photo courtesy of Avery
Field Test Report – Avery Outdoors Pro Grade Blind Bag
The Avery Pro Grade Blind Bag is a must have for serious outdoor photographers and hunters alike who carry film and photographic equipment into the field, As a hunter, fisher, and an outdoor photojournalist I routinely carry a large amount of photographic equipment into the field, as I never know when that perfect money shot will occur. Until receiving the Avery Pro Grade Blind Bag to review, the amount of gear I tend to pack into the field has proven to be problematic. I photograph hunts, outdoor events, field trials and wildlife. I hunt with a camera versus a weapon most days. Consequently I find myself in the same harsh outdoor climates as other hunters do. I particularly love photographing waterfowl and waterfowl hunting, as evidenced by these scenes from the 2009 opening day at Silver Creek Hunt Club.
The conditions encountered with that particular specialty have long made me fear for the safety of my equipment. I had good camera bags – but they weren’t camouflaged and stuck out like a waving a red flag. I had cammo bags but they weren’t sturdy enough, padded enough or designed to hold camera gear that included large lenses and camera bodies.
The Avery Pro Grade Blind Bag has solved my issues!
The Avery Pro Grade Blind Bag sports a very spacious 1200 cubic inch watertight main interior compartment protected by closed cell padding. Add to that an extra removable layer insert to increase protection from the elements, and a strapped zip top liner bag. The provision of the removable and completely customizable (via easily moveable padded dividers) inner bag, is plus for photographers working in cold conditions. The bag filled with your lenses and bodies can be pulled out and carried inside to warmer temps without resorting to the tedious plastic bag method we have all grown accustomed to, in order to prevent deadly condensation on our equipment. I currently have two large DSLR bodies, a 200 2.8, a 400mm, 300mm, and a short zoom – in just the interior compartment.
A total of 24 pockets and storage options are another big plus. A map pocket conveniently located on the rear of the bag has become a handy home to various maps of course, but also to an odd assortment of media passes, vehicle hang tags, and a reporter’s notebook and pen. The large easily expandable end pockets have plenty of room for a GPS, Cell Phone, extra battery packs and grips, among other often used items. The front expandable pouch is perfect for storing shorter lenses, leaving them within easy reach and keeping me from having to completely open the whole bag just to gain access to a lens. The multiple mesh zip pockets within the pockets and thoughtful addition of a snap hook for keys, makes it easy to stash all those small parts that often end up in a heap in the bottom of a bag. The mesh makes it easy to see and find those tiny items quickly.
Exterior D-rings and web loops to attach tripods, Bushahwks, a collapsible monopod or walking/shooting stick and other large gear, are another plus. The Avery Pro Grade Blind Bag also features a contoured carrying handle for sure grip, a huge improvement over other camera bags I have owned. Often I have a back pack on, a portable blind slung over a shoulder, and usually an additional gear bag containing tools for wild foraging. I especially liked the contoured carrying handle versus the tangled mess of straps on the tops of other bags I have owned. It is comfortable and makes carrying the bag much easier over long hakes with no hand fatigue. The padded shoulder strap featuring Avery’s exclusive ABT Shoulder Pad is also an excellent feature, making slinging the bag across a my shoulders to carry much more comfortable, with none of that frequent sliding around that I often found annoying in other types of bag.
Avery also thoughtfully provides a combination lock to enhance the security of your equipment, although when it comes to adequately securing my equipment when it is away from me during travel, location shoots and events I still will rely on the pelican cases, or a similar product. The small combination lock is handy when setting the bag down at a busy event, but I don’t feel it’s truly secure enough to use as my sole security system when traveling.
The Avery Pro Grade Blind Bag has put an end to stashing my gear bag under piles of leaves, brush, coats jackets etc. My old method always left me wondering what types of dirt, dust and debris I was introducing into the delicate electronics of my camera gear. Now I can simply rely on the bag’s cammo pattern to blend in and hide the bag, while it protects my contents inside. The cammo pattern that Avery provided me with is the Killer Weed 1 pattern. A most effective pattern for me given my proclivity for waterfowl work, and my habit of fashioning hiding spots and temporary blinds in any available weed patch I can find.
Don’t let the Pro in the bag name sway you. This bag is not just for professional photographers! It’s well designed and well thought out product for any hunter who wants to take cameras, video cameras or any other valuable/delicate gear into the field in a protected heavy-duty, cammo, water proof, unit that floats. The spacious and well designed storage system of this bag has dramatically decreased the number of bags I must carry into the field. Now with the exception of a portable blind, I can pack everything I will need for a day a field in the Avery Pro Grade Blind bag and my jacket pockets, including my beloved snacks and extra small cloth bags for collecting plants and mushrooms! Stay tuned for additional reviews at the end of waterfowl season when we will judge the durability of a bag that will have truly been put through its paces.
The Avery Pro Grade Blind Bag comes in a variety of cammo patterns : Avery Killer Weed -1 ( the pattern on the bag provided to me by Avery), Avery Buck Brush, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass, and Mossy Oak New Break Up. For more information about this great gear bag, contact my favorite Avery Dealer Scott at Downriver Game Calls, contact your nearest Avery dealer, call 1-800-333-5119 or visit www.averyoutdoors.com.
just a little legal stuff to keep all happy - the item reviewed was provided to me free of charge to field test and review