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10-01-2017, 09:31 AM   #1
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What's Your Favorite Camera Bag That Looks Nothing Like a Camera Bag?

Hello everyone, the quest for the perfect camera bag continues. At this point, my wife makes fun of me since I now own more bags than she does. What she, and all women (/s), fail to understand is that every bag serves its unique purpose.

I think I'm pretty well covered on the messenger bag end, but I keep looking for a backpack that I can use as an every day bag and another that works great for travel. My big thing is that I want something that doesn't actually look like a camera bag. Currently, I'm using a Northface backpack with an insert and that works pretty well for the most part, but whenever I want to carry around a flash and a extra lens or two, that bag gets pretty tight and uncomfortable.

For every day stuff, I'd love to be able to carry around my laptop (Surface Pro 4), camera (Pentax K1 or Sony A7ii), lenses (24-70, a prime or two), and a flash. For travel, I'd love to carry the same, plus maybe a few other accessories. I don't mind purchasing two different bags if it doesn't break the bank too much.

The military type bags are what have been catching my eye, but I don't have any surplus stores near me and there seems to be a lot of bags out there that have that feel, but probably don't have the quality. I don't want anything too rigid, I already have some bags like that. Anything besides that type of bag that I should look into?

10-01-2017, 10:01 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
For travel, I'd love to carry the same, plus maybe a few other accessories. I don't mind purchasing two different bags if it doesn't break the bank too much.
Define "travel".

If you are talking about airline travel then good luck. Many airlines are seriously strict on the size and weight limits of carry ons. I have ran into this more than once. I have a backpack with a sleeve to carry a laptop built in. I carried the three amigos and a K-1 with a 24-70 and I was already waaay over weight.

It's been an ongoing problem for me. I can easily fit everything into a single backpack but when you add it all up it gets super heavy. On international flights vs little puddle jumpers is also an issue. I flew off to a small little island for example and the overhead compartment was tiny. I had to stuff my bag under my seat and hope no one asked too many questions.

How you pack matters a lot. I am still working around a solution for this.

Several airlines will let you slide on carry on weight if your other bags are under weight. I have gotten by a few times because the sum total of my baggage was way under weight.

I am still considering a Pelican type hard box but at the end of the day it depends on where you are going and for how long and what you will be doing. I am always very hesitant at the thought of checking in a bunch of electronics or lenses or whatever.
10-01-2017, 10:25 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I know these are not quite what you have in mind, but I sort of like to show them off anyway. The one on the left is an insulated, two-compartment lunch bag that I use with my 35mm film cameras. On the right is sold as a combination camera bag/six-pack cooler. The padded dividers are easily removed to accomplish the conversion. I use it for my K-3 and a few lenses when traveling light.



The frog has been tasked with guarding the gear and the Bessa R3M is to show scale. I took the Polar bag with me on a recent cross-country flight where it was stowed at my feet. Inside was the K-3 with Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 (C), the Pentax FA-77/1.8, Rokinon 8/3.5 Fisheye, and Sigma EF610 DG Super flash. FWIW, the laptop has its own case, that looks...errr...like a laptop case.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-01-2017 at 10:40 AM.
10-01-2017, 10:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Many airlines are seriously strict on the size and weight limits of carry ons. I have ran into this more than once. I have a backpack with a sleeve to carry a laptop built in. I carried the three amigos and a K-1 with a 24-70 and I was already waaay over weight.
This has become a major issue.

My solution is a DA 20-40 on a little K-S2 for the mid range,
then two Q7's, one with the wide zoom and one with the telephoto zoom.

10-01-2017, 11:16 AM   #5
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I use a Lowepro Flipside 400 AW for carry on (under seat in front of me) travel. It holds my Sigma 150-500 , K-3II, and other lenses, flashes, and charger. It is a camera backpack, but if you cover the Lowepro symbol it looks like a backpack is apt to look.
10-01-2017, 01:36 PM   #6
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I have a canvas Domke bag that worked as an awesome diaper bag when my daughter was younger...

I could carry a body, couple of lenses, and a bunch of baby changing stuff without looking like I was doing either...

Their smaller bags don’t scream ‘cameras’, but their larger ones look more camera-focused.

And mine is snug with the K1...

-Eric
10-01-2017, 02:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Hello everyone, the quest for the perfect camera bag continues. At this point, my wife makes fun of me since I now own more bags than she does. What she, and all women (/s), fail to understand is that every bag serves its unique purpose.

