This really depends on what you term "dangerous areas". Last year I travelled with my full gear (5D3, 7D, several L lenses, tripod) to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Never once did I feel unsafe. I have also been to Turkey, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, UAE, Mexico, and China in the last few years and never had an issue with my gear. The only time I felt a bit nervous was in Peru - but even then only in Lima.
While I was travelling in Uzbekistan, I ran across two guys with had taken their SLRs on motorcycle trips throughout Asia and Europe. One guy had been to every single country in Europe and was on his way from Germany to China and another guy had biked in numerous countries in Africa and was on his way from Bulgaria to somewhere in Siberia.
So when you use the term "dangerous", do you mean somewhere truly dangerous or somewhere you simply perceive as dangerous? Southern Iraq, parts of Afghanistan, bad neighborhoods in Brazil, and large parts of Somalia are truly dangerous. If you are going to those places, the safety of your DSLR will be the least of your concerns. If you are travelling there, you will have someone who is managing your personal safety.
Assuming that your travel destination is not truly dangerous, but you are just perceiving it as such, your real issue has to do with the way you are travelling. By backpacking you put your equipment in numerous situations where it may be stolen. It really doesn't matter whether you are travelling with an XTi + kit lens or a 1Dx + L lens. Thieves rarely know the difference between different models. They just see a DSLR that may be an easy target. In terms of camera equipment, therefore, my recommendation is to bring the best you can. You likely will not be visiting these places again any time soon.
In terms of making sure whatever you bring is not stolen, the following are my recommendations.
- Learn the local language, especially if you will spend a lot of time in one place. This shows respect to your hosts and you are less of a target when you show respect.
- Learn the customs of your area and obey them. If local customs frown on photographing women, do not do it.
- Safeguard whatever is on you at all times. When you sit down, wrap the straps of your backpack around your leg or chair. Never leave anything of value unattended - even for a second.
- Be gracious with questions on your gear. Do not shy away from questions on how much your gear costs. People are just curious. Be friendly, but of course never hand your camera over if they want to see it.
- Consult with locals on where it is OK to go and where it is not OK.
- If you can afford it, stay in better hotels. In most better hotels you can leave your gear in your room and no one will take it. Of course, this by definition is not backpacking.
- Trust the companions you happen across as much as you trust strangers with your gear. You are more likely to have your gear stolen by a fellow traveller than by a local.
- Make sure you bag is not easy to open from the back and that it is well strapped to you.