An Independent Filmmaker’s Backpack

Before you buy your next backpack to help you make the Citizen Kane of short films take a look at the Pelican ProGear U140 Urban Elite Tablet Backpack. Pelican known for reliable strong cases for all forms of equipment sells two different backpacks in this design, one for a 15-inch laptop and one for a tablet. I own the tablet one because I carry all my film notes and scripts in either my tablet, a Moleskine journal or on the back of a napkin (my best ideas are on napkins). You choose the weapon that best suits your needs.

Marc and I read over the script from our tablet from inside the Pelican ProGear U140 Urban Elite Tablet Backpack.

Marc and I read over the script from our tablet from inside the Pelican ProGear U140 Urban Elite Tablet Backpack.

The obvious perk of this backpack but still needs mentioning because it is superb is the case for the tablet. Crush proof, waterproof and lined with linen this case keeps your script on your tablet protected from the unforeseen problems on set. I used this backpack for most of the shoot of “Chip & Bernie’s Zomance” and it protected my tablet through windstorms, fake blood spills and the Great Sprinkler Accident of 2013. I used this compartment to carry my backup RODE microphone and furry. It opens from the top with a latch that gives easy access when sitting up, lying down on either side and when wearing others can open it for you.

It also easily fits my 15-inch Mac Book in the main section of the backpack, along with my film notes, images of the days before shots, focus puller and more. This section has ample room and works with two zippers, which makes it easier to open.

Chip & Bernie's Zomance script protect by my Pelican backpack.

Chip & Bernie’s Zomance script protect by my Pelican backpack.

The next pocket is a hidden compartment to hide your food from actors, anyone who has made a film knows that whatever food you put out will be consumed by the actors so you need a place to hide your lunch. I love this pocket; located on the lower backside of the backpack that lies on your back it fits all my wires, charging equipment and backup batteries. I have even put some Nikon lenses in there and they were perfectly safe. What is nice about this is it is against your back as you walk so if you are worried about theft you would feel if someone tried to get in there.

On one of the sides is a little zipper pouch that opens and has a holder for a drink. Very handy for water on a long hike.

The final compartment is an organizational section on the front of the pack, with a hard front for protection you have pockets, dividers, sections for pens and zippers down fully so you can get full access.

The back part of the backpack has cushions to make traveling with your equipment comfortable. I noticed that the cushions help to keep your back cool on those long hikes to your favorite shooting location due to the spacing between the cushions.

The straps come with a latch in the center for easier carrying of large loads and both straps have handy bottle openers on them for when you have to bribe your actors with alcohol.

Overall this is a great camera for film products, we shot an entire feature film with it and it worked perfectly for us. For day to day use it is a little bulky and heavy; I know this because I have been using it for the last 12 months this way and have been called Robocop on numerous occasions due to it’s size.

3 Comments on “An Independent Filmmaker’s Backpack”

  1. I carry all my scripts on my iPad nowadays too. Makes it harder to make notes but much more convenient.

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