Amateur Photographer magazine asked me to write a short feature on one camera kit accessory that I couldn’t live without, so I chose my trusty Osprey Talon 44 bag. Here’s the article…
I’ve tried a variety of camera bags over the years from light shoulder bags for a day out in the city to camera rucksacks of various sizes for longer hikes out in the landscape. Whilst I’ve always been happy with the amount of space and the protection afforded for my precious camera equipment in all of these bags, I’ve always been disappointed with the amount of space for all the other gear I need on a long hike (extra clothing, food, water, maps and so on) and with the overall comfort of the bag, so when the zips finally gave out on the last camera rucksack I had been using I decided to think about what I really needed in a camera bag. Above all, I wanted something that would be comfortable for a day’s hiking – it had to be a rucksack style bag and it had to fit my back properly. I’m quite tall and I think this was the main problem with most of the camera rucksacks I tried as they were too short for my back and the waist/hip belt didn’t fasten in a comfortable position, so the first thing I did was have my back measured in an outdoor shop. Armed with this information, I tried out a few specialist backpacks and eventually plumped for the Osprey Talon 44, ordering in the Medium/Large version to make sure it would fit. This has an adjustable back system so I can get it to exactly the right length so the belt fits well and the weight of the bag sits nicely on the hips.
There are numerous camera inserts available on the internet and I bought a few of these to fit inside the bag so I effectively have a modular system and can pack exactly what I need for my shoot. With extra clothing at the bottom and heavier camera gear in the middle of the pack it is very well balanced and is comfortable even on the longest of walks, so I now have my ideal camera bag – and it’s not a camera bag at all!
Pockets and straps Side mesh pockets and compression straps are great for a water bottle but will also fit a compact tripod.
Accessories Twin zipped hip belt pockets are handy for small accessories such as a compass or lens cloth.
Main compartment The main compartment is big enough for extra clothing, a couple of camera inserts and food, with space for some overnight items.
Osprey Talon 44
Weight 1.04kg (M/L size)
Max dimensions 67x29x26cm
Fit This is a men’s-fit pack. The women’s-fit version is the Tempest 40 (same price).
Other There’s no all-weather cover built in – this is available separately.
This article ran in the October 8th 2016 issue of Amateur Photographer. For back issues, take a look at the Amateur Photographer website.
I had a question from a workshop participant asking if it’s difficult to get at your gear with this bag, given that it has one main compartment rather than the multiple compartments often found in dedicated camera bags. Here’s my reply:
There is just one big compartment, but there is bottom zip access to it as well as the drawstring access at the top. I was concerned this would be an issue myself, but it’s not proved to be the case really. I pack my waterproofs and any spare clothes at the bottom so I can get the coat out if I need it quickly via the zip. I put the camera gear on top with the body at the top so that’s easy to get at. Anything I only need once in the day can go in the middle (like a lunch box). Smaller incidental items fit in the roomy top zip compartment on the cover, like gloves and hat etc. So all in all it works well if you pack carefully, though obviously it’s not as quick access as a dedicated camera bag – but for me that’s outweighed by the comfort on a long walk.