The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Camera Bag

What are some things people are doing or have done to carry a camera with you on the ride? I have a smaller sized Sony mirrorless camera that I was thinking about carrying with me next year, and I’ll only take one lens on the bike with me. I know the handlebar bags are popular but I was looking for an option for a rack bag behind the seat. I have an out-front computer bracket on my handlebars and I’ll also have a GoPro mounted up there too so I don’t want a bag getting in the way up there.
I couldn’t find any dedicated camera bags for the rear rack so I was thinking of getting some brand of trunk bag and sectioning off an area and put extra padding in there. Or if size permits I could possibly throw a small Harbor Freight “Pelican” case in there. I’m not too concerned about having fast access to the camera. Will I have to worry about any of the road buzz or bumps affecting the camera? Any other ideas?

6 Replies

KenH, November 9, 2018 at 8:04 am

I’ve used a Topeak trunk bag and rear rack for years and it has worked well for me. I do not carry any camera gear but there should be room for enough padding in one to make you feel comfortable. Just got a new bike which came with its own rear (and front for that matter) rack and I have already put a Topeak trunk bag on it. I looked at other brands and there are several that are likely just as good but I happened on a sale on Topeak bags so since I was happy with mine….

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T. Gap Woo, November 9, 2018 at 9:16 am

I second KenH’s recommendation. My Topeak has performed admirably over the years. I thinned out the contents and make more efficient use of the saddle bags so that there is only one of each essential item — the rest can ride in the support vehicle for the day and be restocked at night if necessary — to make room for my camera. The weight trade-off was neglible. One word of advice, though. Water resistant is not the same as waterproof. Put your camera in a plastic zippered baggie to keep it dry in case of a deluge.

Only 6 more days until registration opens! See you along the I-O-Way next year.

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Sexton, November 13, 2018 at 6:46 pm

In ’17 I carried a Nikon coolpix B-500 on a neck strap. I was also wearing a Camelbak. By shortening the neck strap, then fastening the Camelbak chest strap over the neck strap, the camera didn’t move, I never knew it was there. All I needed to do to bring the camera to bear was release the chest strap. this camera is reasonably water resistant, and an ample rain coat provided extra protection the day it rained.

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Gypsy Rose, November 14, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Groeny82,

I, too, like to carry a camera when I ride. Like you, I worry about the adverse impacts of the vibration on my gear.

Back in the film days, I carried my Contax SLR in a foam padded case on the rear rack (with lenses in my panniers) and didn’t notice any decline in performance, even after a couple of trans-am tours.

With today’s digital gear, I’m still not sure if it will hold up to the vibration. (With contemporary technologies, you have sensors that are not rigidly attached (to deal with IS, etc.), so it’s not like the more simple, solid gear of the “old days.”)

These days, I carry my camera in an Ortlieb handlebar bag that is padded with foam. My (unproven) theory is that the suspended nature of the handlebar bag is better at absorbing the road vibration than something mounted on the rear rack. (Rear rack bolts are notorious for vibrating loose – a testament to the level of vibration at the tail end of a bike.)

I’ll be curious to hear any feedback from photographers who have experience related insights on the best ways to carry sensitive photographic gear in a vibration prone environment.

Cheers,
~ Kevin

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Groeny82, November 14, 2018 at 5:02 pm

The vibration on the back is what I’m wondering about too Gypsy. I wonder if I had a Topeak bag like Ken and Woo suggested, put a layer of foam on the bottom and put a sheet of that pluck and pull padding so I can form it to the camera shape to keep it from bouncing around, if that would be sufficient. That kind of setup should dull down quite a bit if not all of the vibrations I would think.

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Gypsy Rose, November 14, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Groeny82,

Aside from the fact that it’s not resting on a rigid, vibration prone platform (rack), I like the handlebar bag for its convenience. Without needing to dismount, I can easily access my camera while straddling the top tube (even while riding, although not recommended for safety reasons) and get the shot.

Cheers,
~ Kevin

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