Green Gear: Mountainsmith Zoom Recycled

it holds your point and shoot and more
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it holds your point and shoot and more

I am a professional photographer, and though I have several large, heavy, high resolution camera bodies, I often carry a my Canon G11 high res point and shoot with me in the car or in my daypack when I am not on assignment. The G11 is not one of those credit card-sized cameras that you can stick in your back pocket. It has some heft to it, and I've been frustrated trying to find a case that will hold the camera, extra cards in cases, an extra battery, and, when I am on the road, the charger. Thanks to Mountainsmith I now have a great option. 

Mountainsmith's new Zoom SM camera case (due out in about three weeks) is spacious and well thought out. The main compartment is big enough to handle the camera, multiple mini card wallets and the aforementioned battery and charger in a single compartment that has a removable divider. The inside lid has a clear zip pouch that I use to store my lens cloth and business cards, and the outside zip front pocket has more than enough space for car keys (it's got a key clip), a bar, a pen, photo releases and other small sundries. The Zoom has multiple carrying options. For full security, use the removable waist strap and the shoulder sling strap together (they can be rigged under a backpack comfortable FYI). The top handle is super convenient if you're grabbing the camera bag quickly from the front seat and trying to catch a gaggle of turkeys on the side of the road before they scamper off, for example. As my camera is not particularly heavy, I've often used just the shoulder strap, occasionally rigging the waist strap as an impromptu leash for my dog. Unzip the case, and the top folds away from you for easy access and least exposure to the elements when you're shooting in snow, sand or rain. Plus, Mountainsmith stashed a compact raincover into a Velcro bottom pocket. My only complaints: I wish it slid onto the waistbelt of my backpack, but the waist strap opening is too small, and I'd love a clip on the top to close the bag quickly when I didn't feel like zipping.

Its eco cred: The Zoom SM is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles that have been cleaned and ground into flakes and then woven into yarn. So far, it's proven durable, dirt shedding, and as good or better than other camera bag fabrics I've seen from Mountainsmith in the past.

According to the company, in the US, plastic bottles make up 20% of solid waste, and about two thirds of all US plastic bottles end up in the landfill. Mountainsmith's bottles aren't coming from stateside, but from Korea, Taiwan, China and Japan, which have developed specific programs to recycle bottles into fabric.

-Berne Broudy