I’ve been using Gura Gear backpacks and accessories for a few years now, and have recommended their gear to students and friends without hesitation. I was also a member of their Pro Team, a special sponsorship program where I had the chance to try new products in exchange for feedback and suggestions based on real world testing.
Last year, Gura Gear purchased Tamrac, another well known camera bag manufacturer. To my disappointment, I was notified last week that Gura Gear is no more, and was being absorbed into the larger Tamrac brand. A few of the GG bags have been redesigned and will now have the Tamrac branding and logo. Obviously that ended my association with Gura Gear. I understand the move, yet I can’t help feeling that the spirit of Gura Gear bags will be lost.
It’s difficult to maintain the unique advantages of a small company in larger organizations. It’s one of the reasons I love and support the mom & pop shops we have here in my hometown of Beacon, even if it costs me more. In the long run, I establish relationships that go way beyond the savings of going to a large box store in another town. Store owners know my name, and ask about my family, by name. I do the same, and that makes me more than just a customer. In many ways Gura Gear felt like a mom & pop as well, which is one of the reasons I recommended them to others.
One thing I’ve learned about the photography industry is that people and companies come and go at an alarming rate; change is inevitable and often relentless. Many of the friends I had in the industry just three to four years ago have moved on, and those that remain have become even closer friends. This has happened across several of the companies I work with, and while I can understand that “it’s business,” I miss those who helped me along the way. Gura Gear and their small staff are no exception, so I want to say thank you to GG for their support in the past.
I will continue to use my Gura Gear bags, namely the Uinta and the Kiboko 26L, because I still think they are great backpacks. But because I hike a lot and put lots of demands on my outdoor gear, I will be looking at bags from other manufactures over the next few months, including the new Gura Gear inspired bags from Tamrac. I want to get a sense of what’s available for the discerning photographer who wants a great bag and needs a recommendation.
In the meantime, Outdoor Photo Gear has just purchased what may be the last batch of original Gura Gear bags and has them discounted until the sell out. If you’d like to get a Gura Gear bag at a great price, this is the last chance you’ll have to get one. They’re bound to become collectors items once supply runs out world wide.