Backcountry Packs

Custom ABS PhotoPack

Dec
04
2011

Packing gear for a photoshoot can definitely add some weight to the regular safety and other gear that people need in the backcountry, and it also needs some consideration as to how to carry equipment.

Over the years I’ve developed a handful of solutions for carrying gear, which now mean I can carry the gear I need without punishing my back too much, and most importantly do not compromise safety.  I’m sure these tools and methods will evolve further over the coming years, but for now here’s a summary of my winter options:

SnowPulse Pack
My pack of choice for all backcountry winter travel with and without my camera gear.  After a close call two years ago, and with the ongoing development of avalanche airbags, I now wear my custom Snowpulse pack the vast majority of the time.  Suitable for touring and sled accessed shoots, the pack is designed to carry a single camera body plus three or four lenses as well as my probe and shovel.  On sled accessed days all my other gear is stashed in other packs on my sled (see below) and when touring I make some adjustments using my Cotton Carrier (also see below).

ABS Pack
My custom ABS pack is a variation on my Snowpulse pack.  Another avalanche airbag, it offers some added protection in the event of a slide, and has been customized for easy access to all my gear without affecting the safety features.

DaKine Sequence
When shooting inbounds (as well as for summer shoots), it’s nice to not have to carry the extra weight of the avalanche airbags and I’m delighted with the Dakine Sequence pack.  The removable inner camera block is a great feature which we imitated when designing the custom airbag packs.  The movable velcro dividers also mean I can carry a range of gear and ensure that it’s all adequately protected.  The rear entry means that, especially on winter shoots, the gear is well protected when opening the pack.  Quality is excellent, and the one minor issue I had with the main zip was repaired under warranty with no problems.  For more info: CLICK HERE

Cotton Carrier
A recent addition to my travel gear, the Cotton Carrier Camera Vest is now part of my standard gear on a touring day, as well as when I am going to need quick and easy access to my camera.  By carrying a body and my 70-200mm lens on the vest, I free up a lot of room in my pack for food, water and touring gear.  The vest also means I can keep my pack on and shoot multiple times while riding a single line with an athlete – quick, simple, and safe.  Simple in concept, but well designed, the camera vest offers a comfortable fit with quick easy access to a single camera and lens, as well as being truly secure – while riding with my 5D MkII body and 70-200mm lens it is well balanced and 100% secure. Additional bundle elements mean the vest works with all (D)SLR camera bodies, has a secure strap, as well as a safety tether, and you can add a small upgrade to mean you can transfer to a tripod without any issues. For more info: CLICK HERE

CFR Dime Bag
Most people know Cheetah Factory Racing (CFR) for their ski and snowboard racks for sleds.  Many people have also invested in one of their racks, including the new iRack.  What more and more people are discovering is the CFR Dime Bag.  Designed to fit in the CFR racks, the dime bag offers a super convenient and waterproof way of carrying more gear when sledding. My dime bag is always packed with my first aid kit, lunch, drink, foldaway saw, tow rope, spare gloves and of course the CFR scraper that comes standard!  Freeing up much needed room and weight in my backpack. Find out more HERE

Arctic Cat Goggle Bag & Handlebar Bag
I was recently chatting with Aaron from sledshot.com and Mountain Motorsports about the use of tunnel bags, handlebar bags etc when sledding.  It seems the days are gone when these packs used to be the domain of old guys on trail sleds.  More people are realizing the benefit of letting their sled carry some non-critical gear. Personally, my shovel and probe will never be carried anywhere but on my back, but I have plenty of other gear that can be carried on my sled without risk.  Spare goggles, toque, balaclava, sunglasses etc – all of which can be easily accessed by using storage options at the front of the sled around the bars. More info here:
Goggle Holder
Handlebar Bag

Note: I did wreck (melt) a pair of goggle lenses by leaving goggles in the goggle holder and riding hard for half a day, but by replacing the heat deflector plate below the bag and relatively regularly swapping  my goggles, I have not had further problems.

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