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  • Review: Deeko-2012A Rucksack

    Posted on by rob

    Back in March I was looking for a new backpack to replace my aging laptop backpack from L.L. Bean. That bag has been fantastic over the last 10 years and been everywhere with me, however it was getting time to move on to something newer that would could handle the larger laptops of today. So, I went looking for a bag that would handle larger laptops, perhaps up to 17” and ideally if it had enough padding in a pocket that I could put my camera in (Nikon D7000).

    My search lead me to UKPhotoDistro Ltd and I found the Deeko-2012A Camera and Laptop Rucksack. The specs of the bag, from the site are:

    • Size: 32cm x 20cm x 43cm
    • Solid handle
    • Side netting to place water bottle
      (Mine has a zip up mesh pocket for the water bottle)
    • Thick sponge protection for laptop
    • Many internal pockets to store small items
    • Tripod attachable at the bottom or side
      (Mine allows for side mounting in its own pull out pocket)
    • Sturdy handle + metal parts
    • Strong and solid fastener

    However, they’ve not mentioned one very nice feature of this rucksack, it also has a built in rain cover that you can pull out of the bottom and cover your rucksack to protect your precious cargo!!

    The bag that is currently on sale has mostly the same specs as mine, however, the design of it has changed. From the photos I’d say I think I prefer my version of the bag, but it’s really hard to tell just from looking at the photos.

    From the site I’ve pinched a couple of photos with the specs:

    Deeko Bag - UKphotodistro Limited - Mozilla Firefox_2012-05-29_09-49-15

    Deeko Bag - UKphotodistro Limited - Mozilla Firefox_2012-05-29_09-50-23

    Ok, so that’s what is on sale now.

     

    So, what are my thoughts on the bag? Well, I’d suggest to anyone looking for a sturdy laptop AND camera bag, get one of these!  It’s as simple as that. The rucksack is very comfortable to carry, easy to get on and take off, and everything is very accessible. There are plenty of zippers to keep things secure. The laptop pocket even allows for a padlock to be attached to secure that pocket. While the bag rides very nicely on the back, especially when using the waist strap, the only complaint I have is I find that my back got hot and sweaty from the padding, so a simple fibreglass frame to create a space between the bag and the padding to allow air to flow would be a nice enhancement. All in all though the bag is very well balanced no matter how you load it up.

    On one day I took a walk around Cambridge and was actually out walking around for nearly 5 hours. I loaded up the bag with what I’d need for the day and it weighed in at 19.8lbs or 9KG. So, what did I have in the bag you might wonder? Well the purpose of the trip wasn’t just to walk around but to take some photos in Cambridge but also to be in town for a RAYNET event that was taking place that evening, so I had a bit of extra stuff for that. So the list of gear in the bag looks like this:

    Heavy Tripod with 3 way head Nikon D7000 w/ 18-105mm lens
    Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens
    Tamron 70-300mm lens Yongnuo 467 Speedlight
    iPad 2 Yaesu VX-5r HT
    750ml Bottle of water (on the side) 3 x 500ml water bottles inside
    Samsung Galaxy S2 Pack of AA batteries for Speedlight
    Remote flash triggers Remote control for the camera
    5000mAh battery Pack to charge phone Various cables for phone and camera
    USB wall charger A few normal documents I always carry in the bag

     

    What didn’t I like about the bag? Well, not a lot really, no hard core hate points. The only things I didn’t like are really more a list of “things I’d do differently” than out and out complaints.  I suppose it’s best to give you a list in the usual Pro / Con format

    Pros

    • Large and well padded shoulder straps with shock absorbers at the top!
    • Well padded laptop pocket to give protection on all sides, and easily holds my Dell E6520 15.6” laptop
    • Well padded where it sits on your back
    • Loads of room for everything!
    • Well constructed and sturdy, the large solid carry handle on top is a major plus
    • Built in rain cover to protect the gear
    • Light weight bag (when empty)

    Cons

    • No real air flow for your back, this could be fixed with a light weight frame or different padding arrangement I think
    • The small zipped pockets on the waist straps would be better if the zips were turned around, right now they unzip from the bottom of the pocket up and over the top of the pocket, this means you could well lose change or other small items if you unzip in a hurry
    • There is no single huge pocket in the bag, ie, if you want to use to go to the shops for a few groceries, making it more of a general rucksack. This could very easily be fixed by adding a zipper to 3 sides to the main pocket’s floor, unzipping that floor would open the bag up to allow for a nice huge pocket once you remove the camera bag.
    • It could do with a couple more little pockets inside for small items
    • Add locking holes to the camera pocket just like the laptop pocket as camera gear can easily be worth more then a laptop.

