As an outdoor adventure photographer, I tend not to get too attached to material things… not necessarily for any philosophical reason, I’m just really hard on my equipment. Anything I take with me on a job is subject to falling out of a moving vehicle, taking a dive in salt water, and standing up to extreme climates.
It usually doesn’t take too long to figure out whether or not a new piece of equipment is going to work out for me… if it can survive a few days with me on a job, I’m sold. On a recent work trip to Arizona and Utah, my Arc’teryx V80 rolling duffle did more than just survive… it thrived.
I generally have two bags that I travel with, my camera bag, and a duffle… that’s it. Traveling lightweight keeps me extremely mobile, efficient, and flexible. I was camping out of a Jeep for the duration of my trip. I used my duffle to hold all of my clothing (warm weather and cold weather) , and all of my camping equipment.
I was working with another photographer, he closed the back of the Jeep door on my bag, smashing the door into the aluminum frame around the bag… instead of the bag getting damaged from the Jeep door, the door was actually damaged instead by the bag. My friend jokingly said “Dude, your duffle bag is literally tougher than our Jeep”!
By far my favourite feature on the duffle are the oversized wheels intended for rough terrain. Sometimes I had my eyes set on a spot to set up camp that our 4×4 couldn’t access, that meant lugging gear from our Jeep, up to a kilometer away. At the end of a long day with little sleep for days on end, the last thing you want to do is haul a ton of gear to your camping spot. The wheels made it effortless to just grab my camp gear from the Jeep and go.
Another feature I really enjoyed were the interior compression straps. I would tear down camp, throw everything into the bag and use the compression straps to keep the contents packed down and snug.
The weather resistant nylon and the seam sealed zippers are a big deal. Believe it or not, I set up camp in the rain 5 out of 10 nights. Weather is unpredictable, even in the desert. When your bag contains all of your clothing, and your sleeping bag, it’s critical the contents stay dry.
I look forward to using the Arc’teryx V80 duffle on an upcoming assignment in Norway next month. I have no doubt I’ll enjoy it just as much in the arctic as I did the desert.