Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Gadget Bag: Hybrid Backpacks
For summer hiking, try carrying your gear in a pack that’s part photo bag and part backpack
For comfort, convenience and sheer capacity, photo backpacks are hard to beat. Most can stow a ton of cameras and lenses, and many have special pockets for small personal items, music players and maybe a water bottle. But trouble often begins when you try to pack something larger—like food or a lightweight jacket. It can be easier to pound a square peg into a round hole than to pack your lunch—unless you opt for a hybrid backpack that features a large, open compartment that’s separated from the photo gear.
This time of year, the warm summer afternoons are often punctuated with big, booming thunderstorms that bloom around much of the country. Having rain gear, a hat and a collapsible umbrella can save the day. Hybrid backpacks let you match your cargo to the weather conditions. They keep your camera equipment sheltered and securely separated from the other items in the payload.
Well-made backpacks have high-quality zippers, straps that are strongly attached and adequate padding—particularly in the equipment compartment. If the bag that catches your eye is deficient in any of these three areas, pass it by.
Since you’ll be carrying the entire load behind you, make sure that the size of the pack and location of the harness match your torso. High-quality hybrid backpacks are affordable, so consider owning two—one that’s suitable for an all-day outing and a smaller, lighter pack that’s big enough for a camera, a couple of lenses and your foul-weather gear.
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