ZEP Gear Review: HooRag
Full disclosure item #1: Hoo-Rag's customer service representative contacted me through my website, letting me know about their product and that she thought it could be beneficial to photographers who operate in extreme conditions, like shooting in the desert. She then wondered if I'd be interested in trying one out and writing up a review. Obviously I said yes.
Full disclosure item #2: I live in Maryland, where it's currently a balmy 24 degrees Fahrenheit, and nowhere near desert-type conditions. It's actually quite boring right now.
Full disclosure item #3: I generally look like an idiot in a Hoo-rag.
Item #2 left me with quite the conundrum. You see, Hoo-rag advertises themselves to a large number of different types of folks, and I questioned how it might be applicable to photographers. Anglers use the Hoo-rag to keep sun off of their neck and face. Its moisture wicking material lends itself to keeping people in warm, outdoor settings dry and well ventilated. Runners use the Hoo-rag to cut down on the wind that might hit them in the face as they're trucking along. Snowboarders might use the Hoo-rag to block the winter chill and snow from freezing their stylish mustache.
How, then, was I going to demo this product and make it applicable to photography? Read on to find out...
Baby, It's Cold Outside
The obvious application for current East coast photographers is any type of use where they Hoo-rag can block the cold, harsh temperatures, and the frozen precipitation that might be falling from the sky. The Hoo-rag has the ability to be used as a hat, to cover one's head and keep heat in, and can also act as face cover to keep snow from freezing up your lips and causing your nose to run. The face cover feature of the Hoo-rag is really helpful, because I'm a warm breather (ask my wife) and wearing the Hoo-rag over my nose keeps my face toasty and warm, no matter what the weather is like. Because of its moisture wicking ability, the moisture generated by my hot breath doesn't fog up my face, which also helps if I happen to be wearing glasses. Practical Application For Photographers #1: This moisture wicking technology also helps to keep warm breath away from the face, which might ultimately fog up the viewfinder of your camera. Neat-o!
Another neat thing that Hoo-rag is doing with their product is wholesale, custom Hoo-rags. Got a big event coming up? Maybe you're hosting a Photowalk, or having a paintball tournament. Hoo-rag will help you design a custom Hoo-rag to fit your needs, complete with your logo for the event. Obviously, Hoo-rag is only going to do this for bulk orders, and I was unable to get a single "Zach Egolf Photography" custom Hoo-rag.
That being said, there are a ton of designs already on Hoo-rag's website, some of them more colorful than others, and there's a good chance that a Hoo-rag already exists to fit your needs. Practical Application For Photographers #2: I'm a bit partial to the camouflage designs, and if you're into outdoor photography, Hoo-rag has designs that will help you blend in with your surroundings, and prevent you from scaring off wildlife!
Hoo-rag is fairly inexpensive (retailing at $14.95 with free shipping) and designed really well. It's flexible and, as you can see in some of the included photos, fits even the fattest of heads (I wear a 7 1/2). Practical Application For Photographers #3: Probably the biggest benefit that Hoo-rag can provide to photographers is its portability. Hoo-rag does a lot while having a very little footprint, as far as size is concerned. What does this mean for photographers? Hoo-rag can be thrown in just about any bag you want, and not take up a ton of space. Whether you bunch it up and put it in a pocket, or lay it flat in the laptop pocket of your Think Tank Airport Takeoff Bag, Hoo-rag isn't going to intrude on your gear, and won't get messed up, no matter how you store it.
My Hoo-rag is going to become a permanent addition to my bag, because I never know when I'm going to need some sort of cover, even if it's just out shooting an engagement session!
You can pick up a Hoo-rag at www.hoorag.com, MSRP $14.95.