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back alley's In The Bag Joe's quest for the ultimate Camera Bag! So many bags .. so little time ...

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Another perfect bag quest
Old 02-22-2016   #1
marcr1230
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Another perfect bag quest

I'm looking for a combination flight bag and camera walk around bag

Knapsacks - good for flights, hard to access or fall off the shoulder when walking ( using one strap)

Bare bones bag - great for a single camera - too small for flight bag

Messenger bag - good size, mine is really heavy empty - little or no dividers inside
Hard to open and take things out when wearing it cause the flap is big and you basically need to fold it all the way over to fish for stuff

In unpadded bags - I wrap my delicate stuff ( lenses and camera) which makes it good for travel but had to access while shooting

Padded bags tend to be bulky

I'm looking for "miracle bag" easy to use, small on the outside, large on the inside, light weight

Help me out
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Old 02-22-2016   #2
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Why not have an acceptable shooting bag and place it inside an acceptable flight bag? Use each one in it's intended situation, problems solved!
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Old 02-22-2016   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saul View Post
Why not have an acceptable shooting bag and place it inside an acceptable flight bag? Use each one in it's intended situation, problems solved!
This is pretty much what I do. The only problem is when you're at a 'destination' and don't have someplace secure to leave the 'flight' bag. But once the shooting bag is out of the travel bag and filled with the needed equipment, the travel bag is usually a lot lighter and generally less of a hassle to carry.

My usual M-system shooting bag is a customized CourierWear messenger (company that made the BBB). While shooting I leave the messenger flap flipped back tucked down against me unless the weather is bad or I'm in a busy location. Travel bag is currently either a Filson Field Bag or a Tom Bihn Western Flyer backpack/carry-on in which I use a combo of Domke inserts and/or Tenba Tool Box 'packing cubes'. The Tenba cubes conveniently fit the Wester Flyer dimensions near perfectly.
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Old 02-22-2016   #4
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domke 802 might work...it's a giant satchel, no inserts but you can add them if you want...a camera with lens can fit into the outside pockets for easy access.
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Old 02-22-2016   #5
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I've been looking at the Filson Small Field Bag lately as a "destination" bag.
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Old 02-22-2016   #6
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The closet full of bags I have is a testament to my quest for the miracle bag that does not seem to exist.

My current bag of choice for the digital and sometimes film M system is a Domke F2. Also works with my Olympus E-M1 outfit, including the 12-40, 7-14 and 40-150mm f2.8 zooms. I'll also usually pack an empty, small Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag in my suitcase that I'll use if I want to tote a smaller outfit for a day and leave some stuff behind, if I am staying somewhere that leaving part of my outfit is something I can safely do, but the F2 hugs my side close enough, has enough space to hold what I want and yet be comfortable enough to carry all day.
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Old 02-22-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcr1230 View Post
In unpadded bags - I wrap my delicate stuff ( lenses and camera) which makes it good for travel but had to access while shooting
Instead of wrappers, use Domke inserts.

I use a Tortuga travel backpack as my single carry-on bag (I try to avoid checked luggage). In addition to clothes and other travel necessities, I stuff a packable backpack or a canvas bag (I use a Kakadu bag) along with Domke inserts, and make sure my camera gear are packed securely. When I get to my destination, I leave the Tortuga backpack in my hotel room.
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Old 02-22-2016   #8
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The closet full of bags I have is a testament to my quest for the miracle bag that does not seem to exist.
I keep my Winky Dink Magic Screen in my Felix The Cat Magic Bag.
With them all my pictures come out perfect.

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Old 02-22-2016   #9
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Take two bags :
If flying, a carry on with laptop, ipad, spare clothes, cameras , film, chargers etc. - there is quite a bit of weight - so a backpack is the best option.
My town bag is unpadded and folds up to the size of a couple of t-shirts.
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...0&postcount=35

I took it to Israel and the UK loaded with a M-A and M9 ; stowing it in the backpack when flying and carrying it around alone when in town.
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Old 02-22-2016   #10
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I like my Crumpler bag, it's lightly padded and waterproof. I have the 4 million dollar home, it holds a camera + 1 extra lens. B&H carries them.
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Old 02-22-2016   #11
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I'm going to separate my answer into two parts.

First, The best Messenger Bag. Billingham Hadley Pro. Lots of space. Can be used with or with dividers (I don't use dividers). Quick and easy to access. I used one heavily until it broke. And I bought another one.

Second, The best flight backpack. GoRuck. The best thing about this bag is adaptability. There is an attachment bag inside the bag for good organization. So it lets me have, (a) big backpack with tons of space (b) with space for a compact messenger bag {THe billingham doesn't compact tightly enough. I'm still looking for a good messenger that folds small. Perhaps a Lowepro Passport Sling III} (c) a system inside that allows you to attach smaller bags. (d) I have one bag that I use for my daily carry like bandaids, notebooks and pens and a small knife. (e) I have a small waterbottle attachment that attaches on the inside of the bag. I throw my camera in there. The downside is that the padding is not as great as a rigid bag; but because of the positioning of the bag, it is very secure.

it is small on the outside; and huge on the inside. LIke point (d) and (e) I attach little bags on the inside molle system. If I want to, I can take the small water bottle bag, and put it on my belt. So now I have a belt pack that has a camera, or spare lens. (f), I put a carabineer on the shoulder strap of the bag. If I'm in a crowded less secure space where I feel someone might have an opportunity to grab the strap and run - like the scene in "Full Metal Jacket," I will run carabineer through the shoulder strap of the camera. It keeps it secure. And if I need two hands free, I know the camera is secure.

