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08-30-2014, 05:32 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Nothing says, "I'm not a camera bag"... (Part Duex)

... like a... Domke???



The Long Way 'Round And Back, Then Back Again.


The previous bag I auditioned was rugged and totally bomber, but too fiddly and a little too deep. It seemed like a good idea but I realized I want "simple". I don't need a lot of pockets for a simple carry around bag. In the end I realized I'm looking for a bag that is one step beyond trouser pockets and that I want it to be made of canvas.

Enter the Domke F-5XB. It's the perfect size (just the right depth), and is very simple and straight forward (two pockets; one inside and one outside). There are only a few problems with the Domke for me; three to be precise. There is no waxed version of the olive green bag and I do want a little weatherproofing. The outer flap uses velcro. I don't want to get started on the use of velcro with camera bags but suffice to say I don't believe it's appropriate. Finally, there is the fact that it's, well, it's a "camera bag". And not just any camera bag. Little else screams, "CAMERA BAG", quite like a Domke camera bag, no matter the size. Hmmm....

Still, the Domke is just about right. Replacing the velcro with snaps is as easy as a trip to the seamstress down the street. The unwaxed finish, however...

Vagabond Traveler and eBags to the rescue!

I found an inexpensive bag that not only looked the right size but it was priced just right: cheap. Inexpensive enough to wax myself without worrying about ruining the bag and wasting the money, the order was placed. I took delivery of it yesterday. Style-wise it's not a plain looking bag. It looks a little "hipster" but when wearing it I don't think it will cross the line into appearing an affectation or twee. I'm okay with it's looks and don't feel any compulsion to buy a bunch of corduroy and grow a beard (I did have to temper the urge to buy a hat, though). So, with little worry of being pulled over by the fashion police, I headed to Osh for a couple of cheap paint brushes, returned home, broke out the candle making gear, rolled the dice, and started lapping gobs of melted wax onto the Vagabond Traveler bag.

No need to have worried about ruining a bag. I am very happy with how it turned out using paraffin mixed with a small amount of bayberry wax. Some folks suggest beeswax but I have more bayberry on hand than beeswax. I went to Samy's today to fit it with a Crumpler insert and one of the salespeople expressed admiration for how well the bag was constructed and finished. I couldn't help but mention the DIY waxing and appreciate the suitably impressed reaction. The bag is only a tiny bit tight with the small sized Crumpler Haven inserted, but it works.

When I returned from Samy's in Pasadena a box filled with Domke F-5XB goodness was on my doorstep. BTW, I think the the staff at Samy's in Pasadena is way cooler than the the staff at the LA store; nice people. Upon opening the box, it's clear that the the Domke F-5XB is a great camera bag; no doubt about it. However, the Vagabond Traveler turned out really well; it looks really sharp and the small Cumpler Haven makes it a stylin' stealthy camera bag. I must admit, though, I've always wanted a Domke; there's just something about them. I will probably wax and keep the Domke. I'll keep it for what it is; a well made, plain & simple, conservative camera bag for times when there's no need for stealth. If I find I don't like or need the Domke I'm sure I can sell it for a small premium since there is no waxed olive version available.

Anyway, without further ado, here's the Vagabond Traveler, It's packed with my Pentax Q, Q lenses; 01, 03, 04, 05, 07 and Holga Q lens, a Canonet QL17, and Canonet flash, with room left over for a ColorChecker Passport, lens brush, and two rolls of Tri-X...

Pictures of the bag with a second coat before baking are here.

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Last edited by MD Optofonik; 08-31-2014 at 04:18 PM.
08-30-2014, 11:03 PM   #2
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Excellent write up, thanks for sharing your experience. It is always good to see what people can come up with and share success stories.

I will always day, you can have my Domke from my cold, dead hands. I have the A and C. The A is PERFECT for a 2 Ltd + body. The K3 + 31 is maximum size though, plus the 43 or 77. I used the A with my K-r, 18-135 and 55-300 for three years before getting the C. The C is going to France with me. Going to carry: K3, Kr, 15, 31, 18-135, 6 filters and other accessories. The fit and finish are great. The WR is excellent for what I have tested, and both mine are the non waxed variety. Both are olive and you cant beat how well they age.

