Camera bags come in all shapes and sizes. The big problem with most of them, though, is that they’re only ever that one shape or size. There are a few hybrid bags out there that can act in multiple ways, like the Manfrotto Advanced² Hybrid Backpack (buy here), and others like the Cosyspeed PhotoHiker 44 (buy here), which have modular inserts, but you can’t really change the overall form and size of the bag.
Launching on Kickstarter, Zipble aims to change this with its truly modular camera bag. It’s built up of multiple sections that zip together, allowing you to create exactly the type of backpack you need to carry your gear. Or, quick-change it as needed for different tasks and jobs instead of needing to own fifteen different camera bags.
Those fifteen different camera bags I mentioned above are mine. I’ve got a whole bunch of them that I use for different purposes. One is for when I’m going out with audio gear. One is for when I’m vlogging. Two are for when I’m travelling on a train or a plane. One is for when I need to carry a whole ton of gear on location and need easy access to everything. One is for when I need to combine camera and hiking or camping gear for an extended time in the wilderness. A couple of them are for street photography. Then there are various others for specific pieces of gear and types of shoot.
Zipble wants to replace all of those by allowing you to add and remove different modules as needed and tailor the bag to your needs as they change over time or from day to day. Maybe you don’t have a lot of gear right now, and instead of buying a new, bigger bag as you get more, you get a bag on day one that can grow with you as your gear and needs also grow. And when it’s all assembled, it looks just like any other regular backpack.
The system at launch appears to be comprised of three modules, or “Panels”. There’s the Tech Panel, which is designed to store all of your batteries, chargers, cables, memory cards, and even laptops. It includes two accessory boards to protect your items inside the bag, and features hidden D rings on its exterior allowing you to use it solo with a shoulder strap. So, when you’re not using it as part of your camera bag, you can still use it as a regular day-to-day shoulder bag.
The Snapshot Panel, as the name suggests, is designed specifically for carrying your main camera gear. This means your camera bodies, lenses, speedlights and other large items. Inside, there are padded dividers which attach to each other and the edges of the bag using velcro. There are also four pockets on the front of it, allowing you to store more small items, like memory cards, Color Checker, etc. as well as three zippable compartments on the side for easy access to your gear. This, too, has hidden D rings to let you use it on its own with a shoulder strap.
Finally, there’s the Expand Panel. This is essentially a large, open space to let you carry larger equipment, such as reflectors, small strobes, and perhaps a couple of compact light stands like the Manfrotto Nano (buy here). It features mesh to help contain your items, along with compression straps. And like the other two panels above, it has hidden D rings to use it on its own with the shoulder strap. It also has straps to help further secure it to other panels in your setup.
It’s an interesting concept, for sure. What would be equally as interesting is if other camera bag manufacturers ran with this concept of a modular bag system. There are definitely some technical mechanical challenges in ensuring that they’re not only held together securely – as in they won’t fall apart through vibration while you’re walking around with it on your bag – but that they’re also secure – as in people can’t steal your stuff or entire panels while you’re walking around with it on your back – while keeping it easy to use with all your gear easily accessible to you, as the person who’s using it.
Price and Availability
The panels will be able to be purchased individually for $50 each, allowing you to add as many as you like to your setup, or two have multiple modules on the shelf, each packed and ready to go with different sets of gear as needed. Each of the individual modules comes with waist and shoulder straps. So, you’ll have plenty of spares if you end up stocking up on individual panels. There will also be a “DIY Bag” bundle which contains all three of the above panels along with some accessories for $260.
These are the prices currently listed on the Zipble website, although they’re not available to purchase yet. The product is coming to Kickstarter first, although there’s no mention of what kind of discounts will be available until the campaign goes live.
Which would you prefer? One modular bag or fifteen different bags for different uses?
Disclaimer: We only share crowdfunded projects we believe are legitimate. However, most of those projects are not in a delivery state. Make sure you look into the project and make an informed purchasing decision. While some projects may offer amazing rewards, others unfortunately may not deliver on their promises.