How we carry our gear

In Photograpy by Luke MacNeil

I started out with photography as a travel photographer. My wife and I took a trip to New Orleans some years back and bought a camera to capture the event. We’ve bought a bunch of cameras, been to a lot of places, worked through lots of gear, bags, gadgets, and accessories. It didn’t take long before we had to come up with a better way to carry gear.

During that time I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned that nothing (and no set of things) is right for every situation. l’ve learned buying the cheap stuff is usually, but not always more expensive than buying expensive stuff. You generally do get what you pay for (with exceptions). Most of all I learned if it feels kinda heavy – it’s gonna be really, really heavy by the time you get to the top of the mountain. Think about ergonomics early on before there’s a problem

The perfect kit

I can’t tell you what’s in the perfect kit, but I can let you know about some things that make this easier and more fun for me.

For starters, I was a backer of the (20L) Peak Design Everyday Backpack on kickstarter. I thought their marketing was fantastic, and it was hitting at just the same time I was outgrowing the cheap generic shoulder bags I’d been using. I cannot recommend it enough. (They just announced a kickstarter for a new tripod, I can’t wait!)

Image result for peak design everyday backpack

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

This backpack has been fantastic. I love it so much that I haven’t even wanted to look for another bag. When I upgraded my camera from the APSC Sony a6300 to the full frame Sony A7RIII – all my gear got bigger! Luckily, I was able to get the bigger (30L) Peak Design Everyday Backpack and hand down the smaller one to Jenn. This bag has gone everywhere with me. It has carried my gear through the jungles of Belize, the baddest basins of Death Valley California, harsh New England winter snowstorms, and countless treks through the streets of Boston, New York City, and San Francisco.

I love to travel with it. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack fits all the gear I need for most trips. (Usually one long 70-200, 3 medium-small primes, and a full frame body, plus my filters, sdcards, hard drives, trigger releases, and it leaves some room at the top for incidentals like my hoodie if it get’s hot, or a loaf of Boudin bread for my grandmother if I happen to be passing through the San Francisco airport.) The pockets on the sides are generous and will fit large water bottles as well as small gorillapods. It’s always fits under my seat on every plane I’ve taken it on no matter how much I’ve jammed into it.

One of my favorite features of the Peak Design Everyday Backpack, is the way it’s designed to open from the sides. This allows me to swing the bag off of my shoulder and hold it like a table that I can use to change lenses or blow off some dust on the fly. I find that feature useful almost every time I shoot. This can certainly be dangerous if you’re the type to come home after a shoot, throw your bag on the couch and grab something out of it. I’ve had a few close calls from forgetting to zip the side pockets.

Peak Design Capture Clip

The peak design capture clip holds my camera securely on my backpack strap

More ways to carry

On one of the backpack straps, I stuck a Peak Design Capture Clip Pro. This clip is super handy. It uses a plate that screws into the tripod jack on the bottom of your camera. This plate is ARCA swiss compatible, which means it can fit right in ARCA Swiss style tripods as well. This makes it easy to swap between carrying the camera on my body and having it on the tripod. I’ve got a capture clip on each of my tripods and gorrilla pods as well, so that I don’t need to carry around an allen wrench to change camera plates all the time.

The capture clip enables me to shoot without a camera strap at all, which is really nice for street photography and hiking. It keeps the camera secure, makes a good satisfying clicky sound when you slide the plate into it, and it can really help balance the weight of a backpack full of heavy lenses.

I will admit, it definitely looks nerdy, but I don’t care. I’m here to explore the world and take awesome photos. I’m for whatever enables me to do that.

All of the peak designs gear I’ve used thus far has been fantastic. They don’t pay me, but I use and recommend a lot of their gear.

Ways to carry more

When I have more lenses to carry to a shoot, I use the Peak Design Camera Cube, which keeps all my stuff nice and secured and organized, and fits into my carry on luggage. When I use a strap, I use the Peak Design Slide strap. I even travel with the peak design travel bag that holds all my cables and incidentals. They make great stuff. I will admit that I’m a Peak Design fanboy, for sure – but I’d also like to let you know that I’ve tried the Peak Design Everyday Messenger, and definitely don’t recommend that one. My wife and I both found it extremely uncomfortable with even light loads. It’s brutal on the shoulders in all the carrying configurations I tried. I’d steer clear of that one if I were you. If you must have a Peak Design Messenger Bag, we’re selling one!

In Closing

Maybe someday Peak Designs will make a bunch of money from nice stuff I say about them and they’ll be able to share some of that with me. I can assure you that is not currently the case. This is all stuff I use and recommend for others because it makes my life easier. They don’t pay me, this is what I actually use. I hope you get a chance to check out their gear sometime – and I’m definitely excited to see what the future holds for peak design.