Review: ThinkTank Photo CityWalker 30

SAMSUNG CSC

One of the realities that I face when traveling is that I have to have two photo bags. The first is always a roller bag that serves as my carry on luggage and carries most of my gear. This makes it convenient and easy to travel. I not only carry a lot of photo gear, but also audio recording equipment for producing my podcast on the road.

The ThinkTank Photo CityWalker 30 seems to hold the promise of a bag that would provide me the ability to carry my walk-around kit, which often includes my laptop computer, a 13-inch MacBook Air.

Up to this point, I’ve not been pleased with the options, because either a bag didn’t accommodate a laptop or if it did, it would be too big and bulky. I was hoping that the CityWalker 30 might fit the bill.

Pros and Cons

Pros

– Lightweight design

– Easily convertible to a traditional messenger bag (with the removal of the padded insert)

– Can easily accommodate laptops up to 15-inches as well as an assortment of camera gear.

-Includes interior side pocket, perfect for the computer power supply.

-Affordably priced at just $159.75

Cons

– Lacks a dedicated exterior pocket for smart phone (minor quibble)

Tech Specs

Copied from Think Tank’s Product Page

OD: 16.3” W x 11.4” H x 8.3” D  (41.5x 29  x 21 cm)
ID : 13.4”W x 9.6” H x  6.7” D   (34 x 24.5 x 7 cm)
Laptop: 15” W x 11”H x 1.4” D (38 x 28 x 3.6 cm)
Weight: 2.7-3.0 Lbs. (1.2-1.4 kg)

Main Features

  • Allow for the transport of a 15-inch laptop as well as various combinations for camera and audio equipment, including cables and power supplies.
  • Removable padded insert converts CityWalker 30 into a traditional messenger bag.
  • Lightweight materials reduces bulk and weight.
  • Holds a standard-size DSLR with 2 – 3 small telephotos or primes. 24 – 105 f/4 detached

Ergonomics

SAMSUNG CSC

The overall design is clean and stylish and doesn’t declare itself as a “camera bag”. The bag comprises of fabric treated to be durably water-resistant, plus the fabric underside has a polyurethane coating for what Think Tank claims to be better water resistance.

SAMSUNG CSC

Web-meshed pocket on the exterior sides of the bag accommodate small items such as a small bottle of water, collapsible over-the-ear headphones or light meter. This is very standard.

SAMSUNG CSC

A zipped front pocket provides ready access to maps, boarding passes and instruction manuals. But you can put other things in there too for sure.

SAMSUNG CSC

A wide-well padded shoulder strap with gelled ribs provides for a comfortable and non-slip carrying experience. Think Tank’s straps also have excellent padding.

SAMSUNG CSC

The passed insert comes configured with three user-adjustable partitions, which can accommodate a HDSLR with lens attached as well as several lenses and other accessories. Think Tank is also marketing this for strobists as it can hold a lot of flashes.

SAMSUNG CSC

Two interior side pockets provide added storage for other accessories including computer power adapters, batteries and a battery charger.

SAMSUNG CSC

A dedicated laptop pocket provides storage for laptops up to 15 inches. Your MacBook Pro or an iPad will be tucked away here.

SAMSUNG CSC

An expandable front pocket includes compartment for writing tools, documents and other small accessories. Once again, this is standard for ThinkTank’s bags.

SAMSUNG CSC

The bag’s SoundSilencer feature covers the Velcro closures for noiseless open and closing of the bag. This system is also on the company’s Retrospective series. The silencer gives you a quieter experience but sacrifices protection.

SAMSUNG CSC

The outer flap contains a dedicated compartment for business cards.

Build Quality

ThinkTank Photo bags were originally envisioned as a photo bag designed by photojournalists for photojournalists. And while that idea has expanded over the years, the company continues to produce bags that can meet the demands of heavy-duty use. Even though the CityWalker 30 is made of lightweight materials, the bag still provides a nice balance between protection and portability.

It offers ample protection against moisture including with an exterior fabric, which includes a water-resistant coating. The bag also includes seam sealed rain cover, for when you get caught in a downpour.

Ease of Use

When I am thinking of an everyday bag, I’m not thinking about how much gear I can fit into the bag. As I’ve gotten older, weight is a big issue and I’m not going to carry everything I own on the street. Instead, I want a bag that can conveniently accommodate the equipment that I need to get my work done.

As well as the laptop, the CityWalker 30 was able to accommodate a basic shooting kit of a Canon 5D Mark III w/ BG-E11 and attached 40mm f/2.8, 85mm f/1.8, 50 f/1.4 and a 24-105 f/4 zoom with hood attached.

When carrying my portable recording studio, I could carry a Zoom H4n audio recorder, two Shure SM-58 microphones, , 2 XLR cables, 2 UrbanEars over-the-ear collapsible headphones and an Olympus OMD EM-5 with a 17mm f/1.8 lens.

I found myself really liking the padded insert and have given thought to buying a second one, which would allow me to switch between my photo and audio gear an even simpler process.

Conclusions

There is never a perfect bag. Instead, it’s often about finding a bag that meets a specific need. I found that the CityWalker 30 addresses just such a need for me. The easy way by which the bag and the insert can be collapsed makes it easy to pack in my check-in luggage. Other bags that could accommodate the kind of equipment I use are so bulky that they take up too much space in a suitcase.

Another small plus for me was that I had a bag that not only accommodated my laptop, but could also accept my 24-105mm lens with the hood attached and still allow for space for a few other lenses. Smaller bag that I’ve tried have often required me to remove the hood to make enough space for my other equipment.

If I weren’t so dependent on my laptop for so much of my work, I would likely prefer one of the two smaller versions of the bag, but for now the CityWalker 30 seems to fit the bill whether I’m working at home or on the road.

Please Support The Phoblographer

We love to bring you guys the latest and greatest news and gear related stuff. However, we can’t keep doing that unless we have your continued support. If you would like to purchase any of the items mentioned, please do so by clicking our links first and then purchasing the items as we then get a small portion of the sale to help run the website.

Also, please follow us on FacebookFlickr and Twitter.