Photo Credit: Caveman Collective
There are backpacking packs and there are camera packs, but the 50-liter Tilopa and 70-liter Sukha are the only ones we’ve seen that do both equally well. “I’ve taken my F-stops on assignment everywhere from Nepal to Peru to Jordan, and because they carry big loads and provide quick access to my camera, there’s nothing else I’d use,” says one of our photographers. A U-shaped panel opens the entire back side to provide access to the removable Internal Camera Unit (ICU sold separately, $45-$99 depending on size). ICUs accommodate everything from full-size DSLRs with fast telephoto zooms to packable, mirrorless cameras with pancake lenses.
The 5⁄8-inch-thick hipbelt and shoulder straps are padded just enough to handle heavy loads and high-mileage days. “People forget that camera equipment alone can weigh more than 20 pounds, so the 50-pounder I carried on the Choquequirao Trek in Peru was a pretty standard weight,” our tester says. “My quads hated it, but the pack’s suspension handled it like a champ.” The fixed torso size fit all of our testers between 5'7" and 6'.
Assuming you’re taking one camera body, a couple of lenses, and a few other camera-related sundries, the Tilopa works best for up to three-day trips, and the Sukha for anything longer. The ripstop nylon packbag is coated with a PU film to keep gear dry. We hiked in a surprise autumn snowstorm near Banff National Park, and even with several hours of heavy, wet snowfall on the pack, the contents stayed dry. At $299, the Sukha will cost you a few more bucks than its smaller sibling.