Balancing act with your Equipment
There seems to be no shortage of vendors trying to sell you different ways of carrying equipment. In photography there are shoulder bags that range in size from messenger bags to full sized bags able to carry several bodies and sports lens. Black packs and sling packs are also available that will support a compact mirrorless camera to packs that allow you to include extras including clothing and water bottles for a day hike.
Sometimes though, these are simply not enough. Suppose you want to transport your light stands or other other long equipment that may not fit into any shoulder bag or backpack. Even if a lightstand comes with a bag, what if you want to put TWO stands in the same bag. You could easily find yourself carrying support poles, large umbrellas, and lightstands loose which could be as tricky as hiking on loose rocks.
There are of course some solutions provided by photography vendors such as The bag pictured below from Newer. This is a 30" bag that has a convenient should strap as well as a side pocket to hold extras that you may need.
Some equipment though is much longer than 30" and some bags can get quite pricey. SO... how about looking within another industry for something. The bags pictured below are heavy duty bags from the music industry. This bags can be purchased padded, and often come with multiple compartments. Shoulder straps with these bags allow you to sling the bag over your shoulder and even carry it similar to a very long backpack. Bags such as these can range from 50-58", are heavy duty and comfortable to carry and even come at very reasonable prices.
What IF... you need something even longer? There is yet another solution that comes from the Skiing world. Bags such as that pictured below can be bought, even padded, and are typically very weather resistant in the event that you would run into a rainstorm while on location. Most of these bags are very well made and come in lengths as long as 78 inches with room to store multiple stands, umbrellas, or other very long equipment!
Each of the bags pictured above can be ordered from Amazon or of course directly from the dealer themselves. If you are not concerned about not having a 'photography' name on your bags these can be a very viable way to keep very long equipment together and make it much easier to transport. Need something longer than a ski bag...Think about a truck :)
-Bob Barford is a photographer based in Southern PA.