|Tenba Messenger Wraps|
There are times when no gadget bag will do. When you’re out shooting with one D-SLR and two zooms, a bag can just get in the way. Even so, it’s still important to protect the lens that’s not on your camera. That’s when you reach for a wrap or a floppy case.
I call them “floppy cases” to differentiate them from the rigid, tube-type, nylon-clad cases that are more commonly available. The hard cases are great for normal use, and many models are designed to be used sans camera bag. Both Lowepro and Tamrac, among others, offer a full range of highly protective lens cases that are equipped with secure fasteners that can be attached to a regular belt for stealth operations. On the other hand, floppy cases offer the advantage of shape-conforming flexibility—they add very little bulk and more easily tuck into a pocket, and they collapse for easy storage when empty.
Wraps are even more compliant.
In essence, they’re handkerchief-sized sheets of thick, resilient microfiber, but they’re highly effective when it comes to cushioning and protecting a lens or spare camera body. Used separately or in combination, floppy cases and wraps offer convenient protection when you’re working without baggage.
Wraps And Pouches
Constructed of soft nylon with leather bottoms, Billingham Simply Lens Pouches cost a bit more, but they’re the embodiment of elegance. Priced between $25 and $35, they come in seven decimally designated sizes that are actually quite easy to decipher once you get the hang of it. The 70/140, for instance, is 70mm by 140mm (about 2.75 inches in diameter by 5.5 inches tall). The longest case measures almost 11 inches. Simply Lens Pouches go nicely with the exquisite line of Billingham gadget bags or equally well stuffed into the pocket of a field jacket.
|Case Logic SLRA-1|
Calumet Photographic has 29 stores in major U.S. and European cities and offers a streetwise series of lens pouches that are available with and without removable wrap. Each pouch features nonstick zippers with convenient pull tabs and densely padded interior and water-resistant exterior construction. Nice touch—they’re designed with a little extra interior space to accommodate lenses with lens shades attached. Prices range from $8 (small) to $13 (large), including lens wrap. Wraps are available separately in three sizes up to 18×18 inches.
Best known for cases designed to protect computer accessories, Case Logic provides lens pouches in three sizes. The largest will accommodate lenses up to the size of a 300mm ƒ/4 Nikkor (check the company website before ordering). The SLRA-1 small lens case comes in handsome black/gray and features a zippered, padded nylon interior and a mesh pocket in the lid to stow filters or other extras. The case is equipped with a handle and a tab that can connect to a belt or backpack.
|Domke Protective Wraps|
Domke’s Protective Wraps are color-coded in four different colors and offer three different sizes in which you can wrap your lenses. You get the choice of black, gray, red or yellow and 11-, 15- and 19-inch sizes. These Protective Wraps offer the ease of a simple wraparound with a hook-and-loop knit and a nonscratch nylon backing with padding so that your lens is shielded from dust and other things you don’t want touching the lens. The hook-and-loop tabs on all four corners of the wraps allow you to wrap and stick them on any shape or lens. Prices range from $17 to $20, depending on size.
Light meters, GPS units and other brittle devices need protection, too, and that’s where the LensCoat LensPouch plays an important role. Available in seven sizes and four colors, including two camouflage variations, these soft, neoprene bags can optionally be worn on a belt and will flatten for easy storage when empty. They feature a removable, reinforced front-element protection disk, drawstring closure and reasonable protection against impact. They’re great for lenses, too. Prices range from $15 to $22, depending on size.
|Op/Tech Soft Pouch|
Built better from the inside out, Soft Wraps feature a secondary layer of security—a five-inch square pad within the wrap that can be moved around to provide additional protection where needed. Available in a choice of several colors, a Soft Wrap is the perfect partner for the Op/Tech Soft Pouch. Made of supple, durable neoprene, Soft Pouches are impact and weather-resistant. They feature a unique clip that attaches to a belt, backpack or any available loop.
|Skooba Design RoadWired R.A.P.S.|
Lowepro Lens Case
Tamrac Pro Lens Case
Attractively styled in black, royal blue, steel gray and forest green, Op/Tech Pouches and Wraps are made in the USA and are available everywhere.
RoadWired has taken the concept of protective fabric lens wraps to a higher level with its Skooba Design RoadWired R.A.P.S. Available in three sizes and four attractive colors (yellow, red, black and gray), these thick, multilayered wraps employ a patented Corrosion Intercept lining that provides a moisture barrier and protects against external elements. Priced from $13 to $18, they use hook-and-loop fasteners at all four corners so they can be folded and rolled into any configuration.
Available in 10-, 16- and 22-inch squares, Tenba Messenger Wraps provide pliable, portable padding that protects your gear and looks good, too. The four colors make it easy to organize and identify items by color code—a handy feature, whether you’re out on assignment or just hiking the neighborhood. The Messenger Wraps are machine-washable and can withstand years of heavy use.
Don’t forget that Canon, Hasselblad, Nikon, Olympus, Sony and other lens manufacturers offer lens pouches, too. They’re not necessarily better than their aftermarket cousins, but they’re more likely to offer a perfect fit for every lens in your collection.