Adventures in Photography

Posted: September 29, 2015 in Ramblings

A little over a year ago, Gran-Gran sent us her black Zuca Sport rolling suitcase.  Our intention was to use this as an airline carryon, but it exceeds the dimensions for that.  So I had this brilliant idea to use it as a rolling photography kit.  Three people, three or four cameras, and all our gear…our former photography bag was the Kipling Sherpa, which was quite roomy and adequate but got very heavy!

Unfortunately the Zuca Sport didn’t do so well, even on blacktop.   I wrote to Zuca suggesting an “outdoor adventure” model and learned that they were actually in the process of developing an off-road model for these kinds of situations!  The company offered me a prototype if I’d do testing and of course I said yes.

Frankly I’d forgotten all about this, because so much else was going on, but two weeks ago Zuca contacted me to see if I was still interested.  Well, we hadn’t come up with an alternate rolling gear solution, so I said yes again, and today the product arrived.  We will be putting it through its paces this weekend and upcoming weekends, but here are the initial thoughts as it comes straight out of the box.  Behold the Zuca All-Terrain:

Compared to G-G's Sport model on the right.

Compared to G-G’s Sport model on the right.

First of all it’s a lot bigger than I’d expected.  I’d visualized a Zuca Sport with the bigger, more rugged wheels, but the entire frame has been sized up.  The Zuca Sport had sufficient interior space to carry all our camera gear; in the All-Terrain, there’s plenty of room for more stuff.

We always carry:

  • a Clik Elite ClikSit
  • a MeFoto Roadtrip tripod
  • a MeFoto DayTrip tripod
  • my Fujifilm X-T1 in a snug fit neoprene holster case
  • Chris’ Sony RX100 in a slimfit leather case
  • Alex’s Ricoh WG-4 camera in a slimfit nylon case with a waterproof strap (this is a waterproof camera)
  • a slim zipper pouch with all the accessories for Chris’ camera
  • a bigger zipper pouch with all the accessories for my camera
  • a Gorillapod
  • notebook and pen
  • (usually) a bottle of water or two
Loaded, with room for more.

Loaded, with room for more.

As you can see, all those items fit in the All-Terrain easily.  We can definitely get Chris’ Canon DSLR in there as well.  There is also a slim side pocket that holds a Surface Pro 3!  Can you tell I’m excited about this thing?

Side view of the All-Terrain. The zip pocket holds the Surface Pro 3.

Side view of the All-Terrain. The pocket that holds the Surface Pro 3 is on the other side (an elasticated deep pocket). The one you see here, zip pocket, is rather shallow.

Other than the size, this also differs from the Sport model in its handle.  The Sport model has the standard rolling luggage type handle of two parallel bars that are joined across the top by a horizontal grip.  This means you can slide a carryon with a trolley sleeve over its handle for easy carrying.  However, the All-Terrain has a single extendable pole with a fixed handle on it.  (It took me a few tries to figure it out, but it’s in place now.)  It seems easy to steer (on the hardwood floors, at least).

Stay tuned for this weekend’s report on its handling and utility.  Posts about this unit will be tagged with ‘zuca.’

Whoops.  Came back to edit and point out that small-car drivers may have trouble with this thing because of the size.  We have a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon so there’s plenty of room in the cargo section, but the wheels are big (12″ diameter), far apart (18″ span), and the bag is 24″ high when the pole is retracted.  I can see the wheels being an issue for some.

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