Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Finest Images Bean Baggage for Safari + What to Look For

In case you are planning a safari, the possibilities are good that you’re fascinated about taking a bigger digicam and lens with you. These can produce great wildlife photographs, however in addition they include a draw back, which is that they are often heavy and onerous to carry for extended intervals of time.

Usually the answer to a heavy lens and digicam is a tripod or monopod. Nonetheless, most safaris have you ever observing wildlife from inside a automobile, the place it’s typically not attainable to simply arrange and use both a tripod or monopod. That is particularly the case when there are a number of individuals within the automobile vying for viewing area!

Nonetheless, you don’t wish to miss an amazing shot of a lion or an elephant as a result of your arms are drained from holding your gear up. As a substitute, it’s best to take into account investing in a pictures bean bag.

On this article, I’ll inform you how they work, why you may want one, necessary options to search for in a pictures bean bag, and provides some suggestions on a number of the greatest pictures bean baggage for safari.

I like to recommend studying this submit together with my information to getting nice photographs on safari, in addition to my information to the greatest safari digicam and lenses, so that you’re totally ready on your journey.

We even have a complete safari packing record for all the pieces else you would possibly want.

Causes to Use a Images Bean Bag

A pictures bean bag, because the title suggests, is a bag full of beans (or comparable materials) which is used to help a digicam when taking photos.

These might be positioned both over a window body or on the highest of the automobile in case you are standing up and searching of a pop-up prime, and can permit you to maintain your digicam pointing in the appropriate route with out tiring your arms out.

It is going to additionally permit you to use slower shutter speeds if required, relying on the obtainable mild and the way a lot your topic is shifting.

Basically a pictures bean bag gives comparable advantages to a tripod or monopod, however in a smaller and extra versatile package deal. Some key advantages of a pictures bean bag embrace:

  • You don’t have to carry up your lens and digicam
  • It gives a spot to relaxation and regular longer lenses or recognizing scope
  • They defend your gear from having to relaxation on the usually soiled and uneven surfaces of the perimeters of the automobile
  • It may possibly additionally defend your gear and provides stabilization if taking pictures from the bottom
  • It’s extra versatile to be used in lots of conditions in comparison with a tripod or monopod

In fact, these pictures bean baggage should not simply helpful for safari however for all kinds of nature and out of doors associated pictures situations. So it’s nice if you may get a bag that additionally, you will be capable of use elsewhere.

Listed here are a few photographs of me on safari with and and not using a bean bag to present you an concept of the distinction. I’ve used a variety of these bean baggage on numerous safaris throughout a variety of African international locations.

Photography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safariPhotography bean bag safari

What to Search for in a Images Bean Bag for Safari

Earlier than offering some advised bean baggage, I needed to share my recommendations for what to search for in a bean bag for safari pictures. It will enable you to resolve which bean bag goes to be greatest for you.



The very first thing you’ll want to take into consideration is the form of the bean bag. Images bean baggage are typically not simply shapeless spherical blobs, they have an inclination to have a particular kind which permits them to work extra successfully.

There are three foremost shapes of pictures bean baggage. First, there’s a cushion-like flatter form which is the best choice. Then, there’s the double cushion, which is successfully two cushions sewn collectively.

Lastly, there’s a model which appears to be like a bit like a decrease case “n” (or an inverted “u”). This form has two “legs” with a cushion half on the prime. It’s successfully a saddlebag form, and is the most well-liked choice.

Under are some photos exhibiting a few of these completely different designs.

Photography bean bag safariPhotography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safariPhotography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safariPhotography bean bag safari

Which form will be just right for you will rely a bit on the place you might be more likely to be taking pictures. I discover the saddlebag fashion gives a superb little bit of versatility as it may be tailored to suit quite a lot of places, from taking pictures over a window body to balancing on the sting of a automobile roof when taking pictures via a pop-up prime.

It additionally has the benefit that you would be able to invert it when taking pictures on a flatter floor to offer a type of cradle on your digicam.

The easy flatter cushion-like form can show to be fairly versatile, particularly when taking pictures on the roof of a automobile or from the ground. Personally I discover it a bit much less sensible for safari use because it doesn’t mould to a automobile window or door space in addition to the opposite choices.

