This is an update to my original post on packing cameras. I had such good luck with my smaller custom front pack from ZPacks and the insert that I made that I decided to do a second one. I had Joe make me a totally custom front pack out of cuben hybrid with the addition of two side pockets (for water bottles) and a mesh front pocket. The size of this front pack is ideal, I have just enough forward visibility that the pack does not interfere with foot placement (at least for any trails I have been on) and the attachment system is the same as my other front pack so I can mix and match. I had this pack made primarily for hiking gear like clothing, food and other items I want ready access to during the day. However, I decided to construct another camera insert to have the flexibility of my smaller one. Once again this can be done cheaply, with foam boards and duck tape. I know it doesn't look pretty but for me it's all about functionality. The roll top front pack is seam taped and waterproof so all I needed to do was provide support and protection for my camera gear. I could go on about the functionality of front packs but I'll leave that for another post. Let's go through a basic rundown of what I wanted to carry and how I constructed the inserts.
First I constructed a bottom section (to stay in the pack) that was wide enough to be a tight fit and tall enough to accommodate 2 GoPros, a lens hood, and a Contour Roam.
I wanted a shallow tray section that I could easily remove that could hold smaller items like batteries, remotes, lens cleaners, etc. I made this stiffer with more foam and with a cord pull so I could easily remove it to access the bottom section.
Lastly I needed a way to secure my Pany GH2 with a telephoto lens attached. I found that making a cone shape cradled the camera and lens perfectly and makes it very easy to remove the camera for quick shooting. I made a double layer foam lid to go on top of the second section/tray to protect and separate the lens cap from the items in the tray.
The first photo in this blog shows the pack with everything shown cinched up. I am able to get one complete turn on the roll top to make sure that it remains waterproof.
I do have the option of exchanging the bottom section and the tray. This modular system allows me to carry all my cameras, some, or a combination of other items and just the cone and GH2. I have found that this, along with my other front pack, also allows me to secure my gear for the evening if I'm just under a tarp where I don't have to worry about dust or moisture getting at the cameras. Understand that I am an avid front pack user so this system makes sense for me. I have also tested this newer front pack while trotting/running on the trail and, like my other one, I am able to minimize the bounce by adjusting the 4 securing straps. I always qualify my techniques with "what works for me may not work for you".....but I hope this provides some ideas for viewers that would like a cheap (foam board and duck tape) and easy way to protect and carry cameras while maintaining the lightest weight. FWIW, I had Joe construct this custom front pack by using his existing medium size dry bag, all he did was add the suspension and the pockets.