WARNING! Peak Design Everyday Camera Bags and Backpacks Are Susceptible to Mould Infection

I was recently prepping for a shoot in the city the next day so one of the first things was to decide which camera bag or backpack to carry my gear in.

I opened the big closet in my storage room where Peak Design, F-Stop Gear, Think Tank Photo and MindShift Gear camera bags and backpacks are kept, took a Peak Design Everyday Backpack out into the sunlight and, lo and behold, found it was infected with mould.

I then took out two Peak Design Everyday Messenger bags out into the light to find that they, too, are infected with mould.

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I recently discovered that two Peak Design Everyday Messenger bags and one Everyday Backpack were infected with camera and lens destroying mould while camera bags and backpacks by other manufacturers that were stored in the same large equipment storage closet remain untouched by mould.

None of the Think Tank Photo, MindShift Gear, Cosyspeed, and F-Stop Gear bags and backpacks appear to have been infected with mould.

For safety’s sake I had no choice but to immediately throw out all three Peak Design camera bags and backpack and luckily there was a trash collection tomorrow morning in order to get them out of the building.

I was saddened by having to do so as I applaud the creativity and innovation inherent in Peak Design’s products and have enjoyed using all three in the way for which they are designed, for daily carrying of the more mundane items of life and work along with camera, a lens or two and other smaller photographic items.

I have a large collection of Peak Design camera straps but almost all of them are stored attached to cameras in reasonably well-sealed plastic boxes with silica gel packs inside, and so far I have not found evidence of mould on any of them.

None of the Peak Design bags and straps had leather trim on them; they were all in the Charcoal colourway that is trimmed with synthetic materials whereas the Ash colourway is trimmed with leather.

As soon as I threw out the Peak Design bags I checked the straps on my cameras as well as two other boxes containing several spare straps and accessories.

Ever since the climate here in Sydney started becoming progressively more subtropical several years ago I have been conscious of the possibility of mould infection in leather products after discovering mould on a leather jacket, leather boots and leather-trimmed shoes.

I tried out several brands of anti-mould sprays on them but the mould eventually returned so the jacket and footwear had to be thrown out.

Then I discovered that certain types of plastics can also become infected with mould, most notably several Hedgren shoulder bags made from synthetics.

I have been progressively  swapping over to shoes and other products made from synthetics rather than leather but it is clear that certain synthetic materials can also be a threat.

Mould infection on two Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bags and one Everyday Backpack

Will’s Vegan Shoes Releases Possibly Perfect On-Location Boots and Shoes for Photographers and Moviemakers

London-based online boot and shoe maker and retailer Will’s Vegan Shoes and Accessories Co. has released candidates for what may be the perfect on-location boots and shoes for photographers and moviemakers, Waterproof Hiking Boots and Waterproof Hiking Shoes, in men’s and women’s version and in a range of sizes. 

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Will’s Vegan Shoes & Accessories Co. has released what may be the perfect work boots and shoes for photographers and moviemakers, in a range of sizes for men and women.

Shoe designer Will Green “started Will’s Vegan Shoes with a passion to provide animal and human friendly shoes with high-street styles and prices. My dream is to bridge the gap between everyday people and ethically produced vegan shoes.”

I have had to pay particular attention to leather products in our home and home studio and offices in recent years, since radical climate change set in and many leather products here began attracting mould for the very first time.

Mould is fatal to cameras, lenses and electronics.

Leather goods, leather trim on camera bags and camera straps, leather boots and shoes and even some synthetic fabrics can become mould breeders almost overnight, and once established mould can spread from item to item and throughout the house.

Black mould has proven to be a particular problem for some Sydney residents of our acquaintance, requiring them to evacuate their flats and the flats themselves to be boarded up, declared uninhabitable.

I have tried removing mould from affected items with anti-mould products of various sorts but mould spores always seem to remain deeply embedded even when the surface appears clean.

As a result we have now embarked on a total leather elimination policy.

A major facet of that is the replacement of leather and leather-trimmed shoes and boots with products made from vegan leather.

We have just placed an order with Will’s Vegan Shoes in order to try out one of Mr Green’s products and test them for size, one of the biggest concerns when buying boots, clothes or shoes online from an unfamiliar supplier.

Links

Luminous Landscape: Peak Design Straps – The Cuff and Leash Review – with COMMENTARY

https://luminous-landscape.com/peak-design-straps-cuff-leash-review/

“Most people are familiar with Peak Design, a company that makes camera bags, packs, and straps. I have been a major fan of the company’s straps for quite some time and have mentioned them on a number of our Toy Shop episodes. Peak Design has, in my opinion, invented one of the best camera strap lines on the market…

… Since using the Peak Design system, I have never been happier with the use of straps. Peak Design offers a variety of straps of varying widths as well as a wrist cuff strap. As soon as I get a new camera or even a review loaner, I insert the Anchor Links. Then, depending on the weight of the camera or how I’ll be using the strap, I decide on which strap to use….”

