Photography News issue 72

First test

PRICE: £125


Photography means kit and this high quality, hard wearing, many-pocketed waistcoat makes carrying and using your outfit easier than ever Country Innovation Raptor waistcoat


›  Sizes available XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL (+£10), 3XL (+£15), 4XL (+£15)

›  Material Rip-Tec fabric ›  Number of pockets



l  2 chest pockets – 20cm (H) x 15cm (W), incorporating pen slots l  2 large vertical chest pockets – 28cm (H) x 30cm (W) tapering to 20cm l  2 large lower pockets with flaps – 22cm (H) x 20cm (W), plus two inner zippered security pockets and 2 side entry pockets l  1 large external rear pocket – 22cm (H) x 40cm (W) l  1 large internal rear pocket – 21cm (H) x 37cm (W)

sure I am like many photographers in often wishing for a spare pair of hands, but failing that, lots of pockets is a good back-up. Four pockets grace the front, the bottom two slightly elasticated and all secured with press studs. The bottom pockets are roomy enough to take a Lee Filters Field Pouch or a 70-200mm f/2.8, although with the latter only one press stud could be used. That was enough to stop the lens falling out, however, should I have run anywhere. Obviously it depends on what camera you own, but I found the front pockets big enough for a camera with lens; for example, my FujifilmX-T2 with 18-55mm f/2.8-4 was comfortably accommodated. Both front pockets also have a zipped, smaller pocket for cash/wallet/passport/spare cards. More filters, spare batteries and smaller lenses fit fine into the front top

Most photographers have a case, backpack or shoulder bag to tote their camera outfit around in. But there is another option – just wear it. Of course, you can press any jacket with roomy pockets into service, but there’s also the option of a purpose-designed garment like this Raptor waistcoat from outdoor clothing specialists, Country Innovation. The Raptor is a hard wearing, multi-pocketed waistcoat available in a full range of sizes. It is made from military-grade ripstop fabric with high- quality fastenings and fittings, plenty of pockets of various sizes and some with security zips, and has the qualities of a modern outdoor garment, so is breathable and machine washable. It comes in a camo/olive green, so you can blend in with the rural landscape. Its key quality, though, is its generous complement of pockets. I am

l 3 inner pockets ›  Key features l Two-way front zip l Padded shoulders l Shoulder epaulettes l Rear pleat and adjusters l Longer scalloped back l Machine washable ›  Contact l Collar

ABOVE Distributing the weight of your kit round your body in a waistcoat like this, rather than carrying it in a bag, takes strain off your neck and back

Verdict Getting weight off your back and spreading it around by using a waistcoat or jacket with big pockets is very much a good thing, and there is no doubt that the Country Innovation Raptor waistcoat is a photo accessory well worth having. It is a high- quality product, made to last and really very useful in practice.

temperate days of early October I wore it over a shirt or t-shirt, and that was a comfortable combination. I zipped it up to maintain my core body temperature and when I got warm, undoing the main zip meant I could cool down quickly. On one windy, particularly showery day I wore a waterproof jacket zipped up over a fully loaded waistcoat, and that kept my kit dry. The slight downside of this was getting at the contents of the waistcoat, which took a few extra seconds, but it wasn’t a real problem. It also made me look huge, too, but then it is not a fashion show when you’re photographing out in the woolly wilds. WC FOUR POCKETS GRACE THE FRONT, THE BOTTOM TWO SLIGHTLY ELASTICATED

pockets, alongside cleaning cloths, hex keys, tripod plates and so on. Inside, on both sides of the waistcoat, are zip-secured pockets perfect for car keys, cash, wallet, passport and fiddly but invaluable things like spare memory cards. Around the back there’s one large poacher’s pocket, big enough for a waterproof, a thin extra layer, food and drink. Or a long lens. Simply, the profusion of good-sized pockets means it is easily possible to enjoy a day’s photography without any camera bag. Obviously, this is a subjective matter, but on several occasions I took out a three-lens camera outfit with filters and spare accessories for the day, with no problem at all. Although you might think that they’re for decoration, one of my favourite features were the press-stud, secured shoulder epaulettes, which were very, very useful, stopping the camera strap from slipping off. When I did have the camera around my neck I tucked the strap around the high collar, which helped with comfort. I’m average build and found the large size was a perfect fit; during the

PROS Plenty of storage, comfortable,

great to use, can be worn under an outdoor jacket, lockable shoulder

epaulettes, lightweight CONS Nothing of note

ABOVE The Raptor waistcoat boasts plenty of pockets, two of them big enough for a camera with lens. The rest easily accommodate the most usual kit

72 Photography News | Issue 72

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