Hello All, new to this forum and I might say that I'm not sure why it took me so long to find it...
any who... I've packed into the backcountry for 1000's of miles via horseback. But since I've had the photography bug for the past few years I spend more and more time back packing. I'm pretty serious into the wildlife thing and have some decent equipment I use..but to do things the way I want it requires me to take this... D800 D610 24-70 f 2.8 70-200 f4 500mm f4
AND I need to take food, tent, sleeping pad, etc...
My dilemma is I have been putting my tamarac pack with D610 and 500mm wthin my main pack and wearing in the D800 24-70 and packing the 70-200 in the main pack as well...
Doing all this is pretty tiresome and for a 5 day trip the pack ends up being 65lbs +
Does anyone have a better way???
Here's a shot from the trip last week... camped at 9480 ASL.
Hard to say how you can easily replace the Really Big Long Fast lens other than perhaps one of the newest prosumers with fixed-aperture zooms e.g., Panny FZ1000. Am guessing the 500mm alone is several pounds and demands a tripod to boot.
More prosaic than DSLRs in terms of lens selection are the mirrorless system cameras. Last few seasons I've been carrying an Olympus OM-D with two or three lenses and a small stack of batteries. Before that it was an advanced compact, basically since my film days--ounces instead of pounds.
Here are shots from August with the E-M1+12-40/2.8 or 40-150/4-5.6. The camera and 12-40 are weatherproof, which proved useful.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
No pack will make a heavy load feel light; it might make it a bit easier on your upper body to carry, but the load on feet, ankles, and knees will be the same. What you want to do is to reduce the weight of your backpacking gear so that you can carry the heavy camera gear without too much discomfort. Reasons for backpacking lightweight are not only that it's more fun, easier, and essential for those of us with past injuries, old age or other limiting factors, but also to be able to make room fot something we just gotta have, like your photo equipment, without making the pack unduly heavy.
My hips, knees and ankles are pretty ok... My upper body has felt the strain more however. Honestly I think I need to head to a "pro shop" and get fitted properly and bite the bullet and lay down some cash for a pack the works with my torso.
I'm pretty light other wise, but the photo gear weights 40+ lbs.
My take from the viewpoint of a lightweight backpacking forum participant:
1. Devise a long-term plan to simultaneously upgrade/downsize your photo kit. There are vanishingly few things left that only a DSLR can do, with the remaining gaps continually closing. This is, of course, a huge financial commitment but given the opportunities to get farther into the backcountry carrying less, the rewards are there.
2. For now you can perhaps lug all that stuff in load-hauling packs intended for the infantry, climbing expeditions or hunters. Two brands I'll single out are Kifaru and Mystery Ranch, started by the guys who were Mountainsmith and Dana Designs, respectively. They know pack fit and by reputation the stuff is quite tough and well-built.
Like OM stated so eloquently, decrease all the weight of the other stuff. Lighter sleeping bag, tent, food..WATER. If you are always by water, then carry a little as possible. Then go after the camera gear. My first suggestion would be to get rid of a camera body. As for packs, another suggestion would be to look at McHale packs. He makes lightweight ones that are designed to haul a lot of weight. Kifaru does as well. I am not an MR fan.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
I will second McHale packs. That is what I have had for a number of years now. Dan can work with you to customize a pack for your needs and it will cost less than either of your bodies.
If you are wedded to full-frame bodies, have you considered the Sony a7 or, for especially for landscape purposes, the a7r? That would save significant weight and size, and the quality would not be compromised. With an adapter, you can still use your Nikon lenses.
I don't understand the reason to carry two bodies if one of them is stuffed in your pack and not ready for quick action (unless you are concerned that one will fail on a trip, but to me that is pretty heavy insurance).
You have some excellent equipment, but not a kit that I would want to carry for long unless I had a beast of burden. Personally, on a backpacking trip, I carry my APS-C SLT with a CZ16-80mm lens and polarizer filter. I have also carried a tripod and recently bought a version that uses my hiking poles for two of the legs. Not as flexible, but considerably lighter. To me, a tripod becomes more important than many lenses.
Last week we flew to Seattle for the week and I did bring my 70-400mm, but I find it quite difficult to get the sharpness that I want at 180mm and higher without a tripod. It is a heavy lens, just around the weight of a 70-200mm f2.8 (which I have shot with before in a studio setting). I did not consider taking it for my climb though.
By the way, nice shot. Where was it taken?
I would also consider taking smaller aperture glass since lighting is not generally an issue in the backcountry and, when it is, the tripod alleviates the issue. In any case, HYOH.
If buying new equipment is at all an option i would recommend just carrying a 24-70mm and a 100-400mm lense. That would be a lot less weight and not reducing your range by much. If not how are you carrying your equipment? Proper weight distribution can help heavy not seem as heavy. I throw my extra lense on a hip-belt holder, my camera(Sony A7R) and 24-70mm lense is on my backpack strap with a Peak Design camera clip then I'd throw your 500mm in the bottom of a backpack. Extra batteries, shutter remote, cleaning equip go in my pockets or backpack hip strap pouches(or a fanny pack). Tripod in backpack too on a side holder for easy access but that only weights 1.5lbs haha.