View Full Version : Photography pack questions

03-15-2006, 09:51 AM
Hi all, I've been reading these posts for a while and this is my first post here. I was wondering if anyone here is into photography and was wanting to know what kind of system you use for transporting your gear. I've got a lot of photography equipment but am really unsatisfied with purpose-built photography bags. Lowepro and Tamrac make decent bags but they don't leave much room for anything else besides camera equipment. I do a lot of travelling that is only a couple of days long and would like to take just a backpack with me. I have a Maxpedition backpack and pouches for everyday, around the city needs that works great but its not so helpful with my camera equipment, also my Zulu is too big as an urban camera bag. I'm looking to get a Marauder and was wondering if I could get some advice.

I'm looking to hand-build the perfect, versatile backpack. I was thinking about getting a Marauder and outfitting the inside of it with some Lowepro pouches. However, I don't know if their Lowepro "modular" pouches would be attachable to the PALS webbing inside the Marauder (I don't have any of their "modular" pouches). I would really appreciate any advice/tips/photos on this.

Also, I came across this company: Gexar Action Camera Systems. They have a system to attach Pelican cases to their pack. Does anyone know of a way to attach Pelican or other hard cases securely to PALS webbing?

Appreciate any insight!

03-15-2006, 10:21 AM
I too am wondering this. I did try out one of the Daking photo bags, but found it inadequate for much more than just a camera. What you could do though is buy the dakine "camera block" which is basically just the part that organizes the camera gear, and I am sure you could adapt it to PALS webbing somehow. Check out <a href="http://www.dakine.com" target="_blank">http://www.dakine.com (http://www.dakine.com)</a> for more info on the Camera Block. Last I checked it was around 40 dollars.

03-15-2006, 11:38 AM
what about something like this which will just fit in the marauder for your camera equipment and leave some room to spare for other stuff? just the insert, not the hard case.

imported_Scott Cunningham
03-15-2006, 12:14 PM
My Squadron Commander uses a Tactical Tailor medic bag for camera gear. Its set up like a photo bag, with velcro partitions inside. Works well.

03-15-2006, 12:29 PM
look at my post in this (http://forums.kifaru.net/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=001342) thread.

03-15-2006, 12:34 PM
A good soft-case to consider for use inside the Marauder is the Lowe Pro Omni Traveller.


I've used this set-up frequently; I check the the box (Pelican 1450 or equivalent) with low-value stuff and put the soft case with the camera gear in the Marauder. When I get to my destination I have a hard case and a soft case that I have the option of packing. Pretty good setup; the only disadvantage is that the Marauder panel opens in one direction, the top/side of the Lowe case opens in the other.

Ironic that you should say that the Zulu is too big; my favorite camera pack is a Navigator (huge panel loader with space for Lowe's Trekker, its Pelican 1550-compatible soft case).

As far as using the MOLLE with Lowe Pro pouches, consider the accessory below:


A cheaper alternative that's worked for me in the past is to tie some 550 cord across 2 PALS columns across, and however many MOLLE rows high to cage the belt paddle thing on the back of most Lowe pouches. Will try to post pics of this if this post causes interest and confusion. The least favorable alternative is to gingerly cut the MOLLE bar tacks.

On the subject of packing a hard case, consider the NRS Portage system below:


This is the best deal I have ever gotten on a piece of gear. My usual load with this Portage Harness is a fuly-loaded Peli 1550, a fully packed and pouched Scout piggybacked over it and a large dry bag strapped to the top. Does the job fer sure.

Good luck and good shooting.

Oh and by the way Pelican now sells its cases to the general public in Desert Tan and OD Green.

03-16-2006, 07:10 AM
Thanks for the tips. nut_sack, i hadn't seen that post before, I wonder if 68bird sorted out his rig? Straps, how secure is the attachment of the Lowe Traveller using 550 cord? Also, what do you mean that the panels open in opposite directions? Does that mean there's only one way to attach it?

Anyway, I think the Marauder will be my first purchase when I get back Stateside!

