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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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A backpack like the Billinghams ...
Old 04-27-2017   #1
anerjee
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A backpack like the Billinghams ...

Recently, after much hesitation, I bought a Billingham bag (the digital) for daily carry, and I really like it. My hesitation was that the bag is ubiquitous among photo nerds. But on the positive side - it is a great bag. Very well made, water resistant (critical in rainy Singapore) and also pleasant to get stuff in and out of. It has a definite shape, so I can set it down without worrying it will topple over.

I use a backpack for my daily work commute, as well as travel purposes. I looked at Billinghams rucksack offering, and was not too happy with the design. I rarely carry any camera gear in excess of 1 camera + 1 lens.

Some of their shoulder bags are nice, but I prefer a backpack to keep my back in-tact.

Does anyone know of other backpacks with similar aesthetics and functionality? Canvas would be preferred, and a similar ease of getting stuff in and out.
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Old 04-27-2017   #2
paapoopa
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if you dont need specifically a camera rucksack, there should be a lot of choices. personally i put my camera in a small a&a pouch and throw that into whichever bag I carry out that day.

as for canvas rucksack , i just got a billykirk rucksack which i though is really nice in looks and quality. other than that, there is the archival clothing rucksack or the duluth pack all does really good quality stuff.

hope that helps
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Old 04-27-2017   #3
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I needed a backpack for when I'm cycling. For a backpack, I've gone the same direction as paapoopa and bought a pair of A&A pouches (one for camera with lens, one for a couple of lenses and accessories) so I can use whatever backpack suits my needs. (That Billykirk Rucksack looks great!)

I chose an Invisible Backpack Two for the larger carry, available from https://www.opposethis.com ... trim design, carries a lot, weatherproof, looks very simple yet has all the pockets and such you might want. They make a few models, one with a roll top closure if you prefer that style. The Two can hold a lot of stuff; I have tested my full M kit (camera, three lenses, and Sirui tripod) along with my usual other junk: fits easily, plenty more space for miscellaneous adds, and feels very secure and well balanced on my back. I'm delighted with it.

For the small carry bag, I went to the Timbuk2 Rapid Pack. It's about as small a pack as I can wear yet is comfortable and just enough for overshirt, lock, camera, iPad, wallet, and iPhone. It can also fit a hydration system for hot days.

I looked at a couple of canvas packs but was unconvinced with their usefulness. They looked great but didn't pass my "does it work well for me?" test.

G
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Old 04-27-2017   #4
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With just one body and one lens, I'd just get a small case and stuff it in the most back-friendly non-camera backpack you can find.
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Old 04-27-2017   #5
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I use a lowepro Fastpack when I bring my Mamiya 7II out:
http://www.lowepro.com/fastpack

It's easy to access the camera as the opening is at the side. But definitely not the aesthetics that you want.

When I'm just carrying my MP, I put it in a softcase and it goes into my backpack, like what many has mentioned. However, I go with the cheap route of getting a nondescript softcase for less than $20 from one of the shops near Ruby in Penisula (since you mentioned you're in Singapore). However, it will not be convenient to get the camera out.
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Old 04-27-2017   #6
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The soft case option for your camera and lenses is a versatile option. Camera/lens inserts are available for this purpose, and many people use these in whatever bag or pack they are carrying to work or when out and about. One maker, Siesta, has these available in a variety of sizes and with dividers you can configure. The insert has a pullstring top to secure the items. I have one of these in a larger size to carry a camera and 2-3 lenses when traveling. Amazon has these.
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Old 04-28-2017   #7
md2008
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I've been through numerous shoulder bags and backpacks - absolutely the best in comfort/function/does-not-look-like-photo-backpack-so-you-can-use-everyday backpack I've ever had is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. Check out the video.
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Old 04-28-2017   #8
zerobuttons
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anerjee View Post
.....<snip>.....
I use a backpack for my daily work commute, as well as travel purposes. I looked at Billinghams rucksack offering, and was not too happy with the design. I rarely carry any camera gear in excess of 1 camera + 1 lens.
Some of their shoulder bags are nice, but I prefer a backpack to keep my back in-tact.
Does anyone know of other backpacks with similar aesthetics and functionality? Canvas would be preferred, and a similar ease of getting stuff in and out.
A French/British couple used to make a backpack from butyl rubber laminated between layers of canvas, like the Billingham bags. At one point this disappeared from their website, and they havenīt answered my e-mail asking whether they could make one.

You seem to have the same needs I do, and I have been looking at the Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack, which should be fairly rainproof, and has a lot of nice features.
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Old 04-28-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2008 View Post
I've been through numerous shoulder bags and backpacks - absolutely the best in comfort/function/does-not-look-like-photo-backpack-so-you-can-use-everyday backpack I've ever had is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. Check out the video.
Impressive in the video. Just wondering if you have any concerns about magnetic closures possibly harming the electronics in cameras. I've always been nervous about that because of a sad experience with a Kaypro computer screen years ago after I left it for a long time beside a stereo speaker. I don't know the science.
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Old 04-28-2017   #10
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Reload makes excellent, durable and water resistant bags, mostly for the cycling crowd but they still work for daily carry. They do custom orders as well. I know several messengers and had a coworker who used Reload bags and they looked at least as well built as my Hadley Pro.

