Chest Pack Roundup

Started May 16, 2011 | Discussions
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453C Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Chest Pack Roundup

My Lowepro belt bag isn't the best for backcountry use (poor environmental protection), and I need something a little larger anyway. I'm sizing the bag for my largest configuration because it's important that I can secure the camera quickly, with no need for a lens change. I'm looking for a chest carryable bag that'll hold the following, all mounted:

  • E-PL1 body

  • VF-2 viewfinder with EP-9 eyecup

  • 45-200mm lens, with hood reversed

With the lens facing down in a toploading configuration, that equals:

H 6 5/8" x W 5" x D 4 1/2"
Hood down: H 8 3/8"

...........................................................................................................................

http://www.m-rock.com/yellowstone-camera-holster-bag.html

M-ROCK Yellowstone: These cases seem to be sized pretty well for m43. The included harness system doesn't look comfortable, but I may be able to rig something up for attachment to my packs' shoulder straps. They look durable and seem to offer good weather protection, including a rain fly.

...........................................................................................................................

http://www.clikelite.com/products/access/

Clik Elite Access: I'd rather not wear a separate harness system for a camera bag when I'm wearing a backpack, and it looks like I may be able to attach the Access to my packs' D-rings with a few quick release buckles. If not, the Access' strap system looks fairly comfortable. I don't like that the zipper and strap has to be released to gain access. I'm not sure about how good of weather protection this bag offers. It lacks a rain fly, and the long zipper looks vulnerable.

...........................................................................................................................

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/digital-holster-10-v2.aspx

ThinkTank Digital Holster 10 V2.0: It's a little bulky, and stowing with the viewfinder installed may be snug, but the next size up is considerably larger. With the lens hood mounted, my camera measures 8 3/8", which the DH 10 can accommodate with the “Pop Down” feature. I'm surprised more bags don't offer this obvious FL adjustibility. It would also handle a 300mm lens if I ever get one, so that's another advantage. Weather protection looks good, with an included rain fly.

ThinkTank's Backpack Connection Kit would work with any of my packs, but I don't think I'd bother using the diagonal strap.

...........................................................................................................................

Any opinions on the above bags, or suggestions for other chest carry options, are welcome. As it is, I'll probably go with the ThinkTank DH 10. As long as I can keep the viewfinder mounted, I think it's the best option of the three. I'm also impressed with the rest of TT's products.
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tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 23,368
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

I am working on converting the M Rock Ozark to a chest mount pack for the E-pl1 and 17mm lens

 tedolf's gear list:tedolf's gear list
Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R +8 more
453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

tedolf wrote:

I am working on converting the M Rock Ozark to a chest mount pack for the E-pl1 and 17mm lens

The Ozark looks similar to my Lowepro bog, but with better weather protection:
http://www.m-rock.com/ozark-medium-camera-bag.html

What do you think of the build quality? I forgot to mention I emailed M-ROCK about a vertical attachment method for shoulder strap carry. I received a very quick reply from Michael Rockwell. He said they didn't make such a bag, but suggested trying to use straps through the D-rings and bottom cord of the Yellowstone. If you have any questions, I'm sure he'd like to field them.

Any of the bags from my first post would be far too big for an E-PL1 + 17. I'm guessing the Ozark is for cycling use, so unless it's going on your back, belt carry is out while on the bike. I can't tell from the photos, but it looks like a double Velcro system on the belt loop. If it's not secure enough, it wouldn't be hard to add a snap to it. I like the system Lowepro uses:

REI carries a lot of straps, buckles, and other stuff you might find useful, and I think you can find a store without difficulty. Please post some photos of your FrankenBag when it's done.
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453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: TT Digital Holster 10 v2.0 reviews

I found a few:

Short review of the DH 10 v2.
http://www.photozz.com/fizz/12334653.aspx

He starts actually talking about the DH 50 v2 around 2:20. Different size, same form.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpCmYJoRuqU

DH 30 v2 with v2 harness. This guy scares me.
http://www.youtube.com/user/proparoo#p/a/u/2/ptHKDJmgcYo

At this point, the DH 10 v2 looks like the one I'll order. My only concern is having enough room for a mounted EVF.
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emilieLeChamois New Member • Posts: 24
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

453C wrote:

http://www.clikelite.com/products/access/

Clik Elite Access: I'd rather not wear a separate harness system for a camera bag when I'm wearing a backpack, and it looks like I may be able to attach the Access to my packs' D-rings with a few quick release buckles. If not, the Access' strap system looks fairly comfortable. I don't like that the zipper and strap has to be released to gain access. I'm not sure about how good of weather protection this bag offers. It lacks a rain fly, and the long zipper looks vulnerable.

