Women's Hiking / Travel Camera Backpack

I’ve been through the topics but haven’t really seen any ideas for what I am looking for:

My Lowe Pro Fast Pack has outlived its useful life and I’m looking for a new bag and suggestions regarding alternatives. Thins I loved about my old bag:

  1. Separation from a “personal item” pockets where I can store rain gear, snacks, cards & other misc items
  2. Outside pockets for water bottles
    3 Options for accessing gear: front or side
    4 Pocket for 13" computer
  3. Air (on board) travel compliant

Issues:
1 Straps were poorly padded and very uncomfortable
2 Waist belt was AWFUL
3. No rain jacket (not a deal breaker)
4 Doesn’t stand up without support so it has to be laid when not on back
5 No home for tripod

I am small and narrow. I tried a number of their newer bags but with all the improvements they made, the straps were still uncomfortable.

I looked at the suggestions from previous posts but couldn’t find anything that worked for me. The feature most important to me, is the separation between personal items & gear. I go hiking and travel a fair amount with my gear and must be able to carry rain gear and some food.

It would be really nice to find a bag with good support for longer hikes (3 -10 miles) and doesn’t fall down when not on my back, and the computer pocket was used more often that I ever imagined (but not a deal breaker).

Any suggestions anyone?

Thank-you in advance.

Hi Robin,

First, camera bags are one of those things that you need to own 15 of to find the perfect one (if there even is a “perfect” one).

Second, here are a few of my favorites that somewhat fit your requirements. I’ve organized them from least to most capable for long hiking trips.

  1. Nomatic Camera Pack

  2. Mountain Smith Camera Bags

  3. F-Stop Mountain Series

  4. Atlas Packs

Hopefully, that helps. I can personally vouch for the quality of all of these company’s products and while I don’t own all of them, I’ve talked to students who have, and all come highly recommended!

After researching, reading and buying of (returnable) bags I decided on the Nat Geo African medium rucksack. It’s not perfect, but it holds my gear (with no extra space), has space for clothing, batteries, water bottle, tripod etc. nice exterior pockets, doesn’t look like a camera bag (yay!), stands up without falling over like so many other bags do when filled up and has great shoulder straps (most important) - well padded and good fit for a smaller female. I’ve been walking around town for the past 3 days fully packed to make sure I won’t be feeling sorry when I’m playing in the mountains and there were no pains or backaches (yay!).

Only two relatively (so far) minor downsides: 1) no hip belt - I guess Ill really find out how comfortable it is by the time I get back (3 weeks in New Mexico) and it is tight with a body 2 lenses and flash, also the access is a little odd but I can live with it.

Thanks for your suggestions , Forest. I checked out all the makers you listed above, they had great potential they just didn’t fit me or my budget in some cases.