The Explorer Lite that I have has one big/expandable compartment that the camera with lens, a flash, flash bracket and a rain cover will fit in. The other small compartment is too small for much else but ear plugs. I like the size of the bag and really didn't want to go bigger. It doesn't bother me that the rest of the kit is in the panniers because if I need the longer lens, filters or anything else, I'll be parked and intentionally in photo mode.
On the tripod, yeah, nothing says steal me like Gitzo printed on the outside of the bag! I found a used no-name bag to keep it in. I have a rather large and heavy PVC contraption if your interested for yours! It was hard to judge how heavy the finished product would be in the store. Picking up the 10' piece of 6" PVC wasn't so bad, all I need is 2' of it, right?... and the ends were reasonable... ha! Freakin thing weighs 10 lbs empty!
I hate wearing backpacks. Logically, that is the best place to carry camera gear because your body acts as an additional shock absorber. I may toy with a chest type harness attachment for the Tamrac holster bag I have now. That would give it the added insulation from bumps and not be as uncomfortable as a backpack.
01 Jeep XJ w/ 200,000 miles as of 3-26-11