Tamrac Expedition 5 & 7

Tamrac Expedition 5 & 7
Expedition 5  
Expedition 7

I am always looking for the perfect solution for carrying all my gear, both at home and abroad. For years I have used Lowepro bags, thinking that no other solutions could really hack it. On a trip to PMA, the annual US photographic trade show, I noticed that the Tamrac stand had an impressive collection of bags and even tried a few on. But at that stage I took it no further, being happy with the system that I was using.

Then over the course of this year, several hassles with airlines, and a worsening back complaint, I started to look elsewhere. The first rucksack that I tried, the Crumpler Brian’s Hot Tub (awesome name) was brilliant. This served a purpose for me on some of my trips but I needed a general purpose photographic rucksack in the more traditional style for some of my work. Then I remembered the Tamrac stand at PMA and so got hold of a couple for test – the Tamrac Expedition 5 and 7 models.

Expedition 5 Expedition 7
Here are my findings so far:
  • Weight – the first thing that I noticed about both rucksacks was their weight. Empty they were considerably lighter than the competition. Vital for travel yes; but also vital to protect my back at home.
  • Harness – both rucksacks felt great on my shoulders with extra padded straps where they were most needed. They seemed to support my back very well indeed, and were well shaped to match the contours of my back and my waist. To test it properly I loaded the Expedition 7 with 500mm f4L and 300mm f2.8L lenses and a Canon EOS 1Ds MK2 body. It felt surprisingly light to me and when I gave it to Tracey to try she didn’t believe what was inside. The pads on the back of the rucksacks clearly work very well and the air gap in between them allows any excess body moisture (i.e. sweat!) to escape. This means that your back will stay dry if you are on a long hike.
  • Deep Compartments – the internal compartments are deep enough to take the pro 1D style bodies snugly and without any vital bits sticking out. I didn’t like the windowpane mesh pockets on the open flap as these were just too small to be useful for anything, but this is a minor point. Overall I could stuff a lot of gear into both rucksacks without them looking, or feeling, too heavy.
  • Wing Accessory Pockets – initially I thought that they were gimmicks then realised that they are perfect for my CF cards and small accessories that could get easily lost. They also save me constantly having to open the main bag to get them, which is very important when working in the rain.
  • Tripod pocket – a different design from what I am used to and I will need to test this more fully in the field. The basic idea is that the bottom of the tripod fits into a special pocket and three retaining straps hold it in place. It looks good enough but I won’t know until it has a sturdy test; to be honest I rarely carry a tripod like this anyway.
  • Rainflap – the rucksack is as water resistant as anything else around and has an added rain flap which can be pulled down tight over the zips. Useful if you are caught out in a sudden rain shower or in a very wet boat!
  • Looks – yes I have included this here as we are all conscious of how we look! The Tamrac Expeditions look the part, not as cool and trendy as the Crumpler, but much cooler than any similar photographic rucksacks.
Expedition 5 Expedition 7


In the photographic industry new products come and go all the time and I am constantly looking for anything that improves what I have already. The Tamrac Expeditions have done just that and I can honestly say that I am very impressed with them. So impressed in fact that I am putting my money where my mouth is and have bought both rucksacks; they will be our sole rucksacks on our 3 month marathon trip to Antarctica which will begin in just a few days. With this I have shown complete trust in the Tamrac Expedition rucksacks, as they will be encountering some of the most hostile weather conditions on earth; but I know that they will be able to stand it.

Expedition 5 Expedition 7