As I’ve become slightly older (at 30) and more conscious of my personal health, I’ve also mostly moved away from messenger bags. They’re not so great for your back, though some of them encourage you to carry less gear. Despite the fact that the BlackForest Vinson is designed to help you take less gear, it’s nice to know you can stuff a whole lot of camera into there. Not only that, but it’s also pretty comfortable, deceptively durable, nice looking, and they’re hand made in India.
In regards to that last statement, I didn’t think much of it until it actually came out of the box. Then I was completely shocked.
Pros and Cons
- Nearly Domke, Billingham, ONA and Hawkesmill level of craftsmanship when it comes to the build quality.
- Decent amount of padding
- Can hold a Pentacon Six TL with a lens attached and still have room inside for other things
- Fairly affordable compared to lots of what’s out there.
- The clips seem to be weight bearing, which I didn’t think they’d be able to considering the suitcase handle on top.
- Not really a whole lot to be honest.
Specs taken from the product home page
- Waxed water repellent canvas
- Full grain Leather
- Premium cotton twill interlining
- YKK zips & premium hardware
- Outside specs – 13” L x 10” H x 5” D
- Inside specs – 12.5” L x 9” H x 4.5” D
- Weight – 1.5 kgs
The BlackForest Vinson is a camera bag designed to appeal to a large base of photographers out there. There have been many designs like it but not a whole lot as shiny as this one. It incorporates into it cotton canvas and leather in addition to brass hardware. When you look at it, it simply looks like a nice bag, not necessarily like a camera bag.
Move to the top and you’ll really see how it doesn’t look like a camera bag. Not a whole lot of camera bags have a suitcase handle in combination with locking clips that are weight supporting. It’s surely an issue with many camera manufacturers and the products they produce with only Hawkesmill and Tenba creating really, truly good solutions.
Then there is the strap, which has a shoulder pad with minimal padding. Still though, it’s fairly comfortable.
Turn to the side of the BlackForest Vinson camera bag and what you’ll find are pockets on either side. These are large enough to accommodate your phone, business card holders, etc.
Here’s the brass hardware I’m talking about that’s weight supporting with the BlackForest Vinson. At no time has the bag opened up by accident when toting it around with cameras and lenses inside and while using the top handle.
The inside of the BlackForest Vinson has padding, lots of it. There are three dividers which can be removed and the padding itself is very thick. It’s nice when it comes to providing protection for your camera.
Turn to the back of the BlackForest Vinson and what you’ll find is this pocket for storing a notebook, iPad, etc.
In my tests, I didn’t find the BlackForest Vinson to be problematic at all. What I’m really shocked again by is how subtly sturdy the closing clips are. When using the bag and carrying it around like a suit case, it won’t open up. This is better than some of the stuff that I’ve gotten from Army/Navy shops.
Dare I say it: the clips have a better build than what Hawkesmill have in their first iteration of camera bags. Their newer system though is built very nicely.
Ease of Use
There isn’t a whole lot to configure or think about with the BlackForest Vinson. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why so many photographers love messenger bags, because they’re simple to use and they provide quick enough access in many situations. The BlackForest Vinson is, therefore, simple to use and provides a fair amount of durability at a low price comparably speaking.
There’s a whole lot to love here with the BlackForest Bags Vinson messenger bag. It’s built well, can hold a lot of gear, is surprisingly sturdy, has a suitcase handle, and when you compare it to other camera bags it’s also available at a very affordable price point. Personally speaking, it’s got to be one of my favorite messenger bags simply due to the durability combined with the fashionable looks. There are more comfortable straps out there, but that can be fixed on your own.
With that said, I don’t like it enough to replace my backpacks. But if Blackforest made a backpack…
The BlackForest Bags Vinson deserves our Editor’s choice award for sure. Want one? They’re $179, which is a very good price point considering everything you’re getting here.