The options for gear can become overwhelming at times so hopefully I can shorten your learning curve? One of the most important aspects to shooting, as well as most things in life, is to be organized. If you can’t find your gear, or access it easily, you will be less productive and quickly become frustrated. When shooting on location you may be in harsh conditions in distant locations probably the best way to carry gear is in a backpack. It allows you to carry all of the gear you will need while staying pretty much out of the way when it’s not needed. Just as many things in life, deciding on gear is a matter of personal preference and there are tradeoffs. The biggest mistake most people make is to start small with the idea of testing the water then upgrading later. Obviously, there may be a specific purpose to getting a smaller pack but in general get a pack one size larger than you think you currently need. This will allow you room to expand later and usually the cost is very minimal. It also keeps you from being stuck with equipment later on that you won’t use and will actually save you money in the long run.
A perfect example of the type of pack you should consider is the StreetWalker® HardDrive from Think Tank Photo http://www.thinktankphoto.com. It allows you to carry a full size pro body with a 70-200 f 2.8 installed and ready to shoot plus a variety of other gear. Having used just about every brand of pack in the market, and after spending some time looking this pack over, I can highly recommend it.
Its very light for the amount of gear it carries, which helps reduce the total strain on your back.
It has a very clean uncluttered design without a bunch of places to get snagged up on.
Infinitely adjustable interior plus a step down for a pro size body with battery pack.
Very stealthy looking. Keeps shady characters from identifying it as something worth stealing.
It has a very well thought out tripod holder that tucks neatly away when not in use.
Included rain cover and straps to secure tripods.
Belt is modular and interchangeable for various different scenarios.
Belt tucks away under pad when not needed.
Lockable main compartment with large heavy duty zippers.
Thickly padded shoulder straps and back pad with ventilation channels.
Big and well placed identification holder for business cards ect…
Adaptable to various other Think Tank products, easily tailored to your specific needs.
Carries up to a 15.4” laptop in a dedicated compartment.
Weather sealed zippers.
Adjustable top shoulder straps.
Interior key ring clip
Second handle on the side
Mesh stretch pockets instead of material on side pockets and shoulder straps.
Dividers in see through lid storage for filter ect…
Like I said, most everything is a trade off and this bag has many more excellent attributes than not. In a perfect world we could design our own bag from scratch but this pack comes pretty close to being ideal.
On a scale from 1 to 10, I’d give it a strong 9. It retails for $189.75 from http://www.thinktankphoto.com. The site is also a great resource for information important to photographers and the issues we encounter.