Folding utility cart for Photography
For Hauling Photo Gear on Beaches and boardwalks
There are many thoughts and opinions about carrying tripod-mounted long lenses. Some folks, like Moose Peterson, recommend heading down to the beach with your tripod-mounted 600mm lens and a teleconverter and nothing more. Others, like Arthur Morris, keep equipment loaded in a photography vest and even recommend carts to haul your gear to your location. As I thought about my trip to Southwest Florida, I tried to decide what my game plan would be. As this was my first air flight with a long lens, I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage all my gear on a plane, much less on the beach. I thought about the beaches I would be on and the boardwalks I wanted to take and decided I didn’t want to be caught lugging my gear long distances. Or worse, I didn’t want to get to a location and realize that the gear or lens I wanted was back in the car. To this end, I decided to research carts.
I looked at several recommend by Arthur Morris on his site and then did a google search. By luck, I came across this cart which was sold by Improvements. I read the reviews and decided to give it a go. Because I ordered it only a week or so before I left for my trip, I had it delivered to my house so that I could make sure it was something I liked. Then I packed it back up, took it down to the post office and had it sent priority to my hotel room. Unlike shipping gear ahead, I knew that if this didn’t arrive in time, I would still be able to continue with my trip and meet my photo goals.
When I unpacked the cart, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the materials and the sturdiness of the frame. The nylon construction was very rugged and I felt that it would hold up to a lot of abuse. I loved all the side pockets, which were well placed and deep enough to safely hold things like my cellphone, car keys, extension tubes, and teleconverters. I quickly assembled my Nikon D700 with a 1.4 teleconverter onto a 600mm lens. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this lens/camera combination fit perfectly within the cart. On the beaches and boardwalks where I pulled this cart, I also added a pair of binoculars, a Nikon D7000 with a 70-200mm lens, a hotel towel, water bottle and snacks. On top of these items, I placed my tripod with the Whimberly head across the frame.
In the above image, you will see a sun cover, which I set up to keep my equipment protected from the hot sun. A nice addition. I found that the wheels were quite rugged and pulled quite well on all but the softest sand and, even then, I felt it was easier than having to carry everything. I felt this wagon was a lifesaver as it allowed me to carry all the equipment I thought I might need with a third of the hassles and fatigue of having to carrying such heavy equipment for long distances. In fact, several other photographers on the beaches commented on the quality and uniqueness of the setup and wanted to know where it was purchased. They, too, were trying to find a compromise between wanting to take long lens to locations and trying to lessen the back breaking effort of getting it there. Another advantage of the cart is that I could keep my gear out of the sand and harm’s way. Also, folks recognized me from quite a distance and came by to reacquaint themselves- a nice side benefit. When I finished my trip, I packed the cart back up in its original box and shipped it back home.
When I am photographing again in a distant location, I will definitely ship this wagon to the location ahead of time. My back really thanked me for being so considerate.