Essential gear to spend your hard-earned cash on this month
This month’s birding goodies include binoculars, hats, bags and cameras
SWAROVSKI CL COMPANION NOMAD BINOCULARS £2,070
A new look for the CL Companions – the Nomad look. These hand-crafted bins have vegetable-tanned leather armour, titanium closing rings and screw components, a leather strap, and a leather field bag, and come in an engraved wooden box made with PEFC certified Oak. Swarovski even provide beeswax to help you look after the leather case. The binoculars are available as 8x30 and 10x30.
COTTON CARRIER SKOUT SLING HARNESS £80
If you want to carry your camera or binocular in a secure way but keep it accessible during more active pursuits, this could do the job for you. You wear the harness around your torso, and use the patented Twist & Lock mechanism to attach your camera or binocular. Available in camo or charcoal grey.
CLOTHING WASH REPEL – CLOTHING 2 IN 1 £9.99
It’s Bluesign approved (shouldn’t that be Greensign really?), water based and “environmentally responsible”. If you ever wash your filthy birding gear, one wash with this stuff will clean it up and reproof it, saving time, energy and water. You are meant to tumble dry or iron the garment to activate the proofing though – tumble drying is recommended to maximise water repellency. It can be used on all fabrics including Gore-tex. The bottle is recyclable, too.
CHUMS STINGRAY CAMERA AND PHONE FLOAT £7.99
That nice compact camera may be waterproof, but that doesn’t mean it won’t sink all the way to the very deep bottom of whatever you’re floating on or standing beside. Attach to your wrist for maximum protection. But even unattached, as long as the camera isn’t too heavy (test it in shallow water), you won’t lose it when it jumps overboard. Available in black or yellow.
TILLEY TEC-WOOL HAT £80
This Tilley has their usual lifetime guarantee and is handmade in Canada. It also has a clever membrane that opens when it’s hot to let heat and moisture escape, and stays closed when it’s cool to keep your birding brain warm. It keeps the wind and rain out, and has tuck-away ear warmers, a sweat-wicking headband, internal size-adjustment and a secret pocket. But as I’ve told you, it’s not so secret. In rust or black.
CAM RANGER MINI £230
This cunning widget enables you to operate most Canon or Nikon DSLRS with a smartphone or tablet from as far as 120 metres away. You can leave your camera in-situ, head to the tea-room, and take your pics from there! It works with a free (revamped) IOS/ Android app – together they make their own Wi-fi network. You can change your aperture setting, shutter speed, white balance, ISO and more from the comfort of the tea-room. The battery lasts around 3-4 hours.
LOWEPRO WHISTLER BP 350 AW £327
This is one for photographers who carry serious kit into serious environments. It’s tough, configurable and versatile, and if you need even more protection there’s an all-weather cover. The main access is from the back – so you lay it down on its front, keeping the back out of the muck. The Whistler will carry other stuff as well as the camera gear – in the expandable front pocket and via the heavy duty attachment system for example. 2.97kg. Internal: 23.2x16x35.3cm.
CRAGHOPPERS WOMEN’S MISKA V HALF ZIP FLEECE £35
One for your Christmas list maybe? This half-zip microfleece comes in nine colours including warm ginger and winterberry. I wonder who comes up with the names for the colours… Whatever colour you choose, the Miska is velvety, soft and cosy and only weighs 290g. It’s 100% polyester but is recycled fleece – well done Craghoppers. Wash & Wear it says – well, what else would you do? Life guarantee. Sizes 8-20.
NIKON Z6 FULL-FRAME CAMERA £2,099 BODY ONLY
The tough, weather-sealed 24.5MP Z6 (and the £3,399 Z7) will see people divorcing their DSLRS. Its 55mm lens mount lets more light in, its autofocus works on 90% of the frame and “fast-moving subjects are tracked with absolute precision in any light”. What a claim. You can shoot at 12 fps, there’s five-axis Vibration Reduction and an “ultra-bright, ultra-sharp” EVF. And the FTZ mount adapter means you can use those F-mount Nikkor lenses you love so much… 134x 100x 67.5mm, 675g.