A couple of months ago I was asked to try out a new camera carrying system by Cotton Carrier. Their Camera Vest system works much like a Baby Bjorn for cameras, holding a camera snug to your chest and distributing the weight comfortably on your shoulders and torso. When I am on my shooting adventures, I usually carry my camera and a spare lens or two in a waist pouch, which I position so that the gear compartment is in front of me. This has always seemed to be the best way to have my camera easily accessible for action shots, but either I’m getting older (o.k., I know I am) or my gear is getting heavier because I’m finding the waist pouch option is increasingly putting pressure on my lower back. I was eager to try out the Cotton Carrier vest to see if it fit my shooting style. After a few outings over the winter and this spring, I’ve decided it will be my “go to” system for adventure shooting.
To see how the system work, you can check out the above video made by the Cotton Carrier crew. Basically, there is a mounting plate that you attach to the bottom of the camera, which then slips into the mount on the vest. A Velcro strap can be placed across the camera to keep it snug, a feature I found to be very helpful at keeping my camera from swing around and banging into rocks and trees as I made way way along the trail, especially on steep climbs. You can also attach a leash to the camera to prevent accidental drops. In addition, you have the option of adding a second mounting holster down near your hip, where you can mount a second camera or a longer lens that has a tripod collar. Once the camera is in the mount, it won’t come out until you turn it 90 degrees and pull it up, so there’s no risk of it falling out of the mount. The vest distributes the camera’s weight very well. I spent one day cross country skiing about 8 miles and did not all feel encumbered by my camera and felt no pain from carrying the camera at the end of the day. And being able to access my camera and start shooting in just a few seconds is a great advantage that I’m looking forward to having this summer as my shooting schedule fills up.
If you are a plodder who mainly shoots landscapes with a tripod, this system may not be for you, as you do have to remove the Cotton Carrier mounting plate to then attach your regular quick release plate. (Since my original post, the folks at Cotton Carrier have sent me an Arca-Swiss adapter, which lets you seamlessly transfer your camera from the Cotton Carrier to a tripos with an Arca-Swiss mount – very cool.) However, if you’re an active shooter who wants to have your camera at the ready, this is a great way to carry your camera comfortably.
You can see all of the Cotton Carrier products at the Outdoor Photo Gear website here, http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/store/cotton-carrier/.
Until next time…