I look at the separate harness as a feature. It means when I take my pack off to ski a lap (yo-yo) I still have my camera with me.

I have the small chest pack. It fits my E-PL1 with the panny 20mm just fine. The Oly 40-150mm is a tight squeeze and would really prefer the medium. I have only had the chest pack (and camera) for the winter, so I can't say about weather protection from rain. From snow it has worked fine, but that's easier. The side zip on the small took a little getting used to (I dropped the camera once), but by now I have a nice fast motion to pull the camera out. The straps are unnoticeable under my pack.

That's my 2 cents. No experience with other chest packs, so I can't compare there.

bryanbrun Contributing Member • Posts: 757
Re: TT Digital Holster 10 v2.0 reviews

453C wrote:

DH 30 v2 with v2 harness. This guy scares me.
http://www.youtube.com/user/proparoo#p/a/u/2/ptHKDJmgcYo

I also was scared.

Then I noticed the piano, and it all fit: that must be Liberace's younger brother, the photographer.

Put a cape and sequins on him and it totally works.

DonTom Contributing Member • Posts: 535
Check out Ortlieb

http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/prodList.asp?scat=8

I've used the Aquacam from them for about 10 years now, originally with a film bridge (Olympus IS100), then with a Handy Cam, and now an E-PL1. It's floated down a few rapids, kept out driving rain for days when duckshooting/ deerstalking, and the kids have pulled the kit off tables onto concrete a few times. No problems so far.

For you, probably the Aqua Zoom would do the trick. Chest harness is an extra, I've jury-rigged clips to chest carry mine with a backpack a few times, and always wished I'd shelled out for the harness: sometimes I want to drop the pack and follow an animal in the tight, and would rather not leave the camera behind.

The page I've linked too has a pic of a guy with one on a chest harness: the bag in that photo is the older style, with a roll top as well as the quick seal. The current crop only has the seal, but would probably be much more weatherproof than those you are looking at so far.

Cheers, Tom

 DonTom's gear list:DonTom's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +9 more
453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: TT Digital Holster 10 v2.0 reviews

bryanbrun wrote:

453C wrote:

DH 30 v2 with v2 harness. This guy scares me.
http://www.youtube.com/user/proparoo#p/a/u/2/ptHKDJmgcYo

I also was scared.

Then I noticed the piano, and it all fit: that must be Liberace's younger brother, the photographer.

Put a cape and sequins on him and it totally works.

After I posted that, I noticed that the only comments on the video said the same thing! Maybe he's a great guy, and it really is all an act (as he said), but yeah, that was some strong stuff. Nice of him to post some videos though, so I can't be too hard on him.
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453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Check out Ortlieb

DonTom wrote:

http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/prodList.asp?scat=8

I've used the Aquacam from them for about 10 years now, originally with a film bridge (Olympus IS100), then with a Handy Cam, and now an E-PL1. It's floated down a few rapids, kept out driving rain for days when duckshooting/ deerstalking, and the kids have pulled the kit off tables onto concrete a few times. No problems so far.

For you, probably the Aqua Zoom would do the trick. Chest harness is an extra, I've jury-rigged clips to chest carry mine with a backpack a few times, and always wished I'd shelled out for the harness: sometimes I want to drop the pack and follow an animal in the tight, and would rather not leave the camera behind.

The page I've linked too has a pic of a guy with one on a chest harness: the bag in that photo is the older style, with a roll top as well as the quick seal. The current crop only has the seal, but would probably be much more weatherproof than those you are looking at so far.

Aack! I was wondering if there was a rolltop or similar option, and now you've shown me one. Thanks for confusing the issue.

The Aqua Zoom is a very interesting option, and it looks just big enough to accommodate the EVF. The harness doesn't look bad either. I can see where it might be preferable to wear it on its own harness so dropping a pack doesn't involve taking the camera off, too. I just wonder at how comfortable the bag harness would feel under a pack.

  • Does your bag have the quick seal?

  • If so, how easy is it to remove and stow a camera?

