Guy-Friendly Messenger-Style Camera/Laptop Bag?
May 13, 2008 1:07 PM   Subscribe

BagFilter: Looking for a camera bag for my DSLR that will also hold my smallish (13.3-inch) laptop if I need it to. Really, really prefer a messenger bag style. Also, I'm a guy.

Would really love to invest in a camera bag to carry around my small collection of DSLR equipment. Ideally, would like to carry camera with one lens, an extra lens, and a small flash.

I'd really like it to have a compartment for my shiny Macbook, so I could bring that along when I need to. And, because it's not terribly easy to grab things from a backpack, I'd like a messenger bag.

Gumming up the works is the fact that I'm a guy, and not to sound too vain, but I don't want this bulky messenger bag to look girly.

Am I getting too specific to actually find something? What do you recommend?
posted by sjuhawk31 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: On preview: I realize that paulfreeman's question is similar, but I don't need to worry about how much I need to carry around for extended periods. This is more of a day-to-day bag.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 1:10 PM on May 13, 2008

I have basically the exact same quandry. My solution: a medium-sized Timbuk2 laptop bag. (
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:17 PM on May 13, 2008

