The first line of defence in our bags is the material they are made from, that is why we use a composite of canvas and StormBlock, a Billingham-developed material. The canvas we use actually comprises two layers of canvas that are fused together to give an uncompromising waterproof finish. In tests our canvas composite is able to hold a column of water in excess of 19 metres high, but even that is not enough. A Maeser test is also conducted which flexes a sample in water more than 100,000 times after which it still showed no signs of letting water in.FibreNyte
Many of our bags find themselves in some of the world’s most inhospitable places and on the receiving end of some very rough treatment. For instance, we have had a report of one of our canvas bags being accidentally dragged behind a 4x4 over rough terrain for some distance. The bag and equipment survived. Another customer told us that his Billingham had been covered in melting roofing tar in a house fire - again the bag, camera and lenses ‘lived to tell the tale.’ Despite this we decided we needed to offer an even more hard-wearing material for extreme conditions. After a long search we came upon FibreNyte - a man-made, high performance fabric which is bonded to a polyester lining with Billingham StormBlock whose useful characteristics include its excellent abrasion resistance and colour-fastness.Leather
The leather we use across the range is known as top grain which as its name suggests, is the uppermost part of the hide. Top grain leather is strong, wears well and is surprisingly resistant to stains. We also like the fact that natural features such as growth marks can still be seen after the vegetable tanning process, which makes each hide unique.
If left untreated, animal skin begins to break down. To prevent this from happening, the hide needs to be preserved or ‘tanned.’ Images of people wearing leather are shown in cave paintings and the way our leather is tanned would probably be quite familiar to those artists. Rather than using some pretty unpleasant acidic chemicals, we use natural compounds such as tree bark and other organic matter – hence the name: ‘vegetable tanning.’Metal Fittings
Brass is an obvious choice for bags which need to endure extreme conditions. It won’t rust, it’s tough, it looks great - even when it’s old - and doesn’t break when you tread on it or drop it like plastic would. As you would expect, we only use the highest quality fittings from trusted suppliers who share our quality standards.
Our black bags feature nickel plated brass fittings, because we think it looks better, so that's an extra process for the components to undergo and for our quality control to check.Zips
Zips are incredible pieces of engineering we all take for granted, but if you stop to think about how close the tolerances need to be to for them to work properly they are quite something. Because we appreciate how difficult it is to make zips that will go on working for many years in all kinds of conditions, we use only the best quality zips from the world’s leading suppliers. The type we use have their teeth woven into the support tape for added strength and to keep them as flat as possible – that way they are less likely to damage the bag’s fabric or any delicate equipment.Lining
It is vital when choosing a lining for a premium camera bag that it is non-fray, so that it doesn’t shed any fibres which can get onto and into lenses, filters and camera bodies. It might not be the most obvious quality you look for in a bag, but it is another detail that matters to us. Our material was selected for this reason and for its excellent ‘anti-wicking’ characteristics, which prevents any moisture being absorbed.Webbing
The webbing we use throughout is spun polyester – the same material you will find in military spec items such as parachute harnesses. We chose it because it stays flat, wears extremely well and doesn’t absorb moisture and consequently rot like many other materials. Another point worth mentioning is that our webbing is woven on old style looms which aren’t as fast as modern ones, but we think they produce a denser, more durable weave with greater pliability. Closed Cell Foams
We use various densities of closed cell foams in our products to protect your equipment. Precisely which is dependant on where it will be fitted. What makes these foams so useful to us is the way their tough, durable cells act like miniature shock absorbers, spreading any impact loads, while at the same time, providing excellent resistance to moisture, mould and fungi. What is more, they are excellent insulators.Rivets and Press Studs
Where appropriate, we use rivets to secure components and for reinforcement purposes. As you would expect, we use only the best press studs in our products, so we know they won’t let you down. Their strength depends on where they are and their purpose.