What’s the best way to carry a point-and-shoot camera when you’re backpacking so that your camera is easily accessible when you want it, it doesn’t get in the way of normal activity, it’s in a waterproof compartment to protect it from rain, and it won’t slip off a hip-belt or shoulder strap and disappear forever.
This problem has vexed me for several years but I’ve found a solution – the Lowepro Dashpoint 20 Camera Case – which I used quite successfully on my recent backpacking trip across Scotland in the TGO Challenge. Priced under $20, the Dashpoint Camera Case is a bargain.
The Dashpoint 20 is large enough to fit my Panasonic Lumix LX5 digital camera, but also comes in slightly smaller and larger sizes (Dashpoint 10 and Dashpoint 30) and can be used for carrying other electronic devices such as a cell phone or a GPS. Depending on your needs, it can be carried using a strap (supplied), attached to your belt, or attached to a backpack shoulder strap. I prefer the latter because it places the camera within easy reach of my hand when I want to take a picture and because it doesn’t interfere with the operation of my shoulder straps.
But the most important consideration for me is in knowing that the camera case is not going to accidentally fall off my backpack’s shoulder strap. This is because the Dashpoint 20 has a two-way horizontal and vertical attachment system that can be used at the same time to secure the case to the strap. For instance, the Dashpoint has a pair of wings that can be wrapped around the back of your shoulder pad and are secured together using velcro.
Before you secure these behind the shoulder straps, it’s best to thread the vertical strap around a horizontal keeper strap, if your backpack’s shoulder pad has one, to prevent the case from sliding below the sternum strap. Once the vertical strap is secured with velcro, wrap the horizontal wings around the strap for complete security.
The Dashpoint 20 is made using ripstop nylon that has been treated with a DWR coating so that rain beads on its surface and rolls off without wetting out the external fabric. The DWR works well – I hiked through days and days of rain in Scotland and the case never leaked – but you should also reapply the DWR periodically because it will wear off. Even so, the inside of the Dashpoint 20 is also lined with 200 denier polyester fabric providing even more moisture protection and includes interior flaps over the zippers to help prevent snags and rain from leaking in.
The Dashpoint’s large lid case makes it easy to unzip the case and pull out your camera even if you are wearing thin gloves, but the interior of the case has been kept very simple, on purpose, because it is designed for self-contained point-and-shoot cameras. There is however, one small pocket on the inside if the top lid that is big enough to store an extra memory card or battery if required.
When I was in Scotland last month, I met someone who lost their camera during a stream crossing because it slipped off their hip belt and dropped into the water. I felt really bad for the guy because he lost all of the photos he’d taken on a bucket list hike. Don’t let this happen to you. Get yourself a backpack camera case that you can count on to be there when you finish your trip.
Written 2015. Updated 2018.
Disclosure: Philip Werner owns the Dashpoint 20 camera case and purchased it using his own funds.
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