Last year (2010) I was on the Moab Photo Tours workshop to Cedar Mesa and Monument Valley. On a Wednesday morning, it was time to hike up to Moonhouse, the most strenuous hike of the workshop. Everyone put on their photo back pack and off we went. Well, this was quite the hike and hiking with a loaded photo back pack threw me off balance while climbing and descending the steep mesas. The leader, Jon Fuller, was wearing a photo vest by “The Vested Interest”, made by a parachute company (Storrie Parachute Works, Inc) that makes these great photo vests on the side. He explained that when wearing the vest, all the weight is evenly distributed around your body, which takes the stress off your back and helps you balance better. Since I was going to take this workshop again this year (2011), you never get all your shots on one trip you know, I promised myself to get one of these great vests.
I called John Storrie at “The Vested Interest” a month before leaving for the workshop and ordered a vest over the phone. There are three styles of vests you can choose from and you can mix and match features from all three to suit your photographic style. I chose a Magnum front with a Khumbu back. This all means, at least for me, that the front has one deep pocket to hold a Canon 5DII w/grip or 1Ds body and another pocket to hold my Canon 70-200mm f4L lens. The top pockets held my 580EX flash and misc batteries and cleaning supplies. The huge back pocket was designed to carry either a Canon or Nikon 500mm lens but of course can carry a series 3 tripod by different manufactures. The pockets on either side of this huge center pocket carried my water bottle and Canon 70-300mm f4.5-5.6L zoom. There was also enough room on the vest to carry my little Canon G12 camera. The photo on the right shows myself and the vest all loaded up ready to head out.
The photo on the left shows the huge rear pocket with the side two pockets, one on each side, to hold your water bottle or lens. Again the large pocket is designed to hold your Canon or Nikon 500mm lens or a tripod. I have the optional ground cloth, it is a piece of water repellent nylon pack cloth that is the same width as the back of the vest and 24″ long. It is sewn along the bottom rear of the vest and is rolled up and secured with two Velcro tabs. It is great for sitting on wet ground. I also have the optional fully adjustable, detachable, and padded hip belt for those heavier loads, this keeps some of the weight off your shoulders.
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