Backpacks & Storage

Protecting & Transporting

I have searched extensively for the finest in backpacks as well as home storage. The items below describe my solution for each. My selection criteria are simple: 1) room, 2) durability, 2) weather protection. After all, if you’re going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on your gear, it only makes sense to protect your investments, both at home and when hiking/traveling. For backpacks, no one beats Tamrac. Unfortunately, within the Tamrac brand name, their best backpack series ever has been discontinued: “The Extreme Series.” The good news is, they can still be purchased from Ebay, in mint (even new) condition, if you look. For home storage, nothing beats a gun safe. Nothing.

Tamrac 787 Extreme (M.A.S.) Super Photo Backpack

The finest, toughest backpack ever made

Tamrac used to make a truly awesome backpack series, their M.A.S. (Modular Accessory System) Extreme series. These packs came in four sizes:

  • The 787 Super Photo Backpack
  • The 777 Summit Photo Backpack
  • The 767 Photo Trail Backpack
  • The 757 Photo Pack

I actually own all 4 of them. I use the smallest, 757, for local hikes when I only bring a few lenses. The next size up, the 767, is perfect for getting on airplanes, when you want to bring a bit more gear for a trip, but not everything you have. I use the 777 or the 787 for very long drives, to important cathedral hikes, where I want to bring as much gear as possible and I’m not weight-restricted by flight constraints.

These terrific backpacks allow me not just to ‘bring’ my gear, but to protect it. The exterior is made of  waterproof PowerGrid™ Cordura® nylon with Spectra® PowerGrid™ internal fabric. Military-spec hardware, and high-density, closed-cell foam padding make this the most durable, comfortable pack you will ever find—and the interior also offers more room than any bag you’ll find. Even better, all zippered areas are covered and waterproof (resistant). Everything that can be thought of to protect your gear has been added to these packs.

The ‘Modular Accessory System’ refers to the various side-pouches that can be added (see above) to the main packs to increase usefulness. I have them all, some many several times over, as back-up. Sadly, these great packs are no longer manufactured, but they remain the best backpack series ever made. Aside from my original purchase a decade ago (767, still in great shape), I’ve purchased mint copies of every other model on Ebay. Buyer beware though: sometimes the model numbers get confused by vendors.

Find on Ebay: Tamrac 787 Extreme (M.A.S.) Super Photo Backpack

Pelican™ 1560 Hard Cases (x2)

Durability on the Road

Pelican travel cases are watertight, crushproof, packed with cell core padding, and come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. Handle pulls out, with rollers at the other end, so they’re great for travel and airline deployment.

Find @ Pellican: Pelican™ 1560 Hard Case

Cabela's Classic 48 Fatboy Jr. Gun Safe

The Best Place for Equipment Storage

Gun Safes are the best possible place you can permanently store your photography equipment at home. Aside from the obvious theft-protection, they are also highly fire-resistant, and they allow you to place multiple closet dehumidifiers in them as well to keep moisture at bay. I highly-recommend adding a Liberty Custom Door Panel to your safe to increase storage capacity for smaller photography items. The shelves are adjustable, and removable, so you can configure your dimensions to suit your needs. The best possible option.

Find @ Cabella’s: Cabela’s Classic 48 Fatboy Jr. Gun Safe