Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

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mikemike
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Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by mikemike » February 4th, 2011, 7:11 pm

I've been browsing camera backpacks for quite a while now, and I've just about landed on the Clik Nature backpack (http://www.clikelite.com/shop/medium-nature/) but I'm completely open to suggestions.
The main features I'm looking for are:

Camera room (D7000 body with Macro, one or two other small lenses, and SB 900 flash)

Extra room for other herping whatnots. (Notebook, food, water, raingear, etc.) (I carry much more than just a camera into the field and a lot of packs I've looked at don't really have ample storage space for other things.

I would also prefer a decent amount of protection from the elements. I'm not looking for totally waterproof, but some water resistance and/or a rainfly type system would help, just to be safe. I do herp a lot in the rain.

Chest/waist straps and weight distribution are also important because I do a lot of hiking and walking.

Thanks for any input and suggestions, guys!

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Kari Post
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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by Kari Post » April 21st, 2011, 7:27 pm

I reviewed the Clik Elite Compact Sport backpack here: http://www.naturescapes.net/docs/index. ... -kari-post

It's smaller than the Nature Trekker. I really just don't like photo backpacks, but the Compact Sport is the most cleverly designed one I have tried. The Clik Elite products seem to be well made and more comfortable than other photo backpacks. I still prefer a pack designed for backpacking and use my Osprey Talon 44 with a Clik Elite Camera Capsule at least 90% of the time.

Camera Capsule review here: http://www.naturescapes.net/docs/index. ... -kari-post

Check out the bags by F-Stop. They seem to be the most popular among adventure photographers and those who actually do a lot of work outdoors and know what a comfortable load carrying backpack ought to feel like. I have never seen or tried their products myself.

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by mikemike » April 21st, 2011, 8:07 pm

Thanks Kari. I've looked at the compact sport in person, and it's just a little too small for my likings. I take quite a bit of stuff into the field when I herp, and I prefer something that'll hold it all, but is still small enough to be comfortable while I'm bending over flipping stuff all day, etc.
I ended up picking up a LowePro something or other for like 75% off on closeout, that is decent at best, but it's good enough to hold me over for a while. The only thing I absolutely hate about it is that there is no sternum strap, which I have to add, no breathability, and only one water bottle pocket.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » April 22nd, 2011, 1:54 am

Just for completeness: I've been using KATA backpacks for years. They're made by an Israeli company specialized in super-tough bags and cases for (military) weapons, sniper gear, grenades etc.. The protection level is insane. You can pound a grizzly to death with these bags, and your camera gear will still be intact after the fight (regardless of the outcome).

Oh, and they come with built-in rain ponchos....

http://www.kata-bags.com/

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by jimoo742 » May 11th, 2011, 7:56 pm

I used a Lowepro Slingshot 300. I initially used a 200, but I couldn't fit everything I needed in it. I can with the 300, but on the downside, with that extra weight, it doesn't distribute it well on my shoulders at all and can shift a lot when I'm bending over. Getting things in and out is easy though. I'm still looking for a good fit that can carry two bodies and three lenses, plus flash, brackets, filters, film an batteries and can still be used as a carry on.

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by jimoo742 » May 12th, 2011, 4:49 am

That F stop Loka bag looks awesome.

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Schell
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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by Schell » May 16th, 2011, 8:30 pm

I use the F-Stop Tilopa. I have had it for over a year using it almost daily (I am the hardest on gear of anyone I know, and that's saying something). Taken it many places and beat the crap out of it, and it still works great. It's large enough for photo gear, plus whatever else you need for the day (not large enough for overnight trips as your only bag), decently weatherproof (I was out all day today in the rain and my gear is dry). It's also small enough to carry onto an airplane. If they had the ruggedized version of the Tilopa when I bought mine, I probably would have gotten that instead.

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by bgorum » May 16th, 2011, 9:33 pm

Schell,

Can I ask what you carry in your Tilopa? I'm just about ready to spring for the Tilopa BC with the x-large icu. My Lowepro Nature Trekker barely holds all my gear, it is in need of some repairs now, and I've never found it very comfortable for anything longer than about a two or three hour hike, so it's time to replace it. Looking at the specs on f-stop gear's website it appears that the x-large icu is a bit bigger than my Nature Trekker, but I can't tell if the dimensions they quote are internal or external. The amount of gear I need the icu to hold is listed here- viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1450. Thanks.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » May 16th, 2011, 9:37 pm

Here's a video review of the Tilopia:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkdi047bVmU

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by bgorum » May 17th, 2011, 8:32 am

Well, I was ready to buy the Tilopa bc + extra large icu, but they are out of stock. Sent an email to f stop gear and they responded that they expect them to be back in stock sometime this year, maybe by the end of the summer! Bummer!

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by jimoo742 » May 17th, 2011, 4:33 pm

The Tilopa also looks cool. How do you handle flying with it? Take the insert out? Or do you?

The Loka says it is carry on-able, but the dimensions aren't for most airlines (23" instead of 22"), but maybe it is crunchable. That is my only concern.

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Jason Mintzer
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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by Jason Mintzer » May 22nd, 2011, 10:17 pm

I just ordered the loka with a small and large icu. I can't wait to get it.

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by bgorum » May 24th, 2011, 8:11 pm

Since F Stop Gear is out of the Tilopa BC and extra large ICU until at least the end of the summer I went ahead and ordered a Loka with large ICU. Here it is loaded up with my gear-
Image
The ICU seems to be a little smaller in internal dimensions than my Lowepro Nature Trekker. All my equipment fits, but just barely. However, I now have room for a rain jacket, lunch, a hydration pack (though I'm not sure if I would want one so close to my cameras, I'm sure those things do break from time to time), and other items in the backpack portion, which I never had with the Nature Trekker. I'm still debating wether to keep it, or send it back and wait for the Tilopas and extra large ICUs to be back in stock. I probably need to hike with it first before I decide, but knowing me if I take it out into the field I'll end up scuffing it up so that F Stop Gear won't want to take it back. Anyhow, I just wanted to post the picture to potentially help anyone else trying to decide if this pack and ICU would be adequate for their gear.

