Myriam is looking at the ice crystals of the loose snow layer that caused a 4 foot deep snow slab to slide on All You Can Eat Shrimp on Whistler mountain.
Avalanche researcher Pascal Haegeli studies the snowpack at Cypress Bowl, North Vancouver. In the background, Vancouver. To show the snow layers, I put flashes on the other side of this dug out wall of snow.
Canyoneering is the art of descending canyon drainages. It can involve swimming, hiking, rappelling through waterfalls, jumping in pools. All in all, it’s an amazingly fun sport. But, from time to time, one can get pretty miserable in a canyon. When my buddies Jeff, Kevin and myself decided to do a winter exploration of a canyon we had just discovered near Vancouver called Brothers Creek, we knew it would be tough. That morning, slushy snow was pouring from the sky. It was wet and cold. As winter doesn’t get much better than that here, we just went for it. These were perfect conditions to put my new Lowepro DryZone 200 waterproof camera bag to the test. I didn’t get time to try it in water prior to the descent so I just had to trust it wouldn’t leak.
It was a nice little canyon and the descent went well. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a wet environment, though. There was water everywhere, flowing between our feet, falling from the canyon walls and from the sky. There couldn’t be a tougher environment for camera gear.
I like to go places where most photographers wouldn’t go because of difficult access, technical challenges or very bad conditions for camera gear. In the past few years, I’ve been into caves, canyons, ice grottos, on mountains to photograph avalanches, in deserts… All kinds of places where your camera gear suffers a lot if you don’t protect it properly. I used to put my camera bodies and lenses in separate dry bags stuffed with foam to absorb shocks. That worked but was very hard and slow to manipulate. I have the feeling the DryZone 200 will do the job perfectly and I can easily imagine it following me wherever I go in the years to come.
The main compartment is 100% waterproof and closed with a very tough sealed zipper. It easily fits two camera bodies and a few lenses and flashes. The padded insert closes completely with a second zipper and makes a good protection against shocks. I like to keep some space inside for personal items like food, clothes and a cell phone I want to keep dry. There is a large external pocket that covers the entire dry bag. I use it to store all the gear that can get wet or dirty. Like climbing equipment, a knife, a rope, a shovel, you name it. The back of the bag is adjustable with a very tough Velcro to allow for a perfect fit. And the padded shoulder straps and back make it very comfortable all day long.
A few tricks to help you keep your gear dry:
– Put a piece of cloth in the dry bag that you can use to dry your hands before touching the gear.
– A few silica gel bags will always help keeping the sealed compartment dry.
All in all, a great bag made for tough environments. I am looking forward to trying it out in caves.