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When Serfas offered their Buffa3 GoPro case for review, I almost declined. The Hero 3 Black we purchased earlier this year is safely stowed in a hard case when not being used. And then I started thinking about what to do when we’re traveling with it. No sense leaving it mounted to the bike on the way to the trailhead, or the way home. Or when the battery dies halfway through a ride. GoPro makes a tough camera, but if it’s not recording, I’d prefer not to expose it to all the hazards we encounter on our local trails. Having a small and inexpensive case would make it easier to stow it and some included accessories in a backpack or hydration pack. So I took them up on their offer.
The Buffa3 is not quite as high-tech as the camera it’s designed to hold. Outside, it’s EVA foam, molded into an oddly-shaped clam shell design. Inside, there’s soft fabric that won’t scratch your camera. That’s a bit like a silk-lined jackhammer case – it sees rough use all day, but is coddled when not in use. The closest thing to a moving part inside is the elastic band (a seatbelt for your GoPro) that holds the camera in place, lens facing away from you. You can easily slide your remote under the elastic too. It’s just roomy enough that the camera fits with most of the smaller mounts still attached, and it doesn’t seem to matter at what angle the mount is set to. If you’ve spent some time getting it just right, that simplifies things if you need to take it out and mount it again. There are also a couple of teeny pockets for memory cards, but I’d rather store shot footage in a hard case than a plastic sleeve. Outside, there’s a zipper. Nothing fancy, just getting the job done.
Testing something like this isn’t nearly as difficult as writing an engaging review about it. Zip it open, put your camera inside, zip it shut, and continue with whatever else you were doing. We tossed it in the CamelBak we reviewed, and also in the Geigerrig 1210. Suddenly, it made a lot more sense. When there are bike tools and other stuff, some with sharp edges or surfaces harder than a GoPro, all in the same pack, a little extra protection provides a sense of security you might not otherwise have. The first time we took the GoPro with us on a road trip, it rode loose in a laptop bag, with the laptop, charger, etc. Having its own little case is much nicer.
Is the case worth $38? My DSLR bodies and accessories usually travel in a $400 rolling case, so I’m obviously not averse to paying for protection. Would I drop almost $40 to protect my GoPro? Probably. But if I don’t, and my camera gets damaged during a time that the case would have protected it, $40 is going to seem inexpensive. The remote or a new housing are about twice that. Looking at it that way, the Buffa3 is cheap insurance for your investment. serfas.com
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the Buffa3 for free from Serfas in consideration for review publication.