Summary for the impatient:
Want a bag that has a clown-car-like ability to absorb your equipment and still feel manageable? Want to carry a fair bit of equipment and still have a longer lens mounted and ready on your camera? Want to do those things and not look like you’ve got a lot of expensive camera equipment? The Think Tank Urban Disguise is just the ticket.
The demands of being an Enthusiast Photographer will probably mean you’ll need more than one bag. I think most serious photographers will really need at least two, and three isn’t a big stretch. Depending on how much you want to carry, how obvious you want to be about having a camera bag and what else you’re doing while you’re out, having multiple bags can be the difference between having a successful outing and being miserable.
Now that you’ve been able to show your spouse those words and leave the room with your credit card, let’s talk about the next target on the list of many camera-bag-junkies: the Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise. (By the way, there aren’t enough camera bags in the world. I don’t have a camera bag problem. I really don’t!)
There are a lot of models of this bag, which are all generally the same configuration with more and more space as you go up the line. I saw a good deal on a used Urban Disguise 60 v2 and jumped on it. If you’re a regular reader, you know I also own a couple Timbuk2 bags, both built around the medium Snoop insert. I’m still a big fan of my Timbuk2 bags, but I’m finding there is a pretty hard limit to the amount of gear they absorb, and there are a couple things that nag me when I travel. And I travel a lot, especially on business when I need to have my work stuff and I want to have my camera stuff.
I’ve decided that some reviews are greatly enhanced by video, but in the meantime, here are a few thoughts on the bag:
- Massive capacity
- Durable ballistic nylon and amazing zippers. Zippers are important. The other hardware on the bag is robust, too.
- Great flexibility – the bag comes with a ton of inserts to configure the bag like you want, and there are an astounding number of pockets and nooks.
- All the camera stuff, and computer stuff too – I was able to put my ThinkPad X1 Carbon and my ThinkPad tablet in the bag.
- Comfortable – you wind up with a lot of stuff without feeling like you’re hauling another whole suitcase
- Sleeve for use with a roller bag – I’ve had a couple spills with the Timbuk2, which makes me nervous when it isn’t on my shoulder.
- Not as flexible as the Snoop once you get inside the plane – the camera stuff and the bag are a package deal, which means you’re going to be in the overhead compartment on smaller planes.
- Pricey (but you pretty much get what you pay for…)
- Not much style – they come in any color you want as long as you like black.
- I’m finding it hard to configure it when I’m in camera-bag-only mode to hold more than the Snoop. That is probably my own limitation.
If the “Cons” look a little weak, you’re right. This is a really impressive bag.
The bag comes with a rain hood, and there is a strap kit that gives you the ability to carry it as a backpack, which is pretty interesting. My bag came with that kit, so I’ll report on that later.
Here’s what I was able to put in it:
Working from the back to the front, that is:
- ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch
- ThinkPad Tablet 2
- Nikon D300s with L-bracket
- Nikon MB-D10 and L-bracket
- Nikon 70-200mm f/4
- Nikon 85mm f/1.8
- Nikon 35mm f/1.8
- Nikon 18-200 VRII
- Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
- Tamron 28-75 f/2.8
- Cough drops, headache powders, lip balm, a luggage tag and some napkins (I always want napkins on a plane)
- Ear buds in a case
- Remote for advancing PowerPoint
- ThinkTank media wallet (comes with the bag)
- Two microfibers (I wrap my camera in one)
- Cable release
- Two LensPens and two real pens
- A headcap for cold mornings
- My phone (this is actually my old phone, I used my Lumia 920 for the pix)
- My filter wallet
- My Singh-Ray variable filter
- SB-700 flash
- Black Rapid strap with my Arca-Swiss hack
- My travel AC/DC adapter
- My bag-o-cables
- My sunglasses
- My car keys
Believe it or not, there is room for more that wouldn’t add volume to the bag if you’re careful packing.
Obviously, lenses are the majority of the bulk here, and it is impressive. I use the sleeves because I’m overly anal about my stuff, but here’s a look at them all with my keys for scale:
The bag is easy and comfortable to carry. I like that the strap has swivels so I never have to take it off to “unwind” it. I’ll try to get a video tour put together sooner than later, but hope you find this useful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post ’em up!