Tom Field uses photo backpacks for airline travel and often for photography in the field.
Here's a look at a couple of all-weather packs he uses by Lowepro: the Nature Trekker AW and the Photo Trekker AW.
There are many types of camera bags and cases, and obviously you must find the ones that work for you.
Each photographer has his own operating methods, equipment kit, and style of photography.
The studio owner's favorite case won't be best for the press photographer, mountaineer, or underwater specialist.
I have a range of cases from giant waterproof Pelicans to beltpacks, and each is useful for different missions.
Let's talk about taking a field trip with your camera: in the city, some wilderness, or a location shoot.
For those who must keep their cameras ready at a moment's notice, a shoulder bag or hip holster may work best.
But for long hours on foot with heavy gear, it's hard to beat a photo backpack.
A pack holds a lot, keeps things organized, protects the contents, and can make the weight easier to bear.
The all-weather designation means (in Lowepro sense) the pack has an attached cover (normally stowed away) of impermeable material
that can protect the pack and even some external attachments from rain, dust, and baking-hot sunlight.
This article looks at two such backpacks made by Lowepro: the Nature Trekker AW and the Photo Trekker AW.
If you're interested in the Photo Trekker only, you can skip ahead to Part 3.
Nature Trekker AW
Review: Lowepro Nature Trekker AW
Both Roy Sewall and I own this model backpack (the original version), and we've both used it extensively.
It serves its purposes very well: carry and protect valuable gear.
And it adapts to different people and gear loads with customizable features.
The pack itself is relatively heavy and expensive, but compared to the gear inside it's hard to complain.
Description and Features
The pack consists of a tough Cordura nylon outer shell and an internal foam structure with Velcro-attached padded dividers.
Most external surfaces are covered with loops, tie points, and D-rings to attach external equipment like tripods, water bottles, jackets.
A tripod foot cup and quick-release elastic strap can be repositioned almost anywhere to carry a small to medium tripod.
The shoulder straps and hip belt are padded and 3D contoured for an amazingly comfortable fit,
and can be tucked and zipped away for non-backpack travel.
These padded straps can be adjusted in oh-so-many ways.
For example, the sternum strap includes a length adjustment, an elastic tensioner, and can be moved up or down to the best position.
The back pad is comfortably thick and covered with a durable mesh that breathes to avoid sweat buildup.
The shoulder straps can be stowed behind the back pad for off-the-back travel.
A thick suitcase-type handle is provided on top.
The lid has a flap-covered zipper, and houses two large flat zippered pouches which are great for maps and other papers.
The four external zippers have two metal sliders each with metal pull tabs and cloth extension loops).
And in the bottom is a compartment containing a rain cover large enough to also shelter some externally attached loads.
Inside, the lining is a soft cloth that won't rub the finish off bouncing gear, and serves to grab the Velcro on the padded dividers.
The inside lid has three zippered pockets that are good for filters or small items.