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Old 04-28-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevres_babylone View Post
Impressive in the video. Just wondering if you have any concerns about magnetic closures possibly harming the electronics in cameras. I've always been nervous about that because of a sad experience with a Kaypro computer screen years ago after I left it for a long time beside a stereo speaker. I don't know the science.
In general, cameras and such are resistant to damage from magnets ... it takes a very high gauss to affect storage cards, etc, too. Today's equipment uses far different technology from the technology of a Kaypro computer screen (a CRT).

For the size and strength that magnetic closures on the Peak bags use, there are few concerns. Obviously, don't put your magnetic stripe credit cards up against a closure magnet or rub it back and forth along one...

Actually, the magnets in my Sekonic L398 light meter are stronger and more likely to damage credit card mag stripes, etc, than any of the magnetic bag closures I've had. ;-)

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Old 04-28-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2008 View Post
I've been through numerous shoulder bags and backpacks - absolutely the best in comfort/function/does-not-look-like-photo-backpack-so-you-can-use-everyday backpack I've ever had is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. Check out the video.
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack looks good, if a touch on the 'technical' side. What I mean is, even if it doesn't look like a photographer's carryall, it sure looks like a high-end, pricey piece of kit. Regardless of that, I like the design but wonder if the Think Tank Photo Trifecta 10 is a little better suited for carrying very bulky camera gear if not quite as versatile for use as an 'every day' carry.

Actually, looking at the things on the Peak Design website, I saw their Everyday Sling bag. That looks interesting ... If it can be fitted with a belly strap to keep it in position, it would be very useful for cycling.
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Old 04-28-2017   #13
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I use the small Think Tank when I need to carry an 11" MBAir plus a Fuji XT2 and two or 3 small lenses.
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Old 04-28-2017   #14
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Thanks for the suggestion, will take a look.

I've also considered the Peak Design backpack, but I don't think it is well suited for carrying documents (A4 print-outs, books etc).

I like the idea/design of the side access to camera gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerobuttons View Post
A French/British couple used to make a backpack from butyl rubber laminated between layers of canvas, like the Billingham bags. At one point this disappeared from their website, and they havenīt answered my e-mail asking whether they could make one.

You seem to have the same needs I do, and I have been looking at the Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack, which should be fairly rainproof, and has a lot of nice features.
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Old 04-28-2017   #15
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I use a Timbuk2 Mission Cycling backpack with an Ape Case insert to hold my Fuji XT1 and Ricoh GR. Very light, not a huge amount of padding but that doesn't bother me. It's very comfortable for long walks and holds just enough stuff.
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Old 05-14-2017   #16
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@anerjee,

I would recommend the Filson Rucksack - https://www.filson.com/luggage-bags/...ksack.html#196 This is what I use. It is not 100% perfect for photography use, but then neither is any other camera pack or bag.

Another option offered by Filson could be the Tin Cloth Backpack https://www.filson.com/luggage-bags/...kpack.html#196
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Old 05-14-2017   #17
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get your Billingham of choice and add this:



and presto! a backpack.



Or get this for your true vintage experience: http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-60S-...MAAOSwAvJW9bI0
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Old 05-14-2017   #18
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One of these days when I get around to it I am going to produce a limited run of bags and maybe see if I can make a business out of it. The claim to fame of Billingham is their use of canvas impregnated with butyl rubber. My idea is along those same lines. I am a car upholstery guy and I am going to use German canvas convertible top material, anti wick water tight thread, and self sealing zippers. The drawbacks are that it is expensive material (100-150 US Dollars a yard/3 yards makes 5 bags) and it is somewhat heavy. But if I can ever get around to making them they will be super well made and extremely water resistant as in okay to get caught in a severe down pour possibly even dropped in water for a short duration and still remain completely dry inside. I have talked about the idea in SG photo forum before because that is the place I want to market to...lots of rain and everyone uses a bag plus you bros really appreciate high quality products. They will be rather expensive though. Likely similar in price to the Billinghams which are as expensive as they are because of the butyl rubber sandwiched canvas.

Back Alley Joe is going to be a lucky fellow who receives one of these custom prototypes if they ever get made.
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Old 05-19-2017   #19
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Bring it on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Contarama View Post
One of these days when I get around to it I am going to produce a limited run of bags and maybe see if I can make a business out of it. The claim to fame of Billingham is their use of canvas impregnated with butyl rubber. My idea is along those same lines. I am a car upholstery guy and I am going to use German canvas convertible top material, anti wick water tight thread, and self sealing zippers. The drawbacks are that it is expensive material (100-150 US Dollars a yard/3 yards makes 5 bags) and it is somewhat heavy. But if I can ever get around to making them they will be super well made and extremely water resistant as in okay to get caught in a severe down pour possibly even dropped in water for a short duration and still remain completely dry inside. I have talked about the idea in SG photo forum before because that is the place I want to market to...lots of rain and everyone uses a bag plus you bros really appreciate high quality products. They will be rather expensive though. Likely similar in price to the Billinghams which are as expensive as they are because of the butyl rubber sandwiched canvas.

Back Alley Joe is going to be a lucky fellow who receives one of these custom prototypes if they ever get made.
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Old 05-19-2017   #20
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I have an Ortlieb messenger backpack (30L capacity) that, with the right insert, makes for a very usable camera bag that'll survive pretty much anything.

The roll-top closure is quick to get into and to close up, and - rolled up tightly - it'll handle being completely submerged without leaking.
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