Useful Travel Items: Always-On Case

I am not as gentle on my cameras as I could be. In fact, my current one is half-dead because something has gone wrong with the zoom knob – a lot of the time it ignores me, a lot of the time it switches on movie instead and some of the time it zooms in the wrong direction. This is driving me up the wall and it’s still a month and a half until Christmas, when I may acquire a new camera.

One of the things I do to look after my cameras is keep a case on them. But we all know that when you’re using the camera you stick the case in a bag or you just drop it, the case gets lost, the case just plain doesn’t get used because it’s a hassle to always be taking it in and out.

(There are affiliate links coming up. That means if you click on them and then buy anything from Amazon in the next day or so, Amazon gives me a few pennies.)

This is where my magic cases come in handy. Ok, they’re not actually magic. Nor are they actually mine. A few years ago I discovered Always-On cases. They’re a neoprene wrap for a camera, attached by a little screw in the bottom that goes in the attachment hole of the camera. You wrap them around when the camera’s not in use and tear off the velcro and let the case flap when it is.

Always-On case folded up

Always-On case unfolded

I admit, this does look a bit silly but you soon forget all about it.

They come in a variety of fabrics, colours and patterns. My first one was plain black neoprene and it was great but the plastic bar that goes along the bottom of the camera eventually broke. I had two new ones for my birthday. One is a furry cow-patterned one. Which I love but furry things go bald with use and I don’t want it to go bald. The other is another black neoprene one but this one has a miniature tripod built in. And when I say miniature, I really mean tiny. It has three little legs, about a centimetre in height, which you can fold out. Mostly this means you can point the camera right up or right down and not much in between but it’s something. I found it impossible to stand up at the right angle for taking photos across the City Park in Rīga but it was ideal for perching it on a pointed fence post in Akranes for photos of the Northern Lights – when I wanted it pointing right up.

Always-On case with legs unfolded

Always-On case with legs folded

The fence post I balanced my camera on.
This is the fence post I balanced my camera on, with the help of its miniature legs.

However, while searching for it on Amazon, I discovered that the little plastic plate on the front leg folds out. I’ve just tried it out and it’s so much more stable and you can point it at much better angles. Right. Learn from my mistake. You can flick down the front leg.

Always-On case attachment bar

As for protection – well, you’ve got a piece of neoprene wrapped around your camera. A piece of soft foamy literal rubber. You still need to be a bit careful but I can sling my camera across the room to land on my bed or chair or drop it from my hand by accident from time to time and it takes knocks like that quite happily.

(Mind you, I once hit the screen with an ice axe. It knocked out several pixels but within days they’d regenerated. It may be that I have an indestructible camera.)