Feb 2014 update: After returning from 6 weeks photographing in SE Asia, I can now report back on these pre-trip photos of my gear I posted.
I brought this gear through the ringer, including a 4 day jungle trek where I modified the bag to carry both my camera gear and clothing. Though the bag wasn’t designed with this purpose in mind, it performed surprisingly well. The back mesh panels wicked away the sweat, versatility of the removable interior lens modules worked well for rolled clothing, and handy exterior pocket held water, snacks, a fleece jacket where the laptop typically is stored. I’ve used the airport rolling bag series for the past 6 years, and while I still use that system with the larger padded belt at home for shoots with heavy gear I loved the freedom of the pack carrying all my gear and leaving my hands free. I could never have handled the larger system walking the gangplank from boat to shore in Sittwe, Burma – on a skinny flexible bamboo plank sloped sharply uphill at at 45 degree angle I needed to be balanced!
It was quick and easy to adjust my gear for each day’s shoot and only bring the pouches needed for the lenses I carried that day. I kept the laptop semi-hidden in the inside side pocket visible below, and though I brought the pac-safe mesh lock system to secure the entire pack I didn’t use it -simply locked the zippers together. When traveling through airports I packed the modular lens pouches almost flat inside my large suitcase, and was ready to quickly remove them to attach to the skin belt to begin shooting immediately upon landing.
Photos below show the pack with the larger pro belt – made the decision right before the trip to use the thinner skin belt and pouches shown in the last photo. Smart decision – I was more comfortable in the lighter weight belt with the hot, humid climates & this left me room in my suitcase to bring a few extra souvenirs home I could have never fit otherwise :-).
It’s very important to try out new pack systems before leaving on a big trip, I’ve been using this system for the past few weeks with no hitches – a good workout plan to hike around a few miles carrying the gear!