October 21, 2020
One of the comments we hear frequently from our customers is how difficult it is to find a great winter photography camera bag. This problem isn’t caused by a lack of options. In fact, it’s the opposite! There are hundreds of camera bags on the market right now and sifting through them and deciphering the best features can, frankly, be exhausting.
So with so many bags to choose from, where does one even start? With the pro’s of course! We checked in with our most trusted ambassadors to see what they turn to when they need top protection for their precious gear. In addition to holding and protecting their camera gear, there’s also the consideration of where to store you numerous winter layers you’ll need to keep warm during your winter photography.
With so many variables to consider, we outline below what the Vallerret Ambassadors have to say about their bags and why they like them.
However, for those of you that want to jump straight to the chase, here is the list.
I have used the Rover Pro 45 L from Lowepro for the last 6 years. After 6 years, it definitely has some serious bruises and I think I might need to replace it soon. I think if I replace it I would go for the F Stop Tilopa but this one comes with a heavy price tag. I’m looking for a bag which is around 50L because I need a backpack which can be used the way I need to use it. Meaning not a reinstalled camera area but more kind of internal camera units and a well thought design.
I am mostly using my Fstop Lotus with a medium shallow ICU. The bag has enough storage for a few lenses plus bodies, avalanche equipment and touring skins etc.
I have a peak design clip attached to one shoulder strap so I have my camera out and ready when I need it. ....but one time I lost the camera in a powder run and realized it about 200m later.... yes that was some serious search in 60cm of fresh pow so glad that the Fuji equipment is super rugged! Found the camera after 2 hours and it worked as if nothing had happened. I also often carry just a small camera like a Ricoh GR or Fuji x100 as they fit in the pocket of my jacket, no bag needed!
This is a constant question for me. Especially as I am working with both filming and photography, which requires a different amount of gear. Most of my winter shoots I do with a snowboard under my feet too, which demands a bag that also has space for avalanche gear, yet is not too bulky. I’ve found it to be the impossible compromise.. Especially if you are on a tight budget, which I always seem to be..
To add on top of that, when traveling I also like to have a good laptop sleeve in the bag.
So to summarize my needs for winter photography:
The solution I am rocking today is a MindShift Backlight 26L when I need to bring a lot of gear into the field and I am 100% work focused. I like it for the amount I can pack vs. it’s footprint, but the tripod straps etc. are a bit too thin and don’t feel sturdy enough.
And then a Jones dcsnt 32L snowboard backpack with a Douchbag cube insert for when I just need to bring a photo camera and two lenses into the backcountry and the focus is 50% joy of snowboarding and 50% shooting photos. This bag also allows me to bring some essential snowboard gear for split boarding, some snacks, water etc. without braking my back.
If I had the budget I would probably try out an F-stop bag next.
My favorite bag is still the Amplifi Focus Flask backpack but they have recently stopped making this bag. Alternatively, I would recommend the Evoc CP 35 or CP 36 because these bags are compatible with an ABS System for being on the snow.
I use the LowePro ProTactic BP 450 AW and the Hatchback BP 250 AW if I travel light and with few photography gear. I like the LowePro ProTactic BP 450 AW because is hard and very easy to change protections inside, for different lenses and gear. And the Hatchback BP 250 AW I like it because it doesn't look like a photographer backpack. If I want to walk around a city or stay in a terrace taking a coffee, I prefer to be unnoticed for what I carry inside. And it has extra space for a little coat, hoodie or something. Even so, my next backpack will be the "Vanguard Sedona Wanderlust". It doesn't look a photo backpack either but is a bit bigger and has some ribbons to tie the tripod.
I use two backpacks for any situation including winter trips, depending on the number of gear I bring.
My choices in terms of backpack are more driven by the activities I do rather than photography itself. For winter, my go to backpack is the patrol pack from a company based in Christchurch called Cactus. It's a very robust backpack that can handle having skis attached to it without wearing out. It's not the lightest bag on the market but its durability and versatility to accommodate different alpine gears makes it the ideal option for me. Plus it's made in NZ!
I use the NYA-EVO Fjord 60-C backpack. Fantastic quality and can withstand the harsh Arctic winter.
As for bags, I was an ambassador for Clik Elite but they unfortunately closed their doors. I'm very interested in the Lowepro Whistler from and I will hopefully receive one this season.
Shimoda X50, this is my overall bag, I love it because its reliable, and it is weather sealed also I have a rain cover if needed. Because I can change the inserts, it's a great bag for winter where I need extra space for clothing or anything else I need, i can attach many things to the outside of the bag like snowshoes or even skis.
My backpack is F Stop Ajna model, I really like the materials, very strong fabrics and above all it is completely waterproof. One of my needs was to leave a free space to put different things like a jacket or other accessories and this backpack, like the whole f-stop range, can be modular and is completely customizable.
I also have another smaller backpack from LowePro for quick little shoots. I'm a backpack fetishist ;-)
For trips where I don't hike much, I use my Fstop Tilopa. When I have to hike more, then I use an Osprey Aether 85 L with all my camping stuff in it. The camera gear comes into an Fstop ICU XL and fits nicely in the backpack.
I use the Lowepro whistler 450 backpack in winter because it is very roomy and allows me to carry a lot of equipment with me such as my waterproof jacket, down jacket, Vallerret Ipsoot gloves, and all my photographic equipment! This backpack is also very comfortable because it offers the possibility of attaching other equipment to the outside, such as a tripod and snow shoe. The Lowepro Whistler is very resistant to bad weather.
My current camera bag is the Lowepro Protactic BP 450 AW II. I changed to this bag last year as I wasn't happy with my previous two bags that I had to switch between depending on whether I required less or more gear. This bag allows me to get everything I need in it while still feeling comfortable and not being bulky. I really like the tough, rugged outer with its tactical look that not only keeps the gear inside safe, it also looks great.
The fully customisable inside allows me to make the most of the space to get all the gear I need to shoot and get extra items in depending on where I'm going and for how long.
The shoulder straps are well padded, so even on a long hike, it's comfortable to carry when fully loaded. The chest strap and the removable waist belt are great for when you're out for long periods of time as they take a lot of the weight and the modular accessories like the water bottle holder and zip up pouch are great as you can add or remove them when you require. The built in rain cover also means that my bag and gear stay dry on rainy days.
I can safely say that this will be my main bag for a long time and would highly recommend it.
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