We all know ONA bags. Awesome, incredible, beautiful, I have the Prince and Bowery in antique cognac and I love them. The craftsmanship is amazing and the leather is beautiful.
But water doesn’t love them. Leather and water is always a bad combination, like mixing medicine and heavy machinery, or alcohol and skydiving. If you want to destroy a leather bag quickly, take it out into the rain. I have no doubt your equipment will survive, the leather is thick and it will take a while for the water to penetrate, but that’s only part of the problem. When you are paying the sort of money you are for ONA bags, I expect the bag to survive unscathed as well.
You can treat leather, waterproof, but it’s still going to have an impact. I treat my leather gear with the usual conditioners but I still don’t like the idea of being in a torrential downpour without some sort of waterproof cover.
On that front, there are two things that are surprising for me on this front with ONA:
- ONA doesn’t give you a raincover with the bag. For the price they are charging, it should be included.
- ONA doesn’t even offer you a raincover as an optional accessory you can buy. This is more of an issue from an accessibility perspective. I.e. knowing what to buy.
Maybe the weather is a little more consistent in other locations in the world, but there is a reason they call Melbourne “4 seasons in one day”. The temperature can change by 20 degrees in 20 minutes, and bring some pretty hectic rain with it. It’s not a regular occurrence, but it happens and it only has to destroy your camera gear once for this to be a problem. This is why I set out to solve the problem.
Finding custom rain jacket is harder than it sounds because most waterproof covers are made specifically for a brand and model of bag and most aren’t sold separately. Do a search on eBay for waterproof camera bag cover and you’ll get meshy camera bags. The rain covers that do appear give very little information on the dimensions and for some, it’s cheaper to buy a bag with rain cover than a rain cover in many cases.
I finally managed to size up and find the following:
Why National Geographic? No particular reason at all, it wasn’t that I was looking for matching bag covers, but it was a convenient outcome, it is the only colour it comes in. It’s also one of the few brands that sell their waterproof covers separately and specifies their bag dimensions on the website.
The fit on both bags is actually very good, almost good enough to seem like they were made for the bags. They can both be attached to the outside of the bag or inserted in’ one of the flaps. They also offer velcro components that allow you to attach the bag around the strap.
If you have the leather Bowery or Prince and you want to make sure your bag doesn’t get mind wet the rain, I’d recommend this as a solution.