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

If you’re planning a safari, the possibilities are good that you’re serious about taking a bigger digicam and lens with you. These can produce fantastic wildlife images, however additionally they include a draw back, which is that they are often heavy and onerous to carry for extended durations of time.

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

Nevertheless, you don’t wish to miss an important 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 let you know how they work, why you may want one, essential options to search for in a pictures bean bag, and provides some suggestions on a few of the finest pictures bean luggage for safari.

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

Causes to Use a Images Bean Bag

A pictures bean bag, because the identify suggests, is a bag crammed with beans (or related materials) which is used to help a digicam when taking footage.

These may be positioned both over a window body or on the highest of the automobile in case you are standing up and looking of a pop-up high, and can will let you hold your digicam pointing in the appropriate path with out tiring your arms out.

It can additionally will let you use slower shutter speeds if required, relying on the obtainable mild and the way a lot your topic is transferring.

Basically a pictures bean bag gives related 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 shield your gear from having to relaxation on the usually soiled and uneven surfaces of the edges of the automobile
  • It could additionally shield 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

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

Listed here are a few images of me on safari with and with out a bean bag to provide you an concept of the distinction. I’ve used a variety of these bean luggage on varied safaris throughout a variety of African nations.

Photography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safari

What to Search for in a Images Bean Bag for Safari

Earlier than offering some instructed bean luggage, I needed to share my strategies for what to search for in a bean bag for safari pictures. This can assist you to resolve which bean bag goes to be finest for you.



The very first thing it would be best to take into consideration is the form of the bean bag. Images bean luggage are typically not simply shapeless spherical blobs, they have a tendency to have a particular type which permits them to work extra successfully.

There are three essential shapes of pictures bean luggage. 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 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 photographs displaying a few of these totally different designs.

Photography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safari

Photography 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 capturing. I discover the saddlebag fashion gives an excellent 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 automobile roof when capturing via a pop-up high.

It additionally has the benefit you can invert it when capturing on a flatter floor to offer a type of cradle to your digicam.

The straightforward flatter cushion-like form can show to be fairly versatile, particularly when capturing 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 mildew to a automobile window or door space in addition to the opposite choices.

Laurence using R5 on safari in Africa



Images bean luggage are available in a wide range of sizes. The primary 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 Kenya


Filler Kind

Many bean luggage 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 applicable filling at your vacation spot, reminiscent of buckwheat (hulls), hen seed, or dried beans. This reduces the journey weight and bulk of the bean bag.

Nevertheless, you can too decide to buy a bean bag with a filling, which is usually one thing like polystyrene balls to maintain transport weight down. This could undoubtedly work and will provide you with a light-weight choice, though it gained’t be as steady as a heavier choice.

Notice that many varieties of uncooked and dried beans may 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 hold them secured contained in the automobile if you go away it.

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

Photography bean bag safari



While the fabric the pictures bean bag is product of may have some affect on its weight, the primary 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 mild. 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 typically suggest utilizing a heavier filling like beans or seeds because the bag will hold its form higher when arrange and supply a extra steady base. Nevertheless, we’ve got additionally used a pictures bean bag crammed with polystyrene balls with good outcomes.

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

Black Rhino Kenya



A safari may be fairly a difficult setting, with a whole lot of bumpy roads in addition to autos containing onerous edges.

It’s essential that you just use a pictures bean bag which goes to face up to the rigours of this setting. 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 reminiscent of canvas or one other thick hard-wearing materials can be finest. Evaluating the 2 photographs beneath, the bean bag on the appropriate is comprised of a more durable canvas like materials which is able to seemingly last more.

Photography 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 may entice tsetse flies.

Most pictures bean luggage 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 nicely.

Photography bean bag safari



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

That is so you may change the contents to fit your wants. For instance, in case you are travelling mild or wish to cut 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 may 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 might 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 after all wish to take into consideration value when buying a pictures bean bag. The excellent news is that almost all bean luggage are nicely priced, typically coming in at round $25 – $85 USD.

