Three top line pochade boxes Strada, U-Go and PaintBook (EdgePro)

dencaldencal -
edited June 2019 in Studio & Supplies

Three short videos demonstrating the three top line pochade boxes.

Please add to these.




  • edited June 2019
    Very timely, I'm looking to replace my easel with something along these lines. I'm leaning towards this one:

    Joshua Been is a great painter too. The reason I like this one, is that the canvas holder is detached from the palette, so you can stand and keep the palette low, while keeping the canvas at eye level.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited June 2019

    A week ago I purchased the 11"x14 1/2" u.Go 00701 anywhere plein air pochade box just to use in my home.  Some of the accessories still haven't arrived yet like extra palettes, carbiners, and cinch straps.  I'm liking everything about using this product so far.  I'm using a standard tripod and shoe that I had on hand.  I can use my own substrates and adjust the tilt and height for sitting or standing.  The box uses powerful magnets so I would not recommend it to people who wear pacemakers or who cannot control the environment in which other people are wearing pacemakers.  And, I am keeping the unit well away from our computers, cell phones, certain credit cards, etc.  Just saying! 


  • I had a recommendation for the Strada, so I looked it over, and it sorta bothered me that while it is a box, the box part really doesn't do much for me.  I tried to distill it down a little. I saw the U.Go and felt it had the same problem.  lots of snazzy looking cut outs, but they don't really do much.  I thought about it more, and basically wasted a lot of time because all of these evolved from James Gurney's unit, and I was reinventing the wheel.  Too bad I didn't see it first.

    At the moment I am making both a Gurney and a 6 x 8 U.go, though I am making both to my own needs.

    The Gurney is basically just like a plywood book cover, if you can imagine that.  I think the flat surfaces are more efficient.  I am going to finish in boat epoxy so I can mix directly on the wood, and yet have easy cleaning.  I also prefer wooden panels to the watercolour book Gurney uses so I will do a little more to have an easle functionality, but still mostly flat surfaces.

    Of course the Strada and others are perfectly nice.  I just am not spending 500 Canadian for something I can make closer to my need for free, and a pair of tension hinges.  But for many people the money is not an issue, and they can't do the woodwork which just takes them away from painting.

    I like the Strada best if I was buying, and it is basically milspec strong, which is hard to get without the metal.  But I don't need that, and can always make repairs of a new one.  But it does go to show what a commercial model can achieve.
  • I'm actually saving up for a pochade box at the moment. I liked the easyl video attachments and the fact you can carry 2 wet canvases.I didn't like the look of the tripod though and was thinking maybe I'd get the strada tripod with the easyl box and umbrella
  • That is a nice system and if you have panel storage, you are at least getting a real box system.  The advantage to the newer (evolutionary) systems is that they focus on the most efficient way of getting a canvas at the right angle, and a workable pallet, and not much else.  The weight and junk saving is considerable, and the functionality of the painting system is better, but you loose the storage and other features of the real box.

    I was interested to see just how junky a tripod Gurney uses He recommends the Amazon essentials model.  Or similar.  The Strada is very expensive, though at a 1 to two rounds of golf level that is not an issue for everyone.  The main cost driver seems to be the use of carbon fiber,  That seems to have few definitive advantages in this case other than weight, about which later.  Particularly now that they are using the legs as a means of supporting pallets on some models, which seems somewhat abusive of a material like Carbon.

    Light weight should trade off against price and stability, where you can have any two but not three.  So this begs several questions:

    1: how rigid does a painting tripod need to be?  It is not directly factored into quality of result as it is in the photography paradigm. Of course if you are using to for both, you are somewhat trapped.

    2: what is you working height.  It is much easier to get a stiff short tripod for seated work, than for standing work.  But most people will be using both postures.  If you always sit you can probably get away with less in a tripod.

    To me, the biggest weakness in these tripod based systems, is the attachment point for the box which was not designed for the product we are using with the tripod, and is also in current format even a bit of a kludge for cameras.

    An important feature of any tripod for me is minimal shinny surfaces, even black is not good enough, it need to be semi gloss or flat black to keep the animals happy.

    Painters are handy, and some even have woodworking skills.  You can still make a Plein Air system for 50-100 dollars that beats everything out there commercially, depending on what feature set you settle on.  Just mentioning it for those who are sensitive on price.
  • One other minor point is that since the 70s, at least.  We have seen the degree to which there are exponential increases in outdoor performance for linear reductions in weight carried.  I had a small version of this when a friend and I did a big backpack along a lake, and covered a particular section in multiple days, carrying packs, that we later blitzed through when trying to make a rush for the car to circle back to pick up our boats from a Kayak trip.  We covered in one afternoon, carrying basically water, the same distance we had managed in about 5 days the previous year.  And for the athletes out there, from the first oxygenless ascent of Everest, onward, the advantage of stripping back the gear can be enormous.

    Now that I am 60, and worse for wear, I use these same principles just to keep moving.  Lightening the load is pretty much my only hope.  And it can be achieved at either end of the cost spectrum pretty much equally.  You have super high-tech gear that can be very lightweight, but often gains a lot of weight back through excess "features".  At the other end of the spectrum, you can just streamline and reduce the complexity of gear, and you often end up with the same efficiency.

    Pride of ownership is about the same.  At one end of the spectrum there is the pride of "owning the best", at the other end of the spectrum there is the conceit of having known what you didn't really need to take.

    I just bring it up because they are even marketing plein air as "extreme". What used to be regarded as a contemplative pastime of people in smocks, is now right up there with BASE jumping.  So it can be fun to apply similar principles.
  • edited June 2019
    Doing plein air with a pochade box whilst base jumping is something I would like to see.

    But not necessarily take part in.

  • What I liked about the strada one besides the weight was that it folds up small but yeah $250 dollars is a bit pricy.
  • I've paid that for individual chisels, or putters.  I could afford that kind of thing when I was working and before the kids came.  I don't mean to dis them on price.  I just wasn't certain that for me the format did what I wanted.  If I was sure about that, I would probably buy one.  For now I haven't even fully settled on the size I am working, too new at this stuff.  Those of you who know better, can make a more informed choice.  My explosion of "ideas"  is purely the newbie effect.

    One thing I like about DMP, is that Mark has put almost everything up in a do it yourself format, that at least for those of us who work wood is a huge gift.  (I took note of his commend in one video where he said if he didn't have to keep up with his bills he would be working wood in Hawaii, so he is one of us on the woodwork).

    I was working on a boat project the other day, and I got some coats of epoxy on my U.go ish side trays.  Two on one, and one on the other.  Looks like it will make a really good pallet surface.
  • While I like the Strada, I'm using more of a DIY kit at present. 

    I bought a framed corkboard and a whiteboard that I attached photo tripod mounts to.  My untubed paints live in a Mijello sealed palette and I mix on disposable palette or even a handy paper plate.  If I'm traveling I have a rall wheeled toolbox for everything in the Jeep mothership, and a small toolbag for essentials when afoot.  I like the wheeled toolbox for taking everything into the hotel in the heat of the day, or when overnight parked.  It's tall and heavy enough I can use it for a stool, or use the handles as a tripod easel.  And it's the right height to be a mobile side-table/taborette, ...and it locks!

    For truly-mobile and discreet sketching I have a urban-sketching watercolor thumb-box made from a real cigar box and a sketchbook in an innocuous messenger bag.

    At 60 I've reached the point where I need my chair, beverage cooler, tripod, camera, umbrella and several elephants.  I justify everything by quoting J.S. Sargent about searching for a comfortable to sit ...then looking up.

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