Exploring has made me into aself confessed bag whore and I’ve been on the search for the perfect exploring bag for years and years, the thing is there isn’t really any such thing. As long as what you’ve got gets your kit where you need to go without falling apart or damaging your stuff then it doesn’t matter.What is true though are certain bags are better in certain environments, for example in tight, flooded or really muddy spaces I prefer my Sitka Gearslinger as I can spin him round and access whatever I want without taking it off or let the bag touch the ground…..quite useful if you are in four feet of water :-)Every now and then I get an itch to try something new though but invariably they are on eBay within a few days as I’ve not done my homework properly or some ‘feature’ of the bag has annoyed me and I’ve fell out of love with it. My ‘daily driver’ up until recently has been my Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger as he can carry my Canon, various flashlights, Gas Detector, batteries, bits of climbing gear and a side mounted tripod. More importantly its f**ing Bomb Proof which I like in a bag. I’ve had it years but it’s probably not quite as big as it should be……I hate carrying big bags but should probably upgrade him to a Kodiak Gearslinger which is the exact same design just a touch larger…
The last few weeks I’ve been taking out a Lowe Pro Flipside 300 AW that was gifted to me. He’s great in some respects, light, totally customisable and padded inside so I can get my Canon, GoPro, lighting rig, flashlights etc. in plus it has a really neat tripod carrying solution….BUT….the shoulder straps feel VERY flimsy compared to the OTT build qualityoftheMaxpedition stuff and you have to take the damn thing off to access anything inside.
The main two I keep going back to though are the Sitka Gearslinger if I’m somewhere out of sight or if I’m trying to blend in a bit the 5.11 Rush 12, he’s great as I can get the camera and tripod inside the bag so is much less conspicuous. For silly ass wet/flooded sites I take an Ortlieb heavyweight dry bag in an attempt to not kill another DSLR.
The new kid on the block is a Maxpedition Colossus which I’ve not taken out yet but like the fact I can drop the Canon/Tokina rig straight into him and access it quickly. I’m hoping it will be perfect for handheld only trips where the tripod stays at home but I reckon it will take a side mounted tripod quite easily if I needed to.