Camera Bag Review: CRAVAR Rana 13 Messenger Bag

Photographers who want to carry their gear in style at an affordable price will love the CRAVAR Rana 13.

The CRAVAR Rana 13 is a bag that I really thought that I wasn’t going to fall for due to my moving away from messenger bags for my back’s sake; but CRAVAR got to my heart like a bad ex that woes you back into their web. In some ways, you know that it can be bad for you, but it works. It’s what you need for the moment. The CRAVAR Rana 13 is a gorgeous leather messenger bag designed for the photographer. They’re made of all leather and have weather resistance built in alongside a number of other of standard features for photographers. Specifically, it may appeal to mirrorless camera owners a bit more considering that it can surely hold a lot of gear and it can double as a daily work bag.

Are there groundbreaking features that differentiate it from the rest though?

Tech Specs

Specs taken from our news post

  • Fits a camera and up to 3 lenses and 13″ screen laptop.
  • 1 Laptop / Work Panel, 3 Vertical, 2 Stack dividers.
  • Two spacious front pockets, one full width back pocket.
  • Exterior (W * H * D) : 14″ * 9.8″ * 5.1″ / 35.5 * 25 * 13 cm.
  • Interior  (W * H * D) : 13.2″ * 9.1″ * 4.7″ / 33.5 * 23 * 12 cm
  • Max laptop size : 13″ * 9.1″ / 33 * 23 cm.
  • Weight                       : 3.2 lbs./ 1,450 grams – w/out dividers. 3.7 lbs./ 1,700 grams w/ all 6 dividers.

Ergonomics

The CRAVAR Rana 13 is a bag that features a whole lot of leather on the outside. This leather has a sleek coating that makes it much smoother than a lot of other options outside vs being more pebbled in appearance and design. Part of this is due to its being vegetable leather.

On the front of the CRAVAR Rana 13 you can find leather straps that provide closure. They also go through belt loops in addition to having holes that thread through those brass nipples. As you can also tell, it has a suitcase handle on top. The extra attachment is a leather SD card case that CRAVAR provided for us.

The interior of the CRAVAR Rana 13 is a soft, velvety material but a bit rougher. There are pockets for smaller things like film, batteries, etc. Then on the inside, you get a number of dividers. I configured my bag to only use two. Behind the main section is an area for you to slip your laptop into the bag.

On top of the bag you’ll find this shoulder strap. It has a pad for easing any sort of weight on your shoulder. It isn’t the most padded shoulder pad but it surely does the job.

Turn to the back of the CRAVAR Rana 13 and you’ll spot yet another slot for stuff. I’ve stuffed a photography notes notebook in there that I keep around for when I shoot film.

Build Quality

The CRAVAR Rana 13 is every bit as solid as most other leather and canvas bags that I’ve used. What I’m really excited about it having it wear in with creases and such where it will get a lot more patina to it. The closing system is very secure and I wasn’t too sure about it at first but extended use has proven me wrong with my initial thoughts.

Ease of Use

When you’re out and about using the CRAVAR Rana 13, you should know that even though this is a messenger bag, it won’t give you quick access to your gear at all. Instead, you’ll be much better off simply having your camera in hand as you use it. Years of street photography have taught me that quick access can be overrated in the way that it’s spoken about and marketed. But it surely is nice for convenience sake.  What I really like is that there are guards put into place to ensure that rain doesn’t get into the bag and that your gear won’t get stolen. When the CRAVAR Rana 13 is around your torso, opening the bag up will mean that the flap won’t come all the way back with ease. At first I didn’t like this and then I grew to appreciate it as it meant that my gear stayed protected.

What’s also really nice is that there is padding on the bottom of the bag too–and that means extra protection of your gear. The interior padding isn’t too thick but provides just enough protection. If anything, it’s a little thinner than those that Think Tank offers and is overall more rigid. But again, I really like that.

Conclusions

I think the CRAVAR Rana 13 messenger bag is a fantastic option. However, what I’d love to state outright is that it does nothing special over a number of other bags except provide full gear protection in a leather messenger bag. To be fair, innovation is really tough to find in the camera bag world these days at this price point. The CRAVAR Rana 13 will make the most sense with mirrorless camera users that may also want to bring their laptops with them. But more and more these days, I find myself bringing my images home to edit on my iMac. This bag would be great if I’m on location away from Brooklyn though; and for that I’ll surely use it.