Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tamrac Expedition 7 Backpack - Part 3

Two weeks ago, I talked about my thought process in deciding on this backpack and a brief overview of it. If you haven't read that entry, read it now:
Tamrac Expedition 7 Backpack - Part 1

Last week I talked loading up the backpack, and my thoughts on it's construction. If you haven't read that entry, read it now:
Tamrac Expedition 7 Backpack - Part 1

On Friday, I had a chance to go out and actually put this backpack to the test, at least for a little bit. I headed down to the park and spent about an hour and a half taking pictures of stuff. While I didn't get to test as thoroughly as I'd have liked, I got a pretty good idea for how it handles.

First off, carrying the backpack around that long was no problem at all. With the 2 shoulder straps and the waist strap, the weight was pretty well distributed. The bag did not feel too top heavy, as I was concerned might be the case. However, since I wasn't hiking (I was just walking around taking picture) I had my camera and an extra lens out at all times, so the backpack wasn't at full weight. Also, for the same reason, I didn't have my tripod attached, so that was even less weight on the backpack.

Removing and getting into the backpack was not bad at all. Not as difficult as I feared. To test quick accessibility, I attached my lens case to the waist belt and put a lens in there. While the case does work well for my 70-300, the Sigma 12-24 was a little too wide. It could just barely fit in there, and as a result, it was a bit difficult getting it out. I need to find a larger case that fits a little better.

Another problem I noted here was that, due to the cold weather, I was wearing a thick, bulky jacket, and as a result it kind of pushed the straps further out. Its kind of hard to describe exactly what I mean, but the end result was that the lens case on the waist belt was a bit further out and behind me, and the memory card/batter wallet was a bit higher up on my shoulder. This made them both a little more difficult to get at...a problem I don't seem to have when not wearing a jacket. The end result is that it makes the bag just a little more difficult to use in the winter (but then again, photography in general is a little more difficult in winter).

All together, I was pretty satisfied with how the backpack handled. However, I think an even bigger test will be using it in the summer, when I'm more likely to be hiking longer distances and thus needing a backpack the most. We'll have to wait a couple months for much nicer weather around here before I can try that out.

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