Kit Tests, Products and Plans
Quite a bit's been going on at Scramble but mostly behind the scenes. A brief update is in order.
Unfortunately we had to abandon our 2019 Winter Kit Test due to the fact that in the UK we didn't have a winter (instead we had a couple of chilly days). So, we're going to improvise and replace it belatedly with a "wet weather" kit test (assuming we don't now get a drought) some time in May. At the bottom of this post I'll list the main items we'll be looking at.
Camera Shelter (Prototype): We've been working on a pretty niche product for people (like me really) who have to take photos in the pouring rain.
What I've wanted for some time is something for a compact interchangeable lens camera (MFT - I use a Panasonic GM1 and GX1 + pancake lenses, depending on the trip / conditions) that, when required I can attach to the camera providing complete waterproof protection but not at the expense of dexterity / function. A shelter that extends beyond the lens without affecting the light, that doesn't compromise the touch screen and doesn't require me to faff around with sleeves as though I'm about to handle some toxic biological agent.
I've tried pretty much the range of waterproof camera covers out there, from the standard sleeved models (which are fine for static telescopic lenses on tripods - think nature / sports photography) to ultralight umbrellas which waterproof the photographer more than the camera and are terrible in high winds, to neoprene softshell camera "jackets" which are fiddly and assume the photographer is always carrying their camera (most of the time my camera is safely housed on my belt bag in a LowePro AW60 or AW100 while I'm busy falling into bogs and sliding over scree).
I'll be testing a possible solution (we've prototyped) that works in the "lab", but how it wil fare in the field is another matter. It's basically a lightweight inverted (adjustable) cantilevered roof which attaches to the camera body where it meets the lens. It's transparent above the lens and black over the camera body (providing shade for the view screen) and it's made from mylar sheet (used in wind surfing sails and windows in yacht sails) sandwiched between two thin plastic sheets (one made of Polyethelene the other of Polyamide).
If it works, we'll likely make a few for sale. It's not the most packable item (30 x 15 x 3cm), but it should be pretty robust and should weigh around 100g. It's ideal for the solitude of the outdoors as it's hard to see how one can't look like a weirdo using it (not really recommended for inner city use) but it looks like it should work very well in conjunction with a small portable tripod as we've made it so everything under the shelter is accessible.
Wet Weather Kit Test: Gear List
New items we're testing or gear that's still under review:
- Blue Ice Warthog 28L + Dura 500 Tower
- Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hooded Softshell Jacket
- Kilpi Down Pullover + Schöffel Zipin! Jacket
- Megmeister Drynamo Long Sleeve Crew Baselayer
- Mountain Equipment Ibex Pants
- Fladen Orange Neoprene Wet Weather Gloves (Semi Fingerless)
- AustriAlpin Cobra Dual Adjustable (Belt Bag) Buckle
- iProtec Pro100 Lite Torch
The next review I'll be doing is a pack accessories overview outlining all the various lightweight dry bags, stuff sacks, and other packing options (for maps, tent pegs, cook kits, tarps, electronics etc ...) we use and recommend.
That's all the news for now. Time to make it rain.