By STEPHEN KRCMAR
A few months back, I was searching for a backpack that could safely haul my SLR camera and a bunch of gear. But since I didn’t need to carry extra lenses, most camera backpacks were overkill. One exception was Mountainsmith’s Quantum.
Weighing in at about 2 lbs. 9 oz., and with 1709 cubic inches of capacity, the bag has more than enough space for a long day hike. And unlike just about every outdoor non-camera pack out there, it is not hydration-reservoir compatible, which is a good thing — the last thing I want on my Canon is electrolyte-liquid leakage.
After months of using it for day hikes and mountain bike rides (with water bottles tucked into the side pockets) the pack has proven to be surprisingly stable and comfortable, regardless of whether the camera was in the top pocket — which is water resistant and includes a removable SLR case — or if it was in the main space.
Like most camera backpacks, the Quantum has back panel access, meaning that to get into it you put it face down in the dirt or snow, ensuring that the back panel stays out of the elements. You zip it open from behind to grab your camera and gear.
Other features include tuck-away side compression straps that double as tripod leash points, solid YKK zippers, and a rubber molded haul handle.
If you’re looking for a pro-sumer — not professional — bag, the Quantum is worth checking out. At $99, it’s a good deal, and if you decide that you want to carry an extra lens or two, Mountainsmith also sells padded lens cases for $20 to $30. www.mountainsmith.com
—Stephen Krcmar lives in Mammoth, Calif.