If you're like me, you've probable struggled with finding a backpack thats great for hiking, comfortable, but can also fit your DSLR, some lenses, tripod, drone, filters, AND hiking essentials like water, snacks, clothes, etc. I'm here to tell you that I believe I've found the perfect hiking/photography backpack!
Now let me first start off by telling you that I'm somewhat of a backpack connoisseur. I LOVE backpacks. I love them for traveling, hiking, and I even have a backpack my tools, and one for my fishing tackle. I swear! So I'm constantly trying to find the best backpack for each situation.
I've been hiking all my life, so I've had many backpacks, from cheap-o $20 Ozark Trail backpacks from Walmart, to $300+ Name Brand REI multi-day packs. However, I've had a really hard time finding a pack that fits all my photography gear, food, water, and also, comfortable enough to hike 10 miles with. That is, until I found the F Stop Ajna backpack.
The F Stop Ajna is I think the perfect backpack for hiking with your photography gear. I would highly recommend it for day hikes, and an overnight hike with UL(ultralight) gear. I also have the F Stop Sukha for multi-day hikes. Now the Ajna is 40 Liters, which coincidentally is a perfect airline carry-on size, and fits everything I need(and probably some things I don't).
The entire F stop line comes with about 8 different sizes of interchangeable ICU(Internal Camera Units), sold separately, and are accessible from the inside of the backpack. This works well when traveling in crowded places where pickpockets and thieves are an issue. The different sized ICU's are a big part of why these backpacks are so special. You can get a Small ICU, which will fit a pro body, 2 medium sized lenses, and a few extra batteries, or a Pro Large, which I use. It fits my Nikon D810 body with grip, my Tamron 15-30mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, extra batteries, my DJI Mavic Pro, controller, batteries, a flashlight, sd card holder, GoPro and batteries, and a few other randoms. They also have deep, shallow and extra large ICU's for super telephoto zooms like a 600mm.
The removable ICU's are perfect for going through airport security, which you now have to remove your camera and lenses, like a laptop, and put them out in a separate bin. It helps protect them instead of rolling around in those bins or putting them in your checked luggage.
There are 3 exterior compartments, along with the main compartment, where you will have your camera gear. There are places to strap a tripod to on either side, or on the back of the pack. There is a top compartment with a mesh barrier to separate gear and accessories, and a key ring holder. In the main compartment there is an inner mesh zippered pocket, large enough to hold a small towel or first aid kit. There is also a sleeve on the inside for a water bladder or laptop computer up to 13".I personally use it for a 3 liter water bladder.
The backpack is WATER RESISTANT! I say resistant because you can't go swimming with it, but I've had it in hard rain, and have set it down it really wet areas, and have never had anything inside get wet. The weather resistance is due to the rip-stop nylon, and the thermoplastic polyurethane film coating. The zippers are heavy duty YKK zippers, and are easy to open and close.
The pack is an internal aluminum frame, and the entire pack weighs about 3.75 lbs. There are a few other accessories that I really recommend, which are the Gatekeeper Straps, which attach to the Gatekeeper Loops on the pack, as well as the rain cover( even though its not necessarily needed). I have the rain cover and plan on using it as added protection in Iceland next month!
I have taken both my Ajna and Sukha trekking in Peru, as well as many other day and overnight hikes, and I can't recommend them enough. They are very comfortable, and provide the perfect combination of comfortability, functionality, and it caters to us landscape photographers! My Ajna did take about a month to come in(they were out of stock at the time), but you can expect them to usually take about a week to arrive in the US. I hope this article was helpful!