My latest adventure saw me fulfilling one of my photography dreams. I was fortunate enough to have three days photographing and exploring the exclusion zone of Chernobyl. Thirty years ago this year Chernobyl was the setting of one of the worst nuclear disasters in modern history. An explosion at reactor four of the power plant was to cause the entire town and surrounding villages to be evacuated. Today the entire area is still abandoned and completely derelict. As an urban explorer and landscape photographer Chernobyl is considered one of the holy grails of urbex photography. To witness the way nature is reclaiming the land and seeing the decaying signs of this once thriving community caused by the disaster is an experience I will never forget.
To take full advantage of my three day window in the exclusion zone to photograph every element and key image I wanted having the right kit for the job was essential. My choice was two main Nikon bodies, two new Sigma art series lenses, a tele photo and prime lens. To accompany this I also had a Go Pro, batteries, filters, remote trigger and of course a sturdy Manfrotto tripod. All this awesome and expensive equipment had to be carried in a durable, robust and well organised bag. For me the choice was the Manfrotto street bag. The street bag is perfectly designed for the fast paced urban environment. This was my first time using this style of bag and I wasn’t disappointed. I tend to use large backcountry style multi day packs, but for this trip I needed a bag more adapted to manoeuvring in and out of buildings and tight spots, as well as slipping through woodland and getting in and out of transport.
The street bag has a sleek design and slim profile and, to my surprise, a very generous internal storage capacity. The padding and partition system in the street bag has been carefully designed to maximise protection where needed without causing unnecessary bulk and weight. With plenty of compartments and adjustable sections every piece of kit can fit in a place and be securely stowed away. There is even room for a laptop in the rear compartment. The side pockets double up as a tripod and bottle holder thanks to a detachable strap. The materials and construction of this bag have been very well thought out to maximise capacity and ensure easy accessibility. Not only has the street bag been made to a high standard, it is also a good looking and well styled piece of kit.
This bag doubled as a day bag for my flights and stowed away easily on the plane and in our van, as well as acting as a multiday pack in some very challenging urban environments. Even though I potentially over loaded the bag the street bag took all the challenges I threw at it with no problems. The tapered straps are extremely comfortable even in the hot humid weather we had.
To summarise, this bag may have been conceived to be a stylish day to day street bag for the modern day urban lifestyle, which it does perfectly, but I think this is such a well-designed and versatile bag it would be at home in any explorer’s or adventure photographer’s collection. I’ve been so impressed with the street bag it is now my go-to bag for all my urban photography projects. A very cool looking all-rounder. A big thumbs up from me.