Thursday, August 14, 2014


In preparations for my upcoming photo tour to Nepal, I have been thinking of a camera bag that would meet my requirements as a photographer wanting to travel on the lighter side. Not that I don't already have a good camera backpack. But, it is designed to cary substantial weight (two pro DSLR camera bodies, up to 3-4 lenses, including 300 mm, f4 with extender, bunch of accessories), therefore, it is a bit bulky, though it fits most cary-on airlines requirements. It is also not super comfortable to wear.

I needed lighter, more travel friendly backpack that would meet all mentioned below requirements:

  • smaller, more compact size
  • meet most airlines carry-on requirements 
  • fit one pro DSLR camera body, 2-3 lenses, including 300 mm, f4 and some accessories
  • be comfortable to wear
  • be fairly lightweight, but durable
  • be padded and safe to cary my photo equipment
  • have an easy access to equipment
  • be versatile and fit a few necessities besides photo equipment
  • does not look like a photo bag 

Despite a large verity of camera bags on the market, I had a hard time to choose one. Usually, my requirements for lightweight and comfort to wear backpack was hard to meet. 

So, I though what if I put together one myself from the components that I like? I have two backpacks made by Osprey and designed for trekking. They are lightweight, durable, extremely comfortable to wear, for what Osprey company is known for. I always wondered, why wouldn't Osprey make a backpack specially for photographers? May be one day they will, but today, I decided to make one for myself.

One of the Osprey backpacks that I own is Osprey Hornet 46. It weights only 1 lb 10 oz (0.73 kg) and fits under most measurements set by airlines for carry-on. So, I got a great backpack, but not quite suited for carrying photography equipment safely, as there is no padding in this bag.

The backpack image is from Osprey website

I literally had to think outside of the bag. All I needed was a padded insert to fit into my Hornet 46, to safely stove away my photo equipment. After scrutinizing the web, I came across Mindshift Gear web site. On this website I found a padded insert that is big enough, light enough, durable enough, versatile enough and that fits like a glove into my Osprey Hornet 46 backpack. 

The image of padded insert is from MindShift Gear website

The whole set up is only 2.5 lb (1.1 kg) without equipment, much lighter than any photo backpack I looked at. It might have not been crucial, but I extra padded the insert with velcro pads from my other backpack. The inside of the insert is customizable and can be rearranged to hold equipment in few combinations. The insert can easily fit DSLR pro body size with attached 70-200mm, f2.8 or 300mm, f4 lens, plus both 17-40mm, f4 and 24-70mm, f2.8 or one 180mm, f3.5 lens and a few filters. After it is inserted in the backpack, there is a plenty of space left to put flash, memory cards, external drive and a few other small pieces of equipment. There is also a space for the raincoat or poncho, a light piece of closing and a water bottle.

My insert with Canon DSLR pro body, 70-200mm, f2.8, 17-40mm, f4, 24-70, f2.8 lenses 

Insert inside of my backpack with plenty of room for more necessities

My backpack closed with the insert inside

I am quite happy with how it turned out and now I am looking forward to comfortably travel with my photo equipment to my next destination.