How To Attach Camera or Radio Pouch to Pack Shoulder Strap

Post by blogger | September 14, 2015      

I’ve been experimenting with this for years. Used everything from velcro to duct tape. So far, this method using nylon wire ties is the simplest, quickest and most easily reversible I’ve found for modifying your ski touring rucksack. Idea is one of the best places to carry a small camera such as Canon G is in a case pouch mounted on your rucksack shoulder strap.

First, find a small camera case or pouch you like (big box store helps, bring your camera and check fit, ordering online is tricky). Plan on mounting in a vertical orientation as a top loader. Some cases have small gussets behind the zipper so they don’t flop open completely. Those are best because your camera, radio or GPS unit can’t fall out while you’re unzipping, but anything small and functional will work. Here is the DIY:

First, figure out where you can mount the bag for easiest access and least discomfort while moving arm in normal skiing motions.

First, figure out where you can mount the bag for easiest access and least discomfort while moving arm in normal skiing motions. I like it anywhere from the medium height position to fairly high and slightly offset towards the inside if strap and bag widths allow for offset mounting. I’m right handed and find that locating on left strap is the most ergonomic. If the bag isn’t mounted too high, the wire ties cause no discomfort; cover with a tab of duct tape if necessary to prevent chafing. Nice thing about this is you can reverse the whole deal with a few snips of your scissors and only end up with two small inconsequential holes in your pack strap.

Hot-melt holes through nylon with a reversed drill bit heated on your kitchen stove top.

Hot-melt holes through nylon with a reversed drill bit heated on your kitchen stove top. Top holes need to go through the pack strap for stability, bottom holes only need to be burned in the camera bag. Thread the wire ties so the latch on the ties is as protected and hidden as possible. After cutting the excess, smooth wire tie latch with sandpaper (they end up extraordinarily sharp).

Threading the top tie, which goes through both pack strap and camera bag.

Threading the top tie, which goes through both pack strap and camera bag.

Wire ties installed. Use high quality ties available as branded merchandise at hardware store. Discount wire ties can be substandard and snap when they get cold.

Wire ties installed. Use high quality ties available as branded merchandise at hardware store. Discount wire ties can be substandard and snap when they get cold. If you’re likely to encounter ultra-chilly temps, perhaps thread a small cord through the same holes for insurance if the wire ties snap.

Ready camera access for ski touring!

Ready camera access for ski touring!

(Note, I use this type of rig year-around, for everything from hiking to adventure travel. Give it a try. You won’t miss trying to dig your camera out of your pack every time you see something interesting.)


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20 Responses to “How To Attach Camera or Radio Pouch to Pack Shoulder Strap”

  1. Pablo September 14th, 2015 8:54 am

    in my experience nylon ties are a bad elecction.
    They’re cold and UV makes them broke in the worst moment.

    Why not use actual metal wires with some thermo-plastic hose?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 September 14th, 2015 10:44 am

    Hi Pablo, I agree with your concerns.. The wire ties have been fine, but like I said in the post you have to use best quality ones. They can be tested for cold embrittlement by just placing in a freezer. Anything that would thread and latch nicely would work, can you drop an Amazon link for the type of tie you’re thinking about? Thanks, Lou

  3. Kevin p September 14th, 2015 10:48 am

    The black ties often are UV “protected”. Also trim excess using nail clippers to minimize / eliminate sharp ends

  4. Lou Dawson 2 September 14th, 2015 10:55 am

    Thanks Kevin!

  5. Rob S. September 14th, 2015 11:19 am

    GoPro brah

  6. Tim September 14th, 2015 11:41 am

    I am one of those crazy non-weight weenies who likes to carry a larger format camera (formerly an entry level DSLR, now a Sony RX10). After years of trying to find something that worked for having the camera accessible while hiking and skiing, I’ve found a solution that works for me, the “Capture” camera clip.

    I’ve used it for about 4 years and it is really perfect for my use. I wear it on my upper left shoulder strap so I can grab the camera by the grip while pressing the release button on the clip (all with one hand). This way I can grab it while hiking/touring/low speed skiing without stopping. It has a “lock” screw but I never use it as I’ve found it to be 100% reliable at holding the clip in place after I hear it click in to the spring latch, even skiing downhill fairly aggressively. I used it daily this spring on the Haute Route (as well as all my regular adventures closer to home in Portland) and it was invaluable for getting lots of pics en route.

