For a while, I was searching for a solution to pack my extra camera gear safely in my trekking backpack during our multi-day hikes, such as the larger Lee filters, filter holder, extra batteries, and extra lenses. For the day trips I bought an F-Stop Loka photo backpack, F-stop works with their own system ICU (internal camera units) so you can organize the backpack yourself to your own preference. I took the Pro ICU small twice, according to Charlotte, the size of one ICU was perfect to take along in a big backpack. And indeed the ICU fits perfectly on top of the other outdoor material in the backpack. The material is safely stored in the backpack, and everything stays compact. As an extra protection, I put the ICU in an Exped waterproof compression bag of 20L. In principle, this is not immediately necessary because the ICU is made of a water-resistant material. But the zippers are not waterproof so it’s an extra safety. And now have to pay less attention where I put my ICU on the ground. We bought this waterproof bag earlier, the intention was that we would use it to store our sleeping bag. But afterwards, the opening turned out to be too wide.
The inside of the ICU is designed in such a way that you can subdivide the space into different spaces with partitions. These partitions remain in place with velcro. The ICU comes with a large number of dividers. In the flap of the bag, you can put some flat stuff like your smartphone, or documents. I have divided my bag so that the Lee filter holder and ND grad filters sit together, the batteries are together with a Pelican memory case, then there is room for a Little-and Big stopper from Lee, a Nikkor wide-angle lens, and a bellows with some lens towels.
The exterior is made of a water-repellent material as mentioned earlier, a nice extra would be if they had used waterproof zippers. Then the waterproof cover of Exped was unnecessary, but this was not a point for me to not buy the ICU. The bag is also provided with a handle and also two D-rings for the use of a carrying strap. Velcro straps are also available, so you can attach the ICU in an F-stop backpack. This prevents the ICU from sliding into your F-stop photo backpack.
The Exped waterproof compression bag does not need much explanation. For this use, it’s handy that this compression bag has a wide opening. This bag is also equipped with a compression valve, making it easy to get the air out of the bag. Those who are in possession of an Exped mattress can pump their mats through a schnozzle.
- solid material selection
- water-repellent material
- fully personalize the inner case
- wide choice of dividers
- quick access to all your camera gear
- maybe one thing, waterproof zippers would make it perfect
If you are looking for a system to store and organise your camera material in a safe way in your trekking backpack, I can definitely recommend this system. You have complete freedom in organizing the bag to your own preferences. The bag feels very solid and is still quite light weight (420 grams).