Review of Tamrac 5587 Expedition 7x Photo / Laptop Backpack

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Tamrac Backpack Review

Well thought out camera backpack with plenty of padding

As a professional photojournalist, this bag does almost everything I could ask for. I have some quibbles but for the most part, they are just that...quibbles. This huge bag is pretty well designed, extremely well padded, pretty rugged and has served me quite well.

I don't remember exactly when I purchased the Tamarac Expedition. It was somewhere between 3 1/2 and 5 years ago. In that time, it has proved itself to be just exactly what I need as a photojournalist both in the field and in transit.

The first thing that I noticed about the Tamarac Expedition is its size. This thing is HUGE. If it was white, one might be mistaken for an Apollo astronaut preparing to walk on the moon. For some, the size will be too big but for me it's just right. Having a large bag like this allows me to not only carry multiple camera bodies and lenses, but it also allows me to carry a plethora of accessories into the field when necessary. The ability to carry enormous amounts of extra stuff means that I rarely find myself in need of anything if this is the bag I've grabbed on the way out the door to an assignment. In addition to all the obvious things like extra lenses, bodies, flashes, cleaning kits and so on, I also have plenty of space which is used for the bejillion little things that one always seems to need and never seems to have when something goes wrong in the field including extra lens caps, LCD covers, remote triggering accessories, a flashlight, a knife, battery packs, earplugs, gloves, camera covers and a reflective yellow safety vest.

The Tamarac Expedition has a myriad of adjustments that allow the wearer to make it comfortable. In fact, I would submit that there may be a few too many adjustments on this bag as I find myself constantly at war trying to find new and innovative ways to secure straps and pull ties that always seem to be flopping around.

One of the most important aspects of any camera transportation system is padding. Carrying expensive camera equipment has been likened to carrying a pair of jars when one is inside the other. The Tamarac Expedition 7 REALLY delivers in this area.

The padding on this bag is quite thick, chiefly because of the designer's apparent goal of user comfort. The padding and lumbar support on the back of this bag is quite thick which not only gives comfort to the wearer, but as an added bonus, gives the all important duty of keeping the contents of the bag that much more padded. In addition, since this bag is designed with a laptop pocket, that too is padded which again provides the real cargo (camera and lenses) with even MORE padding.

Inside, the Tamarac backpack continues the padding theme but on a far lessor scale. The adjustable dividers that are provided with this product are thinner than outside but quite adequate at keeping even heavy cameras and lenses separated in individually adjusted compartments. I also like, and wish there were more of, the velcro straps that allow you to "tie down" cameras or long lenses in the larger compartments.

The Tamarac backpack has a fair number of relatively small pockets and pouches. The way these are designed into the bag makes it look cool but frankly I would prefer a little more space to a little more style. One example of this is what I consider to be wasted space on the top of the bag where there is a small pocket for putting the feet of a tripod and above that empty space in between two oblong pockets where the tripod ostensibly rests. I never use this "feature" preferring to strap a tripod to the bottom of a backpack and I miss the pocket that could have been there instead.

If there is a downside to this camera bag, it is brought on only by one's own stupidity. It's possible to overload this bag so much that it would be truly a burden to carry for long periods of time. Ask me how I know this. ;-) In general, however, the big shoulder pads and heavily padded back, along with a very large waist belt system, make this camera bag quite comfortable to wear, usually. If I could change one thing about this, it would be to reduce the lumbar support by 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch because it sticks out just too far.

The only failure I've experienced with this bag is an area on the right hand side where the shell has somehow come unstitched for about 4 inches near the top flap. I don't believe that this was a user error but I really don't know how it happened, so take that for what it's worth.

All-in-all I pretty much like the Tamarac Expedition 7. From the materials it's made out of to most of its design, it is a very good backpack for those who have need of carrying large amounts of delicate equipment. The padding is outstanding (maybe a little too good in the lumbar area) but I would still recommend this product to fellow photojournalists or others who might want to take a large amount of stuff into the field. For me, the price is on the high side, but the utility of this backpack really meets my needs.

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