DryZone Rover
DryZone Rover

How can I keep my expensive camera safe on the ski slopes?

I recently purchased a Canon GL1 and I would like to be able to take it skiing with me this year. I concerned about moisture getting into the camera and killing my baby. Is that actually an issue, or would I be safe so long as I didn't drop it in the snow? I was thinking about getting a watertight case. Good idea or not? Kyle Salem, Oregon

DryZone Rover

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That’s a big responsibility to take skiing. Canon’s GL1 (replaced by the GL2; the GL1 was about $2,500 when new) is a high-end “prosumer” mini-DV camera with a 20x zoom, motion stabilization, wonderful optics, and more. You can go straight to broadcast with it.

DryZone Rover DryZone Rover

So, no, you don’t want to get it soaking wet. Two approaches to this problem. One is to pack along a case that keeps the camera protected and dry when you’re not using it. Then you take it out of the case to shoot. This is the simpler, cheaper solution. One intriguing solution is Lowepro’s new DryZone Rover ($190; www.lowepro.com), which combines a waterproof, padded camera bag with a hydration pack (skiers need hydration, don’t they?). This pack is explicitly designed to keep both internal and external H2O well away from your expensive camera equipment. So the Rover will keep you watered and your camera dry, plus the camera is reasonably handy when you need it. I say “reasonably” because the Rover is a backpack-style pack, so you have to swing it off your back to access the camera. Also, backpacks can be a little problematic on a ski lift.

You might also look at Lowepro’s Toploader AW 75 ($100), which can be chest-mounted with a special harness. I think the GL1 would just fit into it.

The second path is to buy a case that’s watertight and leaves the camera at the ready. But I dunno how practical that’s going to be. I mean, Ikelite’s underwater case for the GL1 would of course keep it bone-dry, but with a price tag of $1,200—not to mention the extra bulk—it’s a non-starter. Another choice is a soft watertight case (think high-tech Glad bag) such as Aquapac’s barrel-style case, big enough for the GL1, at $119 (www.aquapac.net). But you’ll still need some other kind of case in which to carry the actual camera.

So, best solution: Get a Lowepro case, either the Rover or the Toploader.

Looks like we’ll actually have some skiing in the Pacific Northwest this year…

For more expert reviews of great camera gear, check out Outside Online’s all-new Cameras Buying Guide.

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