to get to what you need the most? Once filled with your gear, put it on. Is it comfortable? Does it fit well against your body? You may be spending a lot of time lugging this thing around so make sure you want to establish a relationship with it.

Don’t Advertise

Pick a bag that doesn’t advertise expensive equipment. The Nikon 500 f4 lens, costing about as much as a small car, comes in a heavy carrying box with metal corners and edges and tall, black letters announcing “Nikon Nikkor 500 f4 Lens” written on two sides. Put that in the closet. It only invites trouble. Find a bag which will work for you and carry everything you need. One that is too small will be annoying and one too large will get in the way and become too awkward. Fanny packs and backpacks are great. Whatever you choose, think about how you will use it, where you will take it (on the plane it must fit under the seat), and what you are going to carry in it.

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