  • Does it stay open well enough that you don't have to fight with it to slip the camera in?

jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 7,594
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

453C wrote:

My Lowepro belt bag isn't the best for backcountry use (poor environmental protection), and I need something a little larger anyway. I'm sizing the bag for my largest configuration because it's important that I can secure the camera quickly, with no need for a lens change. I'm looking for a chest carryable bag that'll hold the following, all mounted:

  • E-PL1 body

  • VF-2 viewfinder with EP-9 eyecup

  • 45-200mm lens, with hood reversed

With the lens facing down in a toploading configuration, that equals:

H 6 5/8" x W 5" x D 4 1/2"
Hood down: H 8 3/8"

...........................................................................................................................

Check out some of the Mountainsmith camera bags. I use a Zoom small for my GH2 w/20mm.
The Zoom medium looks like a typical holster-style bag.

http://www.mountainsmith.com/products.asp?productId=270&categoryId=13&subCategoryId=12&subCategory2Id=0

The Aurora II Small is a lumbar pack that looks like it could fiit the kit on your list. The waist band is designed to be stowed (there's a slot for it) and it could be attached to your pack straps. It could also used separately as a lumbar pack or worn sling-style.

I use a standard Mountainsmith Tour lumbar bag that I usually carry sling-style. My camera and lenses are in separate cases that I stow inside, or put lenses in the external water bottle pouches. It's very flexible.

http://www.mountainsmith.com/products.asp?productId=141&categoryId=13&subCategoryId=27&subCategory2Id=0

 jeffharris's gear list:jeffharris's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm F0.95 Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 Aspherical +27 more
453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

emilieLeChamois wrote:

453C wrote:

http://www.clikelite.com/products/access/

Clik Elite Access: I'd rather not wear a separate harness system for a camera bag when I'm wearing a backpack, and it looks like I may be able to attach the Access to my packs' D-rings with a few quick release buckles. If not, the Access' strap system looks fairly comfortable. I don't like that the zipper and strap has to be released to gain access. I'm not sure about how good of weather protection this bag offers. It lacks a rain fly, and the long zipper looks vulnerable.

I look at the separate harness as a feature. It means when I take my pack off to ski a lap (yo-yo) I still have my camera with me.

I have the small chest pack. It fits my E-PL1 with the panny 20mm just fine. The Oly 40-150mm is a tight squeeze and would really prefer the medium. I have only had the chest pack (and camera) for the winter, so I can't say about weather protection from rain. From snow it has worked fine, but that's easier. The side zip on the small took a little getting used to (I dropped the camera once), but by now I have a nice fast motion to pull the camera out. The straps are unnoticeable under my pack.

Thanks for your advice, Emilie. I agree that the Standard would be the correct size for a longer telephoto lens. I'm reconsidering getting a separate harness for the camera bag. There are times when I do some scrambling without a main pack.

Good to hear it worked, even with a plenty of face plants!
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=38301370
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DonTom Contributing Member • Posts: 535
Re: Check out Ortlieb

453C wrote:

DonTom wrote:

http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/prodList.asp?scat=8

Aack! I was wondering if there was a rolltop or similar option, and now you've shown me one. Thanks for confusing the issue.

No problem, but remember that the current versions don't have a rolltop: I think!

The Aqua Zoom is a very interesting option, and it looks just big enough to accommodate the EVF. The harness doesn't look bad either. I can see where it might be preferable to wear it on its own harness so dropping a pack doesn't involve taking the camera off, too. I just wonder at how comfortable the bag harness would feel under a pack.

I'm sure it would depend on the pack. As I mentioned, I don't have the harness, but it looks quite low profile.

  • Does your bag have the quick seal?

Yes. I was leary of it at first, but after 10 years, it's showing no signs of failing.

  • If so, how easy is it to remove and stow a camera?

Very. Easier than a zip, quieter than velcro.

  • Does it stay open well enough that you don't have to fight with it to slip the camera in?

Yep. The stiffness of the quick seal plastic helps make an easy access opening. Think of it as a bigger Ziploc...

Another point: the padding is a separate insert, and so you can shove flat things out of the way between the insert and the outer wall of the bag. In my case, things like wallet, passports, tickets, lens tissues......you probably get the picture.

I found a store that has them, you could call first to see if they have the roll top version: http://www.thetouringstore.com/ORTLIEB/Ort%20Camera%20Bags/Ortlieb%20CAMERA%20BAGS%20PAGE.htm

Personally, I would rather have the roll top than not, but would still get one if the RT wasn't available.

