Firstly I want to say there has been a great response to my previous post about my search for a Micro 43 bag. Thanks to everyone who has added comments and to those who have emailed me with various suggestions. I really appreciate your help and there have been some great ideas which I am going to look at properly over the next week.
At the time I wrote the last post I had been considering one of the ThinkTank bags (I think it was the Speed Demon v2) which straps round your waste and also has a shoulder strap. It can therefore be used as a shoulder bag or strapped around your waist. When around your waste you can wear it at the back, front or even to the side. The shoulder strap can also be worn around the neck/over the shoulder to add extra support. I was actually near to buying one of these when I realised it was still going to be too bulky and probably not what I was really looking for.
Another of the suggestions that came in via email was to use the bottom half of an Orion Lowepro backpack (thanks Ed). This is an old model now but the idea was that there was a split backpack where the top half could be used to carry clothing and food whilst the bottom half was for your camera gear. What was special about this design was that the two halves could be detached. The bottom part could then be turned into a belt pack and also had a detachable shoulder strap just like the ThinkTank bag.
Ed provided a picture of his kit in the bag and it looked to fit great. More importantly I actually have one of these bags in the loft so I decided to get it down. Unfortunately this still isn’t the solution. The idea is sound and the bag is extremely well padded. This however makes it rather bulky so trying to strap this to your front whilst wearing a backpack makes you feel very confined. More importantly I felt a little unsteady and decided it could make me unstable when out on the hills.
What all this searching for a suitable bag has made me realise is that I might already own the solution. About 8 years back I bought a Marmot belt pack. The idea was to keep a drink, waterproof and food in this pack if I was out carrying my large camera backpack with SLR. It is however very light (really it was made for fell runners), quite spacious and would allow me to carry most of my Micro 43 gear comfortably (we shall see). It also has an internal waterproof pocket that is perfect for batteries and memory cards. One of the front packets would be perfect for my Infrared GX1 and the side pockets would fit my larger Panasonic 45-200mm lens.
If I now purchase some Neoprene lens wraps (GBP7 each) I can protect the lenses from rubbing against each other. The whole lot can then be placed into a waterproof Exped bag that fits into the main pocket. You can guage the capacity in the next image.
This still isn’t perfect but it’s the right size, weight and more importantly it’s comfortable when I am wearing my backpack. I still think I will end up buying a 14-150mm lens to prevent lots of lens switching but this solution allows easy access to all my equipment when out on the hills.
And a final word, please keep the suggestions coming as my solution isn’t perfect but your might be.