So now that you’ve picked out the camera, lenses and lighting gear you want, you need to figure out what you’re going to store and transport it all in. That’s why this buying guide is all about bags and cases. There really is no ideal bag that fits every situation you might find yourself in, but here are some of our favourites and those we use on a daily basis.
This is, without a doubt, my personal favourite bag of 2018, and you can read my complete review of it here. Historically, roller cases aren’t something I’ve really used that much. But now that I find myself travelling more to shoot and cover shows for DIYP, a good roller case is invaluable, and it doesn’t get much better than the Lowepro PhotoStream SP 200 for me. It’s got tons of space, a rugged hard shell exterior, and easy access to your laptop and documents while keeping your gear safe. And, it’s the perfect carry-on size for most airlines around the world.
The Pelican 1510 has been a staple of the photo and video industry for years. They’re the most trusted brand of rock solid hard cases out there. The 1510 is the is a carry-on sized case, that comes as standard with a pick & pluck foam insert. But you can replace the foam with a padded insert to maximise the storage space within. You can also swap out the foam in the lid with a 9 pocket organiser panel.
Peak Design Everyday Messenger V2 (B&H) – $249
For such a young company, founded only in 2010, Peak Design have very quickly become one of the biggest names out there when it comes to camera bags. It’s not all they make, but their Everyday Messenger is one of the bags I see consistently recommended, especially for travel photographers.
The Everyday Messenger can hold a DSLR with 3 lenses and accessories, up to a 15″ laptop in its own dedicated compartment and it has an interior tablet & document sleeve. It also has dual side pockets, front access panel, more interior pockets and a hidden key tether. And it has a waterproof shell with waterproof zippers.
The Think Tank Airport Roller Derby is another favourite here at DIYP. We’ve been using these as our main show bags for a couple of years now. Like the PhotoStream SP 200 above, it holds a ton of gear, including a laptop, but it also has a security cable. So if you have to leave your bag unattended in train luggage racks, for example, you can lock it up to the rack when it’s out of sight.
The Wandrd HEXAD Access Duffel looks like a regular duffel bag. The kind of thing a businessperson might take on vacation with them. But inside it holds a secret. It’s actually a camera bag. At least, when you want it to be. It features three large compartments, with two designed to receive the Wandrd Camera Cubes. It has an RFID secure passport pocket, a padded laptop or tablet sleeve, a fleece-lined phone pocket, and a bunch of mesh pockets throughout.
As it’s designed to work as a regular non-photography travel bag, too, it has weather resistant material construction, and weather resistant zippers. It also has padded shoulder straps and back panel, with a removable sternum strap. Ideal for those long treks.
When I’m travelling or even shooting on location, I don’t leave the house without this. When you’re on the road, it’s a great place to store your passport, itinerary, emergency contact details, etc. At shows, it can hold my pass, business cards, a couple of pens, and a notepad for. On a shoot, it easily holds both the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport and X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Video, so I never find myself without them on location. A very valuable sort-of-bag that every photographer should own.
There really is no ideal bag to suit all circumstances. I’m up to about 20 now that all have different uses. Different bags work better than others for different uses. Sometimes you’re travelling and want a roller or duffel bag. Other times you may need a good rugged hard case to protect your gear while driving through rough terrain. And sometimes you just need a messenger or backpack while you go for a lightweight walk in the woods.
Hopefully, at least one of those above will help to satisfy some of your needs, or the needs of that special photographer in your life.