Laurence using R5 on safari in AfricaLaurence using R5 on safari in Africa



Images bean baggage are available in quite a lot of sizes. The principle factor is to make sure that the bean bag you select is massive sufficient so your digicam and lens will comfortably match on it, while not being so massive that it’s impractical to make use of and carry.

Jackal KenyaJackal Kenya


Filler Kind

Many bean baggage include the choice to buy them with a filling or with out. We typically discover it’s simpler to journey with an empty bean bag after which fill it with an acceptable filling at your vacation spot, resembling buckwheat (hulls), chook seed, or dried beans. This reduces the journey weight and bulk of the bean bag.

Nonetheless, it’s also possible to decide to buy a bean bag with a filling, which is usually one thing like polystyrene balls to maintain delivery weight down. This will positively work and will provide you with a light-weight choice, though it received’t be as steady as a heavier choice.

Notice that many sorts of uncooked and dried beans might be toxic to wildlife so in the event you use them to fill your bag you’ll wish to take further care to maintain your bag away from animals and maintain them secured contained in the automobile if you depart it.

We now have had monkeys, significantly baboons, attempt to snatch the luggage from the autos, as they’ve learnt that the fillings typically include tasty treats!

Photography bean bag safariPhotography bean bag safari



While the fabric the pictures bean bag is product of may have some influence on its weight, the principle factor that impacts its weight is what it’s full of.

If it’s full of a lightweight materials like polystyrene balls for instance, then it is going to be very mild. If it’s full of dried beans or seeds, then it can naturally be heavier. The bigger the bean bag, the heavier it is going to be.

We’d typically advocate utilizing a heavier filling like beans or seeds because the bag will maintain its form higher when arrange and supply a extra steady base. Nonetheless, we now have additionally used a pictures bean bag full of polystyrene balls with good outcomes.

On our final journey, we crammed our bag with a mixture of dried beans and a few pillow stuffing which was a superb combine .

Black Rhino KenyaBlack Rhino Kenya



A safari might be fairly a difficult surroundings, with a number of bumpy roads in addition to autos containing onerous edges.

It’s necessary that you just use a pictures bean bag which goes to face up to the rigours of this surroundings. You positively don’t wish to be in a state of affairs the place the bean bag develops a gap and bursts open half manner via your journey!

A well-made bean bag that has good stitching and which is constructed from a sturdy materials resembling canvas or one other thick hard-wearing materials could be greatest. Evaluating the 2 photos beneath, the bean bag on the appropriate is constituted of a more durable canvas like materials which is able to seemingly last more.

Photography bean bag safariPhotography bean bag safari



On safari you typically need pretty impartial colours that don’t stand out. You additionally wish to keep away from blues and blacks which might appeal to tsetse flies.

Most pictures bean baggage we’re conscious of are available in shades of inexperienced or beige, or are in a type of camouflage sample of greens and beige colours, which works properly.

Photography bean bag safariPhotography bean bag safari



One of many extra necessary options of a pictures bean bag is whether or not or not it may be refilled. I’d argue that with the ability to empty and fill your bean bag is admittedly necessary.

That is so you possibly can change the contents to fit your wants. For instance, in case you are travelling mild or wish to scale back bulk, you would possibly wish to empty out your bean bag and fold it up. Then, if you arrive in your vacation spot you possibly can pop to a market and purchase some dried beans, rice, or buckwheat to fill it with.

Most pictures bean baggage are refillable. Some open with a zipper while others open with velcro. I’d personally advocate a system that closes with a zipper as it’s far safer and there’s much less threat of it coming open by mistake.

Photography bean bag safari



You’ll in fact wish to take into consideration value when buying a pictures bean bag. The excellent news is that the majority bean baggage are properly priced, typically coming in at round $25 – $85 USD.

In fact, you possibly can pay extra (and fewer!), however in comparison with the value of many pictures equipment available on the market as we speak we predict that is positively one of many extra inexpensive choices you should purchase to enhance your photographs and make your pictures expertise simpler whereas on safari.

