Saturday, 5 March 2011

DIY Light Gear Bag

DIY Light Gear BagEven if you are a minimalist Strobist, all of that gear (DIY or otherwise) starts to add up and becomes a PITA to store and to carry around. I've got a lot of DIY gear, so when the time came to look at a bag to tote this gear around, I went for a DIY solution and found one using a snowboard bag and some Velcro.

My first step was to pick up an inexpensive ($25) snowboard bag on sale. My second step was to buy a roll of self-adhesive Velcro (also about $25).

I cut the Velcro into strips and attached the rough portion to the inside of the bag at regular intervals so I would have a lot of flexibility in arranging my gear inside the bag.

I did a test run with some gear (you can see the smooth portions of the Velcro still have the white backing on the tape).

Happy that everything was on track, I then attached the smooth Velcro to some black cloth I happened to have and then used a box cutter to trim the cloth to the Velcro.

I looked for a snowboard bag specifically because they have to be thick enough when closed to accommodate a snowboard's bindings. That thickness means I can attach gear to both the bottom and the cover, and with the right bag (like the one I bought), I can lay the whole bag open and reach straight for the specific piece of gear I want. Here you can see the final result with my gear attached to the inside. BTW, the cloth bags are my DIY sand bags from an earlier project.

Some post-production notes:
- the instructions on the box of Velcro said that the adhesive needed 24 hours to cure, so make sure you don't go playing with your new bag until its ready.

- the adhesive apparently doesn't stick that well to flexible vinyl, which is what my bag is made of. I haven't had any problems to date, but I figure there are lot of adhesives out there that can get the job done if I do.

- my gear is all "short" so the bag actually folded in half when I picked it up; there was nothing inside to give it rigidity along its length. This is pretty cool and allows me to pack the bag in a pretty small place, but it is a bit awkward for carrying. To give the bag some stiffness, I place my painter's pole on the inside near the "hinge" and extended it the length of the bag.