Each year I travel to Alaska on assignment and to lead workshops. Living there 10 years forever changed my concept of wilderness and wildlife photography! And every year I travel to Alaska, I bring the big glass. I’ve carried everything from 200-400mm, 500mm F4 and 600mm F4 lenses. Prime big glass helps capture those incredible wildlife moments, and I often use it for compression landscape images as well. But let’s face it; carrying that monster through the airport, in the rental car, and especially hiking in the field is a challenge. But after trying many different options, I think I have found the best one. Take a look at the Tamrac Anvil Super 25 backpack.
I have talked about this pack in an earlier post, but I thought I would go into more detail. There are number of super tele backpacks on the market, but here is what separates this pack from the rest. First, and most importantly, I can put my 600mm F4 mounted to my D850 right into the pack. I have my lens hood flipped, which is how I normally carry the lens. Having my camera/lens ready to go is critical. The last thing I want to do when I see a bull moose in Denali is stop, unload my lens and camera, set up and shoot. With the body attached, I simply take my camera/lens out and start shooting. If the weather is nasty, or dust is blowing, I am not doing any lens switches in the field. If it starts raining, I put the camera/lens back into the Anvil 25, zip it shut and put the supplies rain cover on…very nice.
Next, it has to carry well in the field. The Anvil 25 comes with a great suspension system for hiking. The hip belt carries most of the weight, and the shoulder straps have a sternum strap as well. The Anvil 25 itself is very lightweight (4.4 pounds), so with lens you are around 20 pounds, not bad for long hikes. There is an outside pocket for small accessories, and exterior straps that you can attach your tripod and other pouches to the pack. I hiked with the pack in Alaska, and it carries nicely. I felt the suspension system worked great.
And here is where the Anvil 25 is different than others. The hip belt is removable. Why is this such a big deal? Because with the hip belt removed, and the shoulder straps cinched down, this makes the pack very slim and airline friendly. You can easily put it in the overhead compartment. If you are looking for a great option to carry your super tele, take a look at the Tamarac Anvil Super 25 backpack.