Photography bean bag safariPhotography bean bag safari


Different Options

In addition to the above options, some pictures bean baggage produce other options you would possibly discover helpful. These embrace straps or pockets, or issues like being water-proof.

A strap or wire can positively be useful as you need to use it to safe the bean bag when in use. Water proofing will also be useful in the event you suppose you’ll be taking pictures in moist environments.

Some have shoulder straps to make them simpler to hold if taking pictures on foot – these straps will also be used to safe to the automotive. As well as, a number of the flat baggage will also be used as ballasts on your tripod.

Talking of tripods, some pictures bean baggage even have the choice to connect a ball or pan head to the bean bag, providing you with a better of each worlds choice.

Leopard - Safari Photography TipsLeopard - Safari Photography Tips


The Finest Images Bean Baggage for Safari

I’m now going to undergo what I believe are a number of the greatest choices for pictures bean baggage for safari. These are ordered by value, though pricing can range so do examine.

You’ll discover this isn’t an enormous record. That’s as a result of there are only some manufacturers who deal with this type of product. Nonetheless, these manufacturers do know what they’re doing and the result’s a strong product.

Moreover, with Kinesis and LensCoat, they provide a variety of choices at completely different sizes and value factors to go well with most digicam setups.

Personally, from the record beneath I’d advocate both the Kinesis SafariSack 4.2 or the LensCoat LensSack Professional Jr as my favorite choices to be used on safari.


Kinesis SafariSack 1.4

Kinesis have been making pictures bean baggage for safari for a few years, designing their bean bag merchandise particularly for photographers heading on safari in Africa. What we like about them is that clearly Kinesis have put some thought into what’s necessary for this type of product.

They’ve a variety of safari bean baggage, however we advise trying out the SafariSack 1.4 as a superb choice in the event you would favor a flatter bean bag choice.

The Best Photography Bean Bags for Safari + What to Look For

This bag is constituted of rip-stop 400-dernier nylon. It has a zippered compartment so you possibly can simply fill and empty it. It has D-rings on the ends so you possibly can match a strap, and there’s additionally a small sewn-in strap which can be utilized to safe it to a automobile.

It will work for smaller and bigger cameras alike. When you’ve got a smaller setup particularly then this is usually a nice choice.

Verify value on Amazon right here and on B&H Picture right here.


Kinesis SafariSack 4.2

My favorite choice from Kinesis is the SafariSack 4.2, which is designed for these of you with bigger lenses and cameras.

The Best Photography Bean Bags for Safari + What to Look For

The SafariSack 4.2 is double-stitched for sturdiness and constructed from robust rip-stop Nylon. You get a rubberized backside to stop it from slipping, and there’s an optionally available shoulder strap in addition to a hand strap.

Maybe the most effective characteristic although is the 2 built-in quick-release straps. These permit the SafariSack for use in two foremost modes when on safari. With the straps undone, you need to use it as a flat sack, which is extra fitted to use when taking pictures on the highest of a automobile or different flatter floor.

You possibly can alternatively join the straps to create the traditional saddlebag form, permitting it for use over a window. Basically you get the most effective of each worlds, making this a contender for the most effective pictures bean bag available on the market.

The bag is offered with or and not using a fill, and there’s even a selection of filler materials.

Verify value on Amazon right here and on B&H Picture right here.


NatureScapes SkimmerSack II Mini Beanbag

The NatureScapes SkimmerSack II beanbag was developed by a full-time nature photographer who needed a bean bag that may meet his wants. The excellent news is that this has resulted in a beautiful product that’s ideally suited for safari pictures.

The Best Photography Bean Bags for Safari + What to Look For

The SkimmerSack II is constituted of robust 500 dernier nylon cordura, with a non-slip rubbererized coating beneath to assist stop it from shifting round when in place.

The inside is constructed from a rubber-like materials, giving it some water-resistance. It’s double-stitched for power and has a zipper opening for including your individual fill. There’s additionally a hand-grab loop strap on every finish of the bag, and there are a pair of straps on the base to permit you to safe it to a door deal with or roof rack for security.

Verify value on Amazon right here and on B&H Picture right here.


LensCoat LensSack Professional Jr

One other well-known model within the pictures bean bag world is LensCoat, who make a variety of bean baggage that may accommodate a variety of lenses. They’re additionally obtainable in a number of colours.