Cheers, Tom

 DonTom's gear list:DonTom's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +9 more
jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 7,594
Re: Check out Ortlieb

DonTom wrote:

http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/prodList.asp?scat=8

I've used the Aquacam from them for about 10 years now ...
Aqua Zoom would do the trick.

Nice bags. I've seen their biking gear around, but these look pretty good.

A couple of carabiners clipped to pack straps could work, too.

 jeffharris's gear list:jeffharris's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm F0.95 Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm F0.95 Aspherical +27 more
453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

jeffharris wrote:

453C wrote:

My Lowepro belt bag isn't the best for backcountry use (poor environmental protection), and I need something a little larger anyway. I'm sizing the bag for my largest configuration because it's important that I can secure the camera quickly, with no need for a lens change. I'm looking for a chest carryable bag that'll hold the following, all mounted:

  • E-PL1 body

  • VF-2 viewfinder with EP-9 eyecup

  • 45-200mm lens, with hood reversed

With the lens facing down in a toploading configuration, that equals:

H 6 5/8" x W 5" x D 4 1/2"
Hood down: H 8 3/8"

...........................................................................................................................

Check out some of the Mountainsmith camera bags. I use a Zoom small for my GH2 w/20mm.
The Zoom medium looks like a typical holster-style bag.

http://www.mountainsmith.com/products.asp?productId=270&categoryId=13&subCategoryId=12&subCategory2Id=0

The Aurora II Small is a lumbar pack that looks like it could fiit the kit on your list. The waist band is designed to be stowed (there's a slot for it) and it could be attached to your pack straps. It could also used separately as a lumbar pack or worn sling-style.

I use a standard Mountainsmith Tour lumbar bag that I usually carry sling-style. My camera and lenses are in separate cases that I stow inside, or put lenses in the external water bottle pouches. It's very flexible.

http://www.mountainsmith.com/products.asp?productId=141&categoryId=13&subCategoryId=27&subCategory2Id=0

Thanks, Jeff. Some friends have Mountainsmith packs and I've been impressed with their quality. I looked at a few fairly expensive camera "backpacks" at a local store and was surprised at how little support they offered when compared to true backpacks in the same price range. Mountainsmith is one of the only pack manufacturers I'm aware of that has ventured into camera cases, and I think they should try their hand at a true chest pack.

The Zoom Medium would be large enough if the extra width could be flexed a little to handle the EVF. At this point, I'm stuck between the Think Tank and the Ortlieb. I like some of the features of both, with TT having an edge in utility, and Ortlieb offering better all weather protection.
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453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Check out Ortlieb

DonTom wrote:

453C wrote:

DonTom wrote:

http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/prodList.asp?scat=8

Aack! I was wondering if there was a rolltop or similar option, and now you've shown me one. Thanks for confusing the issue.

No problem, but remember that the current versions don't have a rolltop: I think!

The Aqua Zoom is a very interesting option, and it looks just big enough to accommodate the EVF. The harness doesn't look bad either. I can see where it might be preferable to wear it on its own harness so dropping a pack doesn't involve taking the camera off, too. I just wonder at how comfortable the bag harness would feel under a pack.

I'm sure it would depend on the pack. As I mentioned, I don't have the harness, but it looks quite low profile.

  • Does your bag have the quick seal?

Yes. I was leary of it at first, but after 10 years, it's showing no signs of failing.

  • If so, how easy is it to remove and stow a camera?

Very. Easier than a zip, quieter than velcro.

  • Does it stay open well enough that you don't have to fight with it to slip the camera in?

Yep. The stiffness of the quick seal plastic helps make an easy access opening. Think of it as a bigger Ziploc...

Another point: the padding is a separate insert, and so you can shove flat things out of the way between the insert and the outer wall of the bag. In my case, things like wallet, passports, tickets, lens tissues......you probably get the picture.

I found a store that has them, you could call first to see if they have the roll top version: http://www.thetouringstore.com/ORTLIEB/Ort%20Camera%20Bags/Ortlieb%20CAMERA%20BAGS%20PAGE.htm

Personally, I would rather have the roll top than not, but would still get one if the RT wasn't available.

I'm very tempted to buy the TT for everyday use, and the Ortlieb for more hazardous conditions. I have a canoeing trip coming up that the Ortlieb would be perfect for; I was already considering putting another camera bag in a rolltop bag. The TT would be a better everyday bag than what I have, too. I could sneak a lens (or two) in the bottom of the TT under the divider and not have to carry a separate lens case for the 45-200.

