Big lenses for bird photography need big luggage. Much of the time I try to carry as little equipment as I can get away with, generally knowing what I'm likely to need for the day. So my number one bag to carry my equipment around in is the Lowepro Lens Trekker 600AW
This backpack holds exactly what I want to without being excessively large, in fact all it really carries is my main lens attached to the camera... although I always manage to stuff it full with various other items when the need arises.
The Lens Trekker 600 AW has a very substantial harness that is adjustable in every aspect to suit the wearer. Once you have it moulded to your own body, this backpack is extremely comfortable on long walks. As you can see from the photos, there is provision to attach a tripod to the side of the Lens Trekker, though this does pose some balance problems... though this is rectified when I have a dome hide attached to the other side.
My Nikon D2x attached to the 600mm AF-S f4 lens (with Nikon TC14-E) all fit in the bag. It's a tight fit but tight is secure. In case anyone is wondering, the lens hood is taken off and reversed so that it all fits.
The foam interior of the bag is very thick and everything inside is extremely well protected from knocks and bangs.
The bag is fairly well protected from the elements as it is, but for those real downpours there is a concealed rain cover that can be stretched to cover the entire backpack.
The front pocket is not large and the concealed rain cover does take up some room but there's still room for a spare teleconverter, batteries and other small bits. You could even get a wide angle lens in there at a push.
8.5" width x 8.5" depth x 20.5" height (21.5 x 21.5 x 52 cm)
11" width x 12.5" depth x 22" height (28 x 32 x 56 cm)
• Large Pro SLR with lenses from 300mm to 600mm, plus lens hood and tripod collar; or
• Pro SLR with 2 shorter lenses and accessories
Lowepro Description of the item
If you carry a big lens or a large professional video camera in the backcountry, this is the backpack for you. Lens Trekker 600 AW is the safe way to stow your big lens (up to 600mm) with a camera body attached and a tripod (in the Trekker Tripod Mount™). This year, it’s better than ever, with a fully adjustable, built-in backpack harness that includes a padded back pad with lumbar support, Lowepro’s comfy
padded CollarCut™ straps and a padded waistbelt. Attachment loops on the shoulder straps take optional SlipLock™ add-ons. Comes with an All Weather Cover™, lens stabilizer and lens collar
The Bigger Alternative Lowepro Super Trekker AW II
This is a real big beast but you'll not be regretting leaving a lens at home, nor anything else come to that. Too big for my purposes but I can fully understand why it is popular with so many bird photographers. Seeing one open up with all the dividers and goodies inside reminds me of my childhood as an angler, constantly sorting out my tackle box.
Our largest photo backpack for photographers who carry substantial loads. This year, Super Trekker AW II went back to the drawing board. The result? A great-looking, virtually new pack with new, hi-tech materials and lots of extra features. An improved harness system — the most advanced technical harness system of any camera pack — includes an adjustable expedition-quality harness with an internal frame, load adjustment straps, CollarCut™ shoulder straps, quick-adjust waistbelt, and many comfort features.
Super Trekker AW II has a fully customizable interior; revolutionary water-resistant, quick-access YKK zippers; three totally redesigned accessories (Trekker DayPack, Trekker Lens Pouch and Trekker Accessory Pouch); a travel cover; rubber handle; and an All Weather Cover™ for protection against extreme weather, dust and sand. A quick-access Trekker Tripod Mount™ can be positioned down the center of the pack or on either side. Attachment loops are made from the same tough Hypalon® you see in river rafts — they let you position optional SlipLock accessories wherever they’re most convenient: on the front or sides of the backpack, or on the harness or waistbelt.
• Position the quick-release Tripod Mount on either side or down the center of the pack. The vertical position balances the weight for difficult terrain.
• Lowepro’s patented All Weather Cover offers serious protection from weather, sand and dust.
• Our new, revolutionary YKK zipper allows quick-access and water-resistance.
• Easily position optional SlipLock add-ons on the Hypalon attachment loops.
• The most advanced, fully-adjustable technical harness system of any camera backpack including an internal frame, CollarCut straps, sternum strap, load adjustment straps and a contoured, padded waistbelt to distribute the load
14.5" width x 6.5" depth 25.5" height (37 x 16.5 x 65cm)
Size exterior, tripod holder attached:
23.5" width x 15" depth 27.5" height (59.5 x 38 x 70cm)
• 2-3 pro SLRs, 7-9 lenses up to 800mm, tripod, flash and accessories or
• Medium format system, including large 6 x 7 cameras or
• Large format field camera with film holders and lenses; or
• Professional video system
Lowepro Toploader Bags
I'm often out and about with birding as the priority, and like many I am using an 80-400mm f5.6 VR sized lens. I use the Lowepro Topload Zoom Pro AW which just takes my Nikon Dx with the 80-400mm VR lens attached. There's still room for a teleconverter and other bits in the front pocket. Although this particular model is now discontinued, the Toploader Zoom 75 AW is all but identical