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This is a shout-out to SKB Cases in America, to thank them for sending through a replacement part - for free!

When working in the Arctic or Antarctica, my current camera case is an SKB Series 2011-7 which has a Think Tank backpack inside (instead of the usual padded inserts). It's an unusual combination, but here's my thought-process.

When photographing from the ship, my camera gear is ready and available in my cabin, but when we leave the ship, we either go for a walk or take a 'zodiac cruise'. And whenever you leave the ship, there's the danger of water splashes and losing your cameras over the side. The latter isn't such a worry (very unlikely - and I'd be more worried about me than the cameras were this to happen), while changes in the weather can mean you're being suddenly splashed and rained on. 

Humans wear weatherproof clothing, cameras are carried in camera bags or dry cases. However, standard camera bags and backpacks are problematic because if you put them on the floor of the zodiac, they can get wet. On the other hand, put a tough plastic camera case on the floor of the zodiac and there are no problems at all. The case is also quick to open and close, which while not essential, has saved my gear when working in the tropics on a surfing trip (a big wave caught us)!

When you get to shore, you might walk or trek for a couple of kilometres, in which case a hard plastic camera case is very awkward to carry. My solution is to leave the camera case at the landing site and take out the backpack - the best of both worlds. This approach works brilliantly in Antarctica most of the time, but in the Arctic we often get picked up at a different landing point and, because there are a lot of zodiacs, my plastic camera case might not be in the zodiac that takes me back to the ship. This is the flaw in my approach for the Arctic, in which case a backpack/dry bag is a better solution.

When flying to the Arctic or down to the Antarctic, I generally put the SKB case through as checked luggage (it has Sorel boots inside, not valuable cameras) but on my last flight back home, the pressure release button on the bag was damaged. Not much point having a water proof case with a hole in it, so I went to the SKB website for a replacement.

SKB doesn't sell the replacement parts directly, but nor could I find a distributor in Australia or the USA that carried them, so I sent SKB an email to find out where I could get one. Their answer was to package up two pressure release valves and post them to me here in Australia.

That's great service - thank you SKB!

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