As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I’m one of the lucky ones that gets to review new outdoor products from time to time. As a nature and wildlife photographer, I’m outside shooting pictures in every type of weather, both on land and sea. I needed something to protect my camera from the elements, but also need it to be lightweight and easy to put on/remove. I ordered the camera base layer and an additional lens base layer and have been using these products for the past few weeks while working at a campground and serving as a Naturalist Educator on a charter boat on the coast of Maine. This weekend, we did some sea kayak camping and hiking on the islands in the Gulf of Maine.
What I like about these products:
- Very lightweight and well made.
- Simple design, relatively easy to use in the field.
- Provides some padding so my camera and lenses won’t break when jostled around in my backpack.
- Water resistant with integrated rain cover.
- Keeps lenses warmer so that they don’t get too cold and fog up.
What could be improved:
- When I have my telephoto lens on my camera body, it barely fits into the camera base layer. I wish the pocket were just a bit deeper to accommodate this longer lens a bit better.
- The padding could be a bit thicker on the camera base layer and still be lightweight, giving my camera even more protection.
- The rain cover for the camera base layer should be fully integrated, rather than it being a separate feature. As is, it’s a bit fiddly and doesn’t always stay put when rolled down with the rest of the cover. I prefer how the lens base layer has the rain cover full integrated inside; I plan to stitch the rain cover into the camera base layer.
- I’ve added a carabiner to my camera base layer so that I can hang it from my camera strap while shooting. This way, I won’t put it down and forget about it, or have the wind carry it away when I have my back turned.
- Matador should consider making a fully waterproof product with padding, rather than just water resistant.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggjtW4p4-zY
The Maine Island Trail offers 200 islands in which to sea kayak camp and Nathan Island is one of the many gorgeous options in the Deer Isle Archipelago. The free camping spots and beaches are maintained by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. This island is perfect for 1-2 small tents and is just a stone’s throw away from the famous and beautiful Isle au Haut (part of Acadia National Park). We stayed 2 nights on Nathan and paddled to Duck Harbor for some day hiking on Isle au Haut.
The camping spot is simple and similar to most backcountry sites: a flat space to pitch your small tent, no toilet, no drinking water, no picnic table, and no reservations possible. But, what this island lacks in “amenities” is made up for in beauty all around! With a deep, rocky shore, it’s the perfect place to make dinner, watch the sunrise or set, and star gaze with no city lights or trees to obstruct your view.
The nearby village of Stonington has everything you may need for your island camping adventure. You can even rent kayaks and most of your gear from Old Quarry Ocean Adventures.
Things to consider when sea kayak camping in this area: 1) the fog can roll in at any minute so come prepared with a chart, compass, bearings between islands/markers and a marine radio, 2) you are required to use Wag Bags instead of digging hole to dispose of human waste, 3) since all of the islands are first-come, first-served, have a back-up plan for camping on another island, 4) there are no docks, so the islands are not accessible to large boats, 5) you may get awakened by the sound of lobster boats motors, as they start their day pretty darn early; bring ear plugs if you are light sleeper, 6) the tide in this area is significant (9-12 vertical feet), so landing at high tide is tricky/impossible on Nathan (and many other islands) and 7) leave a float plan before you go out (Old Quarry Ocean Adventures is the perfect spot to do this, as well as launch and park for a small fee).