Wildlife Watching Supplies' Bag Hide
Light Weight, ‘Hardwoods Green’ camouflage pattern bag hide, from Wildlife Watching Supplies: http://www.wildlifewatchingsupplies.co.uk £50.59p
Upon receiving this lightweight (450g) bag hide, I couldn’t wait to try it out, so I decided to pop out to my local lake and see how it worked. Now I have never tried taking photographs from a portable hide, let alone a bag hide, so I was surprised just how easy it was to do. Simply throw the hide over you, the camera and tripod, and point the lens out through the adjustable hole. There is then a hood for your head that has a fetching scrim net to cover your face (this can be stuck out of the way with the use of the Velcro pads attached) - then sit back and wait for the action to come to you.
On my first trip I was dubious as to how well the hide would work, but to test it well I sat in quite a prominent place where my silhouette wasn’t particularly well hidden (not something I would normally have done). After a few minutes the local great crested grebes were happy to come and feed within a few feet, not something I have ever managed in the past, even with my stealthiest attempts. But this could have been down to the grebes’ familiarity with local fishing bivvys, so I had to find a stiffer test to put the hide through its paces.
Test two came on a snowy day so the hides’ superb real-life camouflage was less effective, but the ability to hide my human shape was called into use. The test was to try and photograph some locally wintering short-eared owls, not the easiest of feats normally, but after a few minutes of sitting waiting I had one of these stunning creatures flying within a few metres, even landing in the long grass (which unfortunately blocked any photo opportunity). The bird continued to hunt around me for a couple of hours without showing any nerves, brilliant!
As you can tell the hide works.
But what of it’s make up? Well, as mentioned earlier it is very light weight, and easily rolls up to fit in a rucksack (or strapped to the side), it kept me warm in the snow by taking the edge off the cold wind, but has proven to be breathable in the sun.
The aperture for the lens is a slit that has Velcro on either side to adjust around the largest lens. One of the great advantages is that it can be worn like a poncho so you don’t need to keep setting up and down each time you move (very useful when stalking your targets) and it is big enough to house a person, camera, tripod and stool when settled. The actual camouflage material used is of a real tree type design and this merges well with most backgrounds.
So to conclude, the hide is not just useful for anyone wanting to photograph wildlife it is invaluable; roomy, light, portable, well designed, ignored by wary wildlife, and easy to use – a real winner!
Ashley Beolens – http://beolens.redbubble.com/
Created: 19th Jun 2009