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Shoulder bag vs Backpack for your gear


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Deep down every photographer i know is a 'bag junkie'. I have given away a lot of bags over the last few years and i still have a closet filled with them. It seems that every assignment i take i find a reason to get a new bag. The question on every trip is do i take a shoulder bag or do i take a backpack, and there are many times when i take both! The last few years I have been in love with Tenba backpacks and shoulder bags, they are well constructed and very well thought out. If i am working in a city i tend to use a shoulder bag where i can grab a lens very quickly. When i am doing more walking and hiking i lean towards a backpack. Some of the new Tenba backpacks have a 'side' entry pocket where you can grab a camera or lens without taking the pack off or opening the main panel. This is great, but of course it has added to my dilemma in choosing a bag as it will work for city photography. The other decision to be made is what bag to use when you are transporting all your equipment to a location when you are on a plane versus the actual smaller bag you will be shooting with. Since i carry a lot of Sony lenses,  (just like bags i can't always decide what lenses to take 😁)  traditionally i use a rolling bag for the plane and then switch to a more mobile carrying method either backpack or shoulder bag when i am working.

I will ask and expect to get many varied replies - WHAT BAG DO YOU USE

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I understand the "collection". The issue I believe is they are not customized to individual needs, so you need a trial-and-error process to find what fits the best. Once you settle on a bag, 5 more come out the next week (not exaggerating, it happened twice) and you get one more.

But I could say I have this problem fixed. I have Atlas backpack for hiking, camping and outdoors. For cities, travel and sports, I use the Nomatic Peter McKinnon everyday backpack. Sometimes I use their sling for 1 body 2 prime setup. I don't have the airport roller bag, but that is in the plans for the future... I guess it is not fixed 😅

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I am very much a backpack guy. Shoulder bags start to cause muscle problems if I use them for more than an hour or so at a time. Currently I am using an insert in a Montane backpack but am debating whether to get a Shimoda. I think I will but I enjoy the research as much as the purchase sometimes. 

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For my bag use case it depends on what I am planning to shoot at my destination. I prefer trying to carry as light as possible. If I am planning to shoot wildlife, I'll carry the telephotos in my peak design backpack. If I am just planning on doing landscape I'll just carry in the peak design sling bag. I try to avoid bringing all my gear with me if possible. Recently I've been favoring bags that are carry-on size to store all my lens and camera gear and has the capability to have a cube that turns into a day bag.

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