Dry (Waterproof) Bags

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Replytoken, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    While my various Domke and Tom Bihn bags have served me well over the years, I have an upcoming trip where I will be in or around water and beaches, and when I am not shooting, I would like the equipment to be safe from water (as in being dunked in, not rain) and/or sand. I just received a Watershed Ocoee bag with camera insert, and while it looks like it will function as advertised (waterproof when fully submersed if sealed properly), it is not an easy bag to get gear in and out of due to the narrow opening and extra bag material that normally get rolled over when sealed. I suspect that this is the compromise for a well designed, submersible bag, but I was wondering what others use when at the beach or in the water and wanting to carry their primary photographic equipment with them.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  2. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    436
    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Aaron
    I pack my camera gear in a Pelican case when kayaking and/or at the beach (used an 1120 for PM1, have a 1400 for the EM5 now). I'v used a normal roll-up dry bag at times, but wouldn't trust them for full immersion (although I've never had one leak, just don't take chances).
     
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  3. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Unfortunately, a Pelican case is probably not going to work for this situation. I share your concern about dry bags, but I have not been able to find any negative comments about Watershed (although I assume they must have products that have leaked or failed). Their bag seems well made for its purpose, but it seems as though none of these bags are designed to be working bags. I suspect that a working bag and a dry bag have very different requirements, but I cannot help but thinking that with some input, a dry bag could be redesigned a bit to be a bit more friendly to the working photographer.

    --Ken
     
  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I do a lot of photography from my kayak and my current solution is a Think Tank Digital Holster 50 (originally was for my Canon 7D and Sigma 150-500 but now will hold my gripped EM1 with 50-200 SWD (with the lens hood even)) that I then drop into a dry a bag. I trust dry bags, have been using them for years and have never had a problem (just buy quality ones). I am thinking about switching over to DryZone Duffle 20L by Lowepro. The DryZone 200 may just be what you are looking for. Looks like about the best compromise between a dry bag and working bag.

    http://www.lowepro.com/dryzone
     
  5. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Thanks for the reply. I tried out the Watershed bag today and I believe that I have a workable arrangement that will allow me to keep my gear in the bag when on or near the water, but still allow me to work with my gear when on land. It involves a Domke insert and my Tom Bihn Small Cafe Bag which I frequently use with the insert when I just want to carry a body and lens with the option of carrying an additional lens. I also was at my local camera store today and had a look at the Lowepro DryZone 20L Duffle. The top of the bag only folds over unsealed before side clipping, and I prefer that the Watershed bags actually seal on the top before folding and clipping. You may want to have a look at their Ocoee and Chattooga bags that are designed to hold camera inserts. The DZ200 may work, but is too expensive and large for my needs. If I move up in size, it will be from the Ocoee to the Chattooga. Right now, I am planning on fitting two bodies and three to four lenses plus small accessories (batteries, cards, lens cloth) in the Ocoee. When it is sealed up, it is quite small, and looks like it could be carried with me all day. I will try it out again this weekend, but I am suspecting that this (or the Chattooga if I want to carry a larger bag) are about as good as I can get with a bag that I can trust in the water.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks for the info, will have to look into them. I will say that I would trust the Lowepro bags fully, they are like standard dry bags. If you look closely you will see that they have a rubber strip on the inside that form a soft seal that is held together by rolling up the end. Have never had a problem with this type of design, also makes for faster access to the gear (which is something I desire while floating in my kayak).

    My local camera shop does not carry the DryZone bags for me to check them out. Would love to see one to decide if I want to switch or not, given my current solution works perfectly. Noticed your location is Puget Sound, was the camera shop Glazer's? I really miss that place, still the best camera shop I have ever been in.
     
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Yes, it was Glazer's. The old main building has been torn down and they are working out of the lighting shop across the street until 2016 when the new building is finished. You would not recognize the neighborhood at all if you have not been there in the past few years. Kenmore has also moved into a new building, so we are very fortunate to have two fully equipped retail stores in the region. I understand the preference about closures, but one of the things that I like about the Watershed bags is that they do not actually need to be locked down to become water-tight. This allows you to stuff the bag a bit more if you are not heading into rough conditions. B&H stocks some of their bags, but they are not an official dealer (although Watershed has told me that this is not an issue when it comes to their warranty).

    --Ken
     
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    The last time I was at Glazer's was back in 2006, just before the Navy made me move to San Diego. Good to know they are still doing well. You would think that as big of city as Houston is we would have a shop that was equal to Glazer's.
     
  9. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    They are a dying breed, and I suspect that Glazers stays afloat from its rental business for commercial work. I am guessing that Kenmore owns their new building, and I know that they have an internet presence, especially with Panasonic gear. If your last visit was in 2006, then you probably just saw the very beginning of South Lake Union's transformation. Almost all of what was there has been redeveloped, or is being redeveloped, and we have about 100 boom cranes throughout Seattle. The pace of development has outstripped anything in recent memory.

    Getting back OT, I spoke with the folks at Watershed today. I had a few questions, and they were interested in hearing about how the bag is working for my upcoming trip. And, they did tell me about somebody who was canoeing from Montana to Texas who lost a bag with a lot of camera gear when his canoe flipped. Here is a link to the full story, but it appears that the equipment was totally dry even after being submerged for an extended period of time: http://drybags.com/blog/2015/01/lost-bag-found/ . If I can get the liner to lay out as desired, this may be a good solution for those in need of protection from water and other elements.

    --Ken
     
  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks for the update on Seattle and the info on the bags. I spend a lot of time on/around water in my photography so always interested in finding new options to protect my gear.
     
  11. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I do not normally spend that much time on or near the water, so this is a whole new world to me. I have seen a large number of critical or negative reviews for products that are supposed to protect gear that have failed (not unusual since unhappy customers are often more vocal), but was only able to find one instance of product failure for Watershed. The customer had the bag for a number of years, and still purchased another one, so their reputation seems to be a cut above many other companies. And, Watershed does not care who sold or owns the bag if it comes in for repair or warranty work. That is refreshing in this day and age. I am keeping my fingers crossed. And it would be nice to have at least one bag that offers decent protection in foul weather. I love my Domke bags, and canvas is fine for mild rain, but there are situations where something a bit more durable is desirable.

    --Ken
     
  12. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Haha I just found this thread, after already making my dry bag purchase. Phocal told me about it a while back, but I forgot. Well seems I found myself on the right track anyways, since I went with a Watershed Chatooga with insert and dividers. They are the most universally praised drybags on the market, from my research. They are one of the only ones rated for actual submersion, even for long periods of time. Almost every other roll top dry bag on the market is specifically not covered if they are submerged. Meanwhile, the Watershed bags are so air and water tight, you can order them with air valves built in, to deflate them for max space, or inflate them to use as emergency flotation. And they are guaranteed for life. Also something I like,they are made in America. I don't mind paying a premium for what seems to be the best dry bag out there, that will last a lifetime, and get replaced by Watershed if it fails to last.
     
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