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

In case you are planning a safari, the probabilities are good that you’re excited about taking a bigger digicam and lens with you. These can produce great wildlife images, however in addition they include a draw back, which is that they are often heavy and arduous to carry for extended durations 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 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 automobile vying for viewing house!

Nonetheless, you don’t need to miss an incredible shot of a lion or an elephant as a result of your arms are drained from holding your gear up. As an alternative, it is best to think about 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 among 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 Pictures Bean Bag

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

These may be positioned both over a window body or on the highest of the automobile if you’re standing up and looking of a pop-up high, and can permit you to preserve your digicam pointing in the fitting course with out tiring your arms out.

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

Basically a pictures bean bag presents 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 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 perimeters of the automobile
  • It may 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 luggage usually are not simply helpful for safari however for all kinds of nature and out of doors associated pictures eventualities. So it’s nice if you may get a bag that additionally, you will have the ability to use elsewhere.

Listed here are a few images of me on safari with and with no bean bag to offer you an thought of the distinction. I’ve used plenty of these bean luggage on varied safaris throughout plenty 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 enable you to to resolve 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 an inclination to have a particular type which permits them to work extra successfully.

There are three important shapes of pictures bean luggage. 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 preferred possibility.

Beneath are some pictures displaying a few of these completely 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’re prone to be taking pictures. I discover the saddlebag type presents an excellent little bit of versatility as it may be tailored to suit a wide range of areas, from taking pictures over a window body to balancing on the sting of a automobile roof when taking pictures by means of a pop-up high.

It additionally has the benefit which you could invert it when taking pictures on a flatter floor to offer a kind of cradle to 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 Africa



Pictures bean luggage are available 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 large 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, akin to buckwheat (hulls), hen seed, or dried beans. This reduces the journey weight and bulk of the bean bag.

Nonetheless, you may as well choose to buy a bean bag with a filling, which is usually one thing like polystyrene balls to maintain delivery weight down. This may undoubtedly work and provides you with a light-weight possibility, though it gained’t be as steady as a heavier possibility.

Word that many forms of uncooked and dried beans may be toxic to wildlife so in case you use them to fill your bag you’ll need to take additional care to maintain your bag away from animals and preserve them secured contained in the automobile if you go away it.

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

Photography bean bag safari



While the fabric the pictures bean bag is made from may have some impression on its weight, the principle factor that impacts its weight is what it’s stuffed with.

If it’s stuffed with a lightweight materials like polystyrene balls for instance, then it is going to be very gentle. If it’s stuffed with dried beans or seeds, then it should naturally be heavier. The bigger the bean bag, the heavier it is going to 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 steady base. Nonetheless, now we have additionally used a pictures bean bag stuffed 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 atmosphere, with a variety of bumpy roads in addition to autos containing arduous edges.

It’s necessary that you simply use a pictures bean bag which goes to face up to the rigours of this atmosphere. You undoubtedly don’t need to be in a state of affairs the place the bean bag develops a gap and bursts open half method by means of your journey!

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

Photography bean bag safari



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

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

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 might argue that having the ability to empty and fill your bean bag is basically necessary.

That is so you may change the contents to fit your wants. For instance, if you’re travelling gentle or need to cut back bulk, you may need 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 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 need to take into consideration worth when buying a pictures bean bag. The excellent news is that almost all bean luggage are effectively priced, usually coming in at round $25 – $85 USD.

In fact, you may pay extra (and fewer!), however in comparison with the worth of many pictures equipment in the marketplace in the present day we predict that is undoubtedly one of many extra reasonably priced 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 may discover helpful. These embrace straps or pockets, or issues like being waterproof.

A strap or twine can undoubtedly be helpful as you should utilize it to safe the bean bag when in use. Water proofing may also be useful in case 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 may also be used to safe to the automotive. As well as, among the flat luggage may also 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, supplying you with a better of each worlds possibility.

Leopard - Safari Photography Tips


The Finest Pictures Bean Luggage for Safari

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

You’ll discover this isn’t an enormous record. That’s as a result of there are only some manufacturers who deal with this kind 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 worth factors to go well with most digicam setups.

Personally, from the record 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 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 kind of product.

They’ve a variety of safari bean luggage, however we propose testing the SafariSack 1.4 as an excellent 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 created 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 automobile.

It will work for smaller and bigger cameras alike. You probably have a smaller setup particularly then this generally is a nice possibility.

Examine worth 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 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 characteristic although is the 2 built-in quick-release straps. These enable the SafariSack for use in two important modes when on safari. With the straps undone, you should utilize 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’ll be able to alternatively join the straps to create the basic saddlebag form, permitting it for use over a window. Basically you get one of the best of each worlds, making this a contender for one of the best pictures bean bag in the marketplace.

The bag is obtainable with or with no fill, and there’s even a selection of filler materials.

Examine worth 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 might 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 created from powerful 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 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 permit you to safe it to a door deal with or roof rack for security.

Examine worth 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 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 advocate having a look 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 created from sturdy waterproof Cordura with strengthened 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 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, that means you may seemingly use it together with your current tripod head. This offers 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 transferring topics with out having to regulate the bean bag.

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


Make Your Personal Pictures Bean Bag

On account 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 professional 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 stuffed 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 undoubtedly make your personal bean bag answer.  Nonetheless, this feature might be finest for these with a stitching machine and a few primary stitching abilities!

Elephant eating Kenya


Suggestions for Utilizing a Pictures Bean Bag

Now that you’ve 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. You probably have a digicam with a tripod collar, rotate this so it’s on the high of the digicam quite 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 can be for safari, it can save you your baggage house by filling the bag in vacation spot quite 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 effectively. The form of rice means that’s can compact a bit an excessive amount of and means you may 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 bear in mind that it’d must be changed infrequently.

Shoebill Stork

Additional Studying

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


Trying to Enhance Your Pictures?

When you discovered this put up useful, and also you need to enhance your pictures general, you may need 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 images. The course covers just about every little thing that you must know, from the fundamentals of how a digicam works, by means of to composition, gentle, and photograph enhancing.

It additionally covers extra superior subjects, 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 accessible for a tremendous one-off worth for lifetime entry, and I believe it is 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 might have. Simply pop them within the feedback beneath and I’ll get again to you as quickly as I can.

Photography bean bags


Photography bean bags-2

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