Winter months bring a refreshing change of scene full of ever-changing weather patterns. Blizzards, ice storms and heavy rains offer opportunities for dynamic compositions and decisive moments. But exciting weather also brings wet and muddy trails, and it’s important to have warm clothes, waterproof boots and optimal accessories.
One of the most important and personal accessories is your gear bag. Not only does it keep your equipment safe, but different styles provide different features to help you adapt your equipment to the situation. When you’re in the thick of the cold and wet, you’ll most likely be craving a bag that offers quick access to your equipment. This both avoids any awkward fumbling to pull the bag off of your body while layered in a thick jacket and the need to set it down on muddy, snowy trails.
The most pervasive style of bag that allows you to easily access your equipment is the sling pack, which moves from your back to the front of your body to your back again in one simple movement. But bag manufacturers are increasingly providing additional alternatives, with waist belts, rear flap access and chest pack styles. As you begin to put together your winter weather photo kit, here are a few bags to check out.
|Gura Gear Uinta Pack|
Gura Gear Uinta Pack
The Uinta pack by Gura Gear provides convenient access to your gear through multiple access points. The front zippered flap offers traditional backpack entry and includes a padded sleeve for up to a 17-inch laptop or tablet. By rotating the pack to the front of the body, rear zippered flaps give access to your gear without the need to set the pack on the ground. Small, Medium and Large Pro Modules and Small and Medium Compact Modules customize the interior of the pack to match your camera equipment and additional hiking accessories while also personalizing weight distribution. The Uinta utilizes a breathable harness system with load-managing compression straps. The pack can be used with the Tripod & Hydration system. The Uinta is made from custom water-resistant Ripstop X-Pac material with 500D Cordura and comes with a waterproof cover. www.guragear.com/uinta-pack
|MindShift Gear rotation180° Trail Pack|
MindShift Gear Trail Pack
MindShift Gear has added the Trail pack to their award-winning rotation180° line. While the Trail pack has a smaller and lighter design, it still utilizes the recognizable rotating belt pack for quick access to camera equipment, binoculars, tablet and additional accessories. With a breathable padded airflow harness and adjustable sternum strap, the pack fits a two-liter Camelbak, additional jacket, trail books and snacks. It also provides a side panel strap for carrying a small tripod and top pocket for easy access to small items. The rotating belt pack can also be worn alone, separate from the backpack, for an even less cumbersome hike. All materials have a durable water-repellent coating. The rain cover and hydration system are sold separately. www.mindshiftgear.com
|Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 20 Pack|
Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 20 Pack
Think Tank Photo developed the TurnStyle 20 pack with both access and versatility in mind. The body-conforming bag performs double-duty, functioning as a sling bag and converting to a belt pack for personalized comfort. The main compartment holds a DSLR and one to four lenses. The front pocket offers organization for memory cards, batteries and other accessories. The rear padded velour zipper pocket carries a 10-inch tablet. The TurnStyle 20 also has a breathable air-mesh back panel. All material is treated with a durable water-resistant coating. A rain cover is included. www.thinktankphoto.com
|Tamrac Jazz 78 Sling Pack|
Tamrac Jazz 78 Sling Pack
The Jazz 78 Sling Pack from Tamrac has a foam-padded sling strap for comfortable weight distribution. Slide the pack to the front of your body for quick access to an equipment compartment that holds a DSLR with lens attached, two small lenses and a flash. From this same front position, open a zippered accessory compartment with a zippered mesh pocket that safely stores memory cards and batteries. A zippered back pocket protects a tablet while a mesh side pocket can be used for holding a water bottle or trail map. www.tamrac.com
|Lowepro StreamLine Sling Bag|
Lowepro StreamLine Sling Bag
For days when you need to be particularly light and mobile, Lowepro offers the StreamLine Sling bag. A bottom side-zipper compartment gives quick access to a full mirrorless kit. The upper side-zipper compartment holds accessories and personal items. The padded back zip side pocket protects your tablet and an outer side stretch-mesh pocket can be used for carrying a water bottle or small tabletop tripod. All fabrics are weather-resistant. store.lowepro.com
|Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Backpack|
Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Backpack
The Pro Light Camera Backpack (3N1-25 PL) by Manfrotto utilizes a strap system that allows the pack to morph into almost any type of carrying style for versatile access and secure movement. The classic backpack strap configuration with waist belt can be rotated to the front of the body for access to a top accessory pocket. The straps easily configure into an X-position for safe and supportive hiking. Release one strap from the X-position to use the pack as a sling bag. The sling position gives access to a Quick-Draw side pocket. Either strap may be used as a sling strap, providing comfort for both left- and right-dominant shooters. Custom Flexi Dividers are interchangeable and can fold away to adjust to your equipment. An interior pocket holds a laptop up to 15 inches, and the bag includes a separate tablet compartment. All material is water-repellent, and the backpack includes a foldout rain cover. www.manfrotto.us
Clik Elite ProBody SLR Chest Carrier
The ProBody SLR Chest Carrier by Clik Elite offers another method of quick camera access with additional carrying versatility. The included Sport Harness positions the carrier comfortably on your chest for immediate access to your DSLR. A tip-out organizer panel provides a safe place to stash memory cards and other accessories while keeping them separate and protected from the camera by a soft flip divider. A tether strap connects the camera to the carrier to prevent damage from camera slips. The Chest Carrier also includes a padded shoulder strap for carrying on your side, as well as the ChestPort buckle system that connects the carrier to most Clik Elite backpacks for both front and back storage. Additionally, the back panel has space to slide in your belt for simple waist carrying. A rain cover is connected to the bottom of the carrier. clikelite.com