Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Posted by Jason Kravitz in "HARDWARE" @ 10:35 AM
Finding the perfect bag seems to be a theme on camera forums and message boards. With the increasing popularity of digital SLR systems there is an increase in the need for a good bag to keep it in. There are so many different varieties and styles available it is almost overwhelming to find something that works. In addition, there are different bags for different occasions. I had a few different bags but was not completely satisfied with any of them so I decided to create one using various parts and padding. Read on to find out more!
So Many Choices
I have an older Tamrac backpack for hiking and nature shots so I was looking for an urban bag that I could travel with or take on informal shoots around the city. I went to the local camera store and spent a while loading and unloading different bags but they still came up short. Comfort and accessibility were my key requirements. I was hoping to carry a laptop and eliminate the need for two carry on bags however most laptop camera combo bags were too big for what I was looking for. Another key point was use of space inside. So many camera bags are over stuffed with padding which is good for the protection of my equipment but not very flexible for carrying other things like maps, a jacket, a book or other items. Finally I wanted a bag that didn't look like it had thousands of dollars worth of gear inside.
I quickly became frustrated because many bags had some of these features but could not find one that had all of them. I was leaning towards a messenger style bag like those made by Crumpler. They were stylish but a bit too big and rigid. While searching on messenger camera bags I came across a post on a forum from a guy that made his own camera bag using a standard messenger bag (from Timbuk2) and some Domke inserts. Unfortunately he did not go into a lot of detail about which Timbuk2 bag he was using and which inserts so I bought some components and started experimenting.
I had not heard of Timbuk2 before the post but after reading some user reviews on various sites it seemed to be a highly regarded brand. They were reportedly roomy, rugged, water resistant and able to take years of abuse without showing signs of wear. You can buy a Timbuk2 from a place like eBags.com for a discounted price or order a custom one from the Timbuk2 website directly. I went the custom route which allowed me to add some features which I will go into later that have proved useful for my camera bag conversion. The classic messenger bag comes in 4 sizes from small to extra-large. I debated between the large or extra-large and finally settled on the large which provides enough space for me to fit a body and a few lenses and accessories without making the bag too bulky. I also bought a Timbuk2 laptop sleeve hoping I could fit my camera and laptop in the large bag but it is not quite big enough for this. The sleeve is well padded and I've used it in a backpack and some other non-laptop bags. Timbuk2 also has a line of laptop bags, I'm curious if these would have enough extra room for camera equipment.
Figure 1: My Timbuk2 large classic messenger bag emptied and slightly flattened.