What is the best way to carry my camera gear?


I’ve spent the last 30 years hauling photo gear around the world, and have concluded that the answer to this question depends on how much gear you have, how accessible you need it to be, and how much protection the equipment needs. Other issues to consider are how much weight you’re willing to carry and how often you have to plead your case to the people in airport security. Here are some options for carrying a moderate amount of serious photo gear:

Shoulder bag. Bags range from very small to large enough to carry a medium-sized dog. These are great for organizing gear, but bulky to carry (especially in a crowd), and not particularly friendly when it comes to accessing gear quickly. I carry one, but transfer most gear to a smaller bag or a shooting vest once I begin photographing.

Hard-shell case. This option (like those made by Pelican: www.casesbypelican.com) provides the ultimate protection. Pros use them regularly to protect expensive gear on location and when forced to ship gear as luggage. The best are water-, dust-, and crushproof. Some have wheels and pull handles, which are excellent for navigating hotel lobbies and airports.

Backpack. These are great for toting a fair amount of gear into both wilderness areas and the urban jungle. While not as convenient for accessing gear, they are less obtrusive in a crowd and far more comfortable when trekking or hiking.

Sling pack. A morph between the backpack and shoulder ...

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