The Camera Harness from Cotton Camera Carrier Systems is a vest for photographers which secures your camera when it is not being used.
As someone who frequently hikes and takes photographs for this website, I always have my DSLR with me when I’m out exploring new trails. The problem is you generally have three options when hiking with a heavy camera and large telephoto lens. Option 1; hold the camera in your hand the entire time. Option 2; keep putting it in and pulling it out of your backpack. Or, Option 3; hang it loosely over your shoulder with a standard neck strap.
The problem with holding the camera is that it gets tiring, and your hands aren’t free for scrambling difficult trails, using trekking poles, eating snacks, or just about anything else. The problem with taking the camera out of your backpack all the time is that, well, it’s a pain in the ass. And the problem with neck straps is the camera swings around while hiking on difficult terrain, and is susceptible to damage.
When I learned about the Cotton Carrier Camera Harness, its usefulness was instantly apparent to me. You wear the harness, and when you’re not actively taking photos, you simply clip your camera into the harness. A special plate attaches to your camera’s tripod socket, which allows the camera to be easily secured and unsecured to the harness. It has an intelligent design that allows the camera to quickly be accessed when needed.
The harness is comfortable and sits in the center of your body, so the weight of the camera when secured isn’t noticeable. When secured to the harness, I never found the camera bouncing around or getting in the way of my natural movements.
The Cotton Carrier Camera Harness has an additional Velcro strap at the bottom the harness, so you can secure the telephoto lens itself to the vest. This way, it’s secure at both the camera body and the lens. This means the camera is held tight to the harness, and doesn’t jiggle or bounce around.
Another nice thing is the Cotton Carrier attachment plate plays nicely with Arca-Swiss tripod mounts. You can easily take the camera from the harness straight to your tripod.
I also give this product bonus points for being a local company, based out North Vancouver, which is always great to see.
The Camera Harness been a great addition to have on my hikes, so I can take photos when I want and have my hands free the rest of the time, without any fuss.
I have used the Cotton Carrier Camera Harness while hiking and it’s fantastic. But I think it could also be a great solution for trail running because the camera is so secure when using the velcro strap. If you don’t believe me, check out the above video. While parkour is not the recommended use case for the camera harness, after watching that video, and using it hiking, I think it might be a viable options.
I spent one summer day trail running Garibaldi Park (Black Tusk, to Panorama Ridge, to Garibaldi Lake, back to parking lot) – all while carrying my DSLR in my hand. I got some great shots that day, but what a pain running around with a heavy camera in your hand for 8 hours. Not to mention my fear of taking a spill on the trail and smashing the camera. While there would still be risk of taking a spill while running with the harness, I think the risk of camera damage would less because we tend to put our hands out to lessen the impact of a fall.
I honestly think the Cotton Carrier Harness is a viable option for moderate trail running. I hope to try it out trail running soon and will update this review.
The downsides are few and minimal.
It takes a few minutes to set up out of the package, and to adjust the vest to a nice, snug fit. Once its set up, however, its ready to go at a moment’s notice.
The other downside is the harness itself. It works well under backpack. But if you want to add or remove a clothing layer as temperatures change on your hike, you have to first remove the harness itself. This adds a few seconds to that process. Which again, isn’t a big deal, because that happens infrequently.
And you might get a few sideways looks with a camera strapped to your chest – but I think photographers are already used to that carrying around big cameras and tripods anyways.
Overall, the Cotton Carrier Camera Harness is a fantastic addition to my hiking and photography kit!
CCS Camera Harness-1 system includes:
- Camera harness
- Universal tripod adapter plate
- Hand strap with rubber mounting plate
- Rain cover
- Anodized aluminum camera hub and rubber washer
- Camera-hub mounting bolt
- Camera tether strap
- Allen key
- Lifetime guarantee to the original owner.
They have several vests and other products as well, be sure to check out the Cotton Carrier website.