I might be looking for a panacea here, but I'd like to get a reasonably small backpack that protects my D5000, a zoom lens (70-200 Nikon), a wide angle lens (Planning to get a 12-24mm Tokina) and a generic (18-55mm Nikon) lens.

I'd like to have a backpack that I can carry in addition to my handbag on an airplane. It should ideally protect the gear from rain and let me carry a tripod. I love hiking, so something that is a little well built too.

Is there such a thing?


Checkout my answer in the following question, I carry main body and 7 lenses for a full day hike ... What are the cons of a backpack-style camera bag?

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  • Thanks, can you take this backpack in addition to your usual handbaggage when you board a plane? – Tejaswi Yerukalapudi Jul 18 '11 at 4:45
  • Only if your 'usual handbaggage' is a small purse/handbag. – ElendilTheTall Jul 18 '11 at 7:22
  • Yes, you are allowed a personal item plus a carry-on. There are different standard for each one depending on the airline. Most backpacks fit as carry on but not as personal item. So you need to make sure the other bag is smaller. – Itai Jul 18 '11 at 12:53
  • Completely depends on if you are talking US hand baggage or European! – dpollitt Jul 18 '11 at 22:49
  • Make sure you check with each airline every time you travel, due to ever changing regulations! SOME airlines count camera gear as professional equipment allowing it on top of the usual carry-on and handbag/manbag. I have travelled with 40lbs of camera gear in my Lowepro backpack, a messenger bag with laptop and a small case with personal documents. Always ask if they can confirm in email or if the policy is available anywhere online so you can print it and take it with you, just for the instance when you run in to that one employee that is not aware of their own companies policies ;-) – Barry Semple Jul 19 '11 at 4:58

I have a Tamrac Expedition 7 which I can thoroughly recommend. I found it to be a lot more sturdy than the equivalent Lowepro bag, especially the tripod attachment mechanism. It was also considerably cheaper.

The 7 (now updated as the 7x) will just fit inside most airlines' hand luggage specifications, but it's part of a whole range of sizes (4x through to 9x) so there should be one that fits your kit and size requirements perfectly. From the 7x page on the Tamrac website use the "Take a look at the next model" buttons (bottom of the page) to explore the range, or there's a PDF catalogue too.

Note that unless you have a very compact tripod, you'll probably have to check that into the hold (regardless of what bag you choose).

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I really like the Lowepro Sling bags, such as the 305 AW. It'll fit 70-200, additional lenses, and a tripod.

The sling bags are ideal for situations where you are deploying the camera frequently, but don't want to be hanging it around your neck at all times.

Backpacks are great for cases where you are carrying more than deploying.

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