    All of the cons above are simple fixes and, really, in no way detract from the value of this bag. If the manufacturer fixed those I would have NO complaints at all about this bag, it really is a cracker.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this bit as well, but the customer service by the folks over at UKPhotoDistro Ltd is absolutely top quality!!!  I’d contacted them to find out when I might expect my bag as it was getting very close to the 21 day point … I was informed that there was a delay with the shipment that was out of their control however they were very sorry and hoped they could make things up to me some how,  and offered to throw in a photo related gift to show their appreciation of my patience and understanding… they were true to their word and did just that … You can check out that review by CLICKING HERE. I was more then pleased with what they’d sent me, that item has now become as much a part of my daily camera carry as my camera is!

    I’ve included links to photos of the bag I bought below, click on the read more to see those photos. You can also see the photos over at Flickr by CLICKING HERE, I’ve included some description on the photos over on Flickr.

    Continue reading  Post ID 1170


  • Getting slack in my updates..

    Posted on by rob

    Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve updated my blog.  Since my last update on Dec 15th there’s been loads happening.  Lets see.. we had Christmas, New Years, I’ve been to South Africa with work and now it’s March already.

    I’m planning a lot of walking trips for this year, now if only the weather and time are kind to me I will actually be able to complete them.

    The longest walk I’m planning is a walk around Lake Windermere, which is 45 miles.  That will be a multi-day trip with camping along the way.  I’m planning for 4 days but expect to complete it in 3 days. No idea when this will be but I’m guessing not until May.

    Another walk I’m looking at has been inspired by this site Walkmate.co.uk – The Cheviot and The Big One. While it’s a single day walk, albeit a long one, I’m planning to take it slower and do it over 2 days with one nights wild camping (on the Scotland side of the walk near Windy Gyle.  We’ll see how that one goes.  I’d rather not do that one alone given the remoteness of it all, but then again it would be a nice confidence booster alone too.

    Closer to home I’m looking at some walks along the Norfolk coast and even closer to home along the river cam.  One circular walk I’ve planned out is about 20km, it starts in Waterbeach, walking up the one side of the river and returning back the far side.  I’ve also looked at doing an 18km walk starting in Waterbeach ending in Ely then a quick train ride back to Waterbeach back to the car.  Both of these are known to be quite wet and mucky so I will have to wait for some nice dry weather, not interested in getting covered from head to toe in mud Smile

    More updates to come, I hope at more frequent rates then I have been for the last 6 months.


  • Walking in Staffs and Derbyshire…

    On Friday I left work at 1pm to meet up with my pal Dave (M0VMC) to head up to the Peak District to do some walking.  On our way we’d stopped off to check out a huge hole in the ground that was left as a result of about 3500 tons of stockpiled explosives all going off at one time.  It’s known as the Fauld Crater, located next to Hanbury, Staffs.

    It was a short walk (check out the GPS log – 2.9km /1.8mi ) across a couple of fields to get to the craters edge.  It’s quite the hole, and must have been one hell of a bang back in the day when it up, then apparently came back down, all over Staffordshire.

    Looking into the craterA pretty clear warning signAnother shot of the holeRobDaveThe monument to the 70 or so deadInfo about the explosion

    After that it was off to Nottingham for the night before heading off to Bakewell, Derbyshire.

    We’d got a bit of a late start on Saturday so it was pretty long day.  We’d started our walk at about 1130am, should really have been about 930am haha but meh it’s Saturday after all.

    I’d parked at the Bakewell Bridge car park.  It was only £4.00 for the entire day (Midnight to Midnight).  Check out the walk and GPS log here (21km / 13.1mi).

    From the car parkJust found a geocache near herePart of the trail we'd be walkingAn old railway station now turned into a homeDSCN259311092010769

    In the above photos you could see the sun was shining nicely, well that didn’t last too long.  Shortly after walking past the old train station we’d got into rain and took shelter under a tree for about 15 or 20 mins not wanting to actually having to dig out our wet weather gear, we’d just wait it out.