In fact, you may pay extra (and fewer!), however in comparison with the value of many pictures equipment in the marketplace right this moment we predict that is undoubtedly one of many extra inexpensive choices you should purchase to enhance your images 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 would possibly discover helpful. These embrace straps or pockets, or issues like being waterproof.

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

Some have shoulder straps to make them simpler to hold if capturing on foot – these straps can be used to safe to the automotive. As well as, a few of the flat luggage can be used as ballasts to your tripod.

Talking of tripods, some pictures bean luggage 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 Tips


The Finest Images Bean Baggage for Safari

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

You’ll discover this isn’t an enormous record. That’s as a result of there are just a few manufacturers who deal with this type of product. Nevertheless, 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 digicam setups.

Personally, from the record beneath I might 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 essential for this type of product.

They’ve a variety of safari bean luggage, however we propose testing the SafariSack 1.4 as an excellent 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 comprised of rip-stop 400-dernier nylon. It has a zippered compartment so you may simply fill and empty it. It has D-rings on the ends so you may match a strap, and there’s additionally a small sewn-in strap which can be utilized to safe it to a automobile.

This can work for smaller and bigger cameras alike. You probably have 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 robust rip-stop Nylon. You get a rubberized backside to stop it from slipping, and there’s an non-obligatory shoulder strap in addition to a hand strap.

Maybe the perfect characteristic although is the 2 built-in quick-release straps. These permit the SafariSack for use in two essential modes when on safari. With the straps undone, you should use it as a flat sack, which is extra suited to use when capturing on the highest of a automobile 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. Basically you get the perfect of each worlds, making this a contender for the perfect pictures bean bag in the marketplace.

The bag is obtainable 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 needed a bean bag that may meet his wants. The excellent news is that this has resulted in an exquisite product that’s preferrred for safari pictures.

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

The SkimmerSack II is comprised of robust 500 dernier nylon cordura, with a non-slip rubbererized coating beneath to assist stop it from transferring 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 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 obtainable 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 obtainable with help as much as 800mm).

There’s a non-slip coating and it’s comprised of sturdy water resistant Cordura with strengthened 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 may seemingly use it together with your present tripod head. This provides you the perfect of each worlds – the compact and moveable advantages of a bean bag, with the pliability of a head, making it simpler to trace transferring 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 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 knowledgeable with a stitching machine, and occurred to have some good high quality thick linen materials at hand.

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 material and a zipper. We then dyed it inexperienced. As soon as in Uganda, we stuffed it with dried beans and a few pillow stuffing.

It labored nice, and goes to indicate that in case you are a bit artistic, you may undoubtedly make your personal bean bag answer.  Nevertheless, this feature might be finest for these with a stitching machine and a few primary stitching abilities!

Elephant eating Kenya


Suggestions for Utilizing a Images Bean Bag

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

  • Invert your tripod collar. You probably have a digicam with a tripod collar, rotate this so it’s on the high of the digicam reasonably than the underside, as in any other case it’s going to get in the best way of the digicam resting totally on the bean bag
  • Fill it in vacation spot. If you’re touring, as you seemingly might be for safari, it can save you your baggage house by filling the bag in vacation spot reasonably 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 nicely. The form of rice means that’s can compact a bit an excessive amount of and means you may lose a few 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.
  • If you’re utilizing an natural product to fill your bean bag it would be best to take care that it doesn’t get moist, and remember that it would must be changed once in a while.

Shoebill Stork

Additional Studying

That’s it for my information to the perfect bean bag for safari pictures. Should you discovered this convenient, you would possibly take pleasure in a few of my different pictures content material. Listed here are some articles to get you began.


Seeking to Enhance Your Images?

Should you discovered this put up useful, and also you wish to enhance your pictures general, you would possibly 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 images. The course covers just about every thing you must know, from the fundamentals of how a digicam works, via to composition, mild, and picture modifying.

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 an incredible one-off value for lifetime entry, and I feel 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 joyful to reply any questions you may have. 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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