Commentary:

I have yet to see the new Peak Design Cuff and Leash appear at a camera store, here so please read this commentary bearing that in mind.

The only local camera store that carried the Peak Design brand has now closed and the remaining camera store in our local area has a very limited selection of stock of any brand; Peak Design is not one of those brands.

Like Kevin Raber of Luminous Landscape, as soon as I buy a new camera or receive a review loaner, I attach Anchor Links then a Peak Design Clutch and Peak Design Cuff and never remove them unless a loaner must be returned.

As a result, every single camera in my collection wears its Anchor Links, Clutch and Cuff on a permanent basis, the latter two only coming off when I need to place the camera inside a cage that requires their removal in order to fit.

Camera cages with built-in strap attachment points have only started appearing in the last year, via brands like 8Sinn (latest version not yet on their website), Movcam and SmallRig. I have been looking for an optimum solution for attaching Anchor Straps to other cages, L-Brackets and hand grips but the best so far, Peak Design’s Pro Drive Screw, has its annoyances and limitations.

I have tried many different brands and types of camera straps over the years, made by camera manufacturers and third parties, and none of them has been ideal. Some have failed spectacularly and others have proven to be a real pain to use.

One of the brands that came closest to ideal until I discovered the Peak Design brand through the late Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape was Dsptch, and I still have some of their products stored away should I ever need them again.

After buying the Peak Design Capture Pro camera clip, quickly followed by the company’s Clutch, Cuff and Leash camera straps, then trying out Peak Design’s Slide and Slide Lite sling straps for reviews, I have not looked back.

Capture Pro is my most-used Arca-Swiss conversion solution for traditional stills and movie tripod quick release camera plates, until I invest in an Arca-Swiss clamp for each of my current stills and video tripods and monopods.

Slide and Slide Lite live in storage until I need to cover events and documentary subjects demanding a two-camera, two-lens in-depth approach where both cameras must be easily available at all times. Even then, Clutch and Cuff remain in permanent residence on every camera.

Leash, my first Peak Design sling strap, is reserved as a safety strap during urban and bush treks when I am carrying one camera in the hand but run the risk of dropping it in risky terrain.

I am not sure if and when I will have the chance of my first look at the new Cuff and Leash, so must rely on articles by trusted reviewers like Kevin Raber.

I have a couple of cameras at the top of my wishlist, the coming Fujifilm X-E3 mostly for documentary and portrait stills photography and as a backup to my X-Pro2, and the Panasonic DC-GH5 mostly for documentary moviemaking.

I am currently undecided as to whether I will attach the new Cuff and old Clutch to them both, or start searching for old versions of Cuff at online retailers as old Cuff has served me well over the years.

I have a couple of concerns about new Cuff and new Leash. Foremost is the leather component of Peak Design’s Ash colourway, introduced in the company’s Everyday camera bags range.

Now that the effects of climate change and global warming are well set-in here in Sydney, the risk of mould has become a constant concern. When mould attacks leather and certain plastics, its spores set up permanent residence inside and can never be removed.

With a sudden change in the weather, mould’s fruiting bodies can appear on the surface of the leather or plastic then start spreading onto other products inside and nearby.

The idea of susceptible leather and plastics transferring mould infection to cameras, lenses and other expensive objects fills me with horror.

I have asked Peak Design staffers to confirm whether the Ash colourway’s light tan leather trim and the Charcoal colourway’s black Hypalon synthetic are resistant to mould or not, but have not heard back about that yet.

There are other concerns with leather, whether mould-resistant or not. Leather production is part of the global industrialization of agriculture and is inherently cruel as well as environmentally irresponsible. I will not be buying any more leather products or products containing leather, so no Ash colourway Peak Design products for me.

Another concern is the idea of metal parts in close contact with fragile camera parts whether when on the move or at rest. Old Clutch and old Cuff have all-plastic hardware that has not shown signs of mould so far and neither have they rubbed my cameras and lenses up the wrong way.

Slide, Slide Lite and Leash go into their own little fabric bags, other small bags or camera bag internal pockets until needed then go back there or into safe storage when at home.

For now, new Cuff and new Leash’s aluminium hardware is an unknown quantity.

My appeal to stop using leather in camera bags and accessories

I am calling on all makers of camera bags and accessories to stop using leather.

The reasons are clear and well-justified – the extreme cruelty of industrial agriculture, its environmental irresponsibility and the ever-growing problem of mould infection resulting from climate change and global warming.

There is no intrinsic need for leather even in products like shoes and boots. Camera bags and accessories makers like Cosyspeed are leading the way in showing that leather simply is not necessary.

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