03-16-2006, 07:20 AM
I'm still waiting for my pointman and stuff to show up, but I was thinking I'd probably end up doing kind of what Straps said with the cord through the little loops on the side of the Lowepro lens cases. Maybe some other solution will strike me once I have the pack in my hands, who knows. I'm still up in the air what I'm going to do about the camera body itself, but I'll probably end up putting my Lowepro toploader inside the pack with the body in it, so that way the camera has some extra padding and I can just take that bag with me if I want to leave the main pack somewhere. I'm only going to be carrying a 12-24, a 105 macro, and a 70-200 with a teleconverter with me, so I don't think there should be a space problem, but I'll be in trouble if I ever get the cash for a 300mm+ :p

Edit: I just found out my stuff is due in on Monday; it's going to be a looong weekend.

03-16-2006, 10:40 AM

Initial post mentioned the possibility of outfitting the interior of a Marauder with Lowe Pro lens &amp; accessory pouches.

550 cord as an improvised solution is fairly good for this. In a pinch. When the worst that could happen is the lens falling off the PALS grid inside the pack. Translation: Secure enough in a pinch, but not a permanent solution to mounting fragile expensive gear.

Without posting a pic (which I'll try to do in a couple days), the best way to explain the panels question is to say the the flap on the Marauder traverses the long (tall) axis, the flap on the Lowe Traveller traverses the short axis, making it hard to get to a piece of equipment, say, in a cramped vehicle or a crowded street.

imported_Scott Cunningham
03-16-2006, 02:19 PM
I padded the whole marauder (modified stich job), but there isnt a good way to divide the main compartment for camera stuff.

03-17-2006, 05:58 AM
I would cosider some simple velcro covered dividers with metal 3-bars at the bottom like a chamber... place them in the pouch and then use cross members to divide and conquer as necessary... You might need a strip of velcro around the perimeter of the bag to hold steady if you set up an actual box configuration... other option would be to anchor a box to the common loops at the top and the pals at the bottom with the sides loose. Just some thoughts

03-20-2006, 02:39 PM
68bird, did you receive your Marauder? What do you think about setting it up as a camera bag? Straps, could I trouble you to post some pics of your setup you mentioned before with the Lowe Traveller? Murph, I actually looked around to see if I could get just dividers but didn't come up with anything. Do you know of a specific brand or store that sells these?


03-20-2006, 06:20 PM
I got my Pointman and assorted gear around 4:30 today, and I'm still in the swapping stuff around/figuring stuff out phase. As far as a camera bag, I see no reason why this won't work just fine for carrying the camera gear as well as gear to be outdoors for a couple days. I actually haven't gotten some stuff from B&amp;H yet because I didn't expect my pack this soon, so I can't say for sure, but I think the idea of rigging up some parachute cord through the tabs that are used to attach a pouch inside and running it through the tabs on Lowepro lens cases will work quite well. I realized tonight that I don't have any rope to really give it a try with, otherwise I'd have the cases I already own in there. I'll probably get a post up tomorrow with some pictures for people to criticize my poor strap management :p

03-22-2006, 05:56 AM
You Yoopers have some great coastline to shoot there, 68...Hope this works out!

03-22-2006, 08:14 AM
Alex - The Marauder wold seem a very good foundation for your needs.

BTW, I would mention that every single experienced war/sports photographer I've run into over the years was carrying their very expensive gear in bags nobody would guess was camera equipment. They just had too much stolen.

One guy from Time Magazine actually carried his stuff in two old paper bags! (Inside the paper bags were protective nylon bags.) Of course, these guys weren't always walking around in nice places.

But what ever you end up putting together for yourself, I might suggest you keep in mind how to "Urban Camouflage" your contents and pay particular attention to any "message" your outside pockets might project.

03-22-2006, 08:59 AM
Brooklyn makes a great point. As with everything, know your surroundings!

Also, keep spare memory cards or film separated. Mark them so you know in what order they're exposed, but never keep them all in one place. If your bag gets ripped off, you'll still have some of your photos.

As a rule of thumb, on any shoot, I never use a card bigger than 512MB. I'll bring anywhere between 6 and 10 cards on a gig and change them out as needed. In case something happens to a card (stolen, erased, corrupted), I'd rather have 512MB of memory gone than say, a 4GB card full of images.

