Review: Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag

Cub and Co has been around for a number of years, and while they’re not necessarily as prevalent as Tap and Dye or Holdfast Gear, part of that has to do with the fact that they’ve been slower at making products. But when a Cub and Co product comes out, you generally know that it’s very well made by hand. That’s the case with the new Cub and Co Shooter Camera bag.

You see, this isn’t’ like anything that other camera bags are–instead it’s a blend of leather, Domke, more leather, Artisan and Artist padding, more leather, and the simplicity that mostly an ONA can offer. With that said, this is in its own special category. It’s not a messenger bag, it isn’t a backpack, and it isn’t quite a sling either. Instead, it’s pretty much like a special pod that you sling around you and that makes a whole lot of sense ergonomically.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very well built
  • Can hold really heavy cameras with ease
  • A big emphasis goes to shooting and not worrying about editing on a computer, a tablet, etc.
  • Great padding
  • Extremely, extremely comfortable
  • Incredibly smart design that doesn’t get in the way of shooting at all
  • Excellent for when you want to ride a bike to your shooting location or when you need to climb things.
  • The bottom is well protected
  • I’m a bit concerned about shooting in a heavy rainfall with this bag, though the top flat survived all rain that fell so far and my torture tests have proven my suspicions wrong.

Cons

  • Very little side protection; though in my tests I felt it was enough.
  • Quicker access would be nice!
  • Prone to get dirty easily with the special vegetable tanned top
  • A bit pricy at $350, but when you understand that one person is making this by hand then it makes a lot of sense.

Gear Used

The Cub and Co Shooter Bag was tested with the Mamiya RB67, Lomography LCA 120, the Canon 6D, Sigma 35mm f1.4, Phottix flashes, Sony a6300 and the Sony 30mm f2.8 lens.

Tech Specs

Taken from the Listing page

The Shooter camera bag, is our take on the EDC camera bag, removable dividers allow for the bag to be configurable to accommodate a DSLR and a couple of lenses, 2 mirrorless cameras and lenses and even a medium format SLR and lenses. The bag features water repellent waxed canvas, vegetable tanned leather accents that will develop a rich butter scotch patina over time, and is lined with the finest suede. Adjustable latigo leather straps under the bag, allow you to carry a tripod, umbrella, or anything else to keep your hands free.

Each bag is meticulously made by hand by one craftsman, as always, here in the USA.
 
Exterior dimensions are
13″ x 7″ x 7″
 
Interior dimensions
12″ x 6″ x 6″
 
Weight
2Lbs

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (1 of 12)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 2.8

The Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag is a personal carrier that will appeal to various types of photographers. While those that feel that they need a laptop with them when they go shoot may want to look elsewhere, this bag is a great offering for the new types of photojournalists: those that shoot and send to Instagram.

But it’s also just great for the photographer that will edit at home, shoot on the location, or for the film shooter. Lots of my personal work is done on film; and that’s why the more low profile look of the Shooter camera bag and the emphasis on just shooting really jives with me. It’s evident in much of the looks starting with the front of the bag. What you see here is the brown canvas, the dark leather strap fasteners, the leather top for protection, and the Cub and Co branding on the front.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (4 of 12)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 2.8

The bag closes with these leather straps finding their way connected to these metal nipples that stand up quite a bit. There are two different loopholes and my only concern is that with enough use, the holes will become very big and not stay closed well enough. In all honesty, I would have preferred buckles.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (5 of 12)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

Pop the bag open and what you’ll find is a brown suede-like interior. This interior has loads of padding: thick, squishy, comfortable padding that I seriously wish were made into special blankets for me to curl up into and forget the fact that trolls in the photography world exist. Here you can also spot the interior top-side protectors. They’re fairly small but curiously effective.

No seriously, they’re that nice!

