RainyDayPhotography readers know we are VERY particular when it comes to protecting our equipment. We take our gear on the road with us all the time…and some of the places we go don’t really have roads. Kata and Pelican have proven themselves to us over the years. However, while we are particular, we are not closed-minded. We are always open to those who can bring fresh ideas to the market.
Slappa made a name for itself with iPod, CD, and laptop cases. They were able to raise above the others in a crowded and competitive space because of their unique designs, quality of materials, and superior protection afforded by their cases. We have had direct experiences with Slappa’s cases and have found them to be worthy. So when we heard Slappa has expanded in to making camera cases and bags, we were intrigued. When we read that it will be part of the HardBody line, we were hopeful. When we saw the press release on the PhotoLocker we definitely wanted to take a closer look.
The Slappa HardBody PhotoLocker is a user-configurable gear transport case. It is not a quick-access bag or use-it-on-the-go gear carrier. It is designed to get gear from Point A to Point B and get it there in one piece. The PhotoLocker’s outer layer is made from the same tough xEVA material used in the shells of their other cases. The frame is light yet structurally stiff. Inside are two very large and well padded compartments. One is a user-configurable space, the other a pocket, loops, and space for a tripod. On the outside of the case are three padded pockets.
Slappa designed this protective case for photograhers and we are eager to see how well this case will perform in its FirstUse outing. However, before we take it on the road, we thought it would be helpful to see just how much gear we could get into the HardBody PhotoLocker. We asked a few photographer friends to bring their gear over so and we would see how much we could fit into the case.
To everyone’s surprise, the PhotoLocker was able to take onboard an impressive amount gear:
- Three Nikon bodies w/ lens ( D90/18-200mm, two D40 w/18-55mm)
- Sigma 80-400mm zoom
- Nikon 55-200mm zoom
- Nikon 50mm
- Satechi winder, Yongnuo timer, wireless trigger
- 2 extra D90 batteries/charger
- 2 extra D40 batteries/charger
- Flip video camcorder
- 2 flashes : Nikon, Sunpac
- TrekPod tripod
- Miscellaneous accessories
Most commented they liked the two-compartment design because that the halves, when unzipped, can lay totally flat. It makes it convenient to access their contents while on location.
The PhotoLocker looks more like a piece of travel luggage than the typical camera case. It is perfect for transporting gear in the back of an SUV or the trunk of a car. However, we would not be comfortable checking it (not that a sane person would willingly check any photo gear, but sometimes it is unavoidable) onto an airplane. The main reason is that while the interior is well padded, the gear is not fixed in place like those packed in form-fitting foam. The equipment will definitely bang around if the case was roughly handled. Now that we have had a good FirstLook, we have a few ideas on how we’ll field test this case. Look for the InTheWild report in the Fall.