YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR IT! I know many of you have anxiously been waiting the review of messenger bags and travel backpacks in hopes of finding THE perfect bag! As I finish up the review, I wanted to give you guys a sneak peek of two of the bags to give you an idea of what I've been evaluating. Check out two of the bags below.
PEAK DESIGN EVERYDAY MESSENGER BAG
Peak Design has worked with Trey Ratliff to make what they feel is the ultimate messenger bag. Starting with the material, a synthetic canvas shell and seatbelt style strap, they designed a bag with innovation unseen in other bags. There is so much to say about the design of this bag! The water repellent synthetic canvas shell gives this bag some style and personality while protecting gear with water resistant zippers.
The MagLatch is a metal latch that allows you to use one hand to quickly access your gear by pulling the latch to release and open the cover flap. Once open, gear inside is separated by thin origami style dividers instead of thick pads that often take up space. I wish all bag companies would do this! Since the interior lining is a stitched padding, space doesn’t seem wasted. The bag is adjustable allowing space to expand or decrease according to the amount of gear you need. A small pocket inside on the top gives quick access to memory cards, pens, etc. without having to dig to the bottom. A front pocket unzips along the sides to unfold for access to thin elastic pockets that allow you to store keys, phones, external hard drives, and more. There is a slot on the back of the bag for up to a 15” laptop. I found that it’s difficult to zip up a 15” MacBook Pro when the bag is filled with gear. The zipper is just too tight. There is a separate slot inside as well for a tablet or small device, but don’t plan on having both in there.
The seatbelt style strap has a quick adjust clip that allows you to easily change the length of the strap. I found this extremely helpful when transitioning it from my back to front to access my gear without taking it off my shoulder. The strap is smooth on one side to allow you to easily slide the bag around on your body. To keep your bag from sliding, you simply flip the strap over to the other side that has two strips of rubber sewn in to hold the bag in place. When you flip the strap though, it will be twisted near the bag. Not a big deal, but I wish there was a way for it to rotate. There are also two stabilizer straps tucked into their own pocket that can be accessed to wear around the waist or across the chest. There are two side pockets that are easy to access, but I wouldn’t put anything valuable in them since they are just open slots on the sides of the bag. Too easy for things to fall out or someone else’s hand to reach in and grab valuables. One of the slots does have the Peak Design anchor system to easily attach keys. This brings me around to one of my favorite things about this bag.
They have designed it to work together with their Capture Pro camera clip that allows you to easily clip your camera onto the side of your bag for quick access. Although I was a little nervous using this the first time with my Canon 5D MkIII plus battery pack and 24-70 lens, I must say I’m impressed. Do note that the bag does NOT come with a Capture, but I highly recommend you get one anyway. For $80 it’s a great addition! Even if you don’t buy the bag you should have a Capture. It will basically clip on to any strap.
Another feature that I love is the ability to carry a tripod without any straps. Basically, they created a sleeve on the inside of the cover that allows you to slide a tripod leg through and the other two legs rest on the top of the bag. They even throw in a wristband type thingy that you wrap around the bottom of all three legs to keep the tripod from sliding off. If your tripod is too short, such as a MeFoto, you may need to lengthen the legs to attach the wristband.
The addition of the Capture Pro increases the amount of gear you can carry, but the bag alone does a decent job. I was able to easily have room for my 70-200, 16-35, and 24-70 attached to my 5D MkIII. Accessing everything is simple especially with the MagLatch design. The back of the bag is a little stiff lying against the body which doesn’t make it the most comfortable; however, it’s not uncomfortable by any means. Overall this is an impressive bag – especially for its price at just $250! It’s great for street photography or to use as a laptop day bag. I’m excited to see what Peak Design continues to produce in the future!
ONA CAMPS BAY
Not everybody makes a first impression based off of looks, but if you did there’s a good chance you’ve got a crush on this bag. Made out of a waxed canvas material with leather straps, everything about this bag speaks quality. Waxed canvas is a strong material that would be difficult to rip and water rolls right off of it. Stiff at first, the material slowly relaxes a bit over time. Zippers and buckles are made of good quality and make it easy to access gear.
This is a simple backpack void of any bells and whistles. The top will give you access to an adjustable depth of 4” – 7” great for flashes, memory cards, keys, wallet, etc. This is also where you access up to a 17” laptop. If you have a 15” laptop or longer, part of it will be exposed to the top pocket so keys or anything metal could scratch part of it. There are two pockets outside on the sides that are deep but pretty useless. The top of the pocket is leather instead of elastic so hands don’t fit in very easily. A small zipper pouch in the front allows you to store pens, business cards, memory cards, etc. I would keep my keys in here so not to scratch my laptop. There are also no straps to connect across the chest or waist – something I would find helpful if out and about walking around town for a bit.
I was surprised by how much gear I could fit into this bag. It had a spot for everything I use at a wedding with the exception of a holder for my tripod and small light stands. I tend to carry those together in a separate tripod case anyway. I like to have more than I need – just in case – so I was able to fit my 70-200 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 16-35 2.8, 50 1.2, 2 Yongnuo flashes, 5D MkIII w/ battery grip, and 7D MkII w/ battery grip (in the top pocket). There was even a little pocket room left for something small like a GoPro.
Access to gear is mainly from the front and the top. A flap comes over the top to buckle in the front covering all zippers and access. They use a quick release push clip that allows you to open and close the flap quickly, however, snapping it back can be annoying if the leather zipper strap from the front pocket gets in the way. Not a big issue. The zippers move smoothly making it easy to get into the bag for a quick lens switch.
The Ona Camps Bay is fairly comfortable if you aren’t trying to max it out. It’s rectangular shape doesn’t fully conform to your shoulders and back and the shoulder straps could use a little more padding for those that load it up. That being said, I return to the “bag crush” based on its looks. This really is a beautiful bag clearly made with high quality material. What would I use this bag for? Weddings. Not made for hiking and bigger than necessary for typical portraits. This bag will run you about $430 on their site.