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Lightweight SLR Camera carrying
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Jeff Wagner
(jeffw) - F
Lightweight SLR Camera case - foam lined jar on 02/06/2010 14:39:26 MST Print View

I'm a photographer who likes to take my SLR camera out backpacking (it's probably the heaviest thing I carry). I weighed my camera and lens bags recently, and realized that they weigh about half as much as the gear does! (These are Lowepro soft cases; not very protective.)

So, I got to thinking. For a lens case, I cleaned out a peanut butter jar and lined it with open cell foam. It weighs half as much as the old case, is nearly waterproof, and is much more protective.

Now, I'm looking for a large screw-top container to fit my whole camera in (preferrably with lens attatched). These are hard to find in the right proportions. I'm looking for suggestions on sources for such containers. I need one that's about 8 inches deep, with a lid at least 6.5 inches in diameter. Commercially available containers are nice, but too heavy. I'm looking for the cheap, more flimsy containers like a plastic jar. Any ideas? Think bear canister, but not so beefy.

Edited by jeffw on 02/06/2010 14:40:36 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lightweight SLR Camera case - foam lined jar on 02/06/2010 14:43:07 MST Print View

You might be better off with a Ti or Al cooking pot.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
it's not practical on 02/06/2010 15:08:55 MST Print View

Peanut butter jars are not practical as a camera case.

I use about three different sizes of Lowepro holster for one DSLR or another, and those are the most practical for normal trail use. For one thing, they have shoulder straps. For another thing, you can get the camera out rapidly (like, if there is wildlife on the trail).

I have yet to see a peanut butter jar with a shoulder strap.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Lightweight SLR Camera case - foam lined jar on 02/06/2010 15:46:47 MST Print View

I don't know that it would work, but what about an industrial/commercial-sized mayo jar, or something like it? Bulk section at your super-mega mart... problem would probably be the opening...

Jeff Wagner
(jeffw) - F
Not expecting to carry on a shoulder strap on 02/06/2010 15:53:53 MST Print View

I don't expect to have a shoulder camera bag, I just want to carry it in my backpack. I don't do wildlife shots, just landscapes. During the day, I try to focus on hiking and being with people. I usually get the camera out at night and in the morning to catch the good light.

I must say though, the peanut butter jar has worked really well as a lens case. It's perfectly practical if you're just going to keep it in the pack. the opening is the right size for the lenses I'm carrying, and it's very protective.

I'll have to check out a wholesale store, but I'd still love some suggestions.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
a start on 02/06/2010 16:09:51 MST Print View

I would suggest to start with the basic idea of a commercial Lowepro holster, but then to assemble it with UL components.

Start with a plastic container such as a one-gallon milk jug. Maybe you need something of a slightly different size. Cut it off several inches above the bottom, make sure that the camera fits in there (perhaps with a bit of bubble-pak to keep it from rattling around), and then fashion a lid. The lid might come from the top part of the milk jug and cut down for size. You can probably fashion a hinge to join the two pieces together. Then maybe sew a thin nylon cover over the whole thing with a velcro closure opposite the hinge.

By selecting the plastic jug perfectly and cutting it up perfectly, you will get just enough protection for your camera.

If it works good enough, you may choose to add a shoulder strap later on, or not. For me, if the camera is not out where I can reach it in seconds, it won't get used.

When I go through a grocery store buying normal food, I spend about half of my time staring at the containers. Some are very well-engineered for high-volume production. Others are simple. Often I find myself purchasing a particular brand just so that I can reverse-engineer the packaging or to reuse it for some UL gadget.

Rick Beaty
(reeock) - F

Locale: New England
lense on container on 05/12/2010 10:44:57 MDT Print View

here in MA the supermarkets carry wide mouth sugar containers by Domino. it's gotta be 5.5 inches wide at least maybe up to 7.5. I have the same problem as you, love to have my DSLR, hate to carry it. I'll try tje container when I get home and continue to come up with ideas if a come across any. thanks for posting!


Rick Beaty
(reeock) - F

Locale: New England
peanubutter jar on 05/12/2010 10:50:48 MDT Print View

absolutly LOVE the peanutbutter jar idea! Thanks again!

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Dollar Stores on 05/12/2010 12:07:17 MDT Print View

Try a local Dollar Store. I bought a 3 quart food storage container with a screw top for $1. I store metal hardware in it. Tough and cheap and no product to contend with.

Ben Pearre
(fugue137) - MLife
Jar / another idea on 07/26/2013 11:14:39 MDT Print View

Have you looked at protein powder containers? Still, the screw-top will be the

But if you really only bring your camera out at night, you could wrap it in your sleeping bag...?

Tanner M
Re: Jar / another idea on 07/26/2013 12:31:25 MDT Print View

I thought the jar idea for lenses was a good one. I also use fairly small lenses that would fit in a PB jar.

I use my camera mostly for landscapes. I use a holster for the camera but rarely need to whip it out quickly enough to fend off attackers. If I am somewhere I feel the animal interaction is both imminent and fleeting, the camera will not be in the holster... The holster is a matter of convenience and, primarily, size. It isn't chosen for speed, really.

I keep an extra lens or two in my pack; I will keep the jar idea in mind.

I got the idea he was looking for something a little sturdier than the typical lens case and water tight as well. We may never know; the thread is 3 yrs old...

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V) - M

Locale: Orlando FL
camera carry on 09/02/2013 04:28:49 MDT Print View

I gave up on my Canon 50D and lenses due to weight, went with Lumix G2 micro four thirds, gave up again due to weight, but for both I discovered excellent chest packs made by CLik Elite which are lighter than lowepro and made for mating to your pack adjust straps using quick release delrin buckles.
For a lens case, why not make a padded wrap out of Walmart blue sleeping pad, sized for your lens, then stored in a correctly sized cuben fiber dry bag from Mountain Laurel Designs. You get the padding and the waterproofing in a very light package.

Daniel E
(steelcup) - MLife
tupperware? on 12/11/2013 16:48:23 MST Print View

I wrap my lens and camera in bubble wrap, then wrap both separately in my down jacket, then put the football in my pillowcase stuffsack. That goes in the pack near the top surrounded by loose baselayers, a foam sit pad, or jacket. I think the peanut butter jar lens case is phenomenal. How heavy is it?

I used to carry the SLR out of the case all the time, but then realized I never got anything but snapshots out of it by carrying it. Nowadays my cell phone or a mirrorless does that job, and I probably won't even take the SLR/tripod along unless I'm bringing it for a specific objective.

What about a bubble wrap lined tupperware for the camera body?