recommend a bag that doesn't look like a camera bag.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by BradS, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I need a relatively small and inconspicuous camera bag. I really need it to not say "Hey, LOOK! this guy is toting a bunch of camera gear"...

    I have a very strong preference for a shoulder bag or perhaps, a waist belt pack - NOT a backpack. I need ready access to the gear inside. I'd like to be able to carry two 35mm SLR bodies with normal-ish and wide-ish lenses attached and maybe, a couple of short tele lenses and of course, film, note book...etc. Nothing outrageously big.

    I was thinking one of the sand colored canvas bags from Domke but, man...are they ever expensive!

    What else? Suggestions?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Urban Disguise from Think Tank, but they're more expensive than Domke. Somewhat less expensive than Think Tank, but similarly inconspicuous is the Domke F-803. They all look like small laptop briefcases. Some people think it's not a good idea to carry something that looks like a laptop case, but they're pretty much ubiquitous in New York, so something that looks like a laptop case is less conspicuous than something that looks like a camera bag around here.

    Crumpler's also nice for bags that look like messenger bags.

    You might troll for bags on eBay. Sometimes you can find good deals on bags that aren't in bad shape.
     
  3. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I shoot in a lot of areas where I can't look like I have a camera so that I don't get robbed. I either get a camera bag that fits my my backpack or take a trip down to the camera store for some old vintage bag of some sort, strip off any tags or logos and it doesn't look much like a camera bag. Or as David suggested the Think Tanks don't really look like camera bags at all, but they do look like you might have something expensive such as a laptop in them. Also, they look pretty modern and somewhat expensive, which is pretty heatscore in itself, depending on the purpose.
     
  4. Sportera

    Sportera Member

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    I have a bag fetish so let me impart what Ive learned.

    The Domkes are great and worth every penny, but even though the look less camera bag like the are noticed and I have had many comented on my "cool bag"

    The Urban Disguise does not look like a camera bad, I own a UD 30 and Ud40, the 40 looks like a laptop bag, which is just as valuable to thieves as a camera so I use that bag in situations that I feel relatively safe in.

    I use hunting bags for a lot of my work, they are so damn ugly no one will every want it, or consider I have anything but a gun or dead animal in it.

    I would suggest getting any sort of shoulder bag that is cheap and made to carry books. Then figure a way to secure your gear inside. I have an old back pack that I carry a body and three lenses in, its ugly as sin and no one would think there is expensive gear in it.

    The next step is to wash it and make it look old and worn, there by further removing any doubt that its contents are worthless. Beat it with rocks and stomp on it in the dirt. The uglier the better.
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I would just use a coat with big pockets if you are only carrying what you mentioned.
     
  6. DannL

    DannL Member

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    In the section of my local Wallymart where they have children's school backpacks I found the perfect black shoulder-bag for my 4x5. It cost $7.50. It will allow for a Pressman 4x5, three holders, meter, cleaning gear, etc, and even more etc.

    Leave no stone unturned.

    I almost bought an Eddie Bauer diaper bag. That was a serious bag.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2009
  7. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    In our town there is a shop selling outdoor clothing and army surplus boots, bags, jackets, etc.

    I bought a dark green (army style) canvas bag about 10" x 5" and about 6" high for about £5. I cut a piece of foam to fit inside at the bottom (about 3" high) and cut out recesses to take a 35mm SLR fitted with its 50mm lens and also spaces for the 28mm and 135mm lenses and a couple of spare film canisters.

    This looks nothing like a camera bag and is small enough to carry without it getting in the way.


    Steve.
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    I use insulated 6 pack and 12 pack bags. Suitable small cardboard boxes section them as needed.

    These bags may, however, be dangerous for you: viz: some crazed beer drinker lifts your bag; finds out it only has camera gear; comes back and slugs you with it.:D
     
  10. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Here in Goiânia, Central Brazil a local supermarket had a sale: backpacks for teenagers for R$ 15,- ( US$ 5,-).
    Cheap, local and nobody will ever think of it carrying gear. Safer than my LowePro backpack when wandering the streets.

    An other place to go: army stores: it looks cheap, it looks like nothing and it keeps your gear safe.

    Peter
     
  11. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I picked up a single-strap backpack at a bargain store for $5 or $10 a few years ago. It's big enough to hold one or two camera bodies and about as many lenses.

    The drawbacks, to be honest, are that it's not quite big enough for my liking, and I would kind of appreciate some padding built in. I added a little padding to cushion some of the shocks, but I suppose I got enough for the price I paid.

