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Stealth Gear One Man Wildlife Photography Hide Review

Will Cheung makes himself invisible to the birds with a Stealth Gear One Man Wildlife Photography Hide.

|  Stealth One Man wildlife photography hide in Clothing - outdoor gear
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The Stealth Gear One Man Wildlife Photography Chair Hide is light enough to carry some way and comes with a backpack. It is also very quick to set up ready for use. It costs £74.99 from Warehouse Express.
The biggest issue with nature photography is getting close enough to the subject to get frame-filling pictures. Take wild birds, for example. They are small, nervous and need powerful telephotos to get decent sized images. But you will even struggle with a 300mm focal length on a cropped sensor DSLR (equal to 450mm-ish on a 35mm format camera) unless you can get in close, say, five metres from the subject.
The idea of a hide, of course, is to help you get really close enough to the subject without spooking your twitchy subjects.
At the local reserve, a hide is a permanent structure; at home you can use the conservatory, the shed, the house itself, if you bait the area, ie have a bird table and a suitably photogenic branch strategically placed for the birds to perch on.
These Stealth chair hides offer a portable, practical and comfortable solution to shooting away from a permanent hide.
They are also well priced, whether for occasional nature photographers or professionals. The Stealth Gear One Man Wildlife Photography Hide costs £74.99 from Warehouse Express with the Two Man version selling for £89.99.
I tried the One Man version in the woolly wilds of my garden. The hide comes in a backpack carrying bag and it is not too heavy (just over five kilos). It is definitely much lighter than my fully laden camera rucksack and tripod. 
Setting the hide up takes a few seconds, once out of the carrying bag. Unclip the retaining strap and you are halfway there. All you have to do is stretch out the legs and bring the hood over the seat, and make sure the securing clips are in position. People who have owned old convertible sports cars will probably relate to the experience. Pegs are supplied to hold down flaps if needed.
Stitched into the bag is an instruction sheet so you always have a reference, although to be fair it is not needed after a few goes.
Once up, it is time to get into position. Obviously it makes sense to organise your camera kit ready so once you are in position, you can settle down and quietly wait for your photographic victims to arrive.
There is a cup holder in the chair arm, two side windows and the front window can be fully unzipped or you can shoot through the foldaway window. The fabric is waterproof so if the weather turns nasty you can carry on shooting, obviously making sure your camera kit is kept dry too.
Setting up takes a few seconds, organising yourself and your kit ready to start shooting probably takes longer. Packing the hide back into the carrying backpack is easy and just takes a little effort, but before long you're off to the next location.
I think it is a terrific piece of kit. It is quick to set-up, and is very effective. It is cosy, though, so if you prefer more room (or you want company) spend the extra 15 quid and go for the Two Man version.
There is a knack getting into position and then setting up the camera, kit and everyone will have their own way of doing this.
Once in, though, the seat is comfy and all you have to do is be patient. If you are a fidget, like me, the hide material does not make any significant noise and that is definitely good news.
I know it is not quite the idea, but I did leave this portable hide for a few days in the garden, just disappearing into it when I had a little time. I had set up a feeding station – a feeder with suet balls – and a branch next to it and took shots of my garden visitors. Some species are nervous anyway but I got some shots of the usual suspects, such as robins, blackbirds and starlings without much of a wait.
I am going to venture further with it. There are various farm fields around where I live and I have seen from afar deer, hares, pheasants and so on, so I will try my luck there. Obviously, it is worth saying if you do this sort of thing it might be worth mentioning this to the land owner if you are going to be there for any time.
I am not a dedicated nature photographer but I do enjoy dabbling in this challenging side of photography and have spent many hours in static hides waiting for something to arrive in front of my camera. I have even recently set up a feeding station in the garden and this hide would be perfect for that – just add red wine and let the photo fun begin.
I have never made the investment in a portable hide thinking I would never use it and that it would just sit and gather dust in the garage. But for £75 I think this Stealth hide is brilliant value and I am thinking of taking the plunge because it is so easy to set up that I would use it. It is practical, compact enough to be left in the car on the off-chance and it is easy to use.


Stealth Gear One Man Wildlife Photography Hide: Specification
Price: £74.99 One Man Hide, ££89.99, for Two Man Hide
Height: 1.35m
Base length: 1.1m
Base width: 0.8m
Weight: 5.3kg (11.7lbs)
Material: Heavy-duty waterproof polyester

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I agree it's a great bit of kit, I wasted money on some of those 'pop-up' models. They have a life of their own and for me were impossible to fold back up again.
AThis was probably my third purchase and my reluctance was based on the fact that you can't sneak in the back way, you have to front load so there is a degree of disturbance. the birds very quickly come back though.
Well worth the money and I'd buy another.

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