What do you look for in a camera bag?

This is what my custom Timbuk2 Laptop Messenger should look like...

As I’m waiting for my custom-made Timbuk2 Laptop Messenger to arrive (ETA is 12/19 – full review will come soon after :)), I’m wondering what features make up the perfect bag.  The Ona Union Street was pretty close – it held a lot, it looked great and it seemed like it would be comfortable to carry.  Unfortunately, it lacked a key element: accessibility.  A bag needs to be convenient to be effective, and even if the Ona wasn’t a fairly expensive bag ($279 isn’t Billingham money, but it isn’t AmazonBasics, either), I would have been unhappy to carry it.  I sent it back – B&H just confirmed my refund today – a free plug:  They rock.  Their customer service rocks.  I highly recommend them, and hope to spend a few hours wandering in their store sometime soon.  Anyway…

My bag needs to have the following traits:

  • Versatile – lots of pockets and places to put stuff that is easily accessible.  Travel well.
  • Spacious – hold my body and 4-5 lenses.   One lens would be replaced by a flash (when I own one and decide to carry it…).  It needs to hold my laptop and various cables, notebook, pens, etc. so I can have a single bag when I travel.
  • Protective – don’t let me break my stuff.  Please.
  • Comfortable – my equipment felt more comfortable to carry in the Ona bag vs. my current LowePro 202 AW, and actually felt lighter.  Also, don’t have fiddly designs – be simple and easy.
  • Attractive – as I mentioned in my other article, I travel in the corporate world, and I want something that has some style and design.  The pro photographers roll their eyes at this, but I’ll steal my own quote: I don’t want a bag that looks like it belongs on “That 70’s Show or “Star Trek” – I want something that looks good.  Attractive design and high function aren’t mutually exclusive. They just seem to be in the world of camera bags…

So that’s my list – what do you want in a bag?  What do you love and/or hate about the bag you have now?  Traditional, messenger or backpack?

3 thoughts on “What do you look for in a camera bag?

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