Every photographer has to address the issue of how to take all the gear along. It is always a hopeless trade-off between the size of the bag and the gear that has to fit. Additionally there are all kinds of additional requirements like e.g. it should be carried comfortably, it should be inconspicuous, it should minimize the chance of theft, it needs to meet airline policies, and sometimes even museum policies. After some investigation, I have chosen to resolve the dilemma's by buying two setups from Think Tank. I have learned that the choices made exceed my original expectations.
When I am on the way for location portraits, or in nature, I use these days a StreetWalker Harddrive from Think Tank. The main reason for buying this bag was that it fits very well on my back; most camera backpacks are simply too short for my back and cause serious inconvenience. The StreetWalker Harddrive perfectly takes my Canon 5D mkII with a couple of lenses, speed-lights, pocket wizards, a laptop, etc. On the outside I add, depending on what I need, foldable umbrella's from Westcott, small light-stands and a small tripod. I have learned that I can easily have this whole package on my back for a day; I cannot say that about many backpacks. Also, with the exception of the light-stands and tripod, this backpack has not caused any problem as carry-on luggage with international airlines.
Still, there are occasions when such a bag is simply too much. For instance, on holidays, when visiting a museum, or focusing on street photography, it is not always the best thing to walk around with a backpack. For these occasions I have embraced the Modular Component System from Think Tank. Either my Canon 5D mkII with e.g. the 24-105mm, or my Leica M9 with the 28, 50 and 90mm Summicron's fit snugly in a so-called Chimp Cage that is attached to the Pro Speed Belt. Also added to the belt, I (mis-)use the MM Audio Recorder module for my wallet, passport and phone, and an Induro monopod "carrier" to make possible to carry a monopod or tripod on my belt as well. This combination has proven to be a blessing for my back, and also it seems to be a reasonably good protection against pickpockets. However, I had to change one thing to this combination. My wife asked me to wear the belt inside out. This because the connection loops for the components make that I look a bit aggressive with the belt; it is as if I have forgotten to bring my ammunition. Without too much problem this issue was addressed by turning the belt inside out.
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