PacSafe has a great small pack for camera-toting dayhikers and backpackers: The Camsafe V11. If you are a day hiker who always takes your DSLR camera, or a backpacker who likes to wear your camera up front, this might be the bag for you. I tested the PacSafe Camsafe V11 and this is what I found.
First, please note that I am a camera bag snob. My camera needs to be accessible at all times, without having to dismount my backpack. I shoot as I make my way up the trail, so if I have to stop and take off my backpack before I can take a photo, I usually miss the shot. Wearing a second bag on my front while backpacking is a necessity for me. I have been looking for the perfect camera bag for my backpacking setup. But this also works for day hiking and travel.
I like it for backpacking because:
-I can wear this as a chest pack in combination with my backpack, and my camera is ready for use without pulling the pack off my back to access my camera.
-Straps don’t interfere with my backpacking straps.
-It is just big enough for my mid-sized DSLR and extra lens. 11 liters.
-It is well padded and protects my camera very nicely without too much extra bulk
-It has a rain cover which is necessary for my camera bag about 10 months out of the year. Good call.
I know front packs are not all the rage in the US the way they are in Europe (it’ll catch on someday) but they are a great answer for backpacking photographers. PacSafe has gone one farther with this bag, and made it backpack worthy, too. That makes me happy!
I also like it for dayhiking because:
-It has water bottle holders on both sides, which makes it work for a dayhike bag, as long as you don’t need much more than your camera, a snack and water.
-You can wear it as a front pack in addition to your day pack, making your camera accessible at all times.
-I can slip an extra lens in the water bottle pocket if I don’t need two water bottles.
-Remove or reposition the camera dividers to suit your needs.
I like it for travel because:
-Like all of PacSafe’s products, it is designed to keep thieves out! Metal mesh, metal clip-in zippers, wire strap reinforcing and two-handed clips all keep this pack in your possession and keep your camera safe.
This video gives a quick overview of their safety features:
-It also has a sleeve for a tablet or small laptop.
-It has dedicated compartments for ID, cash, credit cards and even passport which includes RFID protection. If you travel really light, this might be your only carry-on.
-It’s a touch small to use as your only dayhike bag. it’s 11 liters, but the majority of that is camera space and padding. There is little space for jackets, gloves, lunch, etc.
-There is no waist strap. If you carry a heavy load, you’ll miss the extra support on your waist.
Overall this is a great, very versatile bag. Backpacking photographers might want to check this out as a solution for trail shooting.
Available: Early Spring 2014 Retail Release (Lat Jan to Feb in retail stores)
Weight: Just under 2 pounds
Dimensions: 34 x 31 x 14 cm / 13.4 x 12.2 x 5.5 in
Colors: Black or two-tone gray