Gear Roundup: The 13 best snowboard photo packs of 2012
Words by Josh Ruggles
No one wants to spend a grand on a new camera and another thousand on lenses just to find them smashed in your backpack after that cliff line. Whether you’re a paid photographer, aspiring to get some mag-worthy shots or just love getting fresh photos — here is a round-up* of this years best photo packs.
No surprise here, these guys are one of the most trusted names in snowboard bags. From carrying survival gear for sketchy backcountry situations, books for your next class or in this case, big fancy cameras; the Oregon based company knows how to strap things down.
Mission Photo 25L
MSRP – $150.00
Volume – 25L
One of the best features with the Mission is the removable padded camera block, which essentially is a fully functioning handheld camera bag giving you the freedom to fill the pack with other items that lead to a misspent youth. The vertical board carrying straps, back panel entry and tripod carrying system will keep you just a few steps away from getting the shot.
The removable block in the Mission makes it a good choice for people that want a functioning backpack as well as camera pack. Downsides include non-waterproofed zippers and no space for a laptop.
MSRP – $200.00
Volume – 33L
The big brother to the Mission, the Sequence has the most room of any Dakine pack, meaning more goodies. The removable camera block still makes it a good crossover pack, while room for a 15” laptop and other miscellaneous electronic gadgetry was added.
If you need that extra space for more gear, but still want versatility, this one is killer buy. However, there are still no waterproofed zippers on this one and it would be nice to have some different color ways.
MSRP – $210.00
Volume – 28L
This one is not built for the part-timer. Customizable photo compartment with side and front entry makes the Quest worthy for even the most agro. Waterproof zippers keep unwanted moisture off your gear, while the rain cover can be thrown on if the weather turns.
The Quest is an amazing pack for the price. Pack the laptop, tripod and any other gear all with the security of waterproofed zippers.
MSRP – $250.00
Volume – 26L
A top shelf bag for Dakine and it shows. Compression molded back panel means tomahawking doesn’t have to end with broken dreams and lenses. Made with a photo specific main compartment and room for a 17” laptop, this one is built with the guys shooting Travis Rice and Jeremy Jones in mind.
Bringing you everything from iPod cases to headphones InCase does it all — including make a pretty sick SLR pack.
DSLR Pro Pack
MSRP – $150.00
Volume – 26L
With multiple access zippers to the camera compartment, room for a 15” laptop, an iPad and a point-and-shoot camera; this thing makes amazing use of space. Soft fleece lining and heathered fabric give the Pro Pack a luxury look and feel while keeping your camera and accessories nice and comfy.
While the Pro Pack does an amazing job at fitting all of your gadgets, this pack is the only one on the line-up without board straps or deployable rain cover. This would be a good choice for the multisport person.
Not much need for an intro, Burton has been pumping out quality product since before most of you were born — and yes they make camera packs.
MSRP – $135.00
Volume – 27L
Made with a heavy-duty Cordura material, the resolution pack is durable to say the least. With a customizable internal compartment, laptop pocket, shovel blade pocket and a removable pocket for accessories, the Resolution is a big bang for under $150.
MSRP – $154.95
Volume – 26L
Multiple external accessory pockets, an oversized beverage stash and customizable internal compartments makes this thing capable of holding anything you need and ready to go anywhere.
MSRP – $174.95
Volume – 30L
Building on the other packs in the line, the Focus takes versatility and space to the next level. Removable customizable padded case, a trap door custom internal drop pocket and light stem storage means this thing doesn’t hesitate to bring your entire arsenal of equipment. Also equipped with water-resistant ipod pocket so you can wire your ears without a hassle.
MSRP – $240.00
Volume – 28L
The F-Stop is the epitome of the snowboard photographer’s pack. Removable and customizable compartments, load balancing, ergonomic harnesses and side access cooler pockets make this a mobile studio, with refreshment. As with all others in the line, near bulletproof Cordura materials are used to house your goods.
The only brand that is dedicated primarily to professional photography, F-Stop brings quality, versatility and years of experience to the table. While their bags are more expensive than the others on the list, keep in mind these aren’t for weekend warriors — more accurate would be just warriors.
MSRP – $195.00
Volume – 28L
F-Stop’s entry-level pack is possibly the least entry-level out there. Double rip-stop shell and EVA padded straps keep you in comfort, while your gear feels the same. The laptop sleeve, water bladder sleeve and external organizer pockets keep you focused on getting the shot instead worrying about what you didn’t have room for. And this is all managed in an airline carry-on qualified size.
Make sure when choosing this pack that you select it with at least one ICU (Internal Camera Unit) or else you will end up with just the shell and no camera compartments. The Gatekeeper attachment, which holds a snowboard, or tripod, is unfortunately separate, as well as the rain cover.
MSRP – $269.00
Volume – 25L
Adjustable volume and roll top gives you the option to load up everything you need for long trips or keep it lower profile for those day shoots. And with side access to your camera from both sides, you wont miss the shot of your career while trying to fumble through your pack. The Kenti comes included with an ICU, but the Gatekeeper and rain cover are still separate.
MSRP – $279.00 – $450.00
Volume – 37L
With plenty of room, the Loka keeps all your gear organized, while the TPU reinforcement base and Hypalon zipper garages keep everything safe and dry. Compression straps secure smaller cameras in place as well as make this pack carry-on ready. Several organizer pockets house all of your accessories and military grade mesh side pockets keeps your water bottle secure. ICU’s are an extra cost and for some reason the rain cover is not included on this one.
MSRP – $359.00
Volume – 48L
Huge on space and organization, the Tilopa BC is ultimately capable. With TPU reinforcement in key areas and ultra light nylon double Rip-Stop, your gear will stay protected and dry under even the most extreme conditions. Hypalon a-frame straps can carry a snowboard or skis easily and securely. The Tilopa is capable of holding a 17” laptop, yet still able to fit into an overhead storage bin with the compression straps. ICU’s, rain cover and water bladder compartment come separate.
For those of you in the market for a SLR capable camera pack, you have a lot to choose from. For what it’s worth, here are some ways to look at each company and pack.
Dakine and Burton are definitely going to be the biggest bang for your hard earned dollars. Feature rich and quality built with the snowboard photographer in mind.
The InCase pack is sleek and sexy in design; however, there are no snowboard straps and no features for rugged terrain like the other brands. It would be a great option for the park or urban photographer. It would also be a great multi-sport photographer pack.
F-Stop is definitely the priciest, yet their performance, durability and versatility are unmatched. The downside is that most of the accessories the other companies include you need to buy a la carte which is a drawback for some, but it also lends to the customization of your bag; making it fit your exact needs.
*Please keep in mind that these packs were not tested. We are bringing all the snowboard photo packs that we could find into a comparison list of features and possible pros and cons, so you can make a good call on what suits you.