03-22-2006, 01:56 PM
I had thought about this also. Camera bags are obviously camera bags, especially with a tripod strapped to the back. This is one big reason I want to use something that's not a camera bag. I use a fairly civilian-looking Maxpedition backpack everyday in the city but it still manages to attract a few double-takes. Although with dirt and grime all over it people probably don't think it's carrying anything valuable. That's why I think the Marauder would be great for this because on the outside it would just be a cool-looking backpack but on the inside would be a few thousand dollars worth of optics!

That's a good tip about the memory cards. One thing I do is wrap the camera's neck strap around my wrist instead of hanging it off my neck. I feel more secure about someone coming up behind me and snatching it up. I think its more comfortable to carry like that also, especially carrying around a Canon 70-300 mm all day.

03-22-2006, 10:17 PM
When I was in the UK, I was a little paranoid, due to the repeated warning signs and announcments (they give them over the tube PA like weather anaouncements ona a plane, some days) about pick pocket.
So when I had my camera in my bag, I attached it by the neckstrap by carabiner to a loop inside my pack.
If it was out of the packbag, ie in use or standby for use, it was attached to a shoulder strap by the same crab.

Similarly I had one of those wallets with a chain (with the chain inside my pocket as much as was possible).

My PDA I carried in a semi concealed zip up map chest pocket in an Artkis 1015 smock, where it didn't show externally.

I felt much happier like that, in that if a pick pocket did try it on, there was a much, much higher chance of me feeling their attempt.

And much less a chance of me losing it through carelessness.

03-22-2006, 11:53 PM
Sorry but I don't have a manufacturer in mind. I'd say that any of the custom makers on here could handle it. EGL, Esstac, Recce, Killer, CTC etc... (Eggroll, Stuart, Jon, Matt, Roger) The designs would be straightforward... a few long pieces based on either the height or width of the bag, 2 of each would make a big box shape to work inwards from, then the sizes would be based on what you needed to use them for... I'd use loop velcro (soft) on the bodies and hook at the ends, each side of the divider would have two foldable tabs about an inch or so to fold at right angles to the piece it meets... There are actually A LOT of medical bags that use this sort of design, like the Tactical Tailor M5 bag that was mentioned http://www.tacticaltailor.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&amp;ProdID=43 .


If you look carefully at the pic you'll see 2 strips of velcro on the back wall of the pack to which the velcro flaps of the dividers are attached, the dividers have similar flaps meeting each other and at the side walls of the bag. That reminds me of another option... take a few strips of velcro and attach them to the interior pals of the pack, tons of ways to do this... could even just slip it through and have velcro contact every other inch where it shows through the pals. If not you could still do the lock n load method with tri bars sewn on webbing loops at the bottom edges of each divider (or even flat pouches into which you could slip foam, just long enough to allow the divider/pouch to stand upright. Funny I'm starting to think that this might be something K-ru should look into making or farming out... The design is simple, lonce I get a new Marauder I could work up the details... Just had another stupid idea for this... A pals/malice backed floor panel which would be the same size as the back wall pals of the pack... velcro on the front to attach all your pouches to... or just make the foam box for the whole pack that size. If you have access to the equipment this could be a home grown project... nothing but straight lines to cut and sew, fabric would be light and therefore inexpensive, velcro aint too bad in bulk, get a roll of 2" hook and one of loop and that should cover the whole project... some light webbing, probably 3/4" like Patrick and Mel have on the Chambers and Lock N Loads and the matching 3-bars if you wanna go that route... HTH!

03-23-2006, 12:04 AM

Pelican sells hard cases with removable padded adjustable dividers... They also sell replacement dividers... Dunno where you'd find a big selection of cases to go through for what you need but I'd guess a big camera store would have at least a few... I'm sure there's a set that would fit a Marauder. I don't know why this didn't occur to me earlier but as I read back through the thread I said "wait a tic" and checked their website. You might be able to find some on ebuy as well?





Even better... here's some for sale from an EMS bag company... I <3 Froogle! http://thielsen.net/modulardivider-p-43.html I'd call to check on sizes but I think that's what would work for you, no?