(g) There is a laptop compartment on the back that I use for documents or maps.

It is highly adaptable. (h) The front of the bag can attach additional bags. On occasion, I've attached a full flash system with remote triggers, gels and clamps into a clamp and attached it on the outside. In an extreme case, I've been able to fit a complete 4x5 system, and its tripod, two lenses, instant back and 6 film holders in the back of this bag. I used the external pack, on the bag, to hold the instant back. I repeat I was able to load my tripod and 4x5 camera system in this bag!

(i) That being said, this bag can be really small. Loaded normally, without the external bag, is very discrete and very usable in a small light confined environment. I live in Hong Kong, rubbing shoulders on the public transit is very normal. With a large backpack, you are going to be bumping into someone all the time. And with my 4x5 camera gear in this bag, filled to the brim, it is no better than someone carrying a hiking pack into a train in a major city during rush hour. Packed normally, this Go Ruck is no more cumbersome than not having a bag.

It is not as luxurious as the Billingham, but it is so much more functional.
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Old 02-23-2016   #12
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Well - for this coming trip (tonight - to Israel)
It's going to be the messenger bag as my flight bag
With the Fuji X100T in lens wrap padding - know in my family as "the camera burrito"
I'm debating whether to take a film camera as my record of
Using both on a trip is dismal and its a short trip
I might stuff the bare bones bag in my carryon w a rangefinder
Or not - I have a couple hrs to think on it

Thanks for your comments - I think
A 2 bag solution is prob the best ( one travel one daily )
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Old 02-23-2016   #13
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Tom Bihn bags come to mind as a non-camera bag alternative.

Probably close to a domke classic PJ style but smaller: http://www.tombihn.com/travel_bags/n...velduffle.html
More like messenger with zipper: http://www.tombihn.com/travel_bags/TB0967.html
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Old 02-23-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkjod View Post
I've been looking at the Filson Small Field Bag lately as a "destination" bag.
I was going to suggest that. I have a medium Field Bag that I use as an overnight bag for camera stuff plus clothes and laptop, but the small one looks like a great small kit carrier.
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Old 02-23-2016   #15
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joe--I think your ONLY solution is to buy one of every type and test them all. And then sell the unwanted ones to us at heavily discounted prices! :-)

Paul
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Old 02-23-2016   #16
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joe--I think your ONLY solution is to buy one of every type and test them all. And then sell the unwanted ones to us at heavily discounted prices! :-)

Paul
i feel like i have done that...or pretty close.
bags are expensive to ship so i usually give my local buds the break!
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Old 02-23-2016   #17
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From experience, I was using a Tasmanian Tiger 32L Patrol Pack with the Hadley Pro for a 3 week trip around Japan (with 1 week on a motorcycle!) and it worked fine.
You could probably swap out the Patrol pack for something else around the same literage (maybe the Tom Bihn Guide's pack) but as long as it's big enough to accomodate the Hadley insert you should be good.
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Old 02-23-2016   #18
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generally speaking, i travel by using the following system

patagonia blackhole messenger from a couple of years ago.
I take the camera insert out of a small bag, appx in size to a hadley small or pro.
I also pack the insert's camera bag in my larger suitcase and fill it with stuff so it takes up almost no room.

I carry on the messenger with essential camera stuff, travel documents, water, a small snack, toiletries, and a lightweight rain coat if needed. At my destination I repack a little to remove things from the messenger not needed. For the first day or full day outings I work from the messenger with everything I need for the day. For going out to dinner or short excursions, I sometimes remove the camera insert from the messenger and carry it in the smaller originating bag. best of both worlds
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Old 02-24-2016   #19
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I just bought a really nice bag on ebay A&A ACAM-7100, its so well made and looks and feels really fine. I would never pay the asking price for a new one, but i think bags are pretty cheap to find in almost new condition for a fracture of the og price.
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Old 02-24-2016   #20
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I’ve pondered this issue for a month’s trip to the US (California with a road trip to Austin, TX and back). So I'm taking two bags.

I’m packing my usual and trusty day camera bag (Domke F10) empty, in my suitcase, and packing all my gear M6TTL, M5 + three lenses and film together with a Nikon D90 with 18-200mm zoom in a ThinkTank Retrospective 7, which I will use as my flight bag.

