Ode to the Domke Lens wrap!
I first discovered these indispensable photography accessories years ago, when I was just a blooming amature nature photographer. I was walking the aisles of a camera store in Los Angeles and I saw this neatly folded up padded red cloth with velcro. I asked the salesman, what’s this for? He went on and on about how you must have these Domke lens wraps 19″ Domke Red Wrap…my First! for all your equipment and well, he was so enthusiastic about it, I bought one to try.
The wrap has a felt like nylon blend on the outside (the color side) and a smooth finish inside, like the separators in your camera bag. There is velcro on each corner. I didn’t have many lenses but the 19” wrap is big enough to cover your whole camera and say, a short zoom. It was back in film days, and I liked covering my main camera and lens, especially when I carried it in my daypack while traveling. It gave a little padded protection to my camera even though I had a pack insert as well.
I didn’t have much money to spend on cameras or accessories, especially with buying plane tickets abroad! So I bought some similar material at the fabric store and sewed my imitation of the domke wrap. I purchased long strips of velcro and wrapped my other lenses in these makeshift wraps. I was pretty proud of my humble creations and they did work ok for extra padding in my backpack which was way before the invention of the fancy camera backpack I use today.
In my early 20’s, I went through a huge traveling abroad phase. I packed my Nikon F-3, and 24-120mm, very similar to what I carry today except now of course, I shoot digital. My camera got the Domke wrap and all my other used lenses etc got the humble wraps I made with my sewing machine. You do what you have to do when you are first starting out!
I was on a tour with my marine biology college class in the North eastern rainforest of Australia. I will remind you this was not the rainy season and rain was unlikely. It was a perfectly clear warm day and we were hiking, looking for birds. Suddenly rain began to fall and then downpour… and my camera was getting soaked (I was too but was entirely concerned with my camera!)! I had foolishly left my day pack to go light as possible for the hike. The only thing I had with me was my Domke wrap, it was around my macro lens I brought in my vest pocket. I quickly unwrapped the macro lens, putting it in a baggie left over from lunch and back in my pocket. I wrapped the Domke wrap around my camera & lens which kept it totally dry still hanging around my neck!
Once the rain eased up, we continued hiking and came upon a really pretty scene and it was still just sprinkling a little. I found I could velcro just two corners around my camera strap and create a rain shield covering all but the end of the lens barrel. This way I could still shoot while keeping my camera dry! I had discovered a whole new use for this amazing little red wrap! I couldn’t do this with my homemade makeshift wraps.
Everyone else with a camera was putting their cameras under their shirts and hats! They were quite envious of my little wrap that didn’t mention on the package that it was waterproof!
So, when I returned home and before my next trip abroad, I bought 3 more wraps, all black in color this time, and a couple of different sizes like the 11″ 11″ Domke wrap, good for smaller lenses. to protect all and be ready for any weather! One issue I ended up having is the black wraps where not as visible as the red, and I left one on the ground doing a night scene just days after arriving in England. One wrap down, I tired to be more careful.
Later when I met my husband/photographer Flash, and we began shooting horse shows etc, I noticed he didn’t have any wraps for his lenses and I was outraged! “You need to protect your lenses from the dirt and dust you experience daily doing horse photography shows!” I passionately told him. So I gave up two more of my precious wraps for his lenses and he quickly lost two more black ones because they blend in the grass or dirt in low light! DARN IT!
So.. I ordered him yellow and purple, me, more red and now all our camera bags are full of lenses and colorful Domke wraps! Though he is not crazy about colored wraps, he has not lost them to this day, many years later which is a good thing! The middle size fits the 70-200mm perfect! 15″ Domke Wrap, good for the 70-200mm!
So you may think I’m wrap crazy, and I’m sure there may be other brands of wraps similar, but Domke, made by Tiffen btw, will always have my business as these inexpensive well made little accessories have saved my equipment from rain, dust, dirt and bumps, more times than I can count at this point!
Do yourself a favor, grab a few for your bag! You won’t be sorry, I promise!