Trial by fire.
Or, more accurately, trial by gob, wee, overcarbonated lager, and the various sundry fluids that make their airborne way to a gig photographer.
Trebuchet’s Carl Byron Batson shares some thoughts on using CoOrdinate Gear bags to lug his tools around the drinking holes of London (and Las Vegas as it happens).
‘Damned near perfect’
Having had a good few months to thoroughly test the sexy looking new CoOrdinate Gear, the results are in.
Firstly, the gear does actually looks good, very good. There are an awful lot of gear bags on the market these days in almost every colour and finish. This range is essentially black with a few red flashes here and there that discretely carry the brand name and logo, a big tick here for me as I do hate big manufacturers’ names on stuff.
Before loading up any of the bags (six pieces in the set I have), I gave everything a good yank to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time getting it out in the field only for a seem to rip or a zipper to pop open. Never a good look. The waterproof Coorditech PU-coated Nylon stood up to the initial abuse in the home test, and was deemed fit for a few weeks in the rock and roll throng.
The Nomad and Explorer bags were immediately assigned to ‘man bag’ detail whilst the second largest of the bunch, the Ranger, was loaded up with the contents of my trusty Crumpler. Two camera bodies, 70 – 200 zoom, 24 – 70 zoom, flash head, memory cards, reflector, light meter, random cables, batteries, compact camera and bits of paperwork such as release forms.
The Ranger is a purpose built camera bag with customizable internal dividers and handy mesh pockets which made it very easy to arrange my equipment. It has webbing around the entire bag for extra strength and just the right amount of padding to give you the peace of mind in knowing your stuff is safe as it’s swung about from gig to gig.
Another plus point is it has the adaptability to be carried in a landscape or portrait fashion via the adjustable shoulder strap; handles on top and sides.
Having had the usual alcohol and urine christenings, been stuffed into numerous cramped spaces, slid all over concert venue floors and successfully bashed its way through drunken crowds, the Ranger performed its duties well and certainly earned its stripes. A swift wipe down with a damp Guardian when it gets home and it’s good to go.
Moving on to the Editor bag: this has been a little gem. It has all the positive construction of the other bags in the range, with the looks of a swish city shoulder bag for ipad / tablet (and the like). I have actually used this bag the most out of all of them. It just happens to be perfect for one camera body with a short lens, flash head and all the bits and bobs I need for a smaller photo expedition. Very useful indeed as I only had bags that were way too big or too small for these trips.
The Editor has become my personal favourite and also has the capacity for man bag essentials like, you know… essentials. Thankfully, it eliminates the need for the double bag look, which is never good down Soho way.
The Scout is essentially a bum bag (don’t snigger). I was taken for a trip down memory lane when I unpacked this little padded surprise. Those hot sunny days in the gym back in the eighties; baggy workout pants, cut off gym tops and the obligatory bum bag to house your lifting chalk.
I never in a million years thought I would ever use the Scout, and actually had it earmarked as a Christmas present for a fellow tog (whom I don’t really like much, am only nice to their face, and always bitch about when they’re gone). Anyhow, the weeks went on and I thought I would just take it out for a bit of a giggle. I clipped it on, stuck my phone, compact and GOPRO in there… and haven’t looked back.
No more fumbling in jacket pockets and bags, it’s all right there in my little padded touché bag. Just like those advertised lady products, it has given me total freedom of movement and I think that when the chaps in Shoreditch see it, a bum bag revival will be imminent.
I’m seeing matching bag and waistcoats in my mind, possibly some Mumford and Son endorsement. I don’t know, but you wait and see.
Back to the CoOrdinate gear. The big daddy in the range is the Pioneer. It’s a case/backpack and absolutely perfect for a cabin bag if you choose to use it for a weird Las Vegas getaway (as I did). The shoulder straps, compartments, pockets, looks and durability make it a definite winner over many other bags I have viewed over the past couple of months.
Bits detach and other bags attach to it, the Ranger fits inside it and it even comes with a very handy rain cover. It’s a very cool and versatile bag indeed and even has a separate padded laptop compartment.
The CoOrdinate gear has had a thorough test and passed with flying colours both out in the field and as travel/commute gear. It looks good, works extremely well and is affordable too.
But I want more.
Yes. I want wheels. I know you can fit it in a regular wheeled suitcase, but I don’t want to do that. No-one does, to be honest. I either want CoOrdinate to make a cool custom skeletal two-wheeled red and black trolley to accommodate the existing bags, or I want a custom camera bag with durable wheels and a lightweight extendable handle.
Trust me on this, it’s important and many other photographers will tell you the exact same thing.
Apart from that, damned near perfect.CoOrdinate Gear
Photographer, published poet, former party animal, body builder, grave robber
to the stars and renowned chainsaw juggler, Carl can often be spotted on his
Harley Davidson pretending to be in Terminator 2. He is also frequently seen in
the press pits of old London town, camera in hand, avoiding being hit by bottles
of wee and crippling his opposition with secret Kung Fu moves.