F.64 4x5 backpack design

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I am currently using a Lowepro Photo Trekker for a Canham DLC45 with 5-6 lenses, filters, meter, film holders, et. al., amounting to 22-28lbs of equipment. The backpack is certainly well made but I believe the layout is awkward for 4x5. I was wondering if the F.64 4x5 ("large" but not "x-large") backpack might be better. Both should store in an airline overhead, if not overpacked, since they are about the same size. My main concern is the weight distribution on the hips. The Lowepro is an excellent design for such, i.e., putting most of the weight on the hips and off the shoulders. Is the F.64 also good in this regard? I've searched for pictures or diagrams that might show this part of the backpack and also any specific discussions of this, but cannot find any. Thanks in advance.

-- Steve Baggett (sbaggett@midsouth.rr.com), February 06, 2001


Also checkout the Lightware BP1420 at http://www.lightwareinc.com while you are at it.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), February 07, 2001.

I have been using the Lowepro Supertrekker AW for several years.It easily carries all the equipment you need for 4x5 in the field.

-- Martin Glader (martin.glader@kolumbus.fi), February 07, 2001.

For what it is worth, I have the f64 x-large pack. It handles an 8x10 camera, a couple of lenses, meter, darkcloth and there is some - not much - room to spare (I don't use the 4x5 film holder packs that come with the pack that mount on the side). It is extremely comfortable. My only complaint with it is there is only room for a couple of holders. I have not seen the 4x5 pack, but I would check to insure it holds everything you normally carry. It there is not a distributor of the f64 in your area, the manufacturer will send it direct so you can try it out - they did for me.

-- Lyle Allan (lallan@worldnet.att.net), February 07, 2001.

Steve--you may as well check out Domke "Outpack" bag as well in your research---I'm fond of it --for my 4x5 system.

-- Raymond A. Bleesz (bleesz@vail.net), February 07, 2001.

I'm 5'9", 145 lbs, built like a distance runner. The waist belt that came with my F.64 x-large backpack was way too big for me. If you're a small person or on the skinny side, the waist belt may be quite loose even at it's smallest, as was the case for me. I'm still trying to figure out a way to remedy this, but for what it's worth, even without having the benefit of proper weight distribution, I've been able to carry a Linhof monorail, tripod, 12+ holders, etc. pretty substantial distances into the field rather comfortably. It's a good pack, and aside from this one complaint, I really don't have anything bad to say about it.

-- Dave Munson (orthoptera@juno.com), February 07, 2001.


I have a F.64 and like the internal layout however I thought it was uncomfortable to hike with. My newer pack is a Tenba P264 which can be carried onto a plane. Much more comfortable to carry a load and also has a nice design for carrying a tripod. The internal layout is not as good as the F.64 in terms of the accessory pockets. If you need even a bigger pack then Tenba makes one for 8 x 10. If you decide to go with a F.64, then I'll sell you mine for a deal. I would go with a Tenba however.

Website for Tenba: http://tenba.com/camera/backpack3.htm and I remember there was a picture of the F.64 in the B&H Photo website.

-- Cal Eng (caleng@inficad.com), February 07, 2001.


I know exactly what you're talking about (and I do mean exactly, since I carry a DLC with 5 lenses and accessories in a Photo Trekker!). I've changed the internal configuration at least a half dozen times, but it never really seems very elegant. I always end up a divider short or have to awkwardly stack dividers. Unfortunately, I think the Lowe is probably still your best bet if it's just the layout that bothers you.

I originally bought the Domke Outpack but the DLC seemed a little too big to fit well. In addition, the Outpack just isn't as well constructed as the Lowe bags and will likely have a much shorter lifespan. I had problems with some poor stitching on the tip-out insert and the raincover (the raincover actually had a hole where a piece of fabric wasn't sewn correctly). Fortunately, I was able to exchange it for the Lowe.

Before I tried the Outpack, I checked out the F64. It's a decent camera bag, but it's not as good a backpack. It probably depends on the load you'll carry and how far you'll carry it. It also didn't hold as much as the Lowe.

Before I invested in a camera pack, I just wrapped everything up and carried it in a regular internal frame backpack. This actually worked quite well and is still how I go if I'm carrying everything a long way (greater than 3 miles or so, depending on the terrain). The downside to this method is that it isn't very organized, but you can take a lot more of the backcountry emergency necessities with this type of setup. I use Domke wraps on the lenses, my darkcloth protects the camera, and everything gets padded with extra clothing, jackets, etc.

I'm still less than satisfied with my Lowe layout but it beats digging around in a toploading pack. The Lowe also provides bombproof protection and carries pretty well (though you could certainly save a lot of weight by choosing another pack).

If you come up with anything better, please let me know!

-- Tim Klein (timklein@qwest.net), February 09, 2001.

Actually Steve...

If you're interested in a trade, maybe we could exchange photos of how we're each laying out the inside of the pack. I'd love to see how you've got yours set up.

I don't have a digital camera, but I could snap a shot of it and get it scanned within a few days. We could e-mail the photos to each other or post them, if that works out better for you.

-- Tim Klein (timklein@qwest.net), February 09, 2001.

For my Master Technika I first got a Lowe Pro super trekker and found it too heavy. I am 5'4''. Then got a photo trekker. I carry 5 lenses, 8 holders and Lee filters with lens hood. meters, loupe, etc go on a fanny pack. All fits well and I am quite happy with the weight and configuration. To make it work I had to borrow some of the super trekker dividers. Without them it would have been no go. I carry the tripod on the shoulders, like a rifle. If you want to carry the tripod on the Lowe Pro, you will be reduced to a pigmy, skinny tripod that will not be adequate for LF. Super Trekker? yes, if you are at least 6' and built not like a distance runner but like a shot putter. I also tried regular backpacks. By the time you add the necessary wraps and packaging for item protection I ended up weight- wise where I was with the LowePro, without its convenience. But....the regular backpack did feel wonderfully confortable and with a fit so good that I never experienced on the LowePro's.

-- Julio Fernandez (gluemax@ora.auracom.com), February 15, 2001.

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