Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Messenger Bag

Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
2,483
Location
Kalamazoo, MI
After some hemming and hawing I just placed an order for this bag. Like many Cafe folks, I've accumulated a fair number of bags over the years for all different situations. I'm sure I'm going to hear it from my wife when it arrives! But I've rationalized it based on the following requirements:

1. I wanted a bag that could accomodate a 13" MBP, charger, and portable HD as well as function as a camera bag.
2. I've been using my ThinkTank Hubba Hubba Hiney to carry my mirrorless kit, pretty much 2 mirrorless bodies and one extra lens. Excellent minimalist lightweight bag. But it's a tight squeeze, and the table-top tripod was the breaking point. This bag should be able to carry 2 bodies with lenses mounted and 2 extra lenses with ease. I can also use it for a D600 with lens mounted and 1-2 extra lenses.
3. Versatility. The bag is essentially a regular messenger bag with a camera insert, so it's easy to leave the computer at home and have a nice bag to shoot out of, or leave the camera stuff out if I just need a laptop bag and additional non-photo junk.
4. Durability. I have an older Timbuk2 bag that I used for a 15" laptop and extras, but it's oriented vertically and not camera friendly. However, it's really well made and made it through a year of daily use commuting in Chicago, plus many other trips since then. I've also been in a downpour or two with the bag, inside stays bone dry.
5. Attention to detail. The pockets seem pretty well though out. The construction of the flap joint with the bag is designed such that it would be almost impossible for water to creep in. The bag comes with velcro silencers for easy quiet access to contents. There are tripod compression straps on the bottom of the bag.

I hope to post some photos with gear loaded and comment on actual use once it arrives. Anyone else used one of these?
 

IsamuM

Not-quite-
Moderator
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
3,409
Location
Tokyo, Japan
I must be sick. This sounds like a great bag, but I don't feel an urgent need to order it. :wink:
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
2,483
Location
Kalamazoo, MI
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Well, the first bag came in and had a broken clip on the shoulder strap, so it went back immediately. Fortunately, Amazon shipped out another one without having to confirm receipt of the first bag.

The bag is well constructed, with what feels like very durable cordura nylon material. If it holds up as well as my other Timbuk2 bag, I'll be thrilled. The camera insert is really a perfect size to accomodate a mirrorless system and multiple lenses. The choice of provided inserts is a little bit puzzling though. There are 2 standard inserts that run from front to back, breaking the bag into 3 compartments, which extend about half-way up the height of the insert. There are 2 other inserts which are very wide and intended to further divide one compartment into 3 long skinny compartments. I find these to be useless, and they went into my netherworld of other unused velcro camera bag dividers. I grabbed another unused divider from one of my ThinkTank bags, and ended up with 4 slots. One slot fits the NEX-6 with my biggest mounted lens, the CV 35/1.2. One slot fits the GXR with the CV 15/4.5 mounted. The last 2 slots easily swallow up 2 more lenses. There is some wiggle room so I can easily drop one camera in a slot and grab the other.

I wanted to try out the bag with my Nikon rig, and found it easy to switch between both systems. The insert is pretty deep, so I was able to put the D600 with Zeiss 100MP into the center pocket, lens down, hood in shooting position. I took out the ThinkTank divider leaving me with 2 other nicely sized compartments, one for the Zeiss 35/1.4 and another for pretty much any other prime in my gear list.

The laptop compartment is a good fit for the Macbook Pro 13" Retina. There is a padded divider separating it from the camera insert, but they included no padding on the other side. So if you just drop the laptop in with camera gear, I imagine it would be uncomfortable to carry for any length of time as the computer would be a flat metal brick on your back. I need to get a neoprene sleeve I guess.

The front pockets are numerous but pretty thin, so not much more will fit than a couple chargers, especially once the camera insert is loaded up. I think I'll have to put those types of things into some neoprene pouches for transport while traveling, just setting them on top of the lenses/cameras in the insert.

The tripod compression straps are a nice touch and part of what got me leaning towards this bag. My Feisol 3441T fits nicely on the underside of the bag, and only extends an inch or two beyond the edge of the bag on both sides. The only issue is that the tripod swings a bit while walking, and I'd probably want to be minimalististic weight-wise if carrying this for a full day. I'd pair it with my tiny RRS BH-25 rather than the larger Photoclam ProGold II, even though I greatly prefer working with the latter.