    The really nice thing about this pack (apart from the Canadian flag stitched on it... :D ) is that you can swing it around to rest on your tummy in crowded subways etc. and when it's in the front position, the zippers are very handy for removing gear without taking the pack off. This one is pretty much worn out, so I imagine in the not to distant future, I'll have to invest another $10.

    Cheers,
     
  12. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Thanks. There are some good suggestions here...I should perhaps elaborate. I'm going to Peru and am trying to not look like I have anything worth stealing. I think that anything that looks like a lap top bag might be in the same category as a camera bag...I have an old back pack that I used last time but it is such a hassle to have to put it down, open it up and balance it while trying to swap a lens (for example). I want to be able to grab a camera out of the bag, shoot, and quickly return camera to bag.

    I like the Domke F-6 "Little Smaller" bag...but, not if it's going to draw attention.

    A tool bag from the Army/Navy surplus store might fit the bill...
     
  13. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    You might want to go into your local Babies R Us (or equivalent) and check out the diaper bags. They look like the only things they're holding is diapers, they often have an insulated pocket (nice for film) and you can add cardboard and foam dividers and cushioning with velcro as you see fit.

    Dan
     
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  15. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    well, an american going to peru will look as if he had a lot worth stealing, bag or no bag

    be aware of your surroundings, don't go places you wouldn't visit in your home town, and as to the bag--get one that is comfortable to carry. after two decades of foot-travel i ended up with no other requirements for my bag :wink:

    cameras spend the day between my hands and my vest pockets anyway, they only sleep in the bag :cool:

    don't sweat it. enjoy it. there are good people everywhere

    post some pics when you get back
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Some pictures of my non camera bag looking bag:





    Steve.
     

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  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Not attracting too much attention in a foreign country is a more complex issue. An army surplus bag is a good idea, but you might also not bring too many clothes and buy clothes and a bag there, don't speak in a loud voice, etc.
     
  18. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have the same issue. For years I've been using a small sling style messenger bags where I add my own padding or use padding pirated from my domke backpack. I recently have tried a laptop bag (Ogio) and a domke f803. The laptop bag is too big and ill formed to carry my stuff, the domke is about the right size but a bit narrower than I'd like and will only accommodate a minimum setup.

    I've looked a the crumplers, but the ones I like require the bucket insert. The normal bags are just Ok, the messenger bags using the insert are great and if I get one bag and 3 inserts i can manage most of my needs. The problem with the crumplers is that what they lack in camera bag appearance they make up for in trendiness -- its hard to be an inconspicuous grump when sporting a trendy bag. If I get the crumpler bag that will accommodate three different kits (one bag 3 insert buckets) the bag will be larger than I need for my most common kit. As it is I'll use the Domke and keep my eyes peeled for ideas found in threads like this and stuff posted on ebay.
     
  19. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Another Domke suggestion, but not for the bags themselves, is the padded inserts. I use several of these in a Domke Reporter's Satchel and nobody knows I have a camera in there, it looks like any old messenger bag. I'm on a college campus or around town most of the time, so it's not conspicuous. I agree that these days the canvas bag look has a certain "cachet" it didn't used to have... However, you could just as easily adapt these inserts to fit all sorts of nondescript bags other than the Domke ones.
     
  20. Morry Katz

    Morry Katz Member

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    incognito bag

    Hi: My carry around bag for a 35 rangefinder and two more lenses is called
    "Oscar's Little Day Bag" - from Artisan and Artist. Very well made, roomy and does not call attention to itself. You'll find it at their web site or link from Camera Quest.com.

    I too have many bags...far too many ...but this one is very neat.

    Cheers

    Morry Katz
    Lethbridge AB
     
  21. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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  22. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I second the army surplus idea, you can buy used gear. You can also make good dividers for the camera gear with sections of a foam sleeping pad and some duct tape. I recommend a small backpack, backpackers are known to carry things of little value, only bare essentials.
     
  23. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Got a fishermans bag from A & N that goes over the right shoulder. The load (camera & lenses) can be carried @ the back or move to the side, or move to the front where you can keep an eye on your stuff more clearly. Could contain almost anything so no flags go up while you are travelling in hostile territory. And waterproof and well padded. Doesn't carry camera insignia which draws attention. Best $ 40 CND I've spent for a while. Any fishing store would carry these treasures. Major compartments to keep things separate
     
  24. goros

    goros Member

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  25. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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  26. goros

    goros Member

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    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; es-es) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    I ordered one last Saturday and was delivered on Wednesday. But it has to travel to Northern Spain, so I'll espect it next Monday, more or less. Not bad.

    Cheers