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What’s in the bag?

After years of using this backpack and that backpack, but never really being satisfied, I shifted to F-Stop Gear backpacks in 2012 and have not looked back.  Since purchasing my TilopaBC backpack, I have trekked through sun, rain & snow.  Miles and miles of smiles.

Initially, I bought the TilopaBC with a Medium Pro ICU (Internal Camera Unit), but soon realized I needed more space, so I bought a Large Pro ICU.  For the last 18 months, that has served me quite well, but I am considering bumping up to the Extra-Large ICU.  In this day and age where a lot of photographers are shifting to Mirrorless cameras, I am quite content to stay with what I know works (for me).  While I would love to lighten up the load, I have a myriad of reasons to stay with the gear I have, so let’s move on with what I have in the bag:

In the main compartment, where the Large Pro ICU is located, the following items are tucked away nicely here:

  • (Backup) Gripped Canon 5D Mark II camera body with ReallyRightStuff L-Plate (32GB Lexar 1066x CF memory card)
  • Canon 70-200 f/2.8L II IS USM Telephoto Zoom
  • Canon 16-35 f/2.8L II Ultra-Wide Angle Zoom
  • Canon 2X Teleconverter III
  • Canon 600EX-RT flash
  • Canon Flash accessory
  • Canon AA battery tray for BG-E11 grip
  • Vello Wireless Trigger (Canon 3-pin)

Main Compartment

In the area above the ICU, the following items are stowed:

  • Cabela’s branded Columbia Sportswear Gore-Tex rain gear (also serves as an extra wind-protection layer in an emergency)
  • F-Stop Gear rain cover for TilopaBC & Satori backpacks
  • Camelbak 3.0L water-bladder


Lee Filters

  • 2-Stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density Filter
  • Coral 3-stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter
  • Coral Stripe
  • Spare 100mm x 100mm Circular Polarizer
  • Spare 3-Stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter
  • Spare filter sleeve
  • Spare filter case with screwdriver

In a zippered mesh pocket, I also carry the following items:

  • Garmin tempe™ Acc,Ext Temp Sensor
  • 2 fl oz bottle of Purell Advanced hand sanitizer (also serves as a catalyst for starting a fire in an emergency)
  • Two (2) spare 32GB 1066x CF Memory cards
  • Spare 16GB SDHC memory card
  • Extra protein bar (replaced every couple of hikes, if not consumed)

In the top compartment, the following items are stowed:


In the front pocket, I keep the following items:


In the bottom compartment (not visible), is 50m of 550-Cord, for emergency purposes

While trekking, I stow my Gitzo GT3541LS tripod with ReallyRightStuff BH-55-LR atop the front pocket.

Now you may be wondering what I mean by “(Backup)” with the Canon 5D Mark II body.  Thanks to my very good friend Bret Edge (@bretedgephoto on Twitter), I started carrying my primary body/lens + filters in a Clik-Elite Pro-body chest pack after a series of hikes resulted in having to quickly remove my backpack to get camera / lens out to shoot images!

In my chest-pack, I carry:

  • Canon 5D Mark III, typically with my 24-105 f/4L IS USM lens
  • LEE Foundation Kit filter holder
  • LEE 0.9 (3-stop) Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter
  • LEE 100mm x 100mm Circular Polarizer
  • Lens cloth
  • Lens Pen
  • LEE “Big Stopper” (10-stop neutral density filter).


This allows me to quickly grab camera + filters to shoot if rapid access is needed.  All together, with the 3 liter Camelbak bladder filled and tripod affixed to the backpack in its’ normal location for hiking, my gear weighs in at 65lbs.  Yes, that is a lot of weight to carry and there are days when my body isn’t quite thrilled with the weight after a long trek (hiking or snowshoeing), but in the long run, the more exercise I get as I get older, the better off I really am from a health perspective, but also in a position to create images using any combination of lenses & filters no matter what the situation.  Returning to a location is always possible, but the atmospheric, elemental & compositional conditions will likely not be the same, so in my opinion, if you see it, shoot it or forever let that image be left in the wild!

Now it is time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors! #GetOutdoorsMore