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Archive 2013 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?
  
 
onegreatcity
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I currently have a very good back pack style camera bag, the LowePro Flipside 300, but would like something a bit smaller and stealthier for an upcoming NYC trip.

I've been researching and think I've decided on the Timbuk2 Snoop Messenger (small). And while I've read lots of reviews and watched plenty of videos I'd like to hear from FM members who might own this very bag.

I'm also very open to other suggestions so long as they're messenger style bags and offer a degree of security (zippered or velcro insert) and don't scream "hey look, I'm a camera bag!"



My kit will likely consist of a Canon 6D, 24-70 f/2.8 with hood reversed and at least one other prime, either the Sigma 50 1.4 or an Oly 21mm 3.5.

I'm fighting the urge to bring my 70-200 f/4 IS though I know I will miss it.

Thank you,
-Cam



Apr 14, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Javier Munoz
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


Have you considered the Think Tank retrospective?


Apr 14, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I actually have the Timbuk2 Snoop (S) and it's okay but didn't tickle may pickle. And I love Timbuk2's bags--own a couple custom messengers. First, the snoop is on the ugly side compared to most Timbuk2 messengers. Looks like a diaper bag. The shoulder pad is terrible: stiff, inflexible and slippery. The insert is the best part about the bag but build is on the cheap side. The dividers are thin and buckle if you top load your camera (lens down style). The soft velcro friendly lining is not sewn on well and nearly tears off when you move dividers around. Finally, the front pockets are completely useless for anything but a few memory and business cards. Basically the Snoop didn't benefit from much design care. It's an afterthought...

I found I greatly preferred using a small Timbuk2 classic messenger with a large Crumpler Haven insert. Crumpler understands photog needs a lot better and the Haven's beefy construction and more rigid dividers will actually support a DSLR lens down without being crushed. Plus there's room on the side of the insert for a water bottle or windbreaker.

You might also consider the Retrospective 7 or 10. It sports a rustic army surplus vibe but inside is a love nest for gear. My R7:







Edited on Apr 14, 2013 at 07:26 PM · View previous versions



Apr 14, 2013 at 07:21 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I've used the Fred courier bag from Cocotte (Montreal) almost daily, since September 2007. It's slightly 'softened up', but it's as well put together today as when it was new.

http://www.cocotte-equip.com/
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/652446/0&year=2008#5814555

I give Cocotte



Apr 14, 2013 at 07:26 PM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


Thanks for the replies. Gochugogi, your first hand account of the very bag I was considering is valuable first hand experience and has given me pause. As you and Javier both have recommended the Think Tank R line I've started some research in that direction.

Jim, regarding the Cocotte bag you have, do you own the Fred with the Capa photo insert or do you just use the Fred on it's own? Too bad they didn't have more brick and mortar retailers in Canada as I'd love to see it first (though you having the same bag since 2007 is testimonial enough).




Apr 14, 2013 at 09:54 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


Hi Cam,

I have the Fred on its own. The Capa photo insert was developed after I bought Fred, in response to a conversation between myself and Cocotte (i.e. "have you considered providing inserts for camera gear?").

While that conversation was going on, I developed a preference for not using "dividers" in general, and now I almost always use neoprene lens bags and similar, without dividers, in all of my bags. I'll post a photo of what's in my Fred, maybe tomorrow.

Jim



Apr 14, 2013 at 10:12 PM
pipspeak
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I just bought a Timbuk2 Snoop from an FM member so can report on it when I receive it in a few days. I wanted something less bulky than my Crumpler New Delhi (which is a little too padded for stealth) and I generally like Timbuk2 messenger bags (though they are redonkulously overpriced for what they are). The Snoop is basically one of their low-end laptop messenger bags with an insert and my biggest fear is that it'll be too unstructured to easily get a camera in and out of at speed.

The Timbuk2 camera backpacks looks intriguing and fairly stealthy, however. Not sure if anyone has feedback on those. I'm also considnering trying out side-access backpacks like the F-Stop Kenti, which seem like a good urban stealth solution.

The problem I have with more traditional shoulder bags like the Retrospective is that they get uncomfortable after a while. Real messenger bags are designed to sit differently across your back and can be remarkable comfortable for long periods. My experience of shoulder bags worn that way is not good.