The strap setup is pretty well thought out, as one would expect on a messenger bag. There are 2 clip closures for the main flap with compression straps. There is also velcro for main flap closure, and included silencers which is a nice touch for quick and silent access. One thing I'm not a fan of is the small velcro pieces they've sewn in at the hinge points of the main flap. I think it's for extra security in the rain, and it forces the flap to fold in such a way that water can't get into the bag. But it makes it harder to get things in an out of the bag at the edges. I'll probably just put my own little silencers in to render these nonfunctional. The main strap is pretty broad and has a quick adjust feature that works really well. You can go from wearing the bag low for easy access, and cinch it up to get it under your arm more or higher on your back for more comfort while walking (or cycling). There is an included waist strap for additional stability while riding that I doubt I'll use. There is a removable pad included with the shoulder strap that is way too stiff and slippery, now sitting alongside the useless dividers.

Well, I didn't have time for photos but plan to take some with gear loaded. All in all I think it will serve its intended dual purpose. First, to carry my camera gear plus computer from point A to point B, and secondly to shoot out of. I appreciate the toughness of the bag, but you definitely pay a weight penalty. It's a pretty heavy bag even empty. Anyway, it will get its first workout when the family (me, wife, 3-year-old, and infant) head to the Carribean in a month or so.
 
Joined
May 9, 2009
Messages
1,042
Location
NYC
I've had this bag for about 2 years now and love it. It's very well made and durable and appears to hold up well for everyday use. I live in a urban environment and use it often for my daily commute to work on the subways so takes a fair amount of abuse and still looks/feels new. I usually carry a couple of items for work (notebook, docs, etc.) and my ipad along with my D90 and 35mm attached with a 2nd lens as my everyday kit. I prefer messengers over backpacks for the ease of taking the camera out. It's one of my favorite bags in my collection!
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
319
Location
Chicago, IL
I've had this bag for a couple of years and love it. Even when it doesn't have photo equipment, it's my bag of choice. However, last week this happened.

https://twitter.com/askchucky/status/332799758798319616/photo/1
https://twitter.com/askchucky/status/332799560378363904/photo/1

Not sure if I just pushed it with weight limits and what not, but the bag is under lifetime warranty so Timbuk2 will fix or replace the bag.

But overall, a great bag that functions very well. Easy to reconfigure for equipment changes.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2007
Messages
354
Location
Seattle
Thanks for the review and the reminder. I just bought the insert to place in my Timbuk2 bag that I've had for a while.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
2,483
Location
Kalamazoo, MI
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
I've had this bag for about 2 years now and love it. It's very well made and durable and appears to hold up well for everyday use. I live in a urban environment and use it often for my daily commute to work on the subways so takes a fair amount of abuse and still looks/feels new. I usually carry a couple of items for work (notebook, docs, etc.) and my ipad along with my D90 and 35mm attached with a 2nd lens as my everyday kit. I prefer messengers over backpacks for the ease of taking the camera out. It's one of my favorite bags in my collection!
Great feedback. It's really versatile with the ability to use or ditch the insert.

I've had this bag for a couple of years and love it. Even when it doesn't have photo equipment, it's my bag of choice. However, last week this happened.

https://twitter.com/askchucky/status/332799758798319616/photo/1
https://twitter.com/askchucky/status/332799560378363904/photo/1

Not sure if I just pushed it with weight limits and what not, but the bag is under lifetime warranty so Timbuk2 will fix or replace the bag.

But overall, a great bag that functions very well. Easy to reconfigure for equipment changes.
That sucks! I'm sure they'll fix or replace it. Hard to believe that happened, I feel like I could carry my kid in this bag. It's one downfall compared to some other bags is that the strap isn't continuous all the way around the bottom of the bag.

Thanks for the review and the reminder. I just bought the insert to place in my Timbuk2 bag that I've had for a while.
No problem. I haven't even gotten to use mine much, and have to work all weekend. I hate when that happens. :mad:
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
2,483
Location
Kalamazoo, MI
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
First Run

I just got back from a family trip to the Carribean where the bag was put to the test.

