Photography / Hands-on Review

On the Road with Miggo Bags and the Splat Flexible Mini Tripod

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Confession: I am a bag lady. I have a closet full of them. It’s not uncommon for me to roll into work with at least one for each arm as I schlep photography gear back and forth between Brooklyn and Manhattan daily. When I’m not traveling between boroughs, I’m traveling between states for work, and when I’m lucky, sneaking out of the country for pleasure. While the space and weight-defying magical Mary Poppins bag has yet to be invented, my collection of bags continues to grow as each one seems to serve a distinct purpose. My current collection includes—but is not limited to—a padded backpack designed for camera gear for location shoots, tote bags for books and groceries, zippered weekend bags for clothes, messengers (large and small, leather and canvas) for days in the city, and clutches for nights out. What I have yet to add to my stash has been a completely waterproof camera holster or torso pack—in this case, made by miggo.

Heading out for nearly a month of travel around the states, I was excited to have the weatherproof miggo Agua 25 Stormproof Holster for Mirrorless Cameras, as well as the miggo Agua Stormproof Torso Pack 65 temporarily join my personal collection during the rainy month of April. While I was traveling to visit my family in Kentucky, I relied on the Agua 25 Stormproof Holster for my Fujifilm X100T. Later, during travels between Orlando, Las Vegas, and Chicago, I planned on relying more on the Torso Pack 65 for my Nikon D750 and a couple of lenses.

miggo Agua 25 Stormproof Holster

Right away, it’s easy to see that both bags are perfect for inclement weather, thanks to the IPX3 storm-proof material, and traveling light—something I often struggle doing. They also tend to favor the photographer who is working with one camera at a time. While this doesn’t exactly describe my practice (I often travel with at least three different camera bodies), working with the miggo bags proved to be a great exercise in paring equipment down and only relying on one camera at a time.

Out of the package, the Holster felt like it would protect my camera from a downpour, yet didn’t feel as intuitive as other bags often are. I thought I broke the strap initially, only to realize the shipping packaging was the culprit and the padded shoulder strap was not yet snapped in place. Once I had the strap securely fastened to the holster, I could adjust the length easily and lock the buckles for added security before swinging it over my shoulder, a relief to clumsy photographers everywhere—no, just me? OK, moving on... Another added security feature of the Holster that I almost overlooked is a quick-release buckle that can connect to a camera’s side lug. This quick-release buckle (with a locking option) can then be connected to either the shoulder strap or the interior of the holster bag for an extra level of protection.

For a “two-bags-in-one” feel, there is the option of leaving the strap off the holster and snapping the quick-release buckles together for more of a quick-grab style handle; however, I had a little bit of trouble with the zipper when it was arranged this way. Because of the design of this bag, the rigid bottom with two layers of material (tarpaulin and Lycra), and the wrap-around zipper, I would advise sizing up when pairing a camera with one of the three different sizes of the holster bag.

Because I travel regularly, I typically move around the country with a small rolling suitcase that can be carried on the plane easily and my camera backpack that fits underneath an airplane seat. In these bags, I almost always have a cloth tote (in case of souvenirs, or in the case of my most recent trip to the How Design Live Conference, a tote bag full of paper samples) and a small purse that is big enough to hold a camera, my wallet, and some lip balm. Stashing these minimal “back-up” bags (if you will) in my two carry-on bags has never been an issue. It is of note that stashing either the Holster or the Torso Pack was a bit more complicated because they both took up a substantial amount of space in my rolling suitcase. It made more sense to use the Torso Pack in lieu of my traditional backpack as a carry-on. Unfortunately, for my trips, I needed to pack more than just one camera body and additional lens or two in my allowed “personal item” on the plane.

Had I made plans for a trek in the mountains or an afternoon at a waterpark, I would have gladly made room for the Torso Pack, but it simply wasn’t designed for the clear and sunny skies of Orlando and Las Vegas or the (mostly indoor) conference in Chicago. While many of the features of the Holster applied, the Torso Pack is clearly the big brother both in form and in function. Two padded, removable touch-fastening dividers, as well as a very handy zippered pouch, came with the Torso Pack. A rear external zippered pocket allows for added organization and the design of the fold-over zippered flap allows for protection even if the bag isn’t immediately zippered shut.

Back in New York City, while the weather couldn’t make up its mind—the Torso Pack became the perfect weekend spring accessory. Its black, streamlined design didn’t stand out as a weatherproof camera bag, while allowing me to stroll around the city without worrying about my camera and small notebooks getting drenched in any other non-weatherproof bag of mine because they would not quite fit under my mini umbrella. Both bags serve a purpose and that purpose cannot be reiterated enough: to waterproof your gear. And if you’re a bag lady like I am, they’ll blend into your collection consistently.

Just like each of these miggo bags, I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of getting the miggo Splat SLR Flexible Mini Tripod for my arsenal. Which, to put it bluntly, would be a mistake, because the Splat serves a specific purpose—just like the bags. Until the Splat, I worked without any kind of (super) compact tripod, and certainly didn’t have one that would wrap around a varipole support or the back of a chair or—as featured on the B&H website—a tree branch. Sure, it begs to not be taken as seriously, but I found a certain level of beauty mixed with utility and I found myself relying on it more often than I thought I would. I was also able to use it for more than just a camera body and found my favorite use was mounting a Speedlight or even a Flexlight to the Splat and anchoring it to what would have otherwise been a difficult area to light.

miggo Splat SLR Flexible Mini Tripod

It could have been perfect timing, receiving the Holster, Torso Pack, and Splat when I did, especially when I wasn’t necessarily looking to fill the gaps I didn’t realize I had in my bag and tripod collection. But isn’t that always the best way to discover something new? When you didn’t realize you were looking for it to begin with? At least, it was for me this time around.

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Please read my review of the Torso 65 on the website. The ilset finally gave way and can no longer use the over shoulder strap. I am so upset that Miggo never replied to my request to repair or relpce my Torso 65 and also that B&H don't have a clear returns policy for products that are 6 months old (please I stand to be corrected on this B&H). 

Interestingly I walked into a local photo store and have noticed they have reinforced the islets to take more action on the Torso 65. Miggo has therefore possibly corrected a weakness or fault of the original Torso 65 bags but have not notified all of us who own the second rate older design bags that fall apart. Very poor customer support Miggo! 

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