Regardless of whether you’re a pro or a serious enthusiast, chances are you value the investment you’ve made in your photo gear and you try to keep it in tip-top shape, cosmetically and otherwise. Keeping your gear safe and protected when traveling can be particularly challenging, especially when your travels take you to places that involve trains, planes or automobiles, unpaved roads, steep climbs, sand, rain, humidity and other forms of wet and wild stuff.
When it comes to protecting gear in transit it’s tough to beat hard, injection-molded camera cases. Available in a number of sizes, configurations, colors, with or without wheels, rugged hard cases are manufactured by companies that include Pelican, Hardigg Storm, Amphibico, SKB and HPRC. Although many consumers associate hard cases exclusively with satchel-style cases, there are also hard-shelled backpacks manufactured by HPRC and Boblbee for those who prefer hands-free transit of their gear. Those seeking hard cases specifically for transporting optics should also check out our selection of ABS/PVC lens cases from Beta Shell.
Most hard-case manufacturers offer their wares with a choice of cut-foam foam or divider interiors, both of which offer comparable degrees of gear protection. Regardless of your choice, always make sure you divvy up the interior compartments in a way that minimizes shifting and jiggling of your gear when traveling about.
B&H stocks a broad variety of soft neoprene protective carrying cases from LensCoat, Aqua Tech and OP/TECH USA, which offer a great degree of protection, especially when traveling with numerous loosely packed pieces of photo gear that would otherwise be banging against each other in your camera bag.
Our widest selection of soft neoprene bags, cases, and coverings is available from LensCoat. All are designed to protect your cameras (with or without lenses), lenses, tripods and monopods from scratches and dings, and depending on the specific product, they provide various degrees of moisture-proofing. If your travels include colder climes, LensCoat also makes it easier to handle the metal surfaces of tripods, monopods and lenses. Depending on whether you prefer blending in or standing out in crowds (or forests), LensCoat products are available in a selection of colors and camouflage patterns.
If there’s one thing photographers can’t get enough of, it’s pockets, and if you’re into wearing your gear rather than toting it all around in a shoulder bag, you should take a look at our selection of camera vests and jackets, each of which features lots of pockets.
If you plan on setting out with a single body-and-lens combo, a zoom or holster-style case makes a lot of sense. If you’re traveling with lenses that will be spending part of the trip beyond the safety of a padded camera bag, padded lens cases are well worth considering. Available in a variety of sizes, padded lens cases are manufactured by Tamrac, Lowepro and Pearstone.
Not to be confused with fast-food sandwiches, wraps are square-shaped, padded fabric cloths with touch-fastener closures that you can quickly wrap around your camera bodies, lenses, speedlites, meters and other photo gear in order to protect them from dings and scratches when they’re packed away in your camera bags.
Wraps, which are manufactured by Domke, f.64, Honl Photo, Novoflex, OP/TECH USA and Tenba, are available in a number of sizes (8 x 8” to 22 x 22”) and colors (black, blue, brown, gray, green, olive, orange, red, white and yellow), and are practical alternatives to bulkier zoom and lens cases if space is an issue.
Larger hard cases are fine for getting from point A to point B, but once you get there, smaller soft packs and pouches are often more useful for keeping your gear protected from the elements. Aquapac is one company in particular that manufactures a number of waterproof pouches and cases—including waterproof camera cases that allow you to shoot in the rain and snow and can protect your gear as far down as 16’ below the waves. Aquapac also offers waterproof enclosures for cell phones, MP3 players and other small electronic devices.
A similar assortment of waterproof and underwater shooting and storage pouches is also available from Ewa-Marine.
Lastly, for those traveling in and around damp climates or heading out to sea, we carry a variety of silica desiccants that absorb moisture when packed with your cameras and lenses in sealed bags. Aside from individual packets, BRNO manufactures lens and body caps that contain silica for removing moisture from Nikon and Canon camera bodies and lens barrels.
Note: To obtain optimal effectiveness from silica desiccants, it’s strongly recommended that you read the instructions accompanying these products.