You’ve got a number of pads that you can use to configure the bag accordingly, but I just decided to stuff my giant Mamiya RB67 into here.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (6 of 12)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

The front of this bag has another zippered pocket for little things. It’s not the first place that I’d want to stuff film into but instead I’d put things like filters, chargers, batteries, etc.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (7 of 12)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

Then there are two side pockets with their own button enclosures. These are designed with quick access in mind and are great for batteries, rolls of film, etc.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (8 of 12)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

The bag is closed up by using this giant top leather flap. It’s pretty much just a thick piece of leather with no weather sealing so if enough water theoretically soaked it, I’d probably be a bit scared. However, so far I haven’t seen a problem. Thank goodness the RB67 doesn’t use batteries!

Here you’ll also see the shoulder strap and the top (sort of) handle. The strap is adjustable and because o the specific design, it doesn’t need a shoulder pad.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (9 of 12)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

The bottom of the bag has adjustable space for you to store a small tripod, softbox, or other stuff like a water bottle even if you wish.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (2 of 12)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 2.8

If this bag is tough enough to withstand rain and the weight of a very heavy medium format camera, then it’s got to be well built, right? Theoretically, yes; but I had some concerns. In fact, to test the durability of the top flap (made with vegetable leather) I went to my kitchen to get a glass of water and pour it on the top with my gear inside. The top is very porous, but even a full glass of water didn’t get fully through and it dried up within 10 minutes. With that said, I’m sure that it’s tough enough for most things.

Despite this test proving that the bag’s build quality is very solid for what it’s worth, I really wish that the interior side protectors were longer or were incorporated into the top of the bag for extra protection.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (3 of 12)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 2.8

That’s just me being overzealous though–and to prove this I went back to the kitchen to pour another glass of water right around where the side and top meet. To me at least, it seems little thought was given to this aspect. The way I hypothesize, if rain got to this, the protectors would do a little bit of their job shielding the gear and to that end it would also mean that I wouldn’t put electronic products towards the sides of the bag.

When the water was poured yet again, both the top and the top-side interior protectors did their jobs shockingly well. If any more torture was given to it in a real life situation, then I’d probably head for cover to ensure that I personally don’t catch a cold and stay out of commission for a couple of days.

While all of this surely proved me wrong, I still share a concern that the strap loop holes will wear out over time. Luckily there are two of them on each strap.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (10 of 12)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

Check out how the bag hangs around my body. Notice how the front of it is facing down and the straps are coming at a slant from towards the back? That’s part of what I love about this bag because the design tends to take the weight off of your shoulder a bit. Even with a very heavy camera inside, it’s quite comfortable. In fact, it’s very comfortable when it’s on a single shoulder but it’s at its most comfortable when across the body.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag product images (11 of 12)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

When slung around your back, the bag tends to hang off a bit instead of on its side. This translates into a more comfortable experience overall. Believe it or not, it’s still pretty simple for my to go into the bag and grab what I need.

Theoretically, I can go in, undo a strap look and grab my gear if I need to. But it’s easiest when I swing the bag around to my front, go in, get what I need, close up and swing it back out of the way. Due to the design, it really does tend to stay out of the way.

Conclusions

The Cub and Co Shooter bag is a bit of a mixed bag–no pun intended. I’m a bit bothered by the strap loops in the long run and I feel the lack of extra top side/interior side access protection will eventually get to the gear inside despite my torture tests. To be fair, if someone tries to stick their hand in the bag, you’ll probably know it; but if a lot of water ends up getting into the sides, then your gear could be dead. You’ve got a little bit of protection, but not a whole lot. However, if these areas were connected together then I wouldn’t even have spent so long trying to destroy my gear inside the bag.

But otherwise the post has a lot going for it. It’s small, extremely comfortable, really does a good job at protecting the gear inside despite my long term concerns, and makes sure that you don’t overpack the bag.

So who do I recommend this bag for? If you’ve got heavy, weather sealed gear then go for it. Or if you’re an analog photographer that uses cameras that don’t have meters or electronics built in, then spring forward for this bag. If you ride a bike a lot (and I totally do!) then you’ll seriously digg this bag. In fact, this bag is probably best for those of us who need that much flexibility when going urbexing, hiking, etc.

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Cub and Co Shooter Camera Bag gets four out of five stars. Practically speaking, it’s more than enough for most of you; but I really like overprotection if anything. For what it’s worth, I know my Mamiya can take a beating.