In Part 1 of the Camera Insert Update, we showed you what the Camera Insert can fit. In Part 2, Tom describes hiking in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks with the Brain Bag fully loaded with the Camera Insert and equipment.
One of our first hikes of the trip was the Peek-A-Boo trail, which leaves the rim of Bryce Canyon at Bryce Point, descending several hundred feet and heading north just about a mile to the first trail junction. From there the trail descends a further 500 feet and heads east, then bottoming out and looping back west and south, climbing the roughly 1000 feet it dropped back to Bryce Point. The Peek-A-Boo Trail winds through numerous tunnels, cut through the sandstone. I remember looking down into Bryce Canyon when I was eight years old (see photo below) and those tunnels have fascinated me ever since. It was great to have finally hiked the Peek-A-Boo.
The Brain Bag was great: I won't say it was like carrying nothing at all, but considering the heavy load, even I was surprised at how comfortable it was. We brought a water filter so we didn't need to carry extra water, but Darcy's camera stuff more than made up for that savings in weight. The mesh back panel of the Brain Bag didn't eliminate sweat buildup but considering the heat in the upper 80s and the 30+ pound load, I had no complaints. Keep in mind that the Brain Bag was designed for rigorous everyday, urban use; our hikes in Zion and Bryce Canyon were above-and-beyond what the pack was intended for and yet the Brain Bag performed like a champ.
The next day we hiked the Northgate Peaks Trail, leaving from from the Wildcat Trailhead in the Kolob Plateau area. This is a relatively high-elevation trail and hiking was a bit cooler, but the elevation made the work harder, too. We did a bit of cross-country from the end of the trail, climbing to the top of a small knob just 'cause. It was great to get away from the crowds of Zion Canyon and the views were stunning.
Inside of the Brain Bag, we used a prototype of the Camera Insert. I've been developing the Camera Insert with the help of my brother Dan, who is a professional photographer in Colorado. With its adjustable dividers, the Camera Insert was able to carry Darcy's Canon 7D body, Canon 50mm f/1.4, 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, and 70-200mm f/2.8L lenses, a Small Padded Organizer Pouch with memory cards, and a 3D Clear Organizer Cube containing a filter, battery charger, extra batteries, lens blower/brush, cleaning cloths, cleaning solution, and remote shutter release cord, all organized and easy to get at, safely protected from external impacts and each other. The padding of the Camera Insert along with the padding on the back of the Brain Bag protected me from all that equipment, too - essential for carrying such a load all day.
While we mostly used it inside of the Brain Bag on this trip, the Camera Insert has padded handles and attachment points for a shoulder strap so it can be used as a stand-alone camera/lens case when desired. Sometimes, the best opportunities to see and take photos of wildlife are from the road, and keeping the Camera Insert in the front seat of the car kept Darcy's camera gear easily accessible.
We also used a tripod bag that is designed to attach to the Camera Insert when used alone, but we attached it to the front of the Brain Bag and that was perfect for our hikes.
We're not ready to show you the actual Camera Insert - yet. I'm making a few materials changes that will change how the Camera Insert looks ever-so-slightly. Stay tuned for more updates as the Camera Insert comes closer to being available for pre-order.