The Bag Man’s 7 Favorite Photo Bags

The holidays are approaching and that’s a good excuse to buy a new photo bag for yourself or a loved one. Here’s a collection of my seven favorite photo bags, gleaned from full reviews that appeared in this column over the past couple of years.

1. Domke New Genration Chronicle
Although this listing is in no particular order, I must admit that one of my all-time favorite bags is the original Domke F2. An upgraded version of old faithful is the Domke New Generation Chronicle. I can easily stow a large camera body and four lenses along with a flash, batteries, water bottle and smaller items, too. On either end there is a large flap pocket that’s roomy and accessible. You can read my complete Shutterbug Bag Man Review here.

Laptop Sling Bag from the 24/7 Traffic Collection.

2. Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag
Recently I sat down with Elish Patel of Peak Design to discuss their incredible crowdfunding success and how their company has grown over the past few years. Two separate Kickstarter adventures garnered well over $11-million to fund their gadget bag creations. All of their products are superb, and their bag designs are fresh and innovative. My favorite among them is the original 15-inch Everyday Messenger Bag. It’s a breed apart from the camera bags I’m accustomed to seeing. Here is a link to my full review

3. Able Archer Rucksack
Able Archer is an intriguing name for a camera bag company. If you know your history, those two words conjure memories of the 1983 NATO nuclear release exercise that nearly triggered World War Last. Bad memories aside, Able Archer offers a small but versatile assortment of photo backpacks, duffels, pouches and buttpacks that feature classic military appearance and score high marks for simplicity and design. Any piece in the lineup is useable for photo gear, but the Rucksack is most suitable, as you’ll read in my review.

Cooper 8 from Tenba.

4. Tenba Cooper 8
Some bags ooze luxury and the Cooper 8 from Tenba is one of them. There are four pieces in the Tenba Cooper Collection, and for the past several months I have used the smallest to tote my Fujifilm X-T1 and three lenses, plus the smallest Fuji flash and some Cokin Pure Harmonie filters. It has a padded sleeve in the back that holds an iPad Mini and full-zip pocket in the front flap to store wayward lens caps. The Cooper bags easily compete with the highest-priced bags in terms of quality and material, but at a friendlier price, as I pointed out in the review last November.

5. Adorama DSLR Camera + Laptop Sling
In addition to being a very popular retailer, Adorama has been at the forefront of camera bag development and has enjoyed well-deserved success with their line of Slinger bags and related accessories. The bags in the 24/7 Traffic Collection, their latest effort, are very well made and amazingly innovative. The DSLR Camera + Laptop Sling Bag is a steal at $69. Read my review here.

6. Manfrotto Advanced Rear
To most photographers, Manfrotto means tripod—and they certainly are a dominate player in that product category. What’s lesser known is that they exercise the same care and attention for detail in a wide assortment of camera bags, too. The Manfrotto Advanced Rear is a handsome mid-sized pack that provides roomy top access for a camera with lens and convenient rear access to a removable padded camera tray that has space for one camera body with lens and three or four other lenses. It also accommodates a 13-inch laptop computer and a decent-size tablet.  More here.

7. Lowepro Pro Runner
Lowepro bags have been favored by photographers for many years. My current favorite Lowepro series is the Pro Runner. There are three bags in the lineup, Pro Runner BP 350 AW II, Pro Runner BP 450 AW II and the Pro Runner RL x450 AW II. The RL x450 features a pull-up handle, rollers and hideaway shoulder straps so it converts quite easily into a roller bag. Very cool. Here’s the link to the review.

—Jon Sienkiewicz