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Multi-day backpacking in the Swiss Alps; Tim Lloyd and the Loka

2015 was a year when my attitude towards photo gear started to change. Rather than facing every assignment with a full arsenal of pro camera bodies, a lighter approach started to take hold throughout my workflow, trying to capture more with less. I spent a day during the summer in the Swiss Alps with F-stop product director, field-testing new designs that embrace this new mindset. Travelling light in the summer has become an obsession of mine, with some exciting products in development for those who share this style.

I’ve tried to adapt this summer way of thinking to this winter, with my latest ski setup proving to be the ideal compromise between performance and weight. The thing with backcountry ski touring is that even travelling light requires quite a large amount of physical gear and finding a backpack that works is so important. My Loka is now into its third year and it continues to sustain seasons of abuse with little more than a few scuffmarks. This proven resilience of the whole range of F-stop bags is the reason why they are so in demand to us outdoor photographers. When this backpack was first announced many pros thought that it was the perfect size for day trips, with me still holding that belief today.

We all like a good gear shot, so here’s my rig for the 2016 winter.

  1. F-stop Loka. It’s into its third year of usage now and i still find it the perfect size for day touring. I use the original, small ICU, which allows space to be utilized at the top of the pack for my outdoor gear. I also use the small Redfern pouch, which is ideal for stuffing with cables, pocket wizards or any other small accessories that i wish to keep together.
  2. Camera gear. I’ve been experimenting with the Sony system since last summer and love it for trips where weight is key. I’ve got the A7II and A6000 with the 55mm f1.8 and 16-70 f4. Utilizing a fotodiox adaptor I’m able to add in my Canon 70-200 f4IS and Sigma 24mm 1.4 (not pictured). Battery life is the number one concern about this system to date, so i bring a bunch of batteries along. A GoPro Hero 4 for some BTS shots and Sandisk SD Cards./li>
  3. Air blower, lens cloth, all day sun cream and lip balm. I couldn’t live without any of these.
  4. Walkie Talkies for keeping in contact.
  5. Goggles to wear, replacement goggles, spare lenses and glasses. It might seem overkill but goggle management is so vital, especially in varying conditions.
  6. Petal Nao. I’ve had this head torch for a few years now and its proved to be incredible in all conditions.
  7. A knife/multitool. I’m kind of happy to show off my mini Gurkha knife that i recently got from Nepal.
  8. 10 peaks gloves. I used to go through a lot of gloves but these have stood the test of time. They have a zip across the middle allowing my hands to come free when I’m photographing.
  9. Additional layers. I like to keep a spare merino wool layer in my bag, along with a micro down jacket and beanie. I’m using Rab Equipment for all of my technical layers and their gear is great.
  10. A climbing harness. it doesn’t always come with me, but is always in the car or close by to be used when needed.
  11. Climbing skins from Coltex.
  12. Backcountry equipment. This includes an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe.
  13. A Sigg thermos flask. Being English i do appreciate a cup of tea when I’m cold and I’ve not found a flask that can perform as well as the Swiss made Sigg. it keeps boiling water hot for 12 hours, like really hot.
  14. Touring poles. These height adjustable touring poles from Scott are great for these kinds of trips. They can be broken down and stashed on the side of the pack when not needed.
  15. Scott Superguide 95 skis with G3 bindings. These best compromise of performance and weight. Light enough to be enjoyable on the uphill, whilst still being a lot of fun on the descent.

About the Author
For more on Tim Lloyd, check out his website here.