Five Messenger Bags to Lust Over

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials for th Strobist Street Photographer (1 of 9)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.5

I have grown to have a special affinity for messenger-style camera bags. Long gone or the days where I would choose a bag based on how much of my gear I could fit into it. The time when I had  the constitution of a yak are long gone.

Instead, I want a bag that can accommodate the more streamlined choice of gear that I now use on a day to day basis, whether it’s an HDSLR or a mirrorless system. So, increasingly messenger bags provide me just the right amount of space, but also provide quick accessibility.

Though there is no perfect camera bag, here are some messenger bags that hold special appeal for me.

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Chrome Niko Messenger

This has been my favorite messenger-style bag since I had the first opportunity to use it. The sling-style bag is spacious and can accommodate an HDSLR with several lenses and other accessories. It’s top pouch is great for storing a rain slicker as well as smaller items such as a media card wallet or cell phone.

But what makes this bag so sweet is its quick release which takes it style cue from an old-fashioned seat belt-buckle. I can quickly remove the bag with pressure on the release button. This eliminates the need to swing it over my head, which is a good thing as I am often wearing a hat when I’m shooting. I have gotten more compliments on this bag than another other bag I’ve owned, which is nice because I’m not the most stylish fellow on the block.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tenba Messenger DNA bags (21 of 22)ISO 501-100 sec at f - 16

Tenba DNA Messenger

Though many messenger bag have drawn their inspiration from the bike-riding couriers that ride their bikes as if it were a death-sport, it’s amazing how many bags are not meant to be worn while riding a bike. They constantly slip from the back to the your side or worse yet, the front creating a dangerous obstacle when trying to maneuver.

The Tenba DNA Messenger bag is designed to eliminate that as a problem, while providing a nice stylish flourish. The inclusion of a security strap is meant to secure the bag in position when you are cycling or using some other type of transport. Available for both HDSLR or mirrorless kits, these bags provide a nice alternative to the traditional over the shoulder bag.

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ThinkTank Photo City Walker 20

Though the outside may not look very innovative, it’s really the insides of the ThinkThank Photo City Walker 20 that make it very appealing for me. It features a bucket like padded insert that I very much appreciate. The “bucket” provides flexible partitions to accommodate cameras and lenses as you would expect. But when I want to switch the bag over to a standard messenger back, I simply pull out the bucket and I’m done. I don’t have to remove velcro secure partitions. I just simply take the bucket in and out as needed.

As well, the small bag can accommodate a tablet, which I am often want to do when I don’t want to be dragging around a laptop.

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Lowerpro Passport Sling

Now, there are a lot of camera bags that claim that they are “low profile” and don’t look like camera bags, but I think the Lowepro Passport Sling is one that absolutely meets that criteria. The bag can store an HDSLR or mirrorless camera kit as well as other items such as a water bottle or other essentials. The bag and its insert are completely collapsible making it easy to store in your luggage when traveling.

It’s an ideal bag when you want to be shooting as a minimalist. Yet, it still provides ample space for other items such as maps, cell phone, energy bars and other day trip essentials. It’s a great bag for those short trips that aren’t just about photography, but you don’t want to miss a great picture by leaving the kit at home.

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Ona Union Street Camera Bag

Now, I’m not a Leica owner, but a bag like the Ona Union Street Camera Bag makes me look like I should be. It’s the kind of bag that would make me look more stylish or beautiful that I will ever deserve to be. It’s hand crafted design which include leather details and base make it a bag that it just a pleasure to look at. But it’s also a good bag when it comes to storing and transporting camera with up to three lenses as well as a dedicate pocket for a small laptop.

This style comes at a price, but for those who can afford it, there are few bags that provide a mix of practicality and panashe.

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