Once in the US I will use the Domke and Leicas as my usual walk-around: the N90 can fend for itself without bag.
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Old 02-24-2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcr1230 View Post
I'm looking for a combination flight bag and camera walk around bag

Knapsacks - good for flights, hard to access or fall off the shoulder when walking ( using one strap)

Bare bones bag - great for a single camera - too small for flight bag

Messenger bag - good size, mine is really heavy empty - little or no dividers inside
Hard to open and take things out when wearing it cause the flap is big and you basically need to fold it all the way over to fish for stuff

In unpadded bags - I wrap my delicate stuff ( lenses and camera) which makes it good for travel but had to access while shooting

Padded bags tend to be bulky

I'm looking for "miracle bag" easy to use, small on the outside, large on the inside, light weight

Help me out
The money you've spent on this search would have bought you the services of an experienced seamstress with the machine to sew heavy canvas. Collect your thoughts about the bags you've owned and find this person. It's time for you to go a la carte.

s-a
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Old 02-24-2016   #22
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The money you've spent on this search would have bought you the services of an experienced seamstress with the machine to sew heavy canvas. Collect your thoughts about the bags you've owned and find this person. It's time for you to go a la carte.

s-a
marcr1230,

What a doofus I was. This was your post and I responded as if it was from back alley, so epic are his posts about his search for the perfect bag. Apologies all around for that.

That said, my next bag will take my own advice by scavenging several old "almost there" Domkes. Until then an F6 is holding its own.

Good luck, you'll likely need it ,
s-a
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Old 02-24-2016   #23
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I pack everything for my trip in a Rick Steves convertible backpack including my camera bag. Whatever doesn't fit doesn't get brought. I have lightweight clothes for traveling, and shirts, socks and underwear that wash in the hotel sink and dry overnight so I don't need as many. I no longer check bags. No more worries about airlines losing bags, no more standing in line at the carousel.

Normally I leave that bag in the hotel or a locker at the train station and carry a featherweight microfiber daypack (which I pack things in in the main backpack) with my windbreaker, water, and other sundries. But when it isn't possible to stash the backpack, once the camera bag is out and strapped across my body I put the (now much lighter) backpack on.
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Old 02-29-2016   #24
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So - I'm back

I ended up just going with a roll-on samsonite for carry on ( best thing I've done in a while, with 4 wheels so you don't wrench your arm pulling it)
for the camera - I just took my messenger bag, which was great for the plane, but admittedly big to carry around on the ground.

the coninually re-enforced take-away from the trip: Light travel is the way to go, you can get by with very little and it makes travel so so so much easier.

I took the X100T and a fuji instax SP-1 printer, this trip was only 3 days and I didn't spend almost any time taking pictures, but had fun with the equipment I brought.

so the quest continues, at least until the next trip in April
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Old 02-29-2016   #25
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When I travel with only the x100t and SP-1, I usually pack them in the Ona Bowery canvas bag. It's small, adequately padded, water resistant, and looks good. I added a second divider so it's separated into threes and can also put extra batteries, cables, filters, etc.

If I want to travel even lighter than that I bring the Manfrotto Nano VII. This isn't really a bag, more like a slightly padded pouch. It can fit the x100 plus a few batteries, or the SP-1, extra film, batteries, and cable. Then I simply carry the x100 over my shoulder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcr1230 View Post
I took the X100T and a fuji instax SP-1 printer, this trip was only 3 days and I didn't spend almost any time taking pictures, but had fun with the equipment I brought.

so the quest continues, at least until the next trip in April
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Old 02-29-2016   #26
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I usually travel with my Thinktank Retrospective bag, but I found another bag that costs way less and is fantastic:

Check out the JCrew Carson Laptop bag. It's only $50.- and made of high quality materials (canvas and leather). Flap over the zipper, so rain won't do any damage to your cameras, it's super roomy, fits cameras +laptop, and a Domke insert fits great. The entire bottom of the bag is made of leather. Comes in green and tan. It's basically a Filson bag at 1/7th the price!

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Old 02-29-2016   #27
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I usually travel with my Thinktank Retrospective bag, but I found another bag that costs way less and is fantastic:

Check out the JCrew Carson Laptop bag. It's only $50.- and made of high quality materials (canvas and leather). Flap over the zipper, so rain won't do any damage to your cameras, it's super roomy, fits cameras +laptop, and a Domke insert fits great. The entire bottom of the bag is made of leather. Comes in green and tan. It's basically a Filson bag at 1/7th the price!

nice...when i look at this bag i think 'casual international travel'...
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Old 02-29-2016   #28
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It's only $50.- ... It's basically a Filson bag at 1/7th the price!
Blatant design theft seems wrong to me
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Old 02-29-2016   #29
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The Patagonia Mini Messenger 12L with a Domke FA-203 insert works quite well for me. Lightweight, lots of exterior pockets, and easily holds my Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens mounted, along with the 55-200 lens.
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Old 02-29-2016   #30
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Wotancraft or Filson...
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Old 02-29-2016   #31
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The Think Tank Retrospective 5 is the most versatile small bag I've come across. It has a nice wide strap and a handle, lots of pockets (some zippered), configurable compartments with dividers that can remain fully up or folded down to make two levels. And an adjustable velcro main flap that can be "quieted" by using built-in blocking straps. I easily carry a Leica m9 and four lenses, viewfinders, batteries etc. Could also carry two cameras with lenses. Not cheap, but the features make it well worth it to me.
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