This past weekend I had a chance to try out a new product that I found at PMA. I had been looking for a gear bag that would be the perfect solution for photowalks and I think I found it in the Boda Dry Lens Bag. Boda makes two different size lens bags, the large and the small. I chose the large bag because I wanted something that could handle enough equipment for a day shoot that would still accommodate my 70-200 f/2.8 VR lens. This is a fairly sizable lens and it usually requires a bigger bag. I also wanted something that would carry a couple of smaller zooms and a along with a few accessories. The Boda Dry Lens Bag met all of these requirements and a few more that I didn’t realize I needed until I had them.
I was impressed with the bag from the moment that I took it out of its packaging. The outer shell is tough, durable, and waterproof Cordura. The zippers are tight and seal all of the compartments well enough to keep out the elements. The underside of the bag is padded and has a rubber coating, which means that there are no worries when setting it down on wet ground. This in itself is a huge bonus. I can’t remember how many times I have soaked the bottom of my backpack on dew-covered grass.
There are numerous outer compartments that accommodate a flash, filters, lens cloth, pens, maps, and other various items. Under the front flap lies a nifty built in card vault that will keep all of your compact flash cards handy and dry. Also, there is a cinch-top mesh drink holder on the side of the bag (one of those things I didn’t know I needed until I had it). Because when you are photowalking you need to keep hydrated.
The top flap zips open for easy top access and can be folded to the back and snapped in place to keep it from getting in the way when you are actively using the inside of the bag. Inside, the deep main compartment is split into two halves (left and right) with a full-length divider. There are Velcro dividers to stack a couple of shorter lenses one on top of the other using a horizontal divider. These are easily moved, or removed to facilitate whatever configuration works best for you.
The entire system is carried by either an included padded shoulder strap or by a padded belt that is available separately. After using the shoulder strap, I think I can probably do without the belt. It was comfortable and I could easily sling the bag from front to back as my shooting dictated. Another nice feature of the strap is that it has quick-release clips on the side so if you wanted to remove it in a hurry (I wore the bag sling-style), you just reach down and slide the clip off the post. There is also a sturdy little handle on the top of the bag for easy hand carrying.
I carried this bag during my last photowalk and I have to say that it served my needs more than adequately. The contents for that day included the 70-200, a 24-120, a 17-35, my Epson P-5000, a small towel, 4 CF cards, a lens cloth, my Hoodman Loupe, and my Diet Mountain Dew. The bag was comfortable and provided easy access to my gear. It was fairly light, considering the gear I was carrying, and never felt like it was in the way. The only downside to this bag is that it’s not quite large enough to accommodate all of my lenses plus my DSLR body. That’s not to say it wouldn’t fit but I would have to have cut down on a lens or two to make it work. That being said, this is a shooting bag, not a camera bag.
All-in-all, I will have to give the Boda Dry Lens Bag the PhotoWalkPro Seal of Approval for delivering what it promised. As for the price, the large lens bag goes for $195.99 and the smaller Boda Dry Jr. is $165.99. If you act before March 19th, you can get a 10% discount. Just enter “wppi2008″ in the promo code box to receive your discount. For more information or to order your own, click BodaDry.
I was also hoping to test out the Think Tank belt system but when I tried to order it, I found that there was not one in the country to be had. I was trying to purchase the Pro Modulus Speed Set which is a 12 piece system but neither Think Tank nor any of their distributors had one in stock. I may still try and search one out but for the moment, I am completely satisfied with the Boda Dry Lens Bag.