Camera Daypack

Feb 25th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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Camera Daypack

I am studying abroad in Germany for 5 months in the fall. I am taking a small, pocketsized camera for everyday use and some trips, however I am also taking a Canon XS SLR with 2 lenses (the one it came with and one other). I would like to take my SLR with me to cities like Paris, Rome, etc. I am searching for a backpack that I can carry with me when I leave my hostel/hotel that can serve as a camera bag with a seperate place for things I would use throughout the day (journal, cell phone, smaller camera, etc). I would really like a backpack that doesn't scream "I'm a tourist, come steal my nice SLR camera" and is safe to carry.

I have looked at a few:
Tamrac Model 5546 Adventure 6 ( however might look too much like a camera bag.
Tamrac Model 3375 Aero Speed Pack 75 (
Lowepro Orion Trekker II (,1989.htm)
Lowpro CompuDaypack (,1922,16.htm)

Can anyone suggest any other packs that they like? Or give input on the ones I've looked at?
ab10 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:26 AM
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What did you decide to do with the laptop?
sf7307 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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For these trips, my laptop will stay in Germany at the University I will be studying at. For the trips in the beginning of August I'm going to be leaving it in the room or in a safe, and just make sure I will back everything up. I will hopefully not be staying at any hostels, so I will have a hotel room or apartment to keep the laptop in (and also the camera when not needed).

I'm looking for the camera daypack for other trips throughout the semester.
ab10 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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Excellent - glad you took my advice about safety of your belongings in hostels!
sf7307 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:44 AM
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If I am in a crowded place (the only time I worry), I like to use an across-the-body bag--something not identifiable as a camera bag. And I keep my hand on the camera when I need to. I just never feel safe with anything valuable in a backpack.
To protect the camera, I'd keep it in a padded case inside the bag. Just my 2cents.
yorkshire is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:47 AM
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Yorkshire- I like that suggestion, seems much more safe to me. Do you have any suggestions? Or a link to a picture to the type of bag you may be talking about?
ab10 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:51 AM
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I travel everywhere in Europe with my Nikon D60 with 18-200 zoom lens, on a strap around my neck and ready to shoot. One zoom lens does it all. Camera in a bag is kind of worthless. I keep my mini camera in my pocket. I carry my walkabout stuff in a standard shoulder bag. Backpacks are an open door to theft by the clever pickpockets in all the major cities.

For a laptop I suggest an Asus EEE. It is about the size of a few magazines. With its built-in wifi I used mine in Paris in December to do email at cafes with hot spots around the city, and do some writing. Asus EEE is a very convenient little machine.

spaarne is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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Have a look at the Lowepro Slingshot bags too - they have the advantage that you don't need to take the bag off to access your camera. A lot depends on the amount of gear you carry, but for what you describe they should be fine. The Lowepro Dryzone Rover would be perfect for your kayaking trips however.
There are other makers out there - it depends on your budget really. ThinkTank do some excellent bags, as do Kata, Crumpler and National Geographic.
Many thieves will recognise a camera pack, no matter what it looks like, though it helps if they don't have the name of a manufacturer plastered all over them. Thieves have acces to the Net and learn what camera bags are around. Vigilance is more important than whether it look like a camera bag or not.
I have a Tamrac Expedition back pack which screams camera bag, especially as it usually has my tripod attached
hetismij is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 10:05 AM
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I was thinking of the kind of plain canvas bag you might pick up at an army navy store. Of course there are many different styles you could get, as long as the strap is long enough to go over the body. It depends on how you want your gear stored of course though--and if you are male or female. has a good selection of bags. Search "cross body bag" or "messenger bag."
yorkshire is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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The problem with a plain canvas bag is that it offers no protection to the camera and lenses, and they get mixed up with your day pack stuff. The national Geographic bags look like they are canvas, but they aren't. The advantage of a backpack or a slingbag is that they carry the weight evenly, whereas a shoulder bag can get pretty painful after a while, and also most shoulder bags are easy for a thief to get into.
Many camera back packs have the access zip against the wearers back to offer a tad more protection.
hetismij is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 09:03 PM
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On my last trip to Paris I used a plain canvas messenger bag for my 10D camera and two small lenses (24mm and 50mm). Although the bag offers very little protection, but it's more than sufficient if you handle it right. Just don't bang it against the wall and your gear will be fine

You can check out Domke F803 or something similar. See this site - , it has a lot of useful info and reviews of camera bags.

Best regards,
Olegis is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 04:08 PM
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Everyone has opinions and they are all good. But here's one more. Is it good? You be the judge.

I travel with a Mountainsmith "Tour" lumbar bag. It holds my Canon 5D, a small Sony video camera, one or two lenses and a variety of other things. I use the mesh water bottle holders for the lenses - but the lenses are protected by neoprene lens bags.

Mountainsmith makes a smaller bag called a "Swift" (I think) and that might work for your camera, which is slightly smaller than mine.

