How I finally decided on a camera bag!

Aug 6, 2020


Well, it’s only taken me about five years to finally come to a decision about carrying my gear around. The lovely Mrs G laughed at me because I had more of a bag fetish than she ever did!

The problem I faced was always how to make it modular and thoughtless. I needed to be able to quickly transfer items from one bag to another and be confident I hadn’t left anything vital behind. And since I began to carry video equipment having started my YouTube channel, I was always at the mercy of a “three bags” system.

One bag was a small shoulder bag such as the Peak Design 10L Everyday Sling.

This was perfect for an hour on the beach, but if I started to think about carrying drinks and extra layers it struggled to cope. Leaving me to haul everything out of the various flaps and pockets to decant into a larger bag. Of course, I could have carried the larger bag in the first place but that’s overkill for an hour on the beach on a summers evening!

So I had a mid-size day hike (and slightly longer trips to the beach) backpack. But most of my photography varied between short trips out and full days out so I was either carrying round a bag full of fresh air and heavier than it needed to be, or a bag that couldn’t quite fit everything in!

And then of course there was overnight wild camping trips. Which necessitated an even larger backpack to accommodate camping gear as well as the usual day hike gear. Of course, at this point I could have invested in a relatively expensive specialist camera / camping backpack. But don’t forget I had already spent my daughter’s inheritance on other bags of varying sizes!

So my overnight backpack was a relatively cheap Osprey 48L. An excellent backpack in many respects, very comfortable when heavily loaded, rugged and practical. Except terrible for carrying camera gear, and of course I would always forget something or other when switching bags. Which I never discovered until I was on a peak somewhere and needed it!

And every time I shunted items from one bag to another I longed for a single bag in which everything lives and which accommodates every possible bag eventuality with ease. Including, if necessary, business trips to London!

All I wanted was the perfect camera, camping (and business travel) backpack. Was that really too much to ask?

I figured it would be an expensive proposition. Even if one ever existed.

Then along came the Atlas Athlete, but at an outrageous cost! And so I contented myself with coveting one … for about two years!

Despite my legendary parsimony I eventually caved in. To be honest if I’d run to the cost of this backpack in the first place, rather than trying out loads of cheaper ones I probably would’ve been better off financially anyway!

I’ve now had this bag for about three months. Everything lives in it. And yet it’s lightweight and very compact when I want it to be. But it expands to a full 40L and comes with all sorts of external attachment options to easily handle a few days worth of wild camping equipment.

The thing is, having been a hiker and camper pretty much all my life I know a thing or two about carrying systems. This one really is worth the eye-watering cost because it replaces every other bag, makes life really easy, is extremely comfortable and flexible to use.

I have completely fallen in love with it; to have and to hold, forsaking all others until death do us part!

I’m often asked about the equipment I use.

You'll find details of most of it on my  GEAR PAGE


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