the dan milner photography blog: tales of an adventuring photo chimp

November 20, 2013

F-Stop Gear sponsors Milner

Filed under: outdoors, photography — Tags: , , — danmilner @ 11:54 am

There are two ways to avoid a bad back as a mountain photographer: Twice weekly yoga sessions, or getting a decent camera backpack. The latter seems a lot easier than the first, but that’s not always the case. So welcome onboard the good ship Milner to F-Stop photo packs, my new sponsors for camera-hauling luggage for photo-chimps like me.

Might as well give up my yoga.

Might as well give up my yoga.

In over 15 years as a pro-photographer I’ve tried and ditched a fair few different camera backpacks. Some have accompanied me to the furthest corners of the Earth, from 79-degree North Arctic wilds, to the snowy  flanks of Russia’s Elbrus and ice-fringed corners of Alaska and Greenland, and its fair to say I developed favouritism to certain packs among the many I got to share quality on-mountain time with. But none of them ever scored 100% with me, not because I am a fussy bugger or whinging pom, but because none of them did everything I needed of them in the real outdoors.

With some (nature) photo focussed companies, their packs can lack real-mountain suitability (usability), lacking attachment points or straps for splitboards, snowshovels, crampons, or my sandwiches. For other more sport-orientated companies that ticked these boxes, their packs often lack the tech performance of decent internal dividers or they show fundamental design flaws, like not being long enough to accommodate a 70-200 f2.8 lens with hood. It’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t seem like a problem until you’re out on a three week snow camp expedition a long way from the next FedEx delivery point. Then, what was a niggle soon becomes a major hassle, and with camera packs, it has been a lottery. Until now.

I’ve been keeping a beady eye on F-Stop for the last couple of years, watching their packs develop into the full-grown beasts of outdoor capability that they are today, and can only say I’m pretty chuffed to be hooking up with them, beginning recently with a ski shoot for Nevica up at 3000m+ on the glacier at SaasFee, Switzerland. Who knows where I’ll be snuggling down in a snowy tent with my new packs next? If they could only make them edible too, just in case we get hit by another 10-day AK blizzard and run out of food, I think they will have through of everything, Until then they will score 99%.

I’m kicking off this autumn/winter armed with the Tilopa BC and Kenti packs, along with a set of different sized internals to suit the different shoots ahead.

Saas Fee in all its snowy autumn finery. Luckily there is a restaurant 100m away so I didnt have to eat my pack.

Saas Fee in all its snowy autumn finery. Luckily there is a restaurant 100m away so I didnt have to eat my pack.

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