Too be honest, I have been complemented several times (sincerely) about my nice purse (Domke). No one, NO ONE, I have came across knew it was a camera bag. Great, I don't want it to scream $2500, but my masculinity took a few kicks to the gonads over it all. It's the size, shape, and olive colour that seems to throw most people off. I contend that only photographers would know the Domke brand name as they tend to be only sold in photo shops (here), not Walmarts and Targets.

That all aside, how do you like the wax finish? I worry about it rubbing off onto my clothing and skin. I have toyed with the idea of using a silicone spray designed for boots/tents.
08-31-2014, 09:49 AM   #3
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I spent a little time in an attempt to write something that might be interesting, thanks. The wax seem to be fine, although it's a bit early. I also don't anticipate wearing an expensive silk Hawaiian shirt when I'm using it but you never know. I'll post an update in a few weeks, perhaps. To test just that, I set it on a paper towel, flat side down, and there where no stains or residue to be seen after a few hours. I think the key is keeping it in the oven for the proper amount of time. I used paper bags in the oven for heating and it was clear that they soaked up a good amount of oils and excess wax.

I'll be waxing the Domke in short order and will post pix.

As far as taking hits to the masculinity, I was in alterna-bands in the 80's; make up and a bit of cross-dressing were just part of the times and circumstances. I got used to taking those hits a long time ago. It never bothered me or any girlfriend dejour. Good times, actually.
08-31-2014, 10:20 AM   #4
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I for one would be interested in and grateful if you could share your "recipe" for waxing the Domke (or any bag). That would be one of those sticky threads in a How-to section that everyone should read. I think you're right about the correct time in the oven, let it all absorb in and it should give off much on clothing.

PS, thanks for the tip off on Vegabond bags. My only gripe with the F5C is it cannot hold my K3 and DA*300... However it looks like the Vegabond 10" or 13" might just fit the bill. I figure I could get the K3, DA*300, and 18-135 in there and be set for WR with your waxing secrets.

08-31-2014, 10:23 AM   #5
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Nice lookin' bag there.
For the best waxed finishing, I'd recommend Filson's Original Oil Finish Wax.
Filson, is a legendary century-old maker of very high quality waxed cotton outdoor wear in Seattle. When you enter their retail flagship store you see people behind the window sewing. Their stuff is pricey but it lasts for a very long time. I wear a waxed storm coat as an outer layer when riding my motor scooter during our 6-month monsoon season.

M
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08-31-2014, 10:26 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Nice lookin' bag there.
For the best waxed finishing, I'd recommend Filson's Original Oil Finish Wax.
Filson, is a legendary century-old maker of very high quality waxed cotton outdoor wear in Seattle. When you enter their retail flagship store you see people behind the window sewing. Their stuff is pricey but it lasts for a very long time. I wear a waxed storm coat as an outer layer when riding my motor scooter during our 6-month monsoon season.

M
I probably shouldn't care, but does this rub off at all? I prefer to own few camera bags (even though I have several) and would use the bag year round, everyday. Wouldn't want to have waxy jeans on my left hip.
08-31-2014, 10:50 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
I probably shouldn't care, but does this rub off at all? I prefer to own few camera bags (even though I have several) and would use the bag year round, everyday. Wouldn't want to have waxy jeans on my left hip.
From above:
QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
To test just that, I set it on a paper towel, flat side down, and there where no stains or residue to be seen after a few hours. I think the key is keeping it in the oven for the proper amount of time. I used paper bags in the oven for heating and it was clear that they soaked up a good amount of oils and excess wax.
I don't know about Death Valley or Palm Springs in the summer, though.

Last edited by MD Optofonik; 08-31-2014 at 12:18 PM.
08-31-2014, 11:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
but does this rub off at all?
Nope. The heat generated from your fingers and the rubbing motion bonds it to the fabric and itself. It feels a bit sticky going on and spreading, but it stays put. I spread it very thinly. If it gets too thick, I hit the area with a hair dryer and I disperse it some more across the fabric.

M

08-31-2014, 12:16 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
I for one would be interested in and grateful if you could share your "recipe" for waxing the Domke (or any bag).

Done. Here it is. Hope it's clear and not too terribly boring.
09-01-2014, 04:27 PM   #10
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