The Expedition 5 is the perfect mid-sized pack for a wide range of photographic equipment. Dual "wing" pockets with water-resistant zippers organize and provide quick access to important accessories without disturbing your other gear. These "wing" pockets … see full wiki
Having used and enjoyed the Tamrac 5749 Velocity 9 Pro Photo sling pack for about a year, I suddenly found myself with more equipment than the pack was meant for. This wasn't obvious to me at first, but became painfully obvious on a trip to Budapest. I knew I needed a bigger bag to overcome the problems I was facing.
For Christmas 2005 I received the Expedition 5. The Tamrac model 5575 Expedition 5 mid-size photo backpack is well designed, sturdy, and built for organization. On the top, the Bag has a handle, modular accessory attachment slots along the sides. Externally the bag measures 12 3/4 W x 10 D x 16 H or 32 x 25 x 41 cm and weighs 4 lbs. 5 oz. or 1950 grams. The internal main compartment measures 11 W x 5 D x 13 1/2 H or 28 x 13 x 34 cm. This is significantly larger than the Velocity 9 pro photo sling pack and more than twice as heavy.
The interior main compartment is separated into compartments with foam padded dividers attached to the bag using Velcro designed to hold an SLR camera, 5-7 lenses and a flash. What you actually will get in the bag depends on what equipment you have. I pack my Canon 70-200mm or 100-400mm lens down the center, a 16-35mm and 24-105mm lenses on one side, a camera at the top, a flash and a few odds and ends on the other side. I still have room for a second camera. Behind the interior flap, two windowpane mesh zippered pockets hold more stuff.
On the external side of the flap, there is a large pocket with a water resistant zipper, two accessory pockets with water resistant zippers and a memory & battery management system, plus a tripod attachment system. Each wing pocket contains two windowpane mesh pockets for memory cards with a red flags on the inside flap. I use one card per pocket although two cards can easily fit in each. The red flap stays tucked into the pocket for empty cards and the flap is pulled out to indicate the card is full. A single pocket large enough to hold two BP-511A batteries takes up most of the rest of the space with no flags. The Tripod attachment system uses the space between the wing pockets for balance. The tripod rests in a plastic reinforced pocket with a drain hole and is secured in place by three straps with quick clip closures.
The harness is like those found on hiking backpacks with two shoulder straps connected by an adjustable sternum strap and a waist belt. Included on the straps are strap accessory system attachment points and D rings for use with the Tamrac N-11 camera straps. The back uses dual-density comfort pads for comfort while maintaining adequate airflow to keep you cool and dry. When I want to take all four of my lenses with me, I just attach one of the lens cases on the side and I am good to go.
Having owned this bag for a year now, I have not been on a trip to compare my experience with that of Budapest. My equipment fits in this bag and I have a little room left to add a few things. I can see where one day I may need a larger bag or my very own sherpa, but for now this one does the job.
Unlike the sling pack, I have to take this bag off and find a place to set it down to do any task I need to complete at the moment. Getting a fresh CF card is a chore without using a memory and battery management wallet strap accessory. On mass transit, forget trying to wear this beast of a bag. While it is really not that big, it is deep enough that you will not be able to sit comfortably on the bus or rail car while wearing it.
PROS: Well designed and sturdy Manages weight comfortably when worn properly Customizable with a large range of accessories
CONS: Accessing equipment is a chore
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