These bags have a shoulder strap and a lumbar strap. They don't say "camera" and they are amazingly well-constructed.

Mountainsmith also makes dedicated camera bags but I like the lumbar bags.
sshephard is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 04:35 PM
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Challiman is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 05:57 PM
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I know EXACTLY how you feel as I have faced the same conundrum. I studied abroad in France, I lived in Germany for 2+ years, and I've used an SLR of some form as my primary camera for more than 15 years. Let's face it: unless you are hiking, wearing a backpack in Europe pretty much marks you as a tourist (not necessarily an American, but a tourist nonetheless). That's not the end of the world (as many on this board will argue), but it does make you more uncomfortable about lugging around an expensive camera. I've always struggled to find comfortable, fashionable bags in which to carry my SLR while traveling. I don't like wearing a backpack in crowded cities because I feel like my belongings (and especially my camera) are too vulnerable. I also don't like wearing my camera around my neck all the time because it is too conspicuous (and heavy!). While a shoulder bag is not quite as comfortable as a backpack, it is far more secure because you can wear it across your body and keep your hand on your bag at all times, plus you can whip your camera in and out quickly. If you find one with a good shoulder pad that distributes the weight and wear the strap across your body, it is pretty comfortable. I've trekked across many a European city this way (including Paris and Rome).

Here's my advice: consider buying a nice messenger-style shoulder bag once you are in Germany. It's one less thing to take over with you and will make a nice (and practical) souvenir of your adventure. While living in Germany, I found a terrific shoulder bag made by Vaude (a German company) that was sporty and stylish and the perfect size for my SLR, water bottle, guidebook, sunglasses, wallet, and other small items. Vaude does sell some products in the U.S. but they are more along the lines of camping and backpacking gear. The bag I'm talking about is more on the "fashionable" end of the spectrum, without sacrificing function or quality. Shoulder bags are wildly popular in Europe and you will find a great selection to choose from.

Of course if you plan to stay out late or go to a questionably safe area, leave the SLR at home and take your pocket-size camera. You'll have a better time knowing your good camera is safe, but can still record the memories.

By the way, where will you be studying in Germany?
hausfrau is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:04 PM
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Regensburg... but will be traveling through Italy and Greece for 20 days before I go...
ab10 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 03:22 AM
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I think finding the right bag is a difficult job. I previously used a rolling backpack as a carry-on, with the usual articles, plus my DSLR and compact camera. It was great except it really didn't protect the camera very well. I bought a separate bag to use while actually in the location, a Victorinox bag that is pretty sturdy and can be worn as a backpack (daypack - it isn't big) shoulder or cross body bag. Black, with plenty of compartments, even a water bottle holder. Definitely does not look like a camera bag. I usually have the camera around my neck and the extra lens and memory cards in the bag. It will hold the whole camera if needed.
Since I had a major problem with my previous camera, which apparently got wet in an overhead bin when someone put their stuff on top of it and water oozed out of a water bottle, I decided I wanted more protection while traveling, but also needed to have room for my usual carry-on things.
So, now I have a Tamrac Aero 80, which is a camera/laptop bag. I won't be taking my laptop, will use that area for clothes, travel docs, book, etc. I will be using the Scottevest, which has multiple pockets, to keep handy those things I use during the flight.
Since this is an untried bag, I'll have to let you know if this actually works. It is really light, nicely padded, water resistant zippers, etc. But, I'll have to use it as a backpack or attach it to my suitcase, and I hope that it won't be so large and bulky that I won't like it.
Sorry I don't have the model number of the Victorinox bag. I found a style number 35381.
Challiman is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:56 AM
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I use this: Good enough for "whipping" camera in and out, as a wise veteran says above. Also, you can easily store a book or two, mints, gums, fruits, etc. But may be leave the water bottle behind as nothing screams I'm American more than someone constantly carrying their water bottle with them. And avoid running with Pamplona bulls given the cool color of the bag.
ComfyShoes is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 04:39 PM
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I use a messenger bag all the time. But most of them are not padded (and for everyday use, you don't want them to be, carrying that extra weight).

I've never put my compact in the bag though, had it in a fanny pack instead along with my wallet.

Use the messenger to carry drinks, books, maps and other lighter stuff. And a compact tripod.

Once in awhile, my GPS if I'm renting a car.

In Venice, on a vaporetto, a gypsy stood right up against me and undid one of the zipper compartments looking for valuables. Only thing I had in there was my checkbook.

I'm thinking of taking my film SLR next month, in addition to my digital compact. Thing is huge too, along with an additional zoom lens. Not sure the slides I would take is worth lugging the gear.

Even with a main lens, that SLR isn't going to go into that bag comfortably. It will bulge out unevenly.

To wear it around my neck for an extended period of time, I'm going to have to look for a better strap.
scrb is offline  
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