Apr 15, 2013 at 12:58 AM
dannywkyang
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I recently picked up a Eddie Bauer Messenger Lite Bag. It was less than $50 CAD at the Eddie Bauer store nearby. Then I ordered a Gura Gear Chobe Photo Insert which will fit pretty nicely inside the Eddie Bauer bag. The bag itself is quite large (little under 19L). The only downside is the strap is a little slippier (that can be fixed with a separate pad you can buy) and even though it's mostly black, the logo does draw some attention to it. YMMV with this one.


Apr 15, 2013 at 01:34 AM
jcolwell
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


jcolwell wrote:
... I'll post a photo of what's in my Fred, maybe tomorrow.


Here's what's usually in my Fred courier bag (see first photo).

back row: EF 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS, EF 24-105/4L IS on EOS 5DII (no grip)

middle row: 12" reflector (silver/gold); silver zip bag with Arctic Butterfly, SensorKlear (in LensPen miniPro body), 4x Eneloop AA, mini-multitool, Allen key wrench, and rubber eyepiece shield thingy; black zip bag with CF cards, LP-E6 & LP-E4 batts, Kenko DG 1.4x, USB camera cord, 4" Hejnar rail & wrench, and business cards.

front row: poncho; 580EX II; Domke Gripper 1.5" strap, and Demb Flash Diffuser Pro

not visible (in front pockets): Op/Tech camera/lens raincoat, cap set, paper/stickies, pen

When packed up, it weighs 6 kg (13.2 lb). The 100-400L is in an Op/Tech SnootBoot (visible in the second photo). It will easily take a third lens, like the 16-35/2.8L, which fits best if each of the three lenses are in their own SnootBoots, and the camera is capped with no lens attached. It'll take a 1D-series body instead of the 5DII, but I have to shuffle the lower layer around a bit. Fred is equally happy to take one body with 16-35/2.8L, 24-70/2.8L IL, 70-200/2.8L IS II, and one flash, or two bodies and two lenses.

I normally use a TT Airport Commuter for my 1DX, 1DIV, fast zooms, and multiple flash 'events kit'. For 'tourist' travel, I often use a 'normal' North Face Recon II daypack with everything in neoprene bags. Of course, the normal daypack ergonomics suck for quick access to anything and everything, and so I use the Airport Commuter when I'm shooting events while traveling, in which case, I probably have the 'event kit' with me.


















Apr 15, 2013 at 07:34 PM
CronoDL
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


The Retrospective Series are nice, as well as Crumpler's Million Dollar Home bags. The 5 or 6 may be good for your gear, though you won't be able to fit a 70-200 mounted onto the body, if you do decide to bring that along.

You can also create your own bag if you want to spend less and be even more inconspicuous. I bought a camera bag insert recently from eBay and I now use that with a Manhattan Portage style messenger bag that I've had for about ten years. It works great and is very low key.



Apr 15, 2013 at 08:53 PM
 

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onegreatcity
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


Wow Jim, that thing is deceptively accommodating. I'd never cram that much stuff in I'm sure (pretty sure I don't OWN that much stuff). Thanks for posting the images...


Apr 15, 2013 at 11:08 PM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


CronoDL wrote:
The Retrospective Series are nice, as well as Crumpler's Million Dollar Home bags. The 5 or 6 may be good for your gear, though you won't be able to fit a 70-200 mounted onto the body, if you do decide to bring that along.

You can also create your own bag if you want to spend less and be even more inconspicuous. I bought a camera bag insert recently from eBay and I now use that with a Manhattan Portage style messenger bag that I've had for about ten years. It works great and is very low key.


Thanks for the suggestions, more food for thought...




Apr 15, 2013 at 11:09 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I have the Flipside 300. It is a very well-made bag with a good amount of storage space (I can usually fit the body plus 3 lenses (2 regular size lenses and 1 large telephoto mounted to the body) along with a number of accessories like extra cards, plugs, chargers, caps etc. You can fit a lot in a small space and the bag is comfortable on the shoulders. So it is rather stealthy.

However, I do not think it is a very good bag for people who want to access their gear quickly while on the go.

If you are only taking your body plus two small lenses then you probably do not need the Flipside 300. I would probably do the "make your own bag" using a bag you have and buying padded inserts. I know that Dakine makes some pretty good messenger bags. I have one that has held up very well to wear and tear. Brooklyn Industries also makes pretty good bags in a variety of sizes but unless you live in NY, Chicago or Portland you will have to buy online.



Apr 16, 2013 at 12:38 AM
mrgetalife
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


It depend on the loadout.

