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  1. #1
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    Advice Needed: Camera Carry System for Skiing/Mtb

    Been brainstorming for a few weeks how to can carry a DSLR w/ 70-200 + hood, somewhat protected in my pack while skiing or biking. Pack is an older 20L heli pro.

    I had prototyped something in late December that utilized a block of dense closed cell foam for a base with a center cutout filled with softer foam for the hood to rest on. The portion supporting the rest of the lens was made of aluminum flashing with a few PVC collars and padded on the inside. I got hung up on how to support the body with this setup, and moreover how to stabilize it within the pack without taking up all of the space. Otherwise it was extremely light weight.

    Fast forward to now: Been thinking of taking a big (idk, 2'x2') block of closed cell foam, slicing down the middle, and carving out a space for the lens and body to rest on. Then would be able to contour the outside to better fit the pack. Once everything is shaped, could strap the two halves together and be done. Problem is finding a block of foam with the correct density that large. Things seem to get really pricey.

    Currently thinking the same concept could be accomplished by gluing a bunch of thinner, more acquirable, sheets together. Thoughts? Better ideas?

  2. #2
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    I have a few of their lens cases and they are very padded. Maybe look at their other offerings.

    https://apecase.com/product-category...sories/cubeze/

  3. #3
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    When traveling with Dave Heath, I noticed he had an Osprey pack that zipped up both sides and the top, basically one long zipper. He had shaped the foam to accommodate his camera body and lenses, etc.
    But the coolest thing about this setup was that he could drop his shoulder straps, spin the pack to the front on the waist belt, and then upzip it as it kinda fell forward, laying flat in front of him, essentially allowing him full access without having to drop the pack to get to his gear. Cause that's always a pita.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by splat View Post
    When traveling with Dave Heath, I noticed he had an Osprey pack that zipped up both sides and the top, basically one long zipper. He had shaped the foam to accommodate his camera body and lenses, etc.
    But the coolest thing about this setup was that he could drop his shoulder straps, spin the pack to the front on the waist belt, and then upzip it as it kinda fell forward, laying flat in front of him, essentially allowing him full access without having to drop the pack to get to his gear. Cause that's always a pita.
    Sling packs are perfect for this too. The one I use is:
    https://www.hazard4.com/packs/sling-...freelance.html

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MakersTeleMark View Post
    Sling packs are perfect for this too. The one I use is:
    https://www.hazard4.com/packs/sling-...freelance.html
    Is this you?

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  6. #6
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    No, I have the black version.

  7. #7
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    Can you manage not to crash, at least most of the time?

    Wrap it in a small puffy or other extra layer.

    Want better protection and organization, especially for additional gear (lenses/flashes/etc)? I'd be looking at action-sports-oriented camera packs (f.stop comes to mind, Burton Zoom is a a classic, and I'm fairly certain I'm forgetting something that should be on that list.). You can also stuff a toploader/holster-style pack inside a normal top-opening backpack, but you end up with space issues really quick when trying to handle a 70-200. A holster-style pack clipped to the shoulder straps makes for easy access but puts a premium on not crashing forward, especially into hard objects (nevermind the camera, worry about your sternum and ribs).

    You could also use an f.stop ICU in a normal backpack, but if you don't have a back-opening pack, that seems like it would be a PITA for access.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies

    The goal here is to quickly be able to grab the camera so Iím not holding people up. Iím pretty set with my current pack since itís relatively small but still fits essentials (shovel, probe, toe pieces for cast, skins, with room to spare). Therefore a top opening case is a must, so ICU is out.

    I really like that idea of being able to spin the pack and access everything through the back panel. Actually saw a video recently by Thinktank that was marketing a similar system. I do have another pack dedicated for camera stuffs that can do this but itís a bit of a beast and turns my skiing to shit.

    Donít know why I didnít just start off with the google, appears that Thinktank makes a holster style pack that looks perfect for my intentions. Might even be better than anything I had planned since it can be clipped on the outside for even faster deployment. Guess I really just wanted to post in the Ďshit you built with your own two handsí thread

  9. #9
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    I can't imagine skiing with a FF DSLR with a 70-200 if it wasn't completely glued to my back.

  10. #10
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    A couple photographer friends seem to really like their Evoc packs. There's a side zipper compartment that holds the camera nicely, and can be accessed without taking the pack off. So you just kinda reach behind your butt to unzip the compartment and get at the camera. Seems pretty slick.

