Sunday, February 10, 2013

Awesome Think Tank camera bag for skiing

I have been struggling to find the perfect camera bag to ski with. As you will see, perfect depends on what type of equipment you're bringing.  My problem is that I like to shoot skiers with my DSLR and my Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens.  The problem is that when you put the lens on the camera and the hood on the lens, it is 14 inches long. Most bags aren't designed to cope with that much.

My main camera tote is a LowePro Slingshot 302.  It is a great bag and I love that you just sling it over one shoulder, but it is too big for skiing but still, because of its design, can't hold that long lens when everything is assembled.

I just bought Think Tank Photo's Sling-O-Matic 10 and took it out for a trial ski this morning.  No, I am not making the names of these things up. It is tailor made for my needs!
  • It is long and skinny.  This means it fits my camera with the lens and hood attached but without it being to large.
  • It is another sling, instead of a backpack.  This allows me to pull it around in my lap for rides up the ski lift.  It also flips around from my back to my chest, allowing me to open it up safely and easily.
  • Think Tank builds extremely high quality bags.  This thing is bomb proof and will last me forever.
  • It was very comfortable skiing in, even down a black bump run.
This gives you a better view of the camera and the bag.  Clearly, length is my big issue.
This got me to thinking.  I don't see other photographers out on the slopes with a big bag but only one camera and lens.  I began to ponder, what if I was happy with just my little compact camera?  The pictures aren't as good. The lens doesn't zoom in as much.  It stinks in low light. It only shoots 2 frames-per-second (instead of seven).  But damn, that sure gives me a lot of extra room in the bag.

As a test, I decided to pack it with more emphasis on "freewheeling ski tourist" and almost no focus on "photographer".  It makes a wonderfully interesting contrast.

Now I managed to include:
  • 1 Canon s100 camera, which is fairly high quality, but compact.
  • 1 box of lens cleaners
  • 2 Clif bars
  • 1 pair sunglasses, in their case
  • 1 Garmin GPS
  • 1 travel mug of coffee
  • 1 bottle Chivas scotch
  • 1 banana
  • 1 box Anna's Ginger Thin cookies
  • 1 large tube Banan Boat sunscreen
  • 3 airplane bottles of Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 box Trojans (seemed important for vacationing ski clubs)
  • 1 tube superglue
  • 1 lacrosse ball (great for working out muscle knots)
  • 2 pairs Hot Hands hand warmers (forgot and left them in the top pocket)
So, you still get a camera, but you have enough stuff so that almost any ski visitor to Park City could be happy.  Even with all this, I had a lot of room to spare.

I'm going to have to rethink the whole DSLR and long lens issue.
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