Packing camera gear for travel usually requires making compromises. Including that extra zoom lens means something gets left behind, whether it’s an extra pair of socks or a guidebook. Take two bags and you run afoul of stingy airline carry-on requirements. So a good camera bag is worth its weight in gold. While there are a lot of good ones out there, the best I’ve used is the Dakine Sequence backpack.

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On a recent weeklong trip to Belize, I not only had to make room for my Nikon DSLR, two lenses, batteries and a charger but also an unwieldy Ikelite underwater housing, my 15-inch laptop, a GoPro video camera with mounts, a change of clothes and some essential dive gear. The Sequence swallowed it all up without a hint of indigestion. The pack is designed quite ingeniously, with the padded camera compartment located under the pack straps, next to your back. Zip it open clamshell-style and you find a floating inner pack with its own shoulder strap that Velcros into the larger backpack and can be removed for separate carry once you reach your destination. The camera compartment’s padding can be configured any number of ways to fit your kit and was plenty of room for my SLR, lenses and underwater housing.

Turn the Sequence over and the front zips open to reveal a narrow but deep area for clothes, an integrated laptop sleeve and smaller zippered mesh pockets for cables and small stuff. On either side of the pack are bellows pockets that easily held my dive mask, compass and dive computer as well as some snacks for the journey. The top of the Sequence has a surprisingly roomy pocket containing a pull-out rain cover but I left that behind and instead stored all my GoPro components there. Finally, small pockets on the padded hip belt (you’re going to need this for supporting all the weight) were perfect for my earphones and boarding passes. Lash points on the sides and back of the pack would hold a tripod or trekking poles if I needed them.

Fully packed, my pack tipped the scales at 28 pounds which, with a conventional shoulder camera bag would have brought me to my knees. But the Sequence carries weight almost as well as an internal frame backpacking pack. Shoulder straps are padded with high density foam and have numerous adjustments to get the right fit. I wore it running for my connection in Atlanta and jumping on and off of boats in Belize. It’s said that if you want to test a relationship, you should travel together. I did just that with the Dakine Sequence and can now say that it passed the test and I am in love.

Buy Now: $200