I think I'm pretty well covered on the messenger bag end, but I keep looking for a backpack that I can use as an every day bag and another that works great for travel. My big thing is that I want something that doesn't actually look like a camera bag. Currently, I'm using a Northface backpack with an insert and that works pretty well for the most part, but whenever I want to carry around a flash and a extra lens or two, that bag gets pretty tight and uncomfortable.

For every day stuff, I'd love to be able to carry around my laptop (Surface Pro 4), camera (Pentax K1 or Sony A7ii), lenses (24-70, a prime or two), and a flash. For travel, I'd love to carry the same, plus maybe a few other accessories. I don't mind purchasing two different bags if it doesn't break the bank too much.

The military type bags are what have been catching my eye, but I don't have any surplus stores near me and there seems to be a lot of bags out there that have that feel, but probably don't have the quality. I don't want anything too rigid, I already have some bags like that. Anything besides that type of bag that I should look into?
My travel backpack is the "Manfrotto Street Camera and Laptop Backpack for DSLR/CSC (Green and Gray)". It is perfect size for any airline as a carry on. It fits any of the Pentax APSC cameras and few lenses. Laptop and other accessories can surprisingly fit in it, considering how compact it is. The build quality is also great. I have tried many others in the past, but I am finally happy with this one.
10-02-2017, 03:08 AM   #8
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I have a surplus military backpack that I slip a ThinkTank bag inside fro compartments and protection of the camera. In the three outside pockets I use LowePro lens cases for ease of access. Very useful, but I don't look like I'm carrying anything valuable.

10-02-2017, 06:13 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgski Quote
I have a surplus military backpack that I slip a ThinkTank bag inside fro compartments and protection of the camera. In the three outside pockets I use LowePro lens cases for ease of access. Very useful, but I don't look like I'm carrying anything valuable.


Do you have a picture or a link to the bag you own?
10-02-2017, 12:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Do you have a picture or a link to the bag you own?
This is a linK to a medium ALICE pack


this is the Thinktank Suburban Disguise 30 the fits inside it. It's a top load so I can reach as necessary.
10-02-2017, 06:29 PM   #11
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I use a Pacsafe Camsafe Venture V25 Backpack. It holds a dslr, 2 lenses, 15" laptop, plus a compartment for a hydropack or cloths. It is an Anti-Theft Design and RFID Blocking Pockets, good if you travel to locations with higher crime rates.
10-02-2017, 07:01 PM   #12
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i have the previous version of this. it just looks like a hiking backpack. Karachi Outpost (S) Daypack | Camera Backpacks by Crumpler
10-04-2017, 05:08 AM   #13
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Hands down the best camera backpacks I've seen are:

Mindshift gear Horizon : best for quick-access with the rotation system (amazing), large capacity, extremely well designed and durable

Manfrotto Off Road Hiker : the 30 would fit your equipment requirements. Excellent choice if you value ventilation (it has a mesh back), decent quick access but not as good as the Horizon, has no provision for a hydration pouch but otherwise well made and has a few interesting features.

Think Tank Perception Pro : less well-known, very well crafted, innovative "internal pouches" system to store gear, less good for quick access but quite flexible and reconfigurable. The K-1 with a zoom lens mounted doesn't fit in any pouch however, it fits with no lens or with a prime.

All three don't look like camera bags, all three are excellent in their own way,
10-11-2017, 03:27 AM   #14
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I used to have this bag Military Ops Alpha-L DSLR Photo Laptop Backpack - Naneu Camera Bags It will fit what you want to take, including the laptop. I just found it a bit too bulky for my taste, but otherwise it is a nice bag, well made. Well padded. and easy to wear.


If I take the laptop, I now take this bag Escape 2.0 by Clik Elite | A pack to carry a full day's adventure. It doesn't have a laptop compartment, but if you have a sleeve you can put inside the main compartment, there is enough space for it. It might be a bit too big for what gear you want tot take. But it is a very comfy bag.
10-11-2017, 04:15 AM   #15
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I use a military surplus .50 cal steel ammo can to store photo gear in my car's trunk.
Waterproof and crush proof, I recall these were once popular with photojournalists.



I have a small padded 1970's Kiwi bag that fits perfectly inside.
It can easily fit a 35mm film body, a couple lenses, filters, film etc.

Today there are lightweight plastic models of similar size and shape.
It's excellent for storage but I wouldn't carry one around in public.

Chris

Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 10-24-2017 at 06:26 PM.
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