I'm looking for a backpack that not only can carry all the camera gear I want, but also let me take along extra clothing, food etc. for longer day trips or a night in a camouflage photographing wildlife. This article is a summary of what I have found out there so far. I have not managed to decide what I'm buying yet, but I will update this article when I do.
I'm currently using a Lowpro Nature Trekker AW II, but are unhappy with it for the following reasons:
So I am trying to look at options that fit my needs when I want to walk into the wilderness instead of photographing at the side of the road. Nothing wrong in photographing beside the road, I do that myself, but I often want to get away from it all.
Just to update you on what I ended up with. I bought the Kinesis Photo Gear V090 and V092. I plan on putting these inside one of my regular technical backpacks that I already have (and that have a good carry system). The V090 opens to the top and can be put inside on the top of the pack. And the camera can be accessed from the top without having the V090 to be taken out of the backpack.
The V090 have ample room for my Canon 5D MkII with a EF24-105L f/4.0, the battery grip and a RRS L-plate, and my EF70-200L f/2.8. In addition to memory cards and extra batteries. This gives me easy access to the camera and my most used lenses.
The V092 is used to hold all the other lenses and stuff I want when I need all my gear.
In the end I bought the f-stop satori for day trips, and that is working really nice. I have 3 different sizes ICU so I can vary the ratio of photo gear to other stuff based on the need. This backpack is really good, but I still wish the carry system was even a better when I really load it up.
f-stop makes a backpack called Satori that look very promising at 2.7kg including a large ICU to hold the camera gear. Total volume of the backpack is 62L and the X-large ICU for the camera gear is 25L. The large ICU for the camera gear is 20L, and will leave more room for other stuff.
The separate ICU can be changed to fit your need, and also looks like a good option to put your camera gear inside an ordinary technical backpack.
Price with X-large ICU is $289.
Photobackpacker is based on the Kelty Redwing backpack at about 2.5kg. It's made for large format cameras, but I guess it's possible to use it for my DSLR by adding internal dividers in the boxes.
Click Pro Elite is camera backpack with a volume of 41L and weight 2.0kg and seems to have the best carry system of the camera bag only solutions.
Price is $325.
Lowpro Super Trekker AW II seems to be large enough for all the camera gear, but it's a camera backpack only and to heavy at 5.9kg empty, and don't seem to have a good enough carry system like the technical backpacks. Volume is 38L.
Lowpro Nature Trekker AW II is a bit to small for all the camera gear I have, and it's a camera backpack only and to heavy at 2.9kg empty, and don't have a good enough carry system like the technical backpacks. Volume is 22L.
Gura Gear Kiboko is another camera backpack with a volume of 41L and weight 1.8kg. Looks like a good solution if you only need to carry your camera gear.
Price is $399.
price for V090 and V092 is $63 each.
Another possibility is to use an ordinary technical backpack and put you camera gear inside another bag that go into the backpack. The downside of this is that it's a bit more hassle to get to the camera gear, but you are guaranteed to get a god backpack that fits you.
There are several bags that are suitable to put inside another bag, and some of the options is the ICU's from f-stop, the V092 and V090 from Kinesis Photo Gear, and bags like ThinkTank Urban Disguise 30 etc.
I currently use the V092 and V090 from Kinesis Photo Gear when I use a large technical backpack (Bergans PowerFrame 130L) and hike in the wilderness with a tent, sleeping bag, food etc.
Naneu Alpha-L is another solution looking like some of the smaller f-stop stuff with separate compartments for the camera gear and the other stuff needed on a long day trip. But it looks a bit to small for my use.