Gear:
I ended up stuffing the bag with a fair amount of gear, almost maximizing the capacity. I carried a gripped Sony NEX-6, a Ricoh GXR and EVF, a Nikon AW-100, Peak Design Leash and Cuff straps, a floating wrist strap for the Nikon, several lenses including the CV15 (mounted to the GXR), CV35/1.2 (mounted to the NEX-6), ZM25, ZM35/2.8, CV90 on adapter. I had my 13" rMBP without a sleeve. I brought an OWC 1TB bus-powered hard-drive and cable. I carried a NEX charger, NEX remote, 2 spare batteries, the laptop charger, two iPad chargers and cords, an RRS table tripod, two Joby mini tripods (one for mirrorless cameras, one for my phone), and a 52mm polarizing filter. In a pinch I had to jam my son's iPad and headphones in as well to exit the plane quickly, after a formula bottle for my other son exploded in our other carry-on!
Summary: You can fit a ton of gear.

Transit:
I didn't weigh it, but the bag was pretty laden with all of the stuff listed above. I haven't used a dedicated bike messenger bag before, but came to appreciate the design a lot more than in my initial impressions. The rapid adjustability of the main strap is awesome. There is a lever clamp that is released, and you can cinch the bag up really high almost into your armpit, then slide it to your back. For shooting, I dropped it down for easy access to gear. There is also a small detachable waist belt that I used most of the time which was clutch for me. It pretty much holds the bag against my back, such that when I bend down it doesn't come slinging around my front side. After our last flight which landed at 10:30pm, I was carrying the bag on my back, my sleeping nearly 4-year-old in my right arm, and pulling a carry-on piece of luggage with my left hand. Of course we deboarded in the farthest possible gate from baggage claim! Finally, the shoulder pad that I initially thought would be pointless was actually very good to use with a fully loaded bag.
Summary: Excellent bag for transit, stays out of the way.

Shooting:
This is really where the trade-off comes in. No bag can do everything excellently. The degree of padding, while welcome during transit, is more than I really like while shooting. I pretty much emptied out everything in the hotel room except for the NEX and mounted lens, Ricoh and mounted lens, one extra lens plus RRS table-tripod, or two extra lenses. Getting stuff in and out was reasonably smooth, and the bright blue tricot lining makes it easy to see everything. The two main dividers have a built-in sewn crease such that the insert can collapse, but I found that it collapsed too easily. The grip on the NEX or a lens hood would snag a bit on the tricot, which is not very tightly adhered to the deeper padding of the insert. The other issue is that the main flap is designed in such a way to prevent water incursion, but it doesn't stay open as easily as most camera bags. I may need to post a picture, but essentially there is some extra fabric at the hinge points with velcro incorporated to facilitate closing, but ultimately gets in the way.
Summary: Not too shabby, better than my Domke, but not as good to shoot out of as my Think Tank Hubba Hubba Hiney.

Tripod Straps:
Part of the draw of the bag was the 2 tripod loops at the bottom. One of the most important things for me on family trips is getting some great photos in great light of my wife and I as well as the whole family. I've found that it's simply hopeless to hand off a pre-focused camera with an MF lens and ask someone to shoot for me. So I pack a full-height travel tripod for these occasions. The loops on the bag are about 2" too short to easily wrap around even my svelt tripod, a Feisol 3441T. I had to put two legs and the center column through the loops, with the third leg hanging outside the loop. It's hard to get a firm cinch on the compression straps as they are only attached to the bottom of the bag for 2 inches of length, rather than spanning the whole bottom. But it sure beats carrying a separate tripod sling bag.
Summary: Usable, but could be better designed.

Niggles:
There are a couple of things I'd change if I was charged with improving on this bag. I would continue the main strap sewn all the way along the underside of the bag, Domke style. I would then have a longer segment of each tripod loop sewn along the bottom of the bag. I think the design of the flap should stand as is. While it got in the way of camera and lens swaps a bit, it's nice to know the bag is very water resistant even without a cover. The laptop area needs work as well. It would be great if they could have just integrated a full neoprene compartment with padding on both sides. As it stands, there is just a weakly padded divider and no padding where the computer rests against your back. I purchased a sleeve that ended up being the wrong size, and will try to get one that fits more tightly to use with this bag.
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom