Help! I have so many camera bags

Jun 2, 2019

Dave Kai-Piper

Dave Kai Piper: Photographer, Writer & Rider. Portraits & Lanscapes + love to explore.

Help! I have so many camera bags

Jun 2, 2019

Dave Kai-Piper

Dave Kai Piper: Photographer, Writer & Rider. Portraits & Lanscapes + love to explore.

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I have been searching for over a decade,  I am pretty sure there is no perfect bag for all photography uses.

Recently I have changed the way I been traveling and shooting, which has lead to some change in the kit I use and how I carry it. I have ended up with a few different bags which fit together in some kind of ‘bag eco-sphere’. Let me know in the comments which bags I might check out next, or if there are better options to choose from.

My top 5 bags

Here is the lowdown

A normal day out shooting on the bike:

On a size run down from small to large, the first and newest bag that I use and love is the Camslinger from Cosyspeed.

I have been aware of these bags for a number of years but didn’t really understand the genius of these compact bags. They are designed for people who want fast access to small cameras. Think street photographer meets small system cameras. as a pro-photographer, I was thinking that these small bags are not the ones for my GFX50r. With all the trimmings that would be a tight fit. It was only when I needed to find a way to carry my camera on my motorbike that the Camslinger showed it’s genius.

I don’t use this bag on its own, a lot of the gear goes in my panniers and the camera goes in the Camslinger. This gives me fast access to the camera without having to stop, get off the bike, open the pannier and get the shot. I can just open it up, grab and go, It’s so easy I can do this one-handed.

I know not everyone rides a motorbike, but that’s fine. What I do when I go hiking or out on a  is carry the camera in the Camslinger and the rest of the stuff like extra batteries, lenses, tripods and all the other stuff in my rucksack. This means I can have the best of both worlds, hands-free when I need but only takes a second to grab the camera. Genius!

The next camera bag on my list is an absolute classic. Billingham have been making the most amazing bags for years and years. My Hadley pro is my little slice of luxury. It doubles as a smart bag for work, the weekend or as it was intended, a camera bag. Having a Billingham is pretty much a rite-of-passage for a photographer.

If my Billingham is the slice of luxury, my Domke Chronicle is the workhorse. It is the one bag that makes every trip. If can only take one bag, it’s normally the Domke. It is big enough to take everything I normally need, durable enough to last and comfy enough to carry. I would be very lost without this bag.

My next bag is not what you might expect, it’s not even a photography bag, it’s an army-style tactical backpack. It does everything I need when carrying kit and it’s everything I need when I just need a grab bag. It keeps everything super dry in the rain and can carry a water insert for then it gets warm. I did mean to order a black one, but they sent a camo colour one, which looks cool, so I just kept it. 

It has so many pockets, loops, zips and everything that I can always find a place for everything. This rucksac combined with the camslinger is a very handy combination. When I want to carry things like spare bodies or lenses, I use the ones from Amazon, they work great and are quite economical.  A tripod can easily be looped & firmly attached, which is awesome. 

My next item is not so much a bag but a company. Peli the company to look at if you want the very best in terms of protection for your kit. I have a range of cases that are used depending on the nature of the shoot or location. If we are flying, we always use Peli cases – there are no exceptions where this is not the case. It’s just not worth the risk.

The 1510 & 1535 Air are the two cases that we would carry on the plane with the larger 1615’s going in the hold. The more vital something is the more likely it will go in the cabin with us. Using the Trekpak system, we split the main camera up with the backups and pack them separately. We do this so that if something happens to one case or camera, we can still work.

The main camera would be the yellow case so that it is clearly marked. This seems overkill but those of you who work in the music world will know how easily one black Pelican be confused with another. Label it or lose it. Last year I was on tour with punk rock legends, Bowling for Soup. My job was to document the tour, many times it was left to local crew & staff to move cases about. Having a very clearly marked case is very important. I just made it clear, the yellow one goes on the bus, not in the truck.

Should I do a full post about hardcases?  Let me know in the comments.

I guess I am missing 1 major important element. Back when I had my Honda, I simply bolted the back plate of 1510 to the bike. The trekpack inserts provided the flexibility and storage in the case and that was how I carried my gear. The tripod fitted behind the case with my Billingham snugly in the side with laptop etc.

When I upgraded the bike to the Triumph Explorer, things changed a vast amount. I picked up the Adventure panniers and by either luck or coincidence, they are a perfect fit for a full kitted out Domke Chronicle. This means I have the strength of the hard case and the portability of the Domke for my kit.

The last few things are little bits like the Peli card cases. I use the Cosyspeed wallet for cash and spare empty cards and the tough Peli SD card cases for full SD cards. I use another Camslinger for the Mavic 2 drone, which is very impressive, to be honest. It is a perfect fit, leaving just enough room for my Lee Filter field pouch and a few other supplies. 

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Dave Kai-Piper

Dave Kai-Piper

Dave Kai Piper: Photographer, Writer & Rider. Portraits & Lanscapes + love to explore.

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31 responses to “Help! I have so many camera bags”

  1. Roumans Jurgen Avatar
    Roumans Jurgen

    3

  2. Mezame Shashin-ka Avatar
    Mezame Shashin-ka

    I have 4 camera bags!

  3. Joana Saramago Avatar
    Joana Saramago

    8 ?

  4. Tom Dahm Avatar
    Tom Dahm

    3 camera bags, 1 all purpose edc bag that converts to camera bag, drone bag, and 1 messenger bag.

  5. Mike Downey Avatar
    Mike Downey

    I have 12 camera bags

  6. Ron Cunningham Avatar
    Ron Cunningham

    Mike C Lovett this ones for you! ?

  7. Simon Smith Avatar
    Simon Smith

    I have 6 camera bags

  8. Del Robertson Somerville Avatar
    Del Robertson Somerville

    I have one. It’s a north face borealis.

    1. Dave Kai-Piper Avatar
      Dave Kai-Piper

      Ah.. I love North Face stuff – have you seen the TrekPak inserts for them?

  9. Rob Gipman Avatar
    Rob Gipman

    1 I use every day and one should I need more space.

  10. Ryan Watts Avatar
    Ryan Watts

    Lol, I’ve got 3 simple old-school ones, a small side bag for my mirrorless, 2 messenger bags, an old sling bag, 2 backpacks with dedicated camera pockets, a large dakine luggage bag specifically made for camera gear and my latest purchase was a “tactical” thigh bag that is worn like a holster. It can carry my mirrorless, an extra lens and a few filters.

  11. Angelina Wiese Devine Avatar
    Angelina Wiese Devine

    I technically have two – but have only used one of them for the last 5 years

  12. Alexandre Ayoubi Avatar
    Alexandre Ayoubi

    1,5 i have a camera bag liner that i stick into my standard eastpack. Carry gazillion$ of gear unnoticed :D

  13. Tiina Söderholm Avatar
    Tiina Söderholm

    4 that I remember right now and 20 other bags or so…

  14. W Douglas LeBlanc Avatar
    W Douglas LeBlanc

    Glass bags 0
    Backpacks 4
    Digital Holster 1

  15. Craig Johnson Avatar
    Craig Johnson

    Far too many now……. I must have six, maybe seven lol!

  16. Jasper Shadloo Avatar
    Jasper Shadloo

    I have 4 camera bags

  17. Adam Frimer Avatar
    Adam Frimer

    i have 12 camera bags ?but i only use 2

  18. Henry-Louis Guillaume Avatar
    Henry-Louis Guillaume

    I have 5 camera bags … 2 lowepro (medium and hight) for DSLR when I go in mission in archaeology. 1 old nikon bag where sit 2 old argentic dslr (canon FT B and Nikon F1). One Billingham 225 where sit my old Fuji S5 pro + lenses (always in use). One Wandrd Prvk 31L for everyday work and transportation with my D810 and some lenses.

  19. Patrick Mayon Avatar
    Patrick Mayon

    I have 0 camera bags. I don’t like them. I use backpack and I protect my camera and bags in individual leather or nylon bags.

  20. Paul Monaghan Avatar
    Paul Monaghan

    5 but some are used for lights now, the others get mixed and matched.

    My favourite if I’m travelling light is my Cosyspeed GmbH streetomatic+ :)

  21. Duncan Knifton Avatar
    Duncan Knifton

    4,…I use 3 of them all the time,..the other one is a back-up

  22. Dunja Djudjic Avatar
    Dunja Djudjic

    I have four. And use two of them just to store photography knick-knacks :D

  23. David Spiers Avatar
    David Spiers

    Two that I use daily, another one, that I use for holding lens when I’m shooting, another three with older cameras in, and another couple that have camera stuff in them. I have 8 camera bags

  24. Andor Konrát Avatar
    Andor Konrát

    3 one for the whole (LOL, most of) pack, one for body with one lens plus another or sg. else and one for only cam with lens on it.

  25. Davie Hudson Avatar
    Davie Hudson

    2, A Nat Geo and a Gillis Leather one

  26. Trey Mortensen Avatar
    Trey Mortensen

    So… I added one that I specifically bought just for the lining and dividers. Because of a sale on B&H, it was literally cheaper to buy the whole bag than extra dividers. Does that really count as one then? ;)

    1. Trey Mortensen Avatar
      Trey Mortensen

      Also, for what it’s worth, my favorite “day/travel” bag is the Tenba DNA 15 Messenger Slim. It can hold my Macbook pro 15″ when I travel as well as a 3-5 lenses and a body and a Mavic Pro drone depending on lenses and such. I love the overhead zipper, making for quick changes and quick shots. It’s by far my favorite bag I’ve ever used. Plus I got mine on sale for less than $100, so there’s that too.

      https://www.tenba.com/en/products/dna-15-slim-messenger-0

  27. Barbara Livieri Avatar
    Barbara Livieri

    I have 6 camera bags.

  28. Robert Valdivia Avatar
    Robert Valdivia

    I have… concluded that most people on social media refuse to follow instructions.

    Btw, I have two camera bags.

  29. ShishkaBerry Avatar
    ShishkaBerry

    I’m slightly jealous of your impressive sticker collection on that hard case ?