Marble, Colorado (CO), USA

Camera Bags: High and Dry

One of the most important pieces of equipment we carry is a camera bag. Maybe you think the bag is less important than the camera – and that’s certainly true to some extent. But the fact is, if you can’t carry your gear, you’re not going anywhere at all. So, having a reliable pack is essential. For landscape photographers, the pack needs to be tough and durable, have lots of space for equipment, and be comfortable to carry over long distances. That’s a lot to ask, and we’ve carried lots of different bags over the years. Some were better than others.

Right now, we’re carrying Loka bags from F-stop. They’re more expensive than some – but they’ll also last a lot longer. And this isn’t a bag you’ll find yourself kicking yourself for wasting money on. Nope. The Loka does it’s job – and then some.

One of the best features is the rear access. It allows you to get to your equipment without putting the bag down on the ground – which is essential when you are shooting in the middle of a river, in knee-deep swamps, or in the mud on a rainy day. And it’s not just about getting at your gear easily. When you spin the bag around, you can use it as a work surface – for changing lens or putting on filters… whatever you need to do. To add icing to the cake – if it’s raining, you can access your gear without having to fumble around with the rain cover (this is an optional – and highly recommended – accessory). The cover stays on while you open and close the bag.

Since we get so many questions about how this works, we put together a little video for you. Here she is – world-renowned actress and accomplished ventriloquist Varina Patel – playing the part of the oblivious photographer pretending to be unaware that she’s being filmed.

About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.

6 replies
  1. Jon
    Jon says:

    Ok, so living here in the Pacific Northwest I find myself shooting in wet conditions. I try as hard as I might to keep water drops off my lens but not always successful. I keep a lens cloth in a baggy to make sure it is dry, but when the humidity of the air is high and temps are cool, it always seems that if I try to dry off the lens/polarizer it just ends up smearing the lens, shoot over, hike out. 🙁

    What do you do to keep your gear from fogging up in the field inside the pack and how do you dry your lens in less than favorable conditions?

    Jon

    Reply
    • Jay Patel
      Jay Patel says:

      There is no quick and easy solution for this except to keep your camera and lenses warmer than outside temperature. When travelling in hot humid places we always keep our camera in the trunk so the AC in the car will not cool the camera down. When you come inside from shooting in cold weather we would recommend you leave your bag open.

      We use a small microfiber based super absorbant towel from REI to dry our equipment before we use a lens cloth on it. This way the lens cloth from smearing the moisture all over the lens. After every trip we wash this towel with dish soap to get rid of the dirt and oil that is accumulated.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. Jon
    Jon says:

    I saw this video this past spring before I went to shoot waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge, Oregon. We had hiked into Onieda Gorge, wading and scrambling on the gorge walls trying to keep our packs above the running water. With no place to set down the Pack (F-Stop Satori) due to the water level in the gorge, I remembered seeing this and it worked out so nice, what a great tip! The other photographer had a Pack without a waist belt and needless to say he was jealous of my freedom

    Jon

    Reply
  3. saeed
    saeed says:

    hi…. jay & varina.. ur images r the best….
    Do u have any work shop in India…..
    i realy want learn from u guys..
    i just love photography and its my passion u know .. and u guys r the best…
    u a simple photo can express a lot thing that we can’t say or see by ur eyes…
    and i have learn lots of thing by ur notes……. so thanx guys….

    Reply
    • Varina Patel
      Varina Patel says:

      Thanks so much, Saeed. 🙂 I’m afraid we don’t have any workshops scheduled in India right now, but we do hope to visit sometime soon. Good luck with your photography – we are so glad you are learning a lot from us!

      Reply

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