Vest for Camera Gear

Jun 21st, 2007, 08:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Vest for Camera Gear

Which vest have you found holds camera "stuff" safely? Especially trekking to the Gorillas. I would like to maybe bring the 24-105 with me to possibly change out (as you have suggested) with the 70-200.
Cheweyhead is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 09:36 AM
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OK - I have never gorilla trekked - YET!! - but here is what I would suggest: Find a nice small camera bag that will hold whichever lens is not connected to the camera at the time. Then let your porter carry it for you. From what I have read on everyone's trip reports, there are many reasons why I wouldn't try to carry extra lenses in a vest during a gorilla trek. Maybe others will disagree but I like to err on the side of caution with my gear...
cooncat2 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 11:15 AM
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I havn't trekked gorillas, but for trekking chimps in Mahale I used my photo backpack and removed all unnecessary equipment before the trek to keep it light. Camera and lenses are safe in the backpack, even if it rains or if you fall (it can be difficult terrain). Carry it yourself or, as cooncat2 suggested, let a porter carry it for you.
nyama is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 11:38 AM
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I tried the vest thing on one of my treks to see what it was like, and it was more trouble than it's worth. Too cumbersome.
Had to give it a shot though. I just put all my camera gear into my backpack which I let the porters carry.

When I only had one camera body, I usually put the smaller lens in my pants pocket (cargo pants with extra large pockets) when the time comes to leave everything behind with the porter. Then changed it out as necessary.

Now I usually have two different camera bodies with different size lenses and strap both around my neck at the drop site. When the hour is up, I put the cameras back in the backpack and hand it back over to the porter.

Easy enough to do. Although many times I've had to slide on my butt holding my cameras in my hands up in the air if the gorillas are moving down a steep area and we're going after them. Quite a juggling act with two cameras!
divewop is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 11:28 PM
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divewop - did anyone get a picture of you juggling your cameras? I was thinking of a cycling jacket that has the big pocket in the back for the second lens.
I have seen those contraptions that keep the camera "close to your body" but I am not sure I will get enough use out of them unless I can also use it while riding horses. With a longer lens that really does not seem to be the smartest or safest use either. Thanks for the informationl.
Cheweyhead is offline  
Jun 25th, 2007, 11:47 PM
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For my trek in September I'm planning on having most of my stuff in a backpack, carried by a porter. For the hour with the gorillas I'll have a Lowepro waist belt that can hold all the gear I'll need.
fbirder is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 03:40 AM
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One way is to carry some of your gear yourself, using the excellent belt system made by Kinesis Gear. Their systems are used by professionals around the world and cost only a little more than Lowepro and some of the other popular camera store brands. The Kinesis system allows you to expand your belt system as it is modular. It is very useful for walking safaris and other similar activities. Their website is They are also the maker of the SafariSack, a very useful bean bag device. You mention the 70-200 lens. I would think that if you are going to go that route, you would want the 70-200 L IS 2.8 lens. I think you will find the speed of the 2.8 lens more than compensates for its additional weight under the reduced lighting you are likely going to encounter. Good luck and please report back.
safarichuck is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 04:27 AM
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I am not connected in any way with Kinesis, I'm just an enthusiastic customer. I also have a lot of Lowepro, ThinkTank, and Tamrac bag stuff, you might say I'm a bag guy (cheaper than lenses). I didn't mean to make my initial post look so much like an add.
safarichuck is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 05:35 AM
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Never even got the impression you were doing an add for Kinesis, just stating what you like, so no worries. A couple of those straps might come in handy so my cameras aren't loosely swinging. Might have to look into them. Thanks for the link.

Just an FYI-when you're at the drop site, and ready to go see the gorillas, be careful that what you wear around your waist isn't too big, or the guides might make you leave it behind as well.

The small or medium lens pouch looks fine, but anything larger than that, you may not be able to take when with the gorillas. A small fanny-type pack my work as well.

The cycling jacket is a good idea too. Pretty creative thinking.
divewop is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 05:41 AM
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"my work as well" = might work...
Geez, I hate that!
divewop is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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I wish Fodors allowed us to edit our posts in the way the Fred Miranda permits on his forum. I'm a fast but not accurate typist and hate going back with simple corrections. I could always preview my reply but that's too simple.
Regards, Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Yes, it is the 70-200 2.8 IS. And I will check out the links you provided for carrying the 24-105. Guess I need a lens case to hold the longer lens if I switch them out while on the gorilla trek.

We have a ThinkTank rolling airplane/overhead case. (also a smaller backpack). Have any of you travelled to East Africa with the hard TTcase on the smaller planes?
Cheweyhead is offline  
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