nju system – Splashbag: The first underwater photographers‘ backpack

In the past few months, we not only designed a new range of universal SLR housings, but also a new kind of backpack suited to the needs of photographing divers.

But what defines an uw-photo backpack?

There are many photo-backpacks available, however most of them aren’t ideally suited for divers. Housings, domes, uw-strobes and flash arms tend to be much bulkier than lenses and cameras and thus they require a different design approach. In particular, large professional SLR housings or 9” domes are difficult to accommodate.

Normally, most photobags aren’t water resistant. The better ones feature a rain cover that you have to pull over the bag, but then you can’t access equipment quickly.

Sometimes it’s also problematic to put wet/moist stuff inside conventional bags as they aren’t designed for this. Lightness is always an issue to deal with, as are size restrictions for plane carry ons.

While constructing our new bags we were able to solve these challenges.

1. Zip located harness side with a splash protective collar

Regular backpacks feature a main zip on the opposite side to the harness meaning that while opening the bag, the harness has to be placed on dirty or wet ground. The material used for a padded harness won’t dry quickly so if you need to carry it you will wet your clothes. We have put the zip on the opposite side so that the harness is protected. The backpack features a collar that generously overlaps the zip so equipment is also protected from water splashes even when the bag is unzipped.

2. Water resistant and robust design with semi-rigid plates

The material of backpack is waterproof. During the design, we also thought about waterproof stitching but decided against it because of cost considerations. Since the backpack is padded with rigid plates it is highly unlikely that water will actually enter into equipment compartments, even when placed on wet ground for longer periods. Of course you can’t put it directly into water. But on a boat there shouldn’t be a problem. The semi-rigid plates are used as pads for equipment and always guarantee a stable form of backpack without the deformation common to regular photo backpacks.

3. Stowable harness

The harness is padded with highly adjustable straps which feature a mechanism for stowing loose ends. There’s also an adjustable chest strap. We have decided against a waist belt because it adds bulk. The bag is light enough to carry without one. The lower straps can be detached with two simple clips and completely stowed in a zipped compartment.

4. Padded dividers suited to needs of underwater photographers

The most important design feature is the padded divider system useful for bulky equipment. We have made these bags with our own brand of universal housings in mind. It is large enough to accommodate our large Pro-SLR housing which is 230 mm in height, on the picture you’ll see our smaller SLR housing (175mm height). The additional stow room can be used for flash arms in neoprene bags. You can also add a towel or other accessories for daytrips or for additional padding. On the other half there is a two stored compartment. The upper one is ideal for large 9-10” domes and extension rings and/or Nikonos lens adaptors can be added, even smaller uw-strobes fit.

The lower compartment can be used for large or small strobes, ports, extensions and Nikonos lenses. As you see it’s also possible to accommodate a housing with a large viewfinder. A nice feature for a day-trip since there’s no need to remove viewfinder. The size of the whole compartment should cover regular uw-imaging equipment sets. The dividers are Velcro fixed and highly adjustable.

Meshbags are used for stowing all kinds of accessories like  (wet) cables, chargers, even small strobes fit inside

5. Size and weight

Size: 52 x 38 x 25 cm/20” x 15” x 10” has been made to fit flight cabin requirements and weight is 2.8 kg

6. Additional features

A business card holder is provided below the collar, there is no branding on outside to be inconspicuous and bag has carrying handles on three sides

7. Price

Price is 350 € with all taxes included (300 € without), but without shipping charge.