04 Mar The Bag Garage
We normally don’t promote a manufacturer’s range of products with a picture of someone else’s goods in the same advertisement – it certainly wasn’t done in the golden age of Madison Avenue.
They might have hinted about ” Brand X” and ” Brand Y ” and made fake motor-car tyres out of plaster and wood to pretend that one was superior ( and they did… ) but it was rare to see another brand name in one ad.
So why are there three pictures of bags here today – Lowepro, Peak Design, and Think Tank? Are we going to play one off against the other? Are the reps going to round on the writer with tyre irons? Hopefully, no – because the point of this post is to ask you what you do with your camera bag when you go out and when you get home.
The loading of the bag may be haphazard or meticulous – you might be the sort of photographer who heads for Iceland with a lens cloth and a tram ticket or you may have an entire lens refurbishing shop packed into your roll-on. You know you, and will have evolved a system that sort of works. You may even be in a position where you are hauling photo gear for others as well – and a well-thought out system can be made into a shambles in a minute. Whatever – you have finally gotten packed and hauled or rolled out the front door.
Leave aside the episodes in the airport where the airlines try to charge you to carry a stick of gum and you insist on free passage for a 4000mm motor-driven lens to be kept on the seat beside you and served free drinks. That’s a contest of wills between you and the counter staff and we wish you both success. It’s the other times where we wonder what your luggage, and the cameras and lenses it contains, is doing.
If you are taking a taxi your life and your glass are in the hands of the driver. Fortunately the lenses can be protected by a suitable case – look at any of the fine ones there on the three pictures. The life…well, that is dependent upon the tip.
If you are transferring between the death-ride and the terminal counter keep a close hand on the gear. Like any large touristed space, airport halls can have thieves in them. Wrap your straps around the thickest part of you and go carefully.
The baggage handlers will handle baggage, and you cannot interfere. Try not to book a flight that is also going to a blacksmith’s convention as there will be a fair number of hammers and anvils travelling in the luggage hold.
When your camera baggage is at the destination – hotel, camp, carpark or wherever, also think about locking and securing it. A chain or Kensington lock may sound crude and paranoid, but there are people reading this post right now who know that they wish they’d locked the bag to something.
When you get home, treat your home as a shop for suburban thieves – who may break in and steal whatever is not tied down. Consider the thought that your roll-round case or backpack is a fine receptacle for camera and lenses but is also convenient to be backpacked or rolled away by anyone who discovers it. Think of a locked closet, a gun safe, or a secure room. If your secure room also holds your computer gear and hard drives, so much the better. If nothing else, use the Kensington lock or bike chain and padlock to fasten your photo bag to the fridge or the toilet. Thieves rarely steal a cistern and pan.
And the three ranges of bags…as well as all the other bags in the place? Well, they will do the close protection very well – you just need to provide the fleet air cover.