backpack idea : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Has anyone ever tried to use an LLbean Continental Rucksack as a 4x5 field camera backpack? By the photo in the catalog, it looks as if it might be big enough for my Wista, lenses, meter and film holders. I'm sure it doesn't have any interior padding or compartments to keep stuff from banging around, but it seems to me that if I wrap my camera in the dark cloth and keep the lenses in some sort of protective padding, it would be a fine, inexpensive ($55) alternative to the more expensive Lowe Pros and F-64s. Thank you for comments.

-- Ben Calwell (, September 02, 2001



There are any number of alternative packs, bags, and carrying cases that will cost less than a dedicated camera bag made specifically for large format. If you use several cameras (4x5, 8x10, MF, Pinhole, etc.) you will most likely search for a less expensive solution to carrying equipment. I often rely inexpensive nylon coolers and book bags to transport my cameras and filmholders. These types of bags can be modified with padding and often disguise the fact that you are carrying expensive camera equipment. In addition, many cooler type cases are water resistant and insulated. Your rucksack idea is probably a good solution, although you may find something even cheaper. You might also consider looking for a case that is easier to unpack than a rucksack/duffle bag. It sounds like you may have to do some digging around to get your equipment out of the bag. A square/rectangular case might be easier to organize and would alow you to open your case and view filmholders, camera, meter, etc. Good luck.


-- Dave Willison (, September 02, 2001.

i have used many different packs in the past for 6x9 to 8x10. if you go to the backpacking shop and get a closed foam sleeping pad you can cut and fold it to fit your stuff. i then either stich it by hand or glue it to shape. it may not be as convenient but you can put a complete outfit together for pennies (well, maybe a little more). one of my best rigs for my 8x10 is a big duffel type gym bag strappedto an army surplus pack frame for five bucks. there is too great a need for the name stuff in photography, the cost of a fancy pack can buy a lot of film. Frank

-- frank ferreira (, September 02, 2001.

I recently bought a 40 liter Jansport pack when REI had their grand opening here. I intended to just drop a camera case I already had inside, but it wouldn't fit, so I'm doing some of the things that have been suggested. I use an Arctic Zone lunch bag for my 4x5 film holders. One $3 bag holds 6 film holders nicely. I also use one for each of my 35mm bodies. I'll add one more for my lens (in a Calumet wrap) and my meter (in its case) and then do something for the 4x5. The closed cell foam is a good idea.

I love the Jansport pack. It was $65 on sale and has a wonderful suspension. I could strap on my tripod and pack my 4x5 around all day. The only complaint I have about the pack is that it isn't panel loading, so I have to fish everything out through the drawstring closure at the top. and are a couple of my favorite places to find outdoor things.


-- Dave Willis (, September 02, 2001.

I've got a cheap Greatlands pack out of my parents garage and put a Domke insert in it that I had. I can carry a 35mm system with 3 lenses, (24mm, 50mm 80-200 ED D), and a 6x9 Century Graphic with two lenses and a rollfilm back and two handheld meters in cases plus all sorts of accessories. It's my favorite small pack for short hikes and banging around in the truck thru the country side. For longer hikes the LowePro bags are nice and comfortable. If anything, check the stitching, especially on the arm straps.

-- Wayne Crider (, September 02, 2001.

I bought a Jansport daypack with a panel back and made a liner and compartments from aluminum flashing (.010")using rivets then used foam board wrapped in velvet for padding. It is for my Horseman 980/3 lenses/filters/3 backs/meter/loupe. It has side pockets for notebook, cable release etc.Total weight tripod. George

-- George Nedleman (, September 03, 2001.

I know you're looking for an inexpensive alternative to something like a LowePro, but for what it's worth, the LowePro photo-specific backpacks are worth their weight in gold if you carry much heavy gear into the field that weighs a reasonable amount. I use the Supper Trekker AW to carry a Mamiya RB67 with three lenses and a polaroid back, a Nikon F4e, Nikon F3 w/motor drive, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm, and 180mm lenses, 2 meters, 2 cable releases, film, filters, etc. The whole kit weighs in at about 45 lbs plus tripod, and I don't have a problem carrying it 10 miles at a time. And for reference sake, I'm 5'7" 140lbs, so I'm not exactly huge. I don't know how much your 4x5 kit weighs, but I don't think you should entirely rule out some of the LowePro bags. You could probably get along just fine with one of the smallerless expensive LowePro backpacks. Whatever you decide on, good luck.


-- David Munson (, September 04, 2001.

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