DIY Gimbal Stabilizer Support Backpack

Earlier this morning I was talking to a friend about the weight of his DJI Ronin Gimbal, and he asked if I had any suggestions about a support system to carry the weight. He mentioned during his research, one of the more affordable options out there was between $649 - $849 dollars from a company called the Atlas Camera Support.

Atlas Camera Support Dual Rods
find-price-button Atlas Camera Support

It's definitely more affordable than say an EasyRig, but design wise it's not overly complicated to create something with a similar function. In just a few minutes of thinking about how I would go about this, I had a working prototype using an old camera backpack and a couple of fiberglass rods. Here's what I came up with.

Look Ma! No Hands! Cheesycam DIY Gimbal Support BackPack

My DIY Design is very simple. A few conduit pipes are tucked into an old camera backpack and held in place with a block of wood. The Fiberglass rods are simply dropped into the pipes and removed when not in use.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (1 of 4)

Here are some additional details that are important for choosing a support backpack for this project. Choose a backpack with a chest clip and a waist belt. A Waist Belt is a must! You can find both of these features in a good camera backpack or sometimes you will find this with a good hiking backpack. These straps will keep the backpack snug up against your body and allow the rods to bend without pulling the backpack away from you. Here's a couple of backpacks that give you an idea of what to look for.

amazon dslr backpack
find-price-button AmazonBasics DSLR BackPack with Chest Clip and Waist Support Belt

The Fiberglass rods I chose are just common Tent Poles, nothing special. Tent poles are designed to flex and they are also offered in various thicknesses. The 'thicker' the tent pole, the more weight it will support, but the harder it will be to bend. You definitely want some 'bend' with your pole to absorb any bounce. I picked up a 4 Tent poles for $10 dollars at a sporting goods store. I only used two. I know what you're thinking - what if they snap? Keep Reading..

FiberGlass Tent Poles
find-price-button Fiberglass Tent Poles - Amazon

These Fiberglass rods have a very thick wall to them, but are also hollow. So to add a fail safe, i'm using 100lb rated Metal Braided Wire Cables running through the poles. If for some god forsaken reason one of these rods should break (which is very very difficult to do), the cable will keep things from coming apart. I've looped the cable at the end and ran it back through the rod, essentially doubling up the cable inside.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (2 of 4)

Heavy Duty Ultra Redundant Setup
As i've mentioned, if you want to carry a heavier system, you can look for the larger fiberglass rods. Another idea to carry extra weight, and to add additional redundancy is to double up these smaller rods on each side - essentially having 4 rods total. With two fiberglass rods on each side with cables running through, it would manage heavier systems, still remain flexible, and would add incredible fail-safe redundancy.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (4 of 4)

I left about 6 inches of loop hanging at the end for me to attach an adjustable strap to the gimbal. This 'middle strap' is so you can adjust the height position of your gimbal. If you want the gimbal higher, shorten the strap. If you want the gimbal to sit lower, lengthen the straps.

adjustable straps gimbal fiberglass rods

This was just a quick 15 minute prototype I whipped up, and now i'm going to clean things up a bit more with a second version. The next version I'll try to find a slimmer backpack, and I will have the pipes tucked all the way into the backpack (totally unseen). I'm also going to make a new design for the adjustable strap.

So if you can't DIY this project, go out and find someone to DIY it for you! Of course, there's always the option of purchasing the Atlas Camera Support, but I do think a backpack makes for a better fashion statement. It's also comforting to know that my design has a "Fail-Safe looped 100lb Wire Cable" run through the rods adding both strength and redundancy. As always, thanks for checking out this project and hopefully it will help you on your projects while saving you a few bucks. If you have any questions leave a comment.


75 thoughts on “DIY Gimbal Stabilizer Support Backpack

  1. Andy

    Is that the Ronin M? Looking to do something similar with the standard Ronin. Need to work out the weight differences

  2. Ben Watson

    Greetings! I am about to begin building one of these, and we are lugging a full size ronin with an URSA mini on it. It's heaviola. Anyway, Could you tell me what rods you used in this install? I am likely going to double up the rods, but I like the thickness of these. I can't really tell from Amazon which ones you are using...

  3. Patty

    Dear MrCheesyCam,
    Thank you so much for this terrific video and for taking the time to share your clever DIY invention. If you have time, could you provide an itemized list of the materials you used? I know you mention them in the video - and I jotted them down - but, for example, I'm not familiar with the type adjustable straps you mentioned. Even if you mention the retailer, that would be so helpful. Also, could you touch on how you mounted the rods to the block of wood? I'd like to make one of your support systems for my husband. Thank you so much for being so generous in sharing your invention online. I really appreciate it!
    Thank you.
    Patty in N.J.

  4. WOW I was just about to pay for the Atlas but thought someone has to have a good DIY out there and yep it was you!!!

    This will same me some money.
    Thanks for the information!

  5. Chavella

    What would you charge to make me one of these? I need it before the 2nd of April... Two one four 690064 six

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Gordon - I don't know how much weight you're trying to throw on there, but instead of getting larger tent poles, you can use the same size you have now, just double them up on each side. This will carry more weight and still remain flexible.

  7. Gordon

    What size tent poles did you wind up using. I built something similar with my old army ruck sack frame and used 3/8th" poles. It worked fine until I tried to let the whole weight of the Ronin hand, then the poles snapped.

  8. Oscar

    Thank you so much for this. I'm a few weeks away from buying a Ronin M and this project gives me a much better option for long shoots. Thanks for sharing your experiment and inspiring so many :)

  9. Thanks Emm. I'm going to be doubling up on the rods on each side since my rig is going to be extremely heavy. I will be flying an Epic Dragon on a Letus Helix loaded down with a follow focus, Cooke S4i lenses and a Parallix. This is gonna put this rig to the test and I'm looking forward to it. It's a great design. I'll let you know how it goes.

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Derek - Yes you connect two poles together, and then cut at the bottom where necessary.

  11. Ok. How long are your tent poles? I went and bought some at a sports store called Big 5. They were $10 for four but they seem shorter than yours. You don't have two connected together with a joint do you? And how far do they slide down into the conduit pipes on your back?

    And BTW, I am so happy you posted this. This DIY thread is a lifesaver! Such a good idea! Thank you for continuing to be responsive even though this post is 8 months old.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Derek - At the end of the steel cables I 'swaged' them so they don't pull through.

  13. Concerning the steel cables, what are they attached to at the other end? How do they not come sliding out of the pipes? Did you put something on them to prevent this? Or are they just attached to the end of the pipes?

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @ActorNasirRahim - Yes I cut a small slit into the backpack and the pipe slides through. Don't need to cut a huge hole, just a small slit.

  15. Emm

    Post author

    @Joey - The GH4 can do true 24p (not 23.98) so you need a monitor that can display that. The MustHD monitors can, the Aputure VS-3 can, and also the F&V monitors, and obviously the SmallHD stuff. It boils down to features that you might need like HDMI pass through, waveforms and scopes, audio monitoring? etc.

  16. Jim


    If you're asking how the D-Rings are connected to the hose it's just a 1/2 wide hose clamp, And I wrapped a little gaffer tape over it to keep the the sharp extruding part of the clamp from cutting someone.

    Also you need to use a little dish soap on the rods to help them slide into the hose.

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