There’s rarely an outdoor excursion where we’re not bringing along a camera or two. As useful as a camera bag is, we always seem to just get by with tucking our kit into a thick wool beanie–an effective but lazy solution that’s the opposite of waterproof unless a dry sack is used in tandem.
Offering a more utilitarian solution is Hyperlite Mountain Gear and their newly unveiled Camera Pod, for outdoorsing photographers in desperate need of a weatherproof protective upgrade (that’s us).
To get a feel for the admittedly akward looking piece, we took the pod for a multi-day hike in New York's Adirondack High Peaks region to put it to the test.
Aesthetically, it's sort of just a blob, but Hyperlite being the ultralight gear kings they are, you can bet every inch and every stitch has been R&R-ed to death. In other words, it's a high-tech blob!
Each Camera Pod is made in the USA of the same lightweight, durable Dyneema Composite Fabric that’s found on many of their bags and shelters. Its waterproof properties will keep your rig bone dry and the low weight keeps the gram count down.
Two sizes of the pod are offered, a 77g regular size perfect for smaller mirrorless set ups like the Sony Alpha or Fujifilm X cameras, and a large size weighing in at just 106g that’s a better fit for full frame DSLR cameras. We tested the size large, and truthfully, it's not that big.
For my fellow film nerds out there, the large will accommodate a pro-level SLR like the Canon EOS-1V and fit my medium format FujiFilm GA645wi with room spare—which I filled with a few spare rolls of film and a lightweight beanie for addtional padding, natch. The small is likely better suited to your dad's old SLR.
If you're running a Contax T2, Yashica T4, or similar small 35mm cameras, the HMG Shoulder Pocket is a better bet—it's the perfect lightweight point-and-shoot camera case for all backpack-related outdoors activities.
The Camera Pod comes with attachment points at all corners, allowing for a range of carrying styles. If you rock it across the sternum as intended (as we did), you might look a little funny on the trail (as we did), but this position offers the best access for inspired image making every step of your outing. This positioning will definitly make your chest sweaty in warmer months, but being able to unzip, make an image, and drop your rig back to safety in seconds with minimal movements—all in incliment weather— is unmatched.
For thru-hiker influencers, this piece is a no brainer for building mountains of wilderness content that your followers crave while scrolling at their humdrum 9-5. Same for avid hikers, birders, forest bathers, and photo-obsessed backpackers, save for the influencer part. For us, the Camera Pod is a substantial upgrade from our low-tech beanie bags that likely even shaves grams while bestowing protection from the weather. What's not to love?