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HomeTravel PhotographyThe Finest Pictures Bean Baggage for Safari + What to Look For

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

In case you are planning a safari, the probabilities are good that you’re fascinated by taking a bigger digital camera and lens with you. These can produce fantastic wildlife photographs, however additionally they include a draw back, which is that they are often heavy and laborious to carry for extended durations of time.

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

Nonetheless, you don’t wish to miss an awesome shot of a lion or an elephant as a result of your arms are drained from holding your gear up. As a substitute, you need to contemplate investing in a pictures bean bag.

On this article, I’ll let you know how they work, why you may want one, necessary options to search for in a pictures bean bag, and provides some suggestions on among the finest pictures bean luggage 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 finest safari digital camera and lenses, so that you’re totally ready in your journey.

We even have a complete safari packing listing for all the things else you may want.

Causes to Use a Pictures Bean Bag

A pictures bean bag, because the identify suggests, is a bag crammed with beans (or related materials) which is used to assist a digital camera when taking photos.

These may be positioned both over a window body or on the highest of the car if you’re standing up and searching of a pop-up high, and can will let you hold your digital camera pointing in the appropriate path with out tiring your arms out.

It should additionally will let you use slower shutter speeds if required, relying on the accessible gentle and the way a lot your topic is shifting.

Primarily a pictures bean bag presents related advantages to a tripod or monopod, however in a smaller and extra versatile bundle. Some key advantages of a pictures bean bag embody:

  • You don’t have to carry up your lens and digital camera
  • 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 car
  • It may additionally defend your gear and provides stabilization if capturing from the bottom
  • It’s extra versatile to be used in lots of conditions in comparison with a tripod or monopod

After all, these pictures bean luggage will not be simply helpful for safari however for all kinds of nature and outside associated pictures eventualities. So it’s nice if you will get a bag that additionally, you will be capable of use elsewhere.

Listed below are a few photographs of me on safari with and with out a bean bag to offer you an thought of the distinction. I’ve used a variety of these bean luggage on numerous safaris throughout a variety of African nations.

Photography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safari

What to Search for in a Pictures Bean Bag for Safari

Earlier than offering some steered bean luggage, I wished to share my strategies for what to search for in a bean bag for safari pictures. It will allow you to to determine which bean bag goes to be finest for you.



The very first thing you’ll want to take into consideration is the form of the bean bag. Pictures bean luggage are usually not simply shapeless spherical blobs, they have a tendency to have a selected type which permits them to work extra successfully.

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

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

Under are some pictures displaying a few of these totally different designs.

Photography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safari

Which form will give you the results you want will rely a bit on the place you might be more likely to be capturing. I discover the saddlebag type presents little bit of versatility as it may be tailored to suit a wide range of areas, from capturing over a window body to balancing on the sting of a car roof when capturing via a pop-up high.

It additionally has the benefit which you can invert it when capturing on a flatter floor to offer a form of cradle in your digital camera.

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

Laurence using R5 on safari in Africa



Pictures bean luggage are available in a wide range of sizes. The principle factor is to make sure that the bean bag you select is giant sufficient so your digital camera and lens will comfortably match on it, while not being so huge that it’s impractical to make use of and carry.

Jackal Kenya


Filler Kind

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

Nonetheless, you can too choose to buy a bean bag with a filling, which is commonly one thing like polystyrene balls to maintain delivery weight down. This may undoubtedly work and provides you with a light-weight choice, though it received’t be as secure as a heavier choice.

Notice that many kinds of uncooked and dried beans may be toxic to wildlife so should you use them to fill your bag you’ll wish to take additional care to maintain your bag away from animals and hold them secured contained in the car if you go away it.

We’ve had monkeys, notably baboons, attempt to snatch the baggage from the automobiles, as they’ve learnt that the fillings generally include tasty treats!

Photography bean bag safari



While the fabric the pictures bean bag is fabricated from can have some influence on its weight, the principle factor that impacts its weight is what it’s crammed with.

If it’s crammed with a light-weight materials like polystyrene balls for instance, then it is going to be very gentle. If it’s crammed with dried beans or seeds, then it is going to naturally be heavier. The bigger the bean bag, the heavier it is going to be.

We’d usually suggest utilizing a heavier filling like beans or seeds because the bag will hold its form higher when arrange and supply a extra secure base. Nonetheless, we’ve got additionally used a pictures bean bag crammed with 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 combine .

Black Rhino Kenya



A safari may be fairly a difficult atmosphere, with loads of bumpy roads in addition to automobiles containing laborious edges.

It’s necessary that you just use a pictures bean bag which goes to resist the rigours of this atmosphere. You undoubtedly don’t wish to be in a scenario the place the bean bag develops a gap and bursts open half approach via your journey!

A well-made bean bag that has good stitching and which is constructed from a sturdy materials comparable to canvas or one other thick hard-wearing materials can be finest. Evaluating the 2 pictures beneath, the bean bag on the appropriate is comprised of a harder canvas like materials which can doubtless last more.

