Bag Fiend: Walking with Cameras

For the last few years I have been perplexed by how to easily combine two of my favourite activities – hiking and landscape photography – without expensive bags that I can’t justify buying or having to take my daysack off regularly.

Most photo-rucksacks only have room inside for the cameras, some that have a top compartment for stuff will barely contain a lightweight raincoat and a packet of crisps, and even top of the range bags with larger top compartments still have to be taken off your back to get at your camera.

I admit to being a Lowepro fan and their new Photo Hatchback AW range bags are good looking and practical, with the ability to swing the whole bag round to the front and access your gear from an opening in what is the back of the bag while it hangs in front of you.  They’re a bit out of my price range however as I wouldn’t get the use out of them to justify it.

So I wondered what I could achieve using what I have right now.  Last year I attached a couple of holster cases to my large rucksack’s waist belt but this was a bit unwieldy, with two bags in front of me as well as the fact that I kept knocking one of them off the belt so had to occasionally chase an escaping 40-150 zoom lens down a mountainside in it’s case.

This year I’ve downsized to a smaller Karrimor daysack and when I noticed that it was higher up my back I had an idea.  Inspired by the Lowepro bags mentioned above and a webbing belt I use on my jeans I thought what if I had another belt round my waist to hold the holster case, I could then slide it out of the way when I wasn’t using the camera. I bought a webbing belt with a clasp and found that my Toploader Zoom AW could be slid right round the back to sit below my daysack and pulled back round when I wanted my camera.  Perfect.

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Bag Fiend: Woz’s Backpack Edition

Steve Wozniac

Steve Wozniac (Photo credit: bbriceno)

I thought I had a lot of stuff in my laptop backpack when I travel, you know, laptop, PSU, Mio PDA/GPS (I know, Windows Mobile how 2007, pah), MP3 player, leads, mouse, adaptors etc…

Gizmodo though have had the opportunity to rummage through the contents of the backpack that Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) carries when travelling.

See the picture and a full list from the man himself here.

[Gizmodo UK]

Bag Fiend: King Arthur’s Messenger Bag

I haven’t bought this bag myself but the React Messenger from Travelon uses a mixture of old and new technology to protect your stuff from sticky fingers – and I don’t mean it wipes clean after someone’s been eating a doughnut.

The bag has an outer skin made from a kind of chainmail which provides a slash-proof layer while the shoulder strap is constructed with an integral cut-proofing like the Pac Safe strap that protects my DSLR.  Additionally the main compartment is kept closed by locking carabiners and the whole thing can be locked to a chair or other more immovable object of your choice.

Perfect for protecting your precious tech and/or secret government documents.  Just don’t leave it on a train or somewhere.

[Travelon via Gizmodo UK]

Bag Fiend – The Best Kind of Bag is the Free Kind of Bag

Bright Green Rucksack

While riding my bike to work this morning I was caught by the fuzz.  Ok, it was neither as painful as it sounds or as serious.  The local police and road safety campaign were out again asking cyclists to complete a short questionnaire about our cycling habits and as a reward you receive the bright and shiny rucksack you see above, free!  As I cycle every day I applaud this effort as anything that helps drivers see me is a bonus.

It’s a nicely made bag, very visible with reflective stripes, has a couple of sizable internal pockets and a couple of decent sized external pockets that have elestic straps inside but open mesh lower parts which is the only downside – though I’m not complaining as it was, as I say, free.

As I sat down, about to put the bag under my desk Nick, one of our window fitters, walked by “ok, we know you’ve got a new bag, stop playing with it,” he said.  “But it’s new and shiny,” I replied, “and free.”

Bag Fiend: When is an iPhone Case Not an iPhone (Only) Case?

Neoprene Case

When it’s a generic neoprene pouch being sold specifically as a “Neoprene iPhone Case” but is useful for so much more.

The pouch isn’t in any way iPhone specific (I bought it to stow a  mobile mouse in my messenger bag) but is still marketed as such.  It’s a very good pouch though, by the way, for all you fellow bag collectors out there.  Really nice colour, well padded, velcro closure and available at 99p stores for just 99p, surprisingly.  (Tip – my local store has Fabulous Bakin’ Boys Lemon Cupcakes – box of 8 for 99p so grab some of those too).

The way it’s sold though is part of an interesting trend.  Products that are non-specific being sold as “for iPhone” including cases, car mounts, headphones, cleaning cloths.  Presumably this targeting happens because of iPhone being a very well-known brand name but it becomes self-perpetuating whereby people see all the accessories specifically for iPhone and decide that maybe they should get an iPhone rather than one of those other phones because of all the accessories.

Something to ponder in a later post I think.

Bag Fiend – Confessions of a Bag Addict

Lowepro Terraclime 50

Ok, here and now I admit that I have a thing about portable storage.  There, I’ve said it.

I have over the years needed bags for carrying my lunch to work, computers, cameras and clothes but also many smaller bags and pouches to keep things organised and safe when in other bags or drawers.  Often though I’ve had a couple of bags before I’ve found The One for a particular task.  Sometimes I’ll get a new bag simply because I’m bored with the colour or style of the old one, or it’s becoming a bit tatty.

I do insist on quality of materials and construction and what does get my attention are good features such as  good internal storage and maybe some innovative pocket or pouch like the little slide-out memory card holder on my Lowepro compact camera and SLR holster cases.  The bag also has to look good too, colourful if possible.

The thing is though that I am patient and I generally only buy a new bag when I can get a good deal on it.  Like today’s new bag.  A local camping shop is closing down unfortunately but they were selling off lots of Lowepro Terraclime camera pouches for a couple of quid each.  I have a use for one so I added it to my collection and an excellent bag it is too.  Good looking, colourful and made from quality, sturdy, recycled materials and featuring a retainer that slides into a loop to hold it closed along with being designed so that the top opening folds over to close it fully and keep the elements out it’s a really nicely made bag.  The interior has a soft lining and pockets for memory cards and the like.

Now to find somewhere to store it.

(Lowepro)