    Other than that, another photographer buddy has a metal clippy quick release thing that goes on his shoulder strap and hangs the camera reasonably securely. Something like this. It's not useful for long distances, but if it's just a situation where "ok, I'm gonna ride 30 seconds down the trail and set up for a shot," it seems to work really well.

  11. #11
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    I've gone back and forth between camera-specific and general ski packs, as well as building a bunch of my own carry systems. My takeaway has been that if you're trying to carry your entire film kit (not just a body and a lense or two) then an Evoc pack is by far your best bet. But if you're just carrying a fast and light kit (for me that's a body, a zoom lens, and an ultra-wide) a ski-specific pack will make you a much happier camper.

    The Thule Uplsope series of packs is also incredible though. Those huge-ass hip pockets fit a DSLR and lense just fine, and you can access them without unbuckling anything, which is key. That's gonna be a way better ski pack, and a way better camera pack than anything Dakine makes (I've owned a bunch of their ski packs, and a few of their camera packs and have given up on them all).

    For backcountry skiing, I get that you're trying to protect your camera, but honestly, the weight and faff isn't really worth it. Get good camera insurance (do this no matter what, it's so worth it) and then pack it intelligently in a cheap neoprene case off amazon, wrap it in your puffy, and don't ski like a jackass. It doesn't matter how protected your camera is if you're constantly missing the shot because you've got to unzip four things and wiggle it out of its protective block. Accessibility is key.

    As Toast mentioned, the Peak Designs Capture Clip is the shit. I still have mine from four years ago, it's going strong, and gets used every time I shoot skiing.

    Sounds like you're set on your plan, but since you asked, figured I'd throw my $.02 in.

  12. #12
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    I use a Capture Clip with a Fuji X-T20 for sunny days when I think the snow'll be work shooting good shots. I need to upgrade to a weatherproof body, but even without one, this system works for me when I'm careful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by east or bust View Post
    The goal here is to quickly be able to grab the camera so I’m not holding people up.
    I, as well as all the camera toting folks I ski with, use holster bags and clip them to the sternum strap area of our packs. The exact attachment method varies a bit based on the holster bag and the backpack design, and the size of the camera. Personally I went mirrorless crop sensor specifically so it wouldn't be huge on my chest but a couple friends are shooting FF DSLRs with big lenses and carry them this way.

    For biking it goes in my pack or more frequently left behind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by east or bust View Post
    The goal here is to quickly be able to grab the camera so I’m not holding people up.
    Get a nice point & shoot?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    I, as well as all the camera toting folks I ski with, use holster bags and clip them to the sternum strap area of our packs. The exact attachment method varies a bit based on the holster bag and the backpack design, and the size of the camera. Personally I went mirrorless crop sensor specifically so it wouldn't be huge on my chest but a couple friends are shooting FF DSLRs with big lenses and carry them this way.
    My buddy Schralph does something like this. Works for him. He used to do it with a Canon 7D. Dunno what he's doing at the moment. I could see doing it this way, but I really dig my Capture Clip setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    For biking it goes in my pack or more frequently left behind.
    I actually came back to this thread to mention this exact thing. On the rare occasions I bring the big camera riding dirt, it's been in the pack with padding around it. But I've only brought it once or twice. I've brought my old Panasonic LX5 a number of times. Still in the pack though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  16. #16
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    I love my capture clip. Great invention. But I can't see even walking down the street with OP's rig on it. Even if it had the plate and was on my belt.


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LightRanger View Post
    Capture Clip setup.
    I like the Capture Clip too, but it's a no-go with an airbag and I prefer the additional protection of the holster bag (both weather and impact). Something tells me that OP, who initially asked about making foam padding for his backpack, isn't going to want his FF just chilling unprotected on his shoulder strap either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

  18. #18
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    Used to use this rig to carry a 70-200 on a 1Ds MkII when I shot freelance for a mountain biking magazine:
    Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW II Camera Case

    With the chest harness to secure it in front of you:
    Lowepro Toploader Chest harness

    Works well. Just don't think about how many thousands of dollars are between you and the bike stem when riding DH trails.

  19. #19
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    If you're not touring, check out the Mountainsmith line developed in conjunction with Andy Mann.

    I had the Borealis which is huge for your needs (too big for mine as well), but I think there are 2 smaller packs in the lineup.

    Looks like the Spectrum model might work.

    https://mountainsmith.com/andymann-s...mera-pack.html

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  20. #20
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    Iím not photo guy but was gifted a Wandrd bag and camera cube...maybe check out some of their solutions to see how you can integrate?

    Ended up buying one of there duffles too.

