A few weeks ago I posted about how I was looking for a new “in the field” photography gear bag. Well, I’m happy to say that thanks to all of you, I found one… actually two.
Why Two Bags?
I realized that I had some pretty specific requirements. After looking, I found that one bag probably wasn’t going to suffice. Here’s why. First, I wanted a good walking around sling-type bag. Something that I could bring on a long photo walk or a quick trip. But I also wanted a backpack styled bag that could hold a little more as well as a tripod and work well for a good hike (sling bags are okay, but backpacks tend to work better for that kind of stuff).
I Don’t Carry A Lot Of Gear
I got a lot of great ideas from the comments that day. Many of them pointed me to bags that were bigger than I need. See, I’m a light gear person. For my outdoor photography, I typically only bring my camera body and two lenses (Nikon 16-35 and either the 28-300 or 70-200). I need a small area for my filters and cleaning clothes and that’s about it. I don’t carry flashes, brackets, gels or anything else that would take up space or weigh down the bag. So (for me at least), a small bag is good.
The First Bag
The first bag came from your comments. It wasn’t even on my radar and I probably would never have found it if it wasn’t for that post. It’s the Tamrac Velocity 9x. I looked at the bag online and was able to see it at the Tamrac booth at PDN Photo Plus in New York last month. I spent about 20 minutes in their booth, putting it on and off and messing around with it. That pretty much sold me. I walked over to the B&H booth and placed my order. I almost went with the smaller 8x version but I’m glad I didn’t. So far, I’m in love with it. It not only works as a great walking around camera bag, but on my recent trip to Toronto, it’s the only bag I traveled with both on the plane and for shooting. It fit my camera body and 3 lenses no sweat. You’ve got to see the images to really see what it looks like inside though. But I really like the way it slings over your back and pulls around to the front. I found it incredibly simple to get on and off, and to get to the gear I needed quickly.
The Second Bag
I looked at the Kata 3n1 for a backpack-like / sling bag and almost bought it. In fact, I really liked it and nearly had my credit card out to buy one. But then I found the Tamrac bag above. However, I still wanted a backpack-styled bag. I find them easier to move around with when I’m climbing up and down something. I needed something a little larger, that also had a tripod holder on the back so my hands are totally free when I want. After looking around at the Photoplus show I found the Vanguard Adaptor series bag and knew it was for me. First off it just looks great (and yes, that really does count). It’s actually a combination between a backpack and sling bag. It’s got zippers if you pull it around as a sling bag, but it also has a big zipper on the back to get at everything when you take it off your back. But for me, I use it mostly as a backpack. It fits the gear I need (again, I travel light). And the thing that really sold me is the bottom support section of the tripod holder zips in and out of the bag itself. So there’s no extra little part that you have to attach (and eventually lose). It’s got a really large “extras” zip area at the top for sunglasses, filters, phone and anything else you’d want. And it feels really nice on your back. Lots of padding and support. This bag, though, isn’t a travel bag. I don’t envision I’d ever be walking through an airport with it. The way I use it is I pack it into my checked luggage (filled with clothes, etc…), and travel with my larger camera bag to where ever I’m going. Then, before the shoot, I pack the gear I need into it.
Thanks again to everyone who helped out with your ideas and comments. I wish I needed 10 bags because I saw a bunch of really good ones that I’d love to buy. I guess that’s part of the fun of photography right? But so far I’m very happy with the ones I chose. Have a good one!