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by jimoo742 » May 25th, 2011, 6:52 pm

I still have the question: any experience trying to get these on airlines as carry ons?

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by Stohlgren » May 26th, 2011, 12:52 pm

I also recently purchased the F-stop Loka with a small and medium icu, and am very happy with it. I can easily fit my camera body, three lenses, and external flash in the small icu, leaving plenty of space for other gear. I have been carrying my camelback in it and am pretty comfortable that my equipment will be ok.

I will be flying American Airlines this summer and their restrictions on carry-on items are that the length+height+width=45 in or less. The Loka is 12.6 x 23 x 8.5 = 44.1 in.

If you have an airline with restrictions on the longest dimension, the internal frame is easily removable and then the pack can be scrunched with no problem.

jimoo742
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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by jimoo742 » May 27th, 2011, 4:41 am

Thank you very very much for that answer. The majority of airlines, from what I see, have a 22" max dimension size... knowing that the frame can be removed and scrunched down to that is great news. Time to start saving!

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by jimoo742 » July 13th, 2011, 11:46 am

Picked up the F Stop 4 loka bag... tried it for a couple of short hikes... great bag, love it... wish it was a little easier to get stuff in and out of, but a minor issue overall

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by bgorum » July 14th, 2011, 7:31 am

jimoo742 wrote:Picked up the F Stop 4 loka bag... tried it for a couple of short hikes... great bag, love it... wish it was a little easier to get stuff in and out of, but a minor issue overall
I've been using my Loka for a little over a month now and I really like it. It is a little bit harder to access my gear than my Lowepro bag was. One thing you can do to help in this regard is to take the padding out of the zippered top on the ICU and then just leave the ICU unzipped and stuff the cover between the bottom of the bag and the ICU. That way you only have one set of zippers to undue to get to your equipment. I am actually carrying my 32" diffuser in the cover in place of the insulation in the ICU cover, so I cant stuff it out of the way. I never zip up the ICU though, so when I need to access my equipment I just unzip the bag and flip the already unzipped ICU top out of the way. The frame sometimes gets in the way a little when I try to remove equipment stored at the outer edges of the ICU, but its not a huge problem. For me the biggest issue is that the large ICU is somewhat smaller than my Nature Trekker was. I can still fit all the same equipment in it, but I have to always have the 300 mm lens on the camera (with the Lowepro I could have either the 300 or the 70-180 on the camera and there was enough space for the other lens in another compartment. Also, I could leave the hood on my 70-180 micro in the non-reversed position in the Lowepro, but there is only enough room for it in the Loka if I reverse the hood. All of this is more than made up for though by the increased comfort of carrying this bag compared to the Lowepro. I also really like the way that the equipment is accessed in the Loka from the part of the bag that rest against your back. Whats cool about this is that you lay the bag on the ground with that part facing up and thereby do not get stickers on your back when you put the bag back on.

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by chrish » July 14th, 2011, 10:02 am

jimoo742 wrote:The majority of airlines, from what I see, have a 22" max dimension size... knowing that the frame can be removed and scrunched down to that is great news.
The other issue with carrying on camera gear is the weight, rather than the physical dimensions. I have had trouble in a few airports (not in the US) with the maximum allowable weight of the carryon (7 kg = 15 lbs). It doesn't take much camera gear to get you over that limit. I am forced to carry my camera in my camera bag, but take most of the lenses/flashes etc. out and pack those in my suitcase (which I really don't like doing).

If the US ever starts enforcing carry on rules (and weight limits), look out! The situation we have in the US at the moment with carryon bags is ridiculous, IMHO. I'm amazed at what they will let people claim as carryons and "personal items".

My favorite carryon experience, however, came last winter when I had to fly from Nadi to Taveuni in Fiji. They made each passenger (on the small plane) get on the scale with their carryon bag. I guess they figure a person weighing 350 lbs with a light carryon puts more stress on the engines than my 190lbs with my 30lb carry on. I would LOVE to see them start doing this in the US. :lol:

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by jimoo742 » July 15th, 2011, 6:24 am

Yeah, when I've been flying within other countries, such as Costa Rica, I ran into that too... for Nature Air I had to stand on the scale with my bags... I can't see getting down to 15# of gear.... just a single body, lense, flash, bracket, filters, batteries and film would have to come close to that. Shoot, my Canon F1 is brass and has to be 8# in itself.

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Re: Anyone using Clik Elite bags?

Post by jimoo742 » July 15th, 2011, 6:30 am

bgorum wrote:
I've been using my Loka for a little over a month now and I really like it. It is a little bit harder to access my gear than my Lowepro bag was. One thing you can do to help in this regard is to take the padding out of the zippered top on the ICU and then just leave the ICU unzipped and stuff the cover between the bottom of the bag and the ICU. That way you only have one set of zippers to undue to get to your equipment. I am actually carrying my 32" diffuser in the cover in place of the insulation in the ICU cover, so I cant stuff it out of the way. I never zip up the ICU though, so when I need to access my equipment I just unzip the bag and flip the already unzipped ICU top out of the way. The frame sometimes gets in the way a little when I try to remove equipment stored at the outer edges of the ICU, but its not a huge problem.

I'll give that a try. Thank you.

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