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

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

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

Nevertheless, you don’t wish to miss a terrific shot of a lion or an elephant as a result of your arms are drained from holding your gear up. As an alternative, you must think about investing in a images bean bag.

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

I like to recommend studying this put up 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 to your journey.

Causes to Use a Pictures Bean Bag 

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

These will be positioned both over a window body or on the highest of the car if you’re standing up and looking of a pop-up high, and can can help you preserve your digital camera pointing in the suitable course with out tiring your arms out.

It is going to additionally can help you use slower shutter speeds if required, relying on the accessible gentle and the way a lot your topic is transferring.

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

  • You don’t have to carry up your lens and digital camera
  • It supplies 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 edges of the car
  • It could 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 images bean baggage aren’t simply helpful for safari however for all kinds of nature and outside associated images situations. So it’s nice if you may get a bag that additionally, you will have the ability to use elsewhere.

Listed below are a few photographs of me on safari with and with out a bean bag to present you an thought of the distinction. I’ve used numerous these bean baggage on varied safaris throughout numerous African international locations.

Photography bean bag safari

Photography bean bag safari

What to Search for in a Pictures Bean Bag for Safari

Earlier than offering some urged bean baggage, I wished to share my ideas for what to search for in a bean bag for safari images. This can assist you to determine 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. Pictures bean baggage are usually not simply shapeless spherical blobs, they have a tendency to have a selected kind which permits them to work extra successfully.

There are three principal shapes of images bean baggage. First, there’s a cushion-like flatter form which is the best possibility. 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 high. It’s successfully a saddlebag form, and is the most well-liked possibility.

Beneath are some photos 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 prone to be capturing. I discover the saddlebag type provides a superb little bit of versatility as it may be tailored to suit quite a lot of places, from capturing over a window body to balancing on the sting of a car roof when capturing by way of a pop-up high.

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

The easy 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 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 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 Sort

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

Nevertheless, you may as well choose to buy a bean bag with a filling, which is commonly one thing like polystyrene balls to maintain transport weight down. This may positively work and offers you a light-weight possibility, though it received’t be as secure as a heavier possibility.

Observe that many sorts of uncooked and dried beans will be toxic to wildlife so in case you use them to fill your bag you’ll wish to take additional care to maintain your bag away from animals and preserve them secured contained in the car if you depart it.

We’ve got had monkeys, notably baboons, attempt to snatch the luggage from the autos, as they’ve learnt that the fillings generally comprise tasty treats!

Photography bean bag safari



While the fabric the images bean bag is manufactured from may have some affect 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 will probably be very gentle. If it’s crammed with dried beans or seeds, then it can naturally be heavier. The bigger the bean bag, the heavier will probably be.

We’d usually advocate utilizing a heavier filling like beans or seeds because the bag will preserve its form higher when arrange and supply a extra secure base. Nevertheless, we now have additionally used a images 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 a superb combine .

Black Rhino Kenya



A safari will be fairly a difficult surroundings, with plenty of bumpy roads in addition to autos containing arduous edges.

It’s essential that you just use a images 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 method by way of 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 can be finest. Evaluating the 2 photos beneath, the bean bag on the suitable is produced from a harder canvas like materials which can possible 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 might entice tsetse flies.

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

Photography bean bag safari



One of many extra essential options of a images 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, 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 may pop to a market and purchase some dried beans, rice, or buckwheat to fill it with.

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

Photography bean bag safari



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

After all, you may pay extra (and fewer!), however in comparison with the value of many images equipment in the marketplace at this time we expect that is positively one of many extra reasonably priced choices you should buy to enhance your photographs and make your images expertise simpler whereas on safari.

Photography bean bag safari


Different Options

In addition to the above options, some images bean baggage produce other options you may discover helpful. These embrace straps or pockets, or issues like being waterproof.

A strap or wire can positively be useful as you need to use it to safe the bean bag when in use. Water proofing may also be useful in case you assume you’ll be capturing in moist environments.

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

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

Leopard - Safari Photography Tips


The Greatest Pictures Bean Baggage for Safari

I’m now going to undergo what I feel are a number of the finest choices for images bean baggage 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 only some manufacturers who concentrate on this kind 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 spread of choices at totally different sizes and value factors to swimsuit most digital camera setups.

Personally, from the listing beneath I might 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 images 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 essential for this kind of product.

They’ve a spread of safari bean baggage, however we advise testing the SafariSack 1.4 as a superb possibility in case you would like a flatter bean bag possibility.

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

This bag is produced from 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 car.

This can work for smaller and bigger cameras alike. In case you have a smaller setup particularly then this is usually a nice possibility.

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


Kinesis SafariSack 4.2

My favorite possibility 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 forestall it from slipping, and there’s an non-compulsory shoulder strap in addition to a hand strap.

Maybe the very best function although is the 2 built-in quick-release straps. These permit the SafariSack for use in two principal modes when on safari. With the straps undone, you need to use 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 traditional saddlebag form, permitting it for use over a window. Basically you get the very best of each worlds, making this a contender for the very best images bean bag in the marketplace.

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

Examine 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 wished a bean bag that will meet his wants. The excellent news is that this has resulted in a beautiful product that’s splendid for safari images.

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

The SkimmerSack II is produced from 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 energy 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 can help you safe it to a door deal with or roof rack for security.

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


LensCoat LensSack Professional Jr

One other well-known model within the images bean bag world is LensCoat, who make a spread of bean baggage 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 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 accessible with assist as much as 800mm).

There’s a non-slip coating and it’s produced from sturdy water resistant Cordura with bolstered seams. It additionally has two storage pockets, MOLLE webbing straps, and two locking YKK zips that make it simple 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 may possible use it along with your current tripod head. This offers you the very best of each worlds – the compact and moveable advantages of a bean bag, with the flexibleness of a head, making it simpler to trace transferring topics with out having to regulate the bean bag.

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


Make Your Personal Pictures Bean Bag

Because of a last-minute baggage mix-up previous to a latest African safari, I used to be left with out my images 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 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 inventive, you may positively make your individual bean bag answer.  Nevertheless, this selection might be finest for these with a stitching machine and a few primary stitching abilities!

Elephant eating Kenya


Ideas for Utilizing a Pictures Bean Bag

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

  • Invert your tripod collar. In case you have a digital camera with a tripod collar, rotate this so it’s on the high of the digital camera somewhat 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. If you’re touring, as you possible will likely be for safari, it can save you your baggage house by filling the bag in vacation spot somewhat 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 may 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 gentle 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 bear in mind that it would must be changed every so often.

Shoebill Stork

Additional Studying

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


Trying to Enhance Your Pictures?

For those who discovered this put up useful, and also you wish to enhance your images total, you may wish to try my on-line journey images 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 the whole lot it’s essential to know, from the fundamentals of how a digital camera works, by way of to composition, gentle, and photograph modifying.

It additionally covers extra superior subjects, together with astrophotography, lengthy publicity images, flash images, and HDR images.

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 accessible for an incredible one-off value for lifetime entry, and I feel you must 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 images on safari, and am comfortable 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-2



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