Miggo Agua Storm Proof Camera Bag

Posted by on June 29, 2015

Miggo Agua "Storm Proof" Camera Bags

Miggo’s innovative Agua 35 (front) and Agua 25 “storm proof” camera bags.

A few weeks ago I got a message on LinkedIn from Israeli camera strap maker, Miggo. They wanted to know if I was interested in trying out their current Kickstarter project, the “Storm Proof” Agua camera bag. As a confirmed camera bag whore, of course I said yes. Today is the last day for the Agua Kickstarter project, so if you like what you see and read here, you need to move fast to get in on the pledge deals they’re offering.

Miggo sent me two pre-production Agua bags, a small one that can accommodate smaller bridge and mirrorless cameras (Olympus Pen or Fujifilm X100); and a bigger bag that can carry larger mirrorless cameras (like the Olympus OM-D or Sony A7 full-frame bodies) or a prosumer DSLR. I primarily used the large bag with a Samsung NX1 – a larger mirrorless camera mounted with Samsung’s excellent 16-50mm f/2.0-2.8 zoom lens.

Miggo Agua Interior

The MIggo Agua camera bag is lined with neoprene, which provides some padding as well as more protection against moisture.

The first thing I noticed when the Miggo Agua bags showed up was the construction – they’re very polished and immediately inspired confidence. They have a waterproof exterior and a neoprene-lined interior – a very good strategy for protecting camera gear from weather and impacts. The zippers are water-resistant and there’s a fabric sheath over the ends of the case to further protect against seepage at the ends of the zipper.

Miggo Agua Camera Bag & Removable Strap

The Miggo Agua’s shoulder strap doubles as a camera strap and comes with two quick release connectors so you can attach it to your camera when you’re not using the bag.

Miggo Agua Camera Bag & Internal Connector

The Miggo Agua camera bag has an internal QR connection so your camera can’t ever fall out.

One of the cool things about the Agua bags is the way they integrate a convenient dual purpose strap into the design. If you’ve ever used a compact camera bag, you know it’s often difficult to cram your strap in the bag with the camera. The Miggo designers came up with a clever solution for that problem. The Agua shoulder strap has quick-release clips on both ends and comes with two extra QR connectors to attach to your camera. When you’re using the bag the strap becomes the Agua’s shoulder strap. If you actually need a camera strap, you just unclip it from the bag and attach it to your camera via the two provided QR connectors. Another nice touch is the quick-release clip inside the Agua. You use the interior clip to secure your camera to the bag so the Agua functions as both protection and strap.

Miggo Agua - IPX3 Storm Proof Rating

The Miggo Agua’s IPX3 rating means it can handle “water spraying up to 60º from vertical at 10 liters per minute for 5 minutes at a pressure of 80-100kN/m2.”

The Miggo Agua has been lab tested for an “IPX3” weather-resistance rating. According to the Agua Kickstarter page, that means it can handle “water spraying up to 60º from vertical at 10 liters per minute for 5 minutes at a pressure of 80-100kN/m2.” I didn’t actually get a chance to use the Miggo Agua in the rain or snow. However, I take gear testing seriously and wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t do my due diligence. So, to find out how “storm proof” the bags are, I took one out in the yard and gave it a good hose blasting for a couple of minutes. This wasn’t the kind of standard drenching it might get in the rain, either. I used a nozzle on the hose to increase the pressure and aimed the water directly at the zipper as well as over the body of the bag.

Miggo Agua Storm Proof Testing

Testing the Miggo Agua camera back for weather resistance. It performed great!

When I toweled off the outside and unzipped the Agua, there wasn’t any apparent water inside. There was a tiny bit of dampness on the protective baffle just inside the zipper, but not enough to hurt a camera. This wasn’t a scientific test like Miggo used to get the IPX3 rating. However, I’m quite confident the bag would protect my camera if I was out in the rain for an hour or so. I’m not sure about a full day of pouring rain or a raft trip. But for normal hiking or street shooting in the rain or snow, I have complete confidence in the Agua.

To see the bag in action, watch the video on the Miggo Agua Kickstarter page.

Miggo Agua Problems
Nothing is perfect and I did have a few issues with the Miggo Agua camera bag – mainly with sizing and the waterproof zipper. Personally, I hate waterproof and water-resistant zippers. Yes, they do keep moisture out and there’s no doubt they’re a critical part of the Agua design. However, they easily get stuck and too often I end up frustrated when I’m trying to use them. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution to offer here. This is more of a public service announcement for photographers who haven’t used waterproof zippers, before. In this case I think they’re a necessary evil. But be aware that you will be periodically annoyed when trying to zip or unzip the bag.

Miggo Agua - Water-Resistant Zipper

Water-resistant zippers can be frustrating since they easily get stuck.

The inconvenience of the zipper is just something we need to live with. However, the main problem I had with the Agua is sizing – I think the bags are a bit small. There are three models, the Agua 25, 35 and 45. The two bags I have aren’t labeled but based on the Kickstarter page descriptions I assume they’re the 25 and 35. The Agua 35 handled the Samsung NX1 I’ve been using just fine, but that’s pretty much the limit. I tried using it with my Canon EOS 70D and 17-55mm f/2.8 IS zoom lens and it wouldn’t zip shut. Since the EOS 70D is more or less the same size as the 5D Mk III, for a full-frame DSLR and 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens, the Agua 35 is out of the question. For pro and prosumer cameras, you’ll need to step up to the Agua 45 – unless you’re ok with committing to one small prime lens. And if you’ve got a full-size pro body like the Nikon D4 or Canon EOS-1D X, forget it – even the Agua 45 is far too small.

Miggo Agua 35 Camera Bag Sizing

The Miggo Agua 35 camera bag with a Samsung NX1 mirrorless camera and 16-50mm f/2-2.8 zoom lens.

Finally, while the Miggo Agua works great for hiking and other relatively upright and casual activities, I don’t think it’s really designed for aggressive outdoor sports. I tried it on my mountain bike and it was fine when I pedaled around on the street in an upright position. But if I bent forward in a committed pedaling or downhill position, the bag slid around and hung down in front of me. The same thing would happen skiing or riding a road bike. To be a real option for outdoor action sports it needs a stabilizing strap or something else to keep it from sliding and flopping around.

As a corollary to the limited space problem, I was also concerned about lack of room for accessories like memory cards and extra batteries. However, while I was working on this article, I checked back in on the Agua Kickstarter page and discovered they’d addressed those issues. Because they’ve had such a great response to the Kickstarter project, they added a memory card compartment and designed an optional external waterproof battery case. The fact that they updated the design to answer some of my complaints – before I even made them – makes me feel even better about Miggo’s approach to product design.

Miggo Agua Camera Bag Conclusion
Ultimately, the few complaints I had don’t outweigh the fine design, excellent construction and usefulness of the Miggo Agua. While there is some room for improvement (isn’t there always?), the Agua is an excellent camera bag when you need to travel light and you’re going to be out in the weather. I really like the dual-purpose strap (even on its own, it’s a great camera strap) and I have a lot of confidence in the ability of the Agua to protect my gear in the rain. I absolutely give it my thumbs up.

As I finish up this article, the Miggo Agua storm proof camera bag is in its final hours as a Kickstarter project. However, they have more than met their minimum and the Agua will go to production and be available for purchase. But if you want to be a Kickstarter backer and get in on the Miggo Agua reward deals, you’ll have to act, immediately. A pledge of US $55 gets you an Agua 25, $60 gets you an Agua 35 and for $65 you get the Agua 45. The deadline for the Miggo Agua Kickstarter project is 5 PM, Tuesday, June 30th, NY time.

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