How to comfortably carry a drone on a bike-tour and have easy access at all times? Around-the-world bike adventurer Markus Stitz found the perfect solution: Our Hipster Hydration Belt serves him as his ‘drone-carrier’. Here’s how.
While you will find a variety of bulky carrying solutions like rucksacks on the market, for me that was never an option.
I mainly ride off-road and needed something lightweight and very flexible. A solution that keeps the core of my back free. On shorter trips my essentials are normally stuffed away in a handlebar bag on my Moloko bars on my Surly ECR. My stills camera, a Canon S120 fits exactly in my top tube bag, while the tripod and iPhone clamp fit in one of the three pockets of a cycling jersey, while the remaining free pocket holds my iPhone, which is protected by a Lifeproof waterproof case. This system has worked very well over a number of journeys now, but I needed a suitable solution for my drone.
The problem: A backpack is uncomfortable and not practical
When I filmed Wild About Argyll in October I used a small backpack, but quickly discovered the limitations of this setup. Every time I spotted a good scene to film I had to stop, undo the waist and chest straps and take the backpack off. One thing that matters a lot with filming is continuity, so it was important that once the drone was setup and ready to go, I had to strap the backpack on again. While it did the job and I got some amazing footage which really added to feel of the video, I wasn’t entirely happy with my solution. And as the zip broke on my backpack, I went out to look for alternatives.
I didn’t have to search long as I remembered that the last time I cycled with my friend Brett in Wellington he used a hydration belt instead of a backpack, which looked big enough for my drone. After an online search I found the Source Hipster Hydration Belt, which looked like the perfect solution to my problem. It fitted well that the UK distributor of Source, Ison, also supports me with a number of other products like Surly Bikes and Halo Wheels, and so I got in touch with Duncan, the brand manager, to find out more.
The solution: Hipster Hydration Belt Waist Pack
A few days afterwards I held an orange Hipster in my hands and started experimenting with fitting all my essentials in there. I was just about to embark on another adventure, cycling from Edinburgh to Schwobfeld in Germany for Christmas in 4 days.
From the outset I knew that I had to cover at least around 100 miles each day, sometimes more. Cycling such distances with a backpack is no pleasure at all.
The Source Hipster Belt worked perfectly, and after a few experiments I settled on the following setup, carrying the essentials for both filming and riding: a DJI Mavic Pro drone, hard case, dry bag, battery pack, iPhone cable, protective sleeve, Schwalbe No.19 Tube, tyre lever and glueless patches, multi tool and pump. There is also room for my house keys and my debit card and some cash in there, which are not pictured.
Plenty of room to store tools and video gear
The DJI Mavic Pro drone I use is sitting in a protective hard case. The drone is one of the most compact on the market, and with a battery life of 25 minutes it enables me to film about four to five scenes a day. The hard case is then placed in a dry bag to fully protect it from the elements. The dry bag perfectly fits in the main compartment of the Hipster, with additional room for the small pump.
The battery pack is essential for longer or cold days. On cold days iPhone batteries struggle, so it provides a backup if the battery suddenly goes flat. I use my phone as controller for the drone, and while the ‘return home’ function enables the drone to find its take off point even when the phone dies, it is something I wouldn’t want to rely on. Both battery pack and cable are stuffed in a small protective pouch and sit in one of the small compartments on the belt of the Hipster. The other holds a spare tube and tyre lever which I hardly need these days, as I ride tubeless setups. The glueless patches to fix a tube (shall things go really wrong) and the multi tool sit in the smaller pockets on the back of the Hipster belt.
The Hipster has three additional pockets on it’s back, which hold some well-needed motivational chocolate or debit card and house keys. While it isn’t fully waterproof, it keeps most water and mud off, but for peace of mind I would recommend storing electronic items in a dry bag.
One of the biggest advantages is its bright orange colour. While looking at pictures and footage from riding through thick fog in Holland on my way to Germany, I recognised how it made me so much more visible on the cycle paths and roads. This is a real bonus, especially in the winter season.
I would fully recommend the Hipster belt as the perfect transport solution for drones and hydrations systems alike.
For full product details and online orders (free worldwide shipping) visit our SourceOutdoor.com Hydration Shop >>