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Old 15-07-2007, 16:19   #1 (permalink)
Hacker
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Viper South African Assault Vest

"What the hell has this got to with photography?" I hear you ask. For some time I have been looking at various options for when I am out on shoots, particularly at equestrian shows where I am often in a field or arena for hours on end. In the past I have used a rucksack type bag which is a pain to get on and off all the time and I have also used a more traditional type of bag but quite often I am moving around and it gets a bit awkward.

Apart from the usual camera equipment I have mobile, car keys, notebook, fags & lighter and a large bottle of water so pockets start to get weighed down with all the extras. I was looking at photographer type vests which are similar to fishing vests but they were either quite flimsy, too expensive, the pockets weren't big enough or just plain uncomfortable.

Somebody suggested I look at military webbing as they are usually well made and have various pockets of differing sizes, sometimes you can get modular systems whereby you just add on what you want. After searching through a few surplus sites I came across the Viper South African Assault Vest which looked as if it might suit my needs and luckily my nearest shop had one in. An hour later and having parted with 29.95, which incidentally is a hell of a lot cheaper than some vests on offer, I was the proud owner of one of these in black.



I have now used it a couple of times and I can fit in everything I need for a day out, be it at an equine competition or an airshow. The pockets are big enough for lenses, Epson P-2000 storage device, filters plus all the other bits and pieces required including my personal effects. What you can't see from this photo is that on the back there is a long pocket which runs down the spine and easily takes a large bottle of water, apparently you can get a Camelback Bladder in there as well. To the side of this are some straps which I reckon you could fit a monopod to if need be.

In use the vest is comfortable and the load is spread evenly across the shoulders making it much easier to wear than a rucksack for prolonged periods, obviously everything is to hand immediately which is a huge bonus.

If you're looking for something to carry your gear, be comfortable and not restrictive I can highly recommend this, particularly at the price I paid.
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