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Home » Reviews & Guides » The Viper Rucksack Review
To give the Viper an unbiased test Andy Rouse sent the rucksack to Danny Green and Guy Edwardes, fellow professional wildlife photographers who also carry a lot of gear around with them. Here are their comments:
Well my new bag arrived the day before I was due to leave for a ten day trip into the mountains of Scotland looking for Ptarmigan and Mountain Hare. I thought this would be the best place to test the Viper as you can’t get a much more extreme environment and weather conditions can change so dramatically. The first priority for any bag in my opinion is that it must keep your kit dry while it is raining or snowing, in fact no matter what! The Viper worked well under these circumstances as I got caught out in some heavy driving snow and the bag kept out the elements. It would be hard going to take the amount of kit that this bag is designed for up into the northern corries so I never used the full potential of this bag.
Danny in the mountains with the Viper
In my opinion the Viper would come into its own in locations like Donna Nook or Bradgate Park where the distance is short but you still need protection against the elements and by being able to carry two bodies with lenses attached plus so much more space for other equipment. The main compartment is in my opinion the best feature of the bag’s design. My 500mm lens with body attached just slips into the Viper. This is a great idea and if the opportunity arises you could quickly get the camera out and start taking pictures within seconds. The two side pockets are also perfect for my own combination, which is a second body attached to a 70-200mm lens and again I can get the camera out within seconds. These side pockets will carry bigger combinations than this though, so it should suit most requirements. The other pockets are perfect for carrying smaller lenses, cards, cleaning solutions and there is also a neat pocket for a drinks container. When I work in the mountains I wouldn’t dream of carrying this much equipment, but when the bag is full it is heavy yet very comfortable; the straps are well padded for extra comfort. All in all I really liked the design and comfort that this bag offered.
I have been using the Viper Rucksack for a couple of months and find it to be an excellent solution to an age-old problem. As nature photographers we need to be ready to react to situations whenever they present themselves. I have lost count of the number of occasions where I have missed a great action shot simply because I was unable to ready my camera in time! We also need to be able to carry all our heavy camera equipment in comfort. In my opinion, the Viper is the first photo rucksack to accomplish both these requirements. I am able to store three camera set-ups ready to shoot. In the main compartment I have a Canon EOS 1D Mk II body attached to either a 500mm f4 or 400mm f2.8 telephoto lens, with the lens hood in its shooting position (this is a significant benefit of the bag's design). I can also have an extender attached if I wish. In one side pocket I have another Canon EOS 1D Mark II attached to a 400mm f5.6 lens, also with its lens hood extended. In the other side pocket is a Canon EOS 40D with a 70-200mm zoom lens, again with the lens hood in its shooting position. Each section of the bag is very quick to access and I can be shooting within a few seconds of removing the bag from my back. A further benefit of being able to carry camera bodies pre-attached to different lenses is that there will be less chance of damage, dust or moisture ingress when working in harsh weather conditions or environments. Obviously with this amount of equipment on board the bag is extremely heavy, but thankfully the harness system is more than adequate and the back padding perfectly sufficient to be able to carry the bag for many hours even over difficult terrain. There is a very useful padded ground sheet and a waterproof cover included with the bag. These are stored in dedicated pockets. The weight of the empty bag is surprisingly low but due to its dimensions it will never conform to aircraft carry on restrictions. My main use for a bag like this is when working in the UK. However, if I did wish to use it overseas it would safely store a tripod and clothing in the aircraft hold. This is certainly the best bag I have used for carrying long telephoto lenses in the field and I would recommend it to any photographers who use this type of equipment on a regular basis, especially those who need to access their gear quickly.
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