Originally, I didn’t want anything for my birthday this year. There just wasn’t anything I could think of that I really needed or wanted and I didn’t just want “stuff” just because, so I didn’t ask for anything.
When BG and I went for our hike, I wanted to make sure I took my phone, my camera and a couple of lenses. I also needed wallet and keys since we drove to a couple of places. But… I didn’t want to drag my big camera pack because it is awkward and makes it difficult to move around to switch lenses, especially if I want to do so even kind of quickly. I found an old, small bag that I could wear across my body so that it wouldn’t be in my way or constantly fall off my shoulder. It kind of worked, but… not. I got snow in it a couple of times and because it was mostly just a bigger, single compartment, I was always digging to find what I wanted. My camera and extra lens were banging up against each other. It was okay for temporary and better than my big bag, but it still wasn’t working.
I’d been thinking for a while about a way to carry the equipment I want to carry and still have ease of access as well as comfort. My big bag is a cross body backpack kind of design, but it is bulky. If I were to wear it in front, it is in the way and throws my balance out of whack a bit because my arms are forced to move awkwardly. It is also a strange angle to access the equipment storage. If I wear it in the back, I have to take it off to get to anything at all. It also isn’t balanced well and pulls on my shoulder if it is packed heavy at all, so it isn’t all that great for longer use.
For me, my comfort level would be to have access to the really important stuff in front of me from about waist level. I honestly thought I’d have to try and make something and I really wasn’t looking forward to trying to come up with a design that would work well. On a whim, I decided to see what was already available and I think I pretty much struck gold. I ended up finding two different things that work perfectly together, totaling around $40, which made it even better since equipment bags can get insanely expensive.
The first part of my set up is this hip/holster kind of bag with a ton of little pockets for different things and one large main pocket for my camera. I needed enough places to put things like my keys, wallet, phone and any other small things I think I might need. It even has a perfect pocket for my sunglasses (absolutely necessary for me).
The other piece to my new gear are 4 different size lightly padded lens holders with clips. I love that they are separate. I can pick and choose which lenses I want to take with me, if any at all, without having to take more than I need. They clip on the any of the various places on the holster, which there are 3 specific ones on the waist strap and multiple other places you can get creative with. These also have a webbing loop along the side (you can see in the main top image, runs along the side of the bag) that you could slide any kind of belt or strap through and gives tons more carrying/attaching options for even more versatility.
This whole set up makes carrying my equipment completely customizable based on what I’m doing and what I need. I would have gone bonkers over this on our last vacation and it would have made my life so much happier.
The main holster has a padded waist strap and the padding placement is adjustable so you can put it where you need it the most. There is an additional, free clip that has a small adjustable strap attached .
It also came with a water bottle sleeve that can clip on anywhere, though it seems to be on the small side and will most likely only fit a narrow, short bottle.
The main pocket is the perfect size for me to put my camera with my zoom lens attached and still be able to pull the drawstring closed and lock the flap in place.
The bag itself is not padded, except in the back where it rests against your hip. While this could be a drawback because it doesn’t offer my camera much protection, I’m not overly worried. If I feel like I need more, I’ll make a small modification and figure out a way to line that main pocket, but I don’t think it will be necessary. I’ll just have to be a little careful.
I say this is a holster because it has both a waist strap and a smaller strap that attaches around your thigh giving this a ton of stability and keeps it from bouncing around as you move. The leg strap isn’t padded like the waist strap is.
Almost all of the pockets secure in more than one way. The main, large pocket with the drawstring, flap and clip. The front zips and gets enclosed under the main pocket flap and clip (can hold a cell phone). The side pocket has a zipper and a strap that velcros down (May hold a narrower cell phone). The only pockets that don’t are the glasses pocket and the second side pocket. The glasses pocket only zips and the second side pocket just has a flap that gets held down with a clip.
Since I JUST got this, I can’t say yet if it is going to work perfectly or how comfortable it is going to be over longer periods of time. That said, I did put it on with most of my equipment in place and it felt really comfortable. I have some adjustments I’ll need to make on the leg and waist straps to get them exactly how I want them, but it feels like it is going to work exactly the way I’d hoped. Now I can’t wait to get out and take some pictures!