Photography bean bag safari



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

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

Photography 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 having the ability to empty and fill your bean bag is actually necessary.

That is so you’ll be able to change the contents to fit your wants. For instance, if you’re travelling gentle or wish to scale back bulk, you may wish to empty out your bean bag and fold it up. Then, if you arrive in your vacation spot you’ll be able to pop to a market and purchase some dried beans, rice, or buckwheat to fill it with.

Most pictures bean luggage are refillable. Some open with a zipper while others open with velcro. I’d personally suggest a system that closes with a zipper as it’s far safer and there may be 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 luggage are properly priced, usually coming in at round $25 – $85 USD.

After all, you’ll be able to pay extra (and fewer!), however in comparison with the worth of many pictures equipment available on the market right this moment we predict that is undoubtedly 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 safari


Different Options

In addition to the above options, some pictures bean luggage produce other options you may discover helpful. These embody straps or pockets, or issues like being water-proof.

A strap or twine can undoubtedly be useful as you should utilize it to safe the bean bag when in use. Water proofing will also be useful should you assume you may be capturing in moist environments.

Some have shoulder straps to make them simpler to hold if capturing on foot – these straps will also be used to safe to the automobile. As well as, among the flat luggage will also be used as ballasts in your tripod.

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

Leopard - Safari Photography Tips


The Finest Pictures Bean Baggage for Safari

I’m now going to undergo what I feel are among the finest choices for pictures bean luggage for safari. These are ordered by value, though pricing can differ so do verify.

You’ll discover this isn’t an enormous listing. That’s as a result of there are just a few manufacturers who concentrate on this form 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 totally different sizes and value factors to go well with most digital camera setups.

Personally, from the listing beneath I’d suggest 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 luggage 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 form of product.

They’ve a variety of safari bean luggage, however we propose testing the SafariSack 1.4 as choice should you would favor a flatter bean bag choice.

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

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

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

Verify value on Amazon right here and on B&H Photograph 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 powerful rip-stop Nylon. You get a rubberized backside to forestall it from slipping, and there’s an non-compulsory shoulder strap in addition to a hand strap.

Maybe one of the best function although is the 2 built-in quick-release straps. These enable the SafariSack for use in two fundamental modes when on safari. With the straps undone, you should utilize it as a flat sack, which is extra suited to use when capturing on the highest of a car or different flatter floor.

You’ll be able to alternatively join the straps to create the basic saddlebag form, permitting it for use over a window. Primarily you get one of the best of each worlds, making this a contender for one of the best pictures bean bag available on the market.

The bag is accessible with or with out a fill, and there’s even a alternative of filler materials.

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


NatureScapes SkimmerSack II Mini Beanbag

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

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

The SkimmerSack II is comprised of powerful 500 dernier nylon cordura, with a non-slip rubbererized coating beneath to assist forestall 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 energy and has a zipper opening for including your personal 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 will let you safe it to a door deal with or roof rack for security.

Verify value on Amazon right here and on B&H Photograph 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 luggage that may accommodate a variety of lenses. They’re additionally accessible in a number of colours.

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

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

There’s a non-slip coating and it’s comprised 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 attention-grabbing function 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’ll be able to doubtless use it along with your present tripod head. This provides you one of the best of each worlds – the compact and transportable advantages of a bean bag, with the flexibleness 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 Photograph right here and direct from LensCoat right here.


Make Your Personal Pictures Bean Bag

As a consequence of 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 knowledgeable with a stitching machine and she or he occurred to have some good high quality thick materials readily 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 indicate that if you’re a bit artistic, you’ll be able to undoubtedly make your personal bean bag resolution.  Nonetheless, this feature might be finest for these with a stitching machine and a few fundamental stitching expertise!

Elephant eating Kenya


Suggestions for Utilizing a Pictures Bean Bag

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

  • Invert your tripod collar. When you’ve got a digital camera with a tripod collar, rotate this so it’s on the high of the digital camera slightly than the underside, as in any other case it’s going to get in the way in which of the digital camera resting totally on the bean bag
  • Fill it in vacation spot. In case you are touring, as you doubtless shall be for safari, it can save you your baggage house by filling the bag in vacation spot slightly than travelling with an already full bag
  • Select your filling properly. 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’ll be able to lose among the versatile form advantages of a bean bag. Polystyrene balls can work however I discover them to be a bit too gentle 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 would have to be changed every now and then.

Shoebill Stork

Additional Studying

That’s it for my information to one of the best bean bag for safari pictures. For those who discovered this convenient, you may take pleasure in a few of my different pictures content material. Listed below are some articles to get you began.


Seeking to Enhance Your Pictures?

For those who discovered this submit useful, and also you wish to enhance your pictures total, you may wish to take a look at 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 things it’s essential to know, from the fundamentals of how a digital camera works, via to composition, gentle, 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 will get suggestions in your work and participate in common challenges.

It’s accessible for a tremendous one-off value for lifetime entry, and I feel you need 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 happy to reply any questions you’ve got. Simply pop them within the feedback beneath and I’ll get again to you as quickly as I can.

Photography bean bags


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