featured-image 15 Mar 2016

Adventuring in the Tsitsikamma

I jumped with joy when Manfrotto asked me to review their newly launched National Geographic Rain Forest Collection. I cannot express how important a camera bag is to a photographer, it is probably as important as your camera and lenses. It is quite difficult to put a smile on your dial and be creative at the same time when your back is in pain.

When I opened the link to the National Geographic Rain Forest Collection, I fell in love with all 5 bags! However, this review is about the Rainforest Medium Backpack.

This bag is beautiful to look at. The external colour is inspired by the beautiful lush greens and browns of the Rain Forest while internal linings are inspired by the forests local inhabitants.

I had been planning a three day trip to Tsitsikamma and I knew right then and there that this would be the ideal place to test this backpack. Our grueling adventures included Segways through the pine and indigenous forests, zip lining above waterfalls and hiking in the Tsitsikamma National Park.

The main reason for choosing this bag was the fact it was a “Rucksack” and I know I would continue to use it on other hiking expeditions and InstaWalks. Having a laptop compartment was on my wish list for a long time and now I have discarded lugging another bag around with me, bonus!

Rainforest Backpack (1)

We arrived in Tsitsikamma late afternoon and after we unpacked and settled in, we decided to take a walk around the Storm’s River Village, hoping to catch a few last sun rays of the day.

Rainforest Backpack (2)

The next day we had planned to go Ziplining over natural waterfalls but, unfortunately, I was not allowed to take my camera bag with me as we are in harness and attached to a cable, so for safety reasons I had to leave my bag. Even without the bag I had a great time, screaming like a little girl from one Zipline to another.

Our next planned adventure was a 2 hour Segway ride through the Pine Plantations and Indigenous Forests, this is where the fun started!  As we played around in the “training area”, it started to rain. But it was exceptionally hot and humid quite uncommon for this area and I thought to myself “this is thunder and lightning weather” again, not common in this area. Like really what’s the chances right?

Rainforest Backpack (3)

Not even 30 minutes into our ride, the rain started getting steady, but it made for some magical sites in the forest and we all felt it was safe to continue. One of the highlights of the trip is a visit to the “Big Tree” the estimated age of the tree is approximately 1000 years old and still going strong! The rain stopped and started through most of the trip but about 90 minutes into the trip, all chaos broke out.

Rainforest Backpack (4)

We were deep in the indigenous forest when the sky lit up with amazing lightning and then was followed by a deep rumble of thunder and soon after came the downpour. We all looked at each other, our camera equipment was first and foremost in our minds. I was not sure about the waterproof capabilities of my bag as it is made from canvas and does not have a rain protector cover, but with the camera compartment at the bottom and in a separated compartment, I felt really safe.

SHP_0438

I don’t think the bag could handle Monsoon rains or if it is left out in the open. When we got back, everything was dry, expect the outside (of course). It did help that we were protected by the forest coverage and not riding around in the open.

Rainforest Backpack (5)

After a crazy exhausting day, we planned an early morning sunrise at the Tsitsikamma National Park. Get up time 04h30. We had to get special entry into the Park, as it is only open from 07h00 to day visitors. I have never seen a sunrise photo in the park and I wasn’t even sure if we would be lucky enough to see one. She didn’t disappoint!

Rainforest Backpack (6)

After witnessing this spectacular site we hiked to the Storm’s River Suspension Bridge, an iconic bridge along the Garden Route.

Rainforest Backpack (7)

The view from above is spectacular.

Rainforest Backpack (8)

Crossing the bridge is always such fun!

Rainforest Backpack (9)

Looking back into the gorge.

Rainforest Backpack (10)

Segway-ing again through the forest before we headed back home.

Bag Summary: The bag is “hiker stylish” and the material used are of fine quality. Perfect for a day hike where you can add extra personal accessories. The bag’s back padding is soft and sturdy, making for comfortable carrying.

What’s in my bag:

Camera Nikon D750
Lenses 3 – Nikon 14-24mm, Nikon 24 – 85mm and Nikon 50mm
Flash Nikon Speedlight SB-910
Laptop Yes with charger
Tripod Yes
Camera Accessories 2 x Kenko ND Filters, Tirgger, Batteries, Memory Cards
Personal Accessories Rain Jacket, Snacks, Water, Mosquito Repellent, Sun lotion

 

Let’s talk bag specifications:

Camera Medium DSLR / Mirrorless
Lenses 3
Tripod Connection Yes
Rain Protection Cover No
Personal Storage Yes
Zips or Velcro Zips
Material Canvas and Cotton
Unisex Bag Yes

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