There are very few things that I brought on every trip this year, but my XShot GoPro Pole was always there. From Antarctica to Manitoba, from cage diving with great white sharks to trekking gorillas in Uganda, my XShot Pro camera extender, along with my GoPro, was the first thing I packed. It’s made for action shots and outdoor activities with rugged, heavy duty construction and less than 7 ounces in weight. After taking it to more than a dozen new countries this year and using it almost daily, I finally wore out the extendable arm. (It certainly wasn’t because of bad design and more because of extensive abuse.) Luckily, I recently received a new one from Outdoor PR for review because I don’t want to leave home without it.
My first trip of 2015 was to Antarctica. The extreme cold and salty air didn’t affect the XShot at all. It worked perfectly for the entire trip. I never struggled with extending or shortening the pole and it was easy to clip onto my jacket to leave my hands free when I was doing other things like hiking volcanoes or taking the icy plunge.
During my trip to Mauritius, the XShot was ideal for swimming, snorkeling and playing in the water with Athena. She even learned how to use the XShot and took a few photos herself. The wrist strap comes in handy when she’s using it or when I’m using it but need to hold on to her. If she’s distracted in the water or needs her hands free, it just dangles from her arm. I make sure it’s on tight enough that it won’t fall off and we’re good to go. It might be too heavy if she was trying to swim with it on her own; as long as she has on her water wings, she’s fine with the weight.
The XShot really shone during my underwater encounters this year. I was able to get up close and personal with great white sharks during my dive with Islander Charters and I managed to get a selfie with both a great white and a whale shark because of the long reach of the XShot. Since the Xshot Pro has no locks or holds, it was quick to both use and put away so I could capture the moment as it happened. Very few guests on the dive trip were able to get such close range photos.
The only time I worried about the XShot capabilities was during my trip to Israel. I took it with me into the Dead Sea and it worked perfectly. I didn’t have any issues at the time, but I forgot to wash it off after leaving and I think that’s when it started to get sticky when trying to open and close it. The mounting is made from aircraft-grade aluminum but it never worked quite as smoothly after taking it into the saltiest water on Earth.
Even after bringing it into the Dead Sea and using it in the most extreme conditions on the planet, it still works but I struggle with closing it as quickly as before.
Most recently, last week, I brought the XShot with me to Churchill, Manitoba on a polar bear excursion. I was in and out of below freezing temperatures regularly and it still worked well. I was able to test out the stabilization while dog sledding and both the photos and videos were smooth.
This year, I put the XShot Pro to the ultimate test and it passed with flying colors. I was able to get selfies with penguins, sharks and whales, I dove with it, flew with it, drove with it, mushed with it and tried it in every condition in between. It’s simple and fun to use and I can’t recommend it enough.
***Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the XShot Pro for free from XShot as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication. All thoughts and opinions are my own.