The Best Photography Bean Bags for Safari + What to Look For

We’d advocate looking on the LensCoat LensSack Professional Jr. This saddlebag formed bag can deal with lenses as much as 500mm in size (variations are additionally obtainable with help as much as 800mm).

There’s a non-slip coating and it’s constituted of sturdy water resistant Cordura with bolstered seams. It additionally has two storage pockets, MOLLE webbing straps, and two locking YKK zips that make it straightforward to fill and empty.

Maybe essentially the most fascinating characteristic of this bean bag although is the truth that it comes with a detachable mounting plate with a 3/8″-16 thread. This can be utilized to connect a gimbal or ball head, which means you possibly can seemingly use it along with your present tripod head. This provides you the most effective of each worlds – the compact and moveable advantages of a bean bag, with the pliability of a head, making it simpler to trace shifting topics with out having to regulate the bean bag.

Verify value on Amazon right here, on B&H Picture right here and direct from LensCoat right here.


Make Your Personal Images Bean Bag

Attributable to a last-minute baggage mix-up previous to a current African safari, I used to be left with out my pictures bean bag simply earlier than the journey began. Fortunately, my mum is an skilled with a stitching machine and he or she occurred to have some good high quality thick materials available.

Between us we got here up with a design for a u-shaped bean bag with a zipper. My mum made it with a heavy calico cloth and a zipper. We then dyed it inexperienced. As soon as in Uganda, we crammed it with dried beans and a few pillow stuffing.

It labored nice, and goes to point out that in case you are a bit artistic, you possibly can positively make your individual bean bag answer.  Nonetheless, this selection might be greatest for these with a stitching machine and a few fundamental stitching abilities!

Elephant eating KenyaElephant eating Kenya


Suggestions for Utilizing a Images Bean Bag

Now that you’ve chosen your pictures bean bag, I needed to share a number of tricks to get essentially the most out of it, primarily based on my experiences.

  • Invert your tripod collar. When you’ve got a digicam with a tripod collar, rotate this so it’s on the prime of the digicam relatively than the underside, as in any other case it’s going to get in the way in which of the digicam resting totally on the bean bag
  • Fill it in vacation spot. In case you are touring, as you seemingly might be for safari, it can save you your baggage area by filling the bag in vacation spot relatively than travelling with an already full bag
  • Select your filling correctly. There are a number of choices for a filling. I discover buckwheat, sunflower seeds, or bigger dried beans works properly. The form of rice means that’s can compact a bit an excessive amount of and means you possibly can lose a number of the versatile form advantages of a bean bag. Polystyrene balls can work however I discover them to be a bit too mild and noisy, to not point out environmentally unfriendly.
  • In case you are utilizing an natural product to fill your bean bag you’ll want to take care that it doesn’t get moist, and remember that it’d should be changed sometimes.

Shoebill StorkShoebill Stork

Additional Studying

That’s it for my information to the most effective bean bag for safari pictures. In case you discovered this convenient, you would possibly get pleasure from a few of my different pictures content material. Listed here are some articles to get you began.


Trying to Enhance Your Images?

In case you discovered this submit useful, and also you wish to enhance your pictures total, you would possibly wish to try my on-line journey pictures course.

Since launching the course in 2016, I’ve already helped over 2,000 college students discover ways to take higher photographs. The course covers just about all the pieces it is advisable to know, from the fundamentals of how a digicam works, via to composition, mild, and picture enhancing.

It additionally covers extra superior matters, together with astrophotography, lengthy publicity pictures, flash pictures, and HDR pictures.

You get suggestions from me as you progress, entry to webinars, interviews and movies, in addition to unique membership of a Fb group the place you may get suggestions in your work and participate in common challenges.

It’s obtainable for a tremendous one-off value for lifetime entry, and I believe it’s best to test it out. Which you are able to do by clicking right here.

And that’s it! I’d love to listen to about your ideas on wildlife pictures on safari, and am completely satisfied to reply any questions you will have. Simply pop them within the feedback beneath and I’ll get again to you as quickly as I can.

Photography bean bagsPhotography bean bags


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