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Review: Think Tank Wired Up 20

Think Tank Multi Media Wired Up 20 Belt Bag, fully loaded.

The perfect camera bag provides heaps of protection, easy access to gear, comfortable carrying, adjustability to compartments and be the right size for everything you need. Although I had a good look at and considered purchasing a Think Tank bag about 18 months ago, it was at the Digital Life photography show in Melbourne (Australia) about six months ago when I bought my first Think tank bag, a Wired Up 20.

Because some of those things are essentially mutually exclusive, the perfect camera bag doesn’t exist. Luckily, we have some great minds trying to build the perfect camera bag, and the people at Think Tank are at the forefront of design and innovation in camera bags; they are trying to build the perfect bag.

Design

This bag is designed for multimedia, specifically for carrying around the extras which come with shooting video – headphones, microphones, audio recorders – in addition to camera gear. One of my roles these days is shooting short videos, so a bag designed to help me do exactly that was very attractive. That it has a pocket perfect for my iPad was a big attraction.

The Wired-Up 20 is a belt-bag, although it is supplied with two shoulder straps too, so it can be worn around your waist (front or rear facing), on one shoulder or even as a backpack. When it’s heavy and I’ve got some walking to do, it’s a backpack: when I’m shooting stills with it it’s usually a shoulder bag, and for video – especially on the rare occasion I do hand-held video – it’s a belt bag.

Storage

The main pocket is accessed via a chunky plastic zip. Inside is a removable/swappable velcro-configurable inner pocket which I usually have set up with three sections. It’s deep enough to swallow a 70-200mm f/2.8. A flashgun on the other side and a pro-sized camera in the middle with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L ISfills in interior space. there’s also a rain cover tucked in here.

Behind the main compartment is another thick zip and the iPad pocket. Inside that is a removable pouch and some elastic cable management straps. On the sides of the bag are pouches designed for audio gear or other accessories: I can carry a couple of standard microphones, XLR cables and an audio recorder between the two sides; if I’m shooting stills only it might hold another flash, remote cables, maybe even another lens (but the pouches are not padded, so knock protection is limited).

At the front is a deep padded accessory pouch. In mine you’ll find spare memory cards, batteries, filters, business cards, snacks…

Interesting Features

A very interesting feature of the Wired-Up range are the blue tabs inside the bag, which are your guide to cable routing. You can run cables between the different compartments, which is awesome for things like separate audio recording – to the point where you could have a mic in each side pouch and an audio recorder in the front pocket, running the cables through the gaps. Off the belt section there’s a clip to hold you headphones so you can monitor the audio in real time. You can also attach extra pouches to the belt section, too.

All this in one belt bag. Just. this was seriously full, basically too full for practical use, but great for a flight carry-on.

Although I bought the Wired-Up 20 partly for video work, it’s become a go-to bag for many shoots. It holds enough gear to cover a lot of shoots without becoming ridiculously heavy. Because I can wear it as a backpack and also as a shoulder bag, it’s very versatile, and because it’s made for professionals it’s very robust and tough.

There’s little not to like, but nothing’s perfect. Because it’s designed for long lenses like the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II ISit’s tall for the size of its base, so it rolls over occasionally on uneven ground. Because there’s only one zip for the main opening you’re always dragging your gear through a slit – you can flip the lip out of the way (one of my favorite bags of all time was the Domke F2, a shoulder bag where the top would actually flip over to side of the bag, giving unhindered access to gear even while it was on your shoulder.)

Think Tank bags are very versatile, but require a bit of thought as to how you’re going to get the best out of them. The Wired-Up 20 offers a great bag designed for modern Pro gear and helps you get on with the job.

For more camera bags, take a look at this round-up of some of our favorites.

If you’d like to purchase this bag, please keep in mind that if you use our Think Tank links and purchase directly from the manufacturer that you can receive a free bag with purchases of $50 or more.

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