    Limited caveats – this setup doesn’t work as well for women, esp. with a heavy camera, as the natural place is right on top of the left breast. my wife puts it on her waistbelt and that seems OK. The obvious caveat is that the camera is exposed to the elements here – that is OK by me as mine is weather resistant, so I don’t worry about it in light snow/rain and I put it inside the pack (protected by some clothing) in heavier weather.

    Their link is ( No, I don’t have any affiliation or $ association with them, this is just my favorite piece of gear.

  7. Sam September 14th, 2015 1:29 pm

    I’m using the same Capture clip that Tim mentioned. Works great for my mirrorless camera.

  8. Andy Carey September 14th, 2015 5:05 pm

    Fortunately my Lowepro case fits my Canon G13 perfectly and has a velcro clasp for the shoulder strap and a web slot for a hip belt; I carry mine on the shoulder strap all the time, except on my NF very small rucksack with minimal shoulder straps and w/o hip belt, then it goes in a mesh pocket.

  9. ty September 14th, 2015 6:06 pm

    cool idea…seems like it would work better than attaching to the hip belt

  10. Dustin September 14th, 2015 8:26 pm

    I appreciate your comment, Tim. I just bought a Capture Clip Pro ($70 with coupon code found online) and tried it out on a couple hikes this weekend. It’s absolutely perfect for this application. After a little boulder hiking near the tops of some summits with my Sony Nex 6 in tow, I grew to trust it quite a bit and am really looking forward to trying it while touring this winter. Good to hear it works in some downhill too. I’m thinking of developing some sort of cover to protect my camera from the elements since the Nex isn’t particularly weather savy.

  11. James September 14th, 2015 11:57 pm

    Tried similar things to make getting the camera out easier but I still have the fundamental problem that lithium batteries die below 0degC! I have to carry the battery separately in an inner pocket to keep it working, so ease of use is non-existant. Anyone got any solutions to the problem (apart from going back to an older camera with NiMH cells)?

  12. Lou Dawson 2 September 15th, 2015 5:56 am

    James, that is ridiculous, something else must be going on with your camera, we use lithium batteries all winter long in temperatures much colder than 0 deg C. On Denali in 2010 I used my computer when it was 20 below zero outside the tent, and not much warmer inside. In fact, lithium is known for having the best cold weather performance of any type of consumer battery. Like most batteries they have less available amp hours when they’re cold, but they still go. Perhaps you’re not using a fully charged battery, or something else is going on?

  13. Pablo September 15th, 2015 7:40 am
  14. Jim Lamb September 15th, 2015 8:40 am

    That green wire is exactly what I’ve used to “stitch” pockets on to packs. Doesn’t require a very big hole in the pack strap either.

  15. Lorne September 15th, 2015 8:42 am

    I use a small case attached to the bottom of the shoulder strap webbing (where it attaches to the bottom of my pack near the waist belt). This keeps it out of the way but still quickly accessible. Same for biking, and I don’t notice it while riding.

    My case is a Lowepro Dashpoint 10 (perfect size for a Sony RX100), which has horizontal and vertical attachments as standard, secured by a good velcro system. Check that series out.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 September 15th, 2015 8:59 am

    Thanks Pablo, I’ll have to try that. The nylon wire ties worked for me all last winter, but am always aiming to improve!

  17. Lou Dawson 2 September 16th, 2015 5:47 am

    Removed an insulting comment. Please be constructive. We can all use photography tips.

  18. Bill B September 16th, 2015 12:19 pm

    A note on the ties.
    Nylon has a problem of loosing moisture and becoming brittle.
    If you can get them, try Delrin ties.
    A polymer of this is actually used on dynafit bindings I believe.

  19. Ben September 17th, 2015 8:56 am

    I spent a week skiing in South America with my camera (Olympus E-M5) on the capture clip pro mentioned above, on the shoulder strap of my BD pack. It’s a light-ish M4/3 camera so I quickly got used to the weight while skiing, and having the camera and lens ready to go in a few seconds meant I got so many more shots.

    Only issue is that I lost 2 lens caps while skiing – need to get new ones and figure out how to avoid that!

  20. Charlie Hagedorn September 18th, 2015 3:13 pm

    For larger cameras (EOS M with lenses the size of the 18-55 kit or so) I’ve had great luck with a pack hip-belt mounted Lowe Dashpoint 30. To prevent sliding on the belt, the little sling-clip loops clip right onto the small glove biner that I keep on each of my packs.

    Accessibility is everything when it comes to capturing a moment.

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