Everything was pretty much set for my upcoming trip to climb mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. All except for one little thing – how am I going to carry my camera around for those 7 days without having it damaged by the cold, rain and the trek itself.
The Original Plan
My actual plan was to just have it on me using my Peak Design Slide Strap and covering it with a Ziploc bag in case of rain.
It really seems like a stupid plan now that I'm thinking about it and i'm glad my plans changed.
The New Plan
Lucky for me, I was able to change my plan thanks to the guys at Miggo and their new bag, AGUA. Early June I got an email announcing their new Kickstarter campaign thanks to the fact that I was one of 1,551 backers of their first Kickstarter campaign.
After watching the video that described what AGUA was all about I knew it would be a prefect fit for my climbing Kilimanjaro adventure or at least I knew it would be much better than my initial plan of using a Ziploc bag 😉
Only problem was that delivery would be made around November 2015 and I needed one within a week.
So I just asked the guys over at Miggo (they are based in Israel) if they happen to have a bag lying around that I can take and use on my trip and they were more than happy to assist. I got me an AGUA 35, not the final version of the bag but one version prior to the one that will be shipped to backers.
On the outside, it just didn't have the logo and it didn't have the fail safe buckles. Other than that, it was the same and most importantly, it was weatherproof which is what I mostly needed.
So How Was it?
To make a long story short, I just got back from my trip and I actually was able to make it all they way to the roof of Africa and I wanted to share my thoughts about the new AGUA after carrying it with me for 7 days on the mountain.
The 2 main features that I was excited about were the fact that the bag is storm proof and yet it was designed for quick drawing. I knew that during my climb I would probably encounter bad weather such as rain or fog and I didn't want my Sony NEX-7 to get wet since it isn't weather resistant but I didn't want to stash it inside my big bag as that would make it much harder to take shots when I want to.
The ability to have my camera weather protected and yet to be able to quick draw and take a shot within a couple of seconds (give or take) was simply amazing.
Most of the time I had my camera in the AGUA bag and I kept the bag open as it still provides protection and allows for a really quick drawing of the camera. I didn't need to detach it from the bag, I just opened the top of the bag with my left hand, drew the camera with my right hand and took the shots I needed all while I was still walking and didn't need to stop in order to take my shots.
It works just as you see in their video.
When the weather got worse, I simply closed the bag with the zippers to make sure my camera is 100% protected. Lucky for me, that didn't happen too much during my climb as we mostly had great weather with the sun up in the sky.
Not All Is Perfect
If I had to mention something that could be better than I would focus on 2 points:
1. The Strap
Due to the fact that I was using a strap form Peak Design I got the feeling that the AUGA strap is not of the same quality. With that said, the strap of the AGUA is great as it is and the one hand adjustment feature works just as it does on the Peak Design strap and having the weatherproof bag attached to the strap is a big advantage on the Peak Design Slide Strap so no need to wonder what I was using all of the time 😉
2. The Buckle that attaches the camera to the bag
I found it quite hard to reattach the camera to the bag using only one hand as the buckle is pretty big and I usually needed to use both hands to reattach it in order to make sure I don't drop the camera. Not a real big issue but one that I noticed while using the bag.
With that said, having that buckle and attaching the camera to the bag has saved it from falling a couple of times. As I mentioned, I kept the bag open most of the time as we didn't have too much rain but during the walk, when I made some wrong moves, the camera slipped out of the bag* but thanks to the fact that it's attached to the bag using the buckle it didn't drop to the ground.
It is a much needed safety measure and I was very happy it was there to the rescue when my camera decided to jump out of the bag 🙂
* I was told by the guys over at Miggo that the final version of the bag has a deeper inside pocket so it would probably make it much harder for the camera to slip out of the bag when its kept open. Good to know and in any case, since the camera is attached to the bag, no harm can come from this if it does happen.
Having the AGUA with me for my trip was a great success. The bag is excellent and does exactly what it says it would. It provides weather protection for your camera without giving up the ability to quick draw and take a shot in a matter of seconds.
The bag looks great, feels great, sits on the shoulder great and does what no other bag can do (at least no other bag that I know about); protect your camera from the weather and some rocks during climbing/trekking and allows for quick drawing and taking photos.
The 80/20 of Landscape Photography