Ride and shoot your way into the mags.
- Padded shoulder straps and waist belt secure the pack while you make perfect turns to the next zone
- A removable heater pocket keeps your batteries running in the cold
- The trap door top drop-in pocket holds your laptop in a padded sleeve as well as other layers and necessities
- The front pocket features a waterproof zipper for storing electronics
- Compression straps can attach a snowboard and side loops enable you to carry light stems or poles for shooting and hiking
- Several zip and mesh pockets inside and out organize the complex load you carry on a shoot out in the mountains
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Solid Large SLR Backcountry Pack
I have the 2009 version of this pack so my review is based on that, but looking at the photos there's really not much different.
The short version is that this is a great backcountry large capacity SLR pack with plenty of pockets for all your gear, including a probe and shovel.
The long version...
In terms of storage there's no end of internal and external pockets for all your gear. In fact, as an amateur, it's almost too big for all my gear.
For storing your SLR there's a pull out (2 pull straps + 1 adjustable shoulder strap) internal SLR fully customisable (with numerous velcro bendy panels) camera storage bag that anyone with an SLR backpack will be familiar with. It will easily take a body + 70-200mm f2.8 and heavy hitters could even rock a 300mm f2.8, not sure if you'd get away with a 400 f2.8. You can pack quite a few accessories and/or lenses (I also pack an HD video camera). There's 2 ways to access the internal camera bag. The most common way is through the back panel (padded) and you obviously need to take the pack off and put it down for this. This access panel (The lining of the access flap on the main back pack has some clear plastic zip pockets that are good for flat stuff like filters and the like) unzips around 3 sides and you remove the whole internal camera bag. Normally in the snow I don't remove the internal bag, I just slide it part way out (you need to do this to be able to open the internal bag zipper), get what I need out and then put the internal bag back and CLOSE (unless you want snow inside your pack!) the outside zip while you click away. There's also quick access via the big zip pocket on top of the pack which has an internal zipper on the bottom of the compartment that lets you access the top of the internal camera bag. I am a rider 1st, photographer 2nd so I like to have the camera right at the bottom of the pack to keep the centre of gravity low which make accessing the camera from the top a bit harder unless you have the internals of the inner bag setup just right. I generally only have a camera with one lens (18-200mm) in the BC so I have a bit of space in the innner bag, although am looking at a 70-300 5.6 or 70-200mm 2.8 lens too. Changing lenses in the snow is something I just haven't been brave enought to do yet!
In terms of other storage, there is the main zip pocket on top of the pack which has quite a large volume and will easily take a big pair of goggles and sunglasses plus some food or other items. The entire inside of the flap access and the opposite side of the pocket is mesh lined with a zipper that is great for storing memory cards. There's custom holder for at least 10 compact flash or SD cards. There's another 2 pockets at the top, 1 is fleece lined on one side for goggles but is a bit small for my oakely crowbars and the other is a small waterproof one (maybe for your car beeper). On one side of the pack there's a long wide zip up pocket that is j-u-s-t large enough for a pair of carefully folded skins. On the other side is a mesh pocket with an elastic pull tight cord, but I don't use this, it might be ok for a small water bottle.
On both sides underneath these pockets are 2 more pockets, but running almost the height of the pack with a small velcro seal at the top. I use these for my probe and shovel handle or a small tripod, ski poles etc, just be sure to secure these thru the board carry straps (or otherwise) because if you take a fall they could slide out.
The other main pocket on front of the pack can take a laptop or an Ipad, in the BC I put my shovel head in here.
There's a 2 strap vertical board carry. You can do horizontal board for a snowmobile by putting the board behind the backstraps (works for any pack really).
There's also 4 rubber bungy cords (2 on each side of the front) useful for either a light tripod/monopod, ski poles, probe etc.
On the waist straps there's a small slideable zip pocket for a compact camera useful for those "moment" shots when the situation just doesn't alow for putting the pack down, getting the camera out etc. The waist straps have a tendency to kink. It also has a chest strap.
There's no provision for a water bladder. The 2 shoulder straps can be tightened at the top to stop the pack sagging.
I also used it on a 3 day BC touring trip (had to carry 3 days food, sleeping bag etc) without the inner SLR bag carrying all kinds of paraphernalia (usual BC safety gear + crampons, ice axe) and it worked really well.
This is quite a large pack and it definitely affects your balance. It protrudes out quite bit and I feel a bit less comfortable in tight trees than with a normal pack, but that's the price you pay if you wanna rock an SLR in the BC.
It's also got a wire frame to hold it's shape.
I use it as my carry on luggage on a snow trip.
I certainly don't wear this every day on the hill, it gets a go on a bluebird powder day (good high contrast light). On snowy, crappy vis days I use a small pack just for a video camera, compact camera + probe and shovel.
It's probably slightly large for my needs, but the smaller SLR packs I have seen (e.g. Clik Elite) just don't seem to have the external board carry, shovel pockets and ski pole / shovel handle storage you need for the BC. The Burton zoom is slightly smaller and I probably would/should have bought it, but wasn't around when I bought this one.
This photo is Cody Bowl, Jackson Hole backcountry.
where the hell is the laptop place in this...
where the hell is the laptop place in this bag?:)