Maybe I should order both before someone suggests an even better option. That may be the best way for me to see if one is better for me, or help me decide to keep both.
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DonTom Contributing Member • Posts: 535
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

Another thing to think of. I had a digital compact die on me in a light snowstorm one deerstalking trip. It was in a "waterproof" pocket on a Mountain Hardwear jacket.

If I was taking my E-PL1 hiking/hunting (neither happening for a while due to a stuffed knee), I would definitely not trust any case that relied upon zips for weather protection. If my knee comes right, I'll probably be getting the Aqua Zoom from Ortlieb, as it is less bulky than the Aquacam bag.

 DonTom's gear list:DonTom's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +9 more
453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

DonTom wrote:

Another thing to think of. I had a digital compact die on me in a light snowstorm one deerstalking trip. It was in a "waterproof" pocket on a Mountain Hardwear jacket.

If I was taking my E-PL1 hiking/hunting (neither happening for a while due to a stuffed knee), I would definitely not trust any case that relied upon zips for weather protection. If my knee comes right, I'll probably be getting the Aqua Zoom from Ortlieb, as it is less bulky than the Aquacam bag.

I've slipped a P&S into a MH shell for mountain trips. That worked well enough up high to keep it warm and dry, but it started fogging from body moisture at lower, warmer areas. I've no way of knowing, but body moisture might've been part of your problem.

Last month, I got spooked in Grand Canyon when the snow/sleet/rain penetrated my cases. I'd planned to bag them up and put them in my pack, but I waited too long and didn't have a good place to drop my pack before things got wet. Everything got damp more than really wet, but I didn't like it a bit. I think the TT's rain fly would take care of this, but there's no denying that the Ortlieb is better designed for harsh conditions.

I haven't tried it yet, but the next time I'm out in serious cold, I'm considering putting a handwarmer packet in the bottom of whatever case I get. As long as I keep the camera off of it, I think the heat will keep the interior warm enough to help the battery and dry out any moisture from a few snowflakes.

Good luck with the knee. I'm dodged any injuries like that, but I know it's just a matter of time and luck.
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ThingsAbove Regular Member • Posts: 343
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

I use the ThinkTank Digital Holster 10 v2.0 to carry my PL2 w/kit, 40-150, VF2 withoug expanding the snoot. I can carry my OM prime in addition if I unzip the extension.

I've used it since the beginning of April. I like it pretty well except it's zipper is a bit stiff. It's included rain cover is pretty bulky and uses up most of the side compartment.

Overall I'm happy. I've tried a Crumpler and some of the others and the ThinkTank was the only one that I could leave the VF2 on the camera.

It has a stiff panel in the back with a velcro attachment for attaching to a belt, backpack strap etc.
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453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

ThingsAbove wrote:

I use the ThinkTank Digital Holster 10 v2.0 to carry my PL2 w/kit, 40-150, VF2 withoug expanding the snoot. I can carry my OM prime in addition if I unzip the extension.

I've used it since the beginning of April. I like it pretty well except it's zipper is a bit stiff. It's included rain cover is pretty bulky and uses up most of the side compartment.

Overall I'm happy. I've tried a Crumpler and some of the others and the ThinkTank was the only one that I could leave the VF2 on the camera.

It has a stiff panel in the back with a velcro attachment for attaching to a belt, backpack strap etc.

Yes! My lingering concern with the TT was managing to fit an E-PL1 with the EVF mounted; no longer. I also like that it integrates with other TT products. I've read good things about them, but hadn't spent time looking at their lineup until now. Thanks for your pertinent post.

That settles it. I'm ordering the TT and the Ortlieb. Maybe I'll keep both.
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453C OP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,152
Re: Chest Pack Roundup

Just back from a canoeing trip with the ThinkTank Digital Holster v2, and I wish I'd had the Ortlieb bag. I started to order it in May, but I let it drop after being so pleased with the TT bag, and figured simply putting it in a rolltop dry bag would be good enough.

I was wrong. While the dry bag kept everything safe and secure, it was a pain to use quickly, which left me skipping shots I would've otherwise taken. When a bald eagle decides to do a strafing run over your canoe, you don't have time to mess with unbuckling and unrolling a bag.

DonTom , I will now heed your words and order an Ortlieb AquaZoom. I only have a few minor complaints with the TT for daily use, but it's just not the right choice for watersports.
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