  21. #21
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    Take a look at the LowePro 200AW if youíre looking at other bags. Know a few of us that use that one around here.

    If you are keeping the Heli Pro is look at a camera cube that will fit the camera. Holster style is great for short times but I wouldnít ski or ride very far with my camera on my chest.

    With a cube you should be able to drop the bag pull the camera out and be shooting in 15-20 seconds. Takes longer to put it away but youíve got the shot by then.

    Dedicated camera bags many times have a side access that makes it easy to grab the camera out without putting down your bag, but Iíve found a FF dSLR and a 70-200 are generally too bulky to easily get in and out of a side hatch.

    Capture clips are cool but like mentioned above I would put that setup on one. They are great for smaller rigs. I have one on my bag for my mirrorless 24-70 and even that bounces around more than I like.

    At the end of the day, big cameras and lenses are made to take abuse from pros using them day in and day out for years on end so donít be too precious with them.

  22. #22
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    Advice Needed: Camera Carry System for Skiing/Mtb

    Quote Originally Posted by Toddball View Post
    Get a nice point & shoot?
    I have an RX100V that I use when really trying to go light. Awesome little camera no doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Supermoon View Post
    Take a look at the LowePro 200AW if youíre looking at other bags. Know a few of us that use that one around here.

    If you are keeping the Heli Pro is look at a camera cube that will fit the camera. Holster style is great for short times but I wouldnít ski or ride very far with my camera on my chest.

    With a cube you should be able to drop the bag pull the camera out and be shooting in 15-20 seconds. Takes longer to put it away but youíve got the shot by then.

    Dedicated camera bags many times have a side access that makes it easy to grab the camera out without putting down your bag, but Iíve found a FF dSLR and a 70-200 are generally too bulky to easily get in and out of a side hatch.

    Capture clips are cool but like mentioned above I would put that setup on one. They are great for smaller rigs. I have one on my bag for my mirrorless 24-70 and even that bounces around more than I like.

    At the end of the day, big cameras and lenses are made to take abuse from pros using them day in and day out for years on end so donít be too precious with them.
    Wasnít even aware they made a pro tactic pack that small, I have the larger version (450). Skied and biked with it, itís actually extremely comfortable even when worn for multiple hours, but the size is far from ideal for any kind of action sports. It shines as a true travel pack and even on short 2-3 day camping trips.

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    Last season I had a decent system using a 6D and 24-70 that would fit in a small holster that I secured to the waist belt of the dakine pack (belt though the back loop and d-rings carabinered to the pack buckles). I would have no hesitations using that setup again if I had to, although the 2 main cons were the ancient autofocus system and no weather sealing. In the late spring I picked up a 1DIV super cheap (felt like I stole it) from a guy on FM. So that alleviated my 2 main gripes with the prior setup with the caveat of a bit more size and weight. Old holster will not fit the full size body so that is why Iíve been looking for alternatives.

    I did pull the trigger on the LP holster that TMM linked a picture of earlier. Weíll see how that works out. Always looking for ways to improve the setup so thereís a good chance Iíll be checking back into this thread in the future. Thereís been a lot of good info thus far so hopefully this can help some other people out too

  23. #23
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    I've had a few camera packs and this is by far the fastest and easiest to use while still doing a good job protecting the camera:

    https://www.thinktankphoto.com/colle...on180-panorama

    Works great with shorter lenses but probably won't work so well with the 70-200.

    I haven't skied with this pack, I've only used it for biking. For skiing I generally throw the camera + lens in a beanie and make my friends wait the short amount of time it takes to pull the camera out and get setup.

  24. #24
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    Sounds like OP has figured out his rig, but here's a couple photos of chest mounted holster bags FWIW.

    This is my buddy who shoots with a Canon 5D Mark IV. I don't recall which lenses but they are.... not small. He has a second lens on there too. Obviously this setup is not small but it works for him. Probably better for a knuckledragger than a skier. I don't know which bags he's using.



    This is my setup. Sony A6000 with the 18-135mm lens. Thinktank Digital Holster 5. This combo fits perfectly with the hood reversed. I don't notice it while skiing unless I'm doing a lot of jump turns, then it bounces a little.



    I don't recall this guys exact kit, but it's one of the Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras with a typical zoom lens and one of the larger Thinktank Digital Holsters. I'm happy enough with my kit but were I to upgrade, this is probably as large as I'd want to go as a skier. A bit hard to see cuz homie really likes black.

    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

  25. #25
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    Anyone have issues getting to their beacon if needed with those chest harnesses? Any worries about interference with the signal?

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