The whole point of GoPros is that they can go anywhere. With a durable waterproof housing coming as standard on most of the GoPro packages, taking them into the water is a natural. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about one good option for floating your GoPro with a floating neoprene strap. Here’s another good option that has its own benefits: the CamKix Premium Bobber.
It makes shooting easier while you’re doing things in and around the water, and if you drop your camera the whole thing will float (GoPros without any flotation sink). It can also serve as a short selfie stick.
The main feature of the handle is that it floats, but it’s also a surprisingly useful on dry land (or snow land) as well. GoPro’s aren’t shaped to fit in the hand in the way a DSLR is, so handholding them can be a bit precarious and shaky. Quite aside from its floatiness, the bobbers are good for everyday use too.
They do basically the same thing. Both are hollow floating hand grips designed specifically for use with a GoPro (you won’t be able to use with a non-GoPro camera without some kind of attachment). Both are brightly colored, and both include a lanyard for extra security to put around your wrist. Both have a large rubberized grip that covers most of the shaft. Both come with the GoPro attachment bolt, so you don’t need to get any extra attachments to stick a GoPro on it. Any GoPro will work on them, including the new GoPro HERO4–they all use the same distinctive attachment method. Both bobbers come with a good quality adjustable lanyard.
One thing that the GoPro version has which this particular CamKix version doesn’t is that the lanyard detaches and exposes a 1/4″ screw to attached to a tripod, mount, or monopod for extra reach or stability. There’s a simplified CamKix bobber that does offer that specific feature but doesn’t have some of the other features of the premium version. The simplified version is also $16. Unless you need the tripod mount option, the premium version is much better value.
The CamKix Premium Bobber has a few little nice touches that set it apart from the GoPro version. And when you consider that it’s roughly half the price of the official GoPro version, it’s much better value.
For starters, the end screws off, so you can put in small items you might have with you at the beach like a few cash notes or some keys. It has a double o-ring seal to keep the contents dry. Another use is to fill the tube with water to make it neutrally buoyant. That’s going to be most useful for scuba diving, where neutral buoyancy is crucial to a successful dive.
It feels good in the hand. The tube is thick enough to get a good grip even with dive gloves on or with cold hands when you’re kayaking.
My only real criticism has to do with the high visibility aspect. CamKix’s bobber comes in a choice of bright yellow and bright orange. Both colors are good for high visibility, but I wish there was more of the color exposed and not covered up quite so much by the black handgrip. The reason this product exists is primarily to offer peace of mind that your GoPro will float if you lose hold of it. And when it floats, it floats camera down. The part of the bobber that bobs out of the water in that case does have a little yellow or orange, but it’s not a lot. If you’re boating or kayaking or surfing, where the water is stirred up around you, it’s not always easy to see small things in the water. So I’d like to see a larger surface area of high visibility color that floats above the water.
Overall, I like it. I think it’s better value than the official GoPro version. And I’ve found myself leaving it attached even on dry land as a handy way to hold the camera while shooting (the [Grenade Grip](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006XE4SIW/?tag=05060701-20 rel=”nofollow”>) is another good option for that, but it doesn’t float). And because it’s thick enough to work with gloves, it might also be a good option for snowboarding or other winter sports where the combination of high visibility colors if you drop it in the snow and the convenience for handheld shooting might be useful.