I'm in the woods a lot and I've always used the hard carry case believing it keeps my total station less susceptible to damage.  I'm having some shoulder issues and thinking about trying a soft back pack.  Do they keep instrument secure?  Are they easier on your back?  What style do you recommend?



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Trimble and Leica have cases where you can add a "belt" and use the hard cases as a back pack. They're of course not as comfortable as a regular backpack but still fine. The newer ones even have a hip belt, way better for long hikes through the woods.

The Trimble S series cases have a pretty good backpack setup. They have shoulder straps a belt strap and  pads on the back of the case. and they are water proof and shock proof (i still wouldn't be beating it around). Maybe be able to retrofit one of these for your instrument if you could get your hands onto one. I know i wouldn't trust myself carrying an instrument in a soft case in the bush because of the inevitable slip or bump into a tree  

For years I have used the pack sold by Allen Precision and have never had a problem with the instrument being secure.  The pack has a large lower compartment for the total station (I added an extra stiff foam pad to the bottom) and a upper compartment which carries the data collector, spare battery, filed book, etc.  The only problem I had was with the zippers so I sewed in a couple of web straps with snap buckles.

I have used a seco topload backpack for 20 years (i am actually on my second one).  They are incredibly tough, and have about 2 inches of foam padding around the instrument.   I carry lunch, tools, batterys, radio collector and a water bottle (clipped to it).   I like that the foam padding is velcroed in, so you can pull the whole thing apart to dry it or clean it out.   I never have like the rear load packs, I am to afraid of it opening accidentally and dropping the instrument. 

I have used a Sokkia soft padded backpack to transport my ($25k) robotic unit around  for 15 years. Never had an issue, or any sort of damage. Keep in mind that I am very careful in how I handle it and where I place it when out of the vehicle. I did add an L-frame to the backback which makes it easier to carry and provides additional protection for the gun. Hope this helps.

Ric Wilkerson 

Knowing your Terrain is crucial in determining which carrying case to use. My rule of thumb is the more compact or harder the terrain or ground the harder my shell for instrument cases go.

The heavy foam instrument back pack in perfect for uneven ground or if your in tight quarters with a lot of metal edges that you will be walking through or under...you don't want to take the chance of internal damage occurring while instrument is in a hard shell back pack kind of deal....Always remember to have your head on a swivel..have a great Survey day:)

I have done both the hard case (with, and without the straps), and the soft sided backpack, then, I made a backpack that would carry the hard case, and still be comfortable. Yes, It was a bit heavier, but it was a great deal more comfortable than the straps attached to the hard case, and with pockets I had on the outside, I could carry a lot of accessories, and tools. This worked the best for me.

I really appreciate you guys taking the time to provide insight.  "Knowing the terrain" was a comment that I took to heart.  Since so many of you have had good success with them I'm going to buy a top load because I'd worry about the TS falling out the back (Like Jim).  But for those really rough places, I'm going to do what Jon did and make a backpack to carry my hard case.

Hi Bill!

I'm agree with Jon and Peter.

Often the hard case isn't so comfortable, but the safety of the equipment is the first!

Seco has a very good solutions with soft backpack, but with difficult terrain I still prefer the hard case ...


Carlo Alberto

I've used a softcase backpack for a Topcon in the 2000s after I cracked the original hardcase in the cold.  It worked OK, the back was better than the case for long trips, but placing the hardcase in an Alice Pack worked little better.  We calibrate out stuff every year, and any calibration issues may have been more mental that physical. but there was a time when that instrument was giving us trouble 3yrs or so after using the soft case

The hardcase backpack setup for the Trimble robot is twice as big as the traditional hardcases that I was used to with the Lieca and Topcons TS's of the past. Its bulky to say the least but it protects the equipment. I never carried my case with the old instruments, keeping them attached to the tripod and hoofing it wherever all day. Many people cringed at that but I was super careful and never bumped the tough Topcon enough to even need a recalibration. I wouldn't trust the Trimble to have lasted through a quarter of the paths that I walked with the Topcon. Robots seem a bit too delicate nowadays, so I say, you'll want a hardcase.

here are a few i like

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