The Cotton Carrier Camera Vest is an ingenious carrying solution for the photographer who’s looking for a fast and secure carrying system.
I have been looking a fairly long time for a different way to carry my second “rig” rather than just holding it in my hands. I´ve tried quite a lot carrying solution, all kinds of strap and ideas but either they got in my way whenever I’m lugging the much bigger tripod rig on my shoulder. The strap solution would often be so flimsy it required me to have a hand on the body regardless which overall makes a strap solution unusable. Another dangerous would situation would be if I’m walking across rugged terrain that requires a lot of balance lugging the tripod rig on my shoulder, I need my other hand to balance out the counterweight. With the another hand controlling the smaller rig this could end up with me falling and dropping all of the equipment.
So I looked for different system and saw fellow wildlife photographer using a vest system that looked like what I needed, as it required no hands when carrying it. I quickly searching the web and discovered what turned out to be a shameless copy of the Cotton Carrier Camera Vest. All in all I ended up contacting Cotton Carrier and a week and a number of mails written with their superb sales / support department later, the Cotton Carrier Vest arrived at my doorstep in a fancy greenish version. (note the pictures on the Cotton Carrier are slightly off in color as the camera used couldn’t capture the true color of the carrier nor the shirt I’m wearing). As a bonus a quick and well fitting hand-strap was included for free.
After adjusting all the straps on the vest (chest, neck and back) the system fits me perfectly. It takes some getting used to but after a couple of tries you’ll be able to take the vest on and off in seconds. The straps for the chest and back are very wide and the ones for the neck is obviously smaller. You can even adjust the width of the neck strap using the brilliant joint of the back which also suits as the main carrying point on the back. There’s two quick releases for the neck strap as well as the chest strap. I consider myself average of weight and size but I’m confident it’ll fit anyone of any size easily. I had enough strapping to go around me twice or three times. I saw on an instructional video online advising me how to fit the Cotton Carrier perfectly so I slightly bent the front plate to fit chest as advised.
The brilliant thing about the Cotton Carrier Camera Vest system is the quick release system – It’s amazingly fast in use. You basically mount the camera base plate on your camera body, adjust the direction of plate so the small arrow corresponds with the one found on the vest. Whatever direction the arrow is pointing is the way the system will be carried and locked inside the quick-release on the vest. That means you have to slide the camera and lens in sideways in order to drop it down into the quick-release and afterwards point the camera and lens downwards to lock it. The lesser will gravity down for you. – Doing so will lock and secure and you’ll be running around as crazy as you’ll like, the camera system will never fall out. In order to release it from the vest just to the same maneuver backwards. Thinking back to the old Wild West I’m guessing within a couple of tries you’ll be as fast to grab your camera as a wanted gunslinger.
When locked in the quick-release your hands are completely free which is a major point why I bought the vest.
For extra security Cotton Carrier even included two straps that connects the top of the vest to the camera if case you’ll feel a little bit unsecure about the system or just want to get the hang of the way it works before trying it without suspenders. Now if you’re into extreme sports, skiing or likewise Cotton Carrier even incorporated the large strap just below the chest to come over the camera system and lock it down via a wide and large Velcro piece. – Superb!
There’s much to be said about the Cotton Carrier Camera Vest. It’s so simple yet brilliant. It almost removes the weight of your camera as you’ll carry the it using your upper torso rather than your hands or shoulder. It fits very well and there’s even extra safety features and an extra strap for extreme sportsman (have a look at the Cotton Carrier website for a guy jumping on trampoline with a camera mounted). Whether you have a Pro-size camera body or a smaller one like the Canon 7D I’m using, Cotton Carrier has the solution for you.
I bought a kit with the vest, a plate for a pro-size body and one for smaller APS-C size body and all in fancy greenish color. – All available for a mere $ 119 USD.
If you’re into any type of fast paced photography it’s one of the best tools money can buy!