    We’d stopped at Hobb’s Cafe that has a spectacular view of Monsal Dale and the Viaduct in the valley

    DSCN2594DSCN2595DSCN259611092010775

    Having enjoyed a coffee and a chance to get out of the rain again we’d set off down into the valley below.  We’d actually ended up taking the “wrong” way down, it wasn’t the way down we’d planned to take but it was still just as nice.  We did get a bit worried when we’d approached a place we thought we should have been using to cross the river and were faced with with this…

    DSCN2598DSCN2599DSCN2600

    This was clearly not going to be our way across the river.  We’d figured we might have to head back up the hill and down the other path.  But since we’d come this far we consulted the map more closely and it appeared there should be either a small bridge or more likely some stepping stones to get across a bit further down stream.  We were relieved to find a small bridge.

    The rest of this part of the trail until we crossed the A6.  We’d search for another Geocache just on the other side of the A6 and after about 20 mins of chasing the GPS needles we had to admit defeat.  I didn’t bother loading up my phone with the details of the cache so we had no clues to work on and no phone signal to be able to look it up.  So, it was a good time to stop for lunch here.   While looking for the cache we’d found this cave near by.

    DSCN2610DSCN261111092010785

    Having consumed our lunch and had a nice break we set off on what would be the worse part of the route, little did we know it (we should have I suppose, but meh, why bother paying attention to all those brown contour lines on the map).  Well, to be honest it wasn’t so much a bunch of brown contour lines, it was more like big wide brown streak haha

    There was quite a significant climb up of about 700 or so feet on a 35-45 degree slope, made extra nice going by the rain we’d had that morning.  All I can say is I’m glad we were going up and not down, that would have been a hell of a ride down over all those rocks.

    Looking up the slope DSCN2613

    Looking down the slope DSCN2614

    The photos don’t really do justice to the actual grade on the hill.

    Having finally gotten to the top and totally winded from that we had a pretty uneventful few miles with nothing but just some awesome scenery provided courtesy the Deberyshire countryside.

    pano

    The rest of the walk back into Bakewell was pleasant except for when we had to pull our out rain gear.  With nothing to shelter under and about 300 meters of open fields to cross before getting to anything that might have helped us, the choices were clear haha.  Typical too, the rain had only lasted about 5 or 6 mins, we’d have been soaked without the rain gear but what can you do.

    The last 2 miles or so were a real slog, everything was starting to ache from the pounding we’d been giving our legs and feet.  Interestingly enough though, neither of us were suffering from blisters or anything.  The soles of my feet were 100% fine, which for me was a first after a long walk like this.

    We’d arrived back in Bakewell around 7pm and stopped for dinner in a pub in town before heading back to the car park and heading back to Cambridge.  Our total time from leaving the car and getting back to it was 8h 27m, of that included about 1 hour for dinner at the end and about another 90 mins or so of stops and breaks.

    We’d arrived back in Cottenham around 1030pm after a very long day.  I had a nice hot bath after getting my pack unloaded and wet gear hung up to dry and dirty clothing into the wash.  Then it was to bed for a very nice sound sleep.

    All of the photos from day can be seen HERE

    I can’t wait for the next walk….


  • Longing for Caledonia

    Posted on by rob

    It was only a short time spent in Bonnie Scotland, but each time I go there I find the draw to return stronger and stronger.  It’s always been part of my life long plan to return to my patriarchal ancestral home of Scotland.  While the big cities aren’t dissimilar to the big cities anywhere else in the world, it’s the smaller towns and villages out in the county side that are the real draw for me.

    Continue reading  Post ID 1170


  • Mega Scotland – Geocaching Event

    Posted on by rob

    The trip to Mega Scotland (GC1XDQ0) for Gord started with a flight from Canada on Thursday July 29th. I started at 8am with a drive to Heathrow to meet him. then it was what turned out to be a 10hr drive to travel just 400 or so miles from Heathrow to the camp site in Kinross, Scotland. Even I, a Veteran of 8 yrs of UK driving, was amazed at how painfully slow the drive was.

    We arrived at the camp site about 9pm and had everything set up by about half 9 or so. A quick trip around the camp site to see is about and scope out the facilities, then it was back to meet the neighbours and chill out by their fire.

    The sleep was great, I used my new down sleeping bag, it was very warm and comfy. Only problem, on a clear morning the Sun in Scotland shows its face about 4am… Needed my siesta glasses but could be arsed to get out of my bag to get them. Won’t make that mistake tonight thought haha

    Saturday: first on the list besides getting showered will be to find food. Then its off to the kilt makers for Gord and I. Then to the actual Mega Scotland event.

    I will post more later including some pics I hope.

    Cheerio from Scotland

    Posted by Wordmobi