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Whats the best solution for carrying a camera while climbing / scrambling.

basic requirements;

  • needs to be accessible, I wont take any photos if I have to stop and take my bag off.
  • secure, if it gets dropped it may be destroyed / irretrievable / hit someone and kill them
  • can't swing around the body and get in the way of climbing.
  • protected from getting banged on rocks and scraped on stuff.

wishlist requirements

  • water proof when not in use

I have a normal sized mirrorless camera with a small lens. very similar in size to a classic manual 35mm film slr with 50mm lens. Interested in any ideas people have and personal experience.

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I have done a bit of climbing with a DSLR, and a lot of hiking with one.

If you're climbing with it, you don't want it on your chest, and if you want it accessible, you don't want it on your back. This means that most of your options are holster style bags. I have a tamrac one which happens to be shower proof when closed (in reality it's been more than showerproof) but find one which suits your camera. DSLRs tend to go in them lens down.

If you're wearing a climbing harness you can't easily attach a holster to a belt loop, so consider wearing a lightweight waist belt with the holster on your side. Place the holster on the side of your non dominant hand, so that you still have access to any gear attached to your harness (you will have to sacrifice the usage of gear loops on the camera side).

To avoid dropping it, you can use something like a BlackRapid. But if you want to minimise your spend, take a length of paracord (or very thin rope), attach one end to the centre of the back of your harness, pass it over the shoulder opposite the holster, and then attach it to the camera in the holster. If you drop the camera, it will probably just hang in front of you, but worst case it will swing below you, and you can pull it back up.

When Hiking, I use the same holster, but I attach it to the waist strap of my rucksack, this puts it in a convenient place for access, and provides a nice arm-rest for my rucksack.

If you regularly want to take your camera to interesting places - get some decent accidental cover insurance. This can put your mind at rest very easily - it certainly makes me feel much more comfortable with my camera in dangerous locations.

  • I agree that a blackrapid is the way to go here, although I would be quite against bringing anything beyond a gopro on the climbs I've done! – dpollitt Nov 17 '15 at 2:10
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I am no climber, but I'm a big fan of Peak Design's Capture Pro. It's a clip that you can attach to your backpack strap or harness. You use a standard quick release plate on your camera and can quickly slide the camera into the clip. To release it you press a release button (which can also be locked for extra security), and with a smaller camera like a mirrorless, it's easy to operate one handed.

If you want to make sure you don't drop the camera once detached from the clip you can have a paracord or longer strap with one end attached to your backpack and the other to the camera. That way the camera is secure and out of the way when it's attached to the clip, but it won't fall very far should you drop it while it's detached.

I'm not sponsored by Peak Design, but they have another solution that I like where you add small anchors to the camera so that you can quickly remove and attach different kinds of straps. I'm usually on firm ground but I'm still worried about dropping my camera, so what I do is that I have a wrist strap that I attach as soon as I detach the camera from the clip. When not in use I can wrap the wrist strap around so that it a bracelet. If I were a climber I would probably use my longer strap attached to the backpack and the camera, like I described above.

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