If i carry everything unattached. I can use my normal messenger bag.
The best messenger bag ever made
http://www.manhattanportage.com/catalog/product_info.php/the-wallstreeter-p-76
Also sold under John Peters. The original designer.

I also use a Retrospective 10. The downside is. With all its heavy duty materials and heavy duty straps. It weighs a ton.

And to be honest. They'll be looking at you to figure out if you're a tourist or not. As much as you want to believe. They won't mug you for a camera bag. They'll rob any bag you decide to leave some place.



Apr 16, 2013 at 03:38 AM
Lovesong
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I have and use the Timbuk2 messenger, and I absolutely love it. It's as well-built as any of their other bags (I've owned 3 of them), the insert is great (and also removable, so it can be used as a regular messenger bag), and I find it holds a body (gripped D700), flash, and three lens kit perfectly.

I've owned one of the Crumpler 6 Million dollar homes, and I find the Timbuk2 to be vastly superior in built, versatility, and comfort.

Highly recommended.



Apr 17, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


The Crumpler 6 Million dollar home is my fav "real" camera bag. It's ultra light, roomy and has dividers and walls with "bones" (probably plastic) to stiffen them so they hold their shape. So my 5D2/24-105L can sit on the dividers and not crush them. The only downside is you can't flatten the 6mil for packing and it doesn't conform to body shape like a Timbuk2 or R series. Well, also it is a dedicated camera bag and not much good for anything else. For daily use I carry a Timbuk2 custom with Crumpler Haven insert as there is room for my lunch, water, music scores, etc.

One of the things that makes the Timbuk2 more comfy is you can wear it bike style (middle of back with cross strap). Great for running to the train, not good for shooting out of as you must drop the bag before pulling out the camera (or hit yourself in the face).



Apr 17, 2013 at 05:01 PM
nick53097
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I have Lowepro Passport bag, used it for last two years in different cities.
Hold my D800 or D600 with 24-120, plus 50mm prime and lots of accessories.
Very comfortable and very secure.



Apr 17, 2013 at 09:13 PM
maverick777
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


I'd consider a Billingham Hadley Pro. It looks nothing like a camera bag unless they know what Billingham bags look like. And if they do, chances are they'll recognize any camera bag.

Items in my bag:
D7100 + Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 attached
Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 VR II with hood and tripod foot attached
Nikon SB-600 flash
White balance card
Shutter release cable
Microfiber cloth
Spare battery
Flashlight
Spare lens cap
Flash foot
Spare Carryspeed lens mount
Lowepro memory card wallet
Lenspen
Pens and pencil pouch with spare AA batteries
Circular polarizer

I can keep the exact same items in the bag with the 70-200mm mounted as well. I setup the pads so I can quickly change configurations without moving them anywhere.










Apr 18, 2013 at 02:11 AM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


Well, fate has intervened in my search/research as I found a Timbuk2 Snoop (small) for sale locally and snapped it up. Why? It looks like a courier/laptop bag for starters and fit me well. Right now I've got it stuffed with my 6D and Sigma 24-70 attached, hood reversed. It also holds my 70-200 f/4 IS, Siggy 50 1.4 and my Oly 21 f/3.5.

I've still got room for my charger and spare battery plus memory cards AND the Napoleon pocket fits my iPad mini in its folio like a glove.

This is the small? Sheesh! Anyway, thanks for all of the advice. I have a feeling three or four of the bags suggested would have worked just fine too.

Cheers,
Cam



Apr 18, 2013 at 04:21 AM
pipspeak
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Messenger Style bag for NYC - Suggestions?


Just got my medium Timbuk2 Snoop from an FM member and it's a nice bag let down by the crummy camera insert, which is way too floppy/squishy and has kinda useless dividers. I'm gonna try a vastly superior Crumpler insert in it and see how it goes.

The Crumpler bag it came out of is a New Delhi (European model) that is far more structured and stiff as a messenger bag than the Timbuk2, which makes it less comfortable to carry but far easier to work out of without having to take it off (the Timbuk2 just kinda collapses around the camera gear and you really have to go digging).

The Crumpler is also way better made than the Timbuk2 with a lot of very useful compartments and pockets. The Timbuk2 is (like all their messenger bags) somewhat minimalist and the snoop bag shell was clearly not designed specifically for photographers -- it actually seems to be simply their basic D-Lux laptop messenger with the floppy camera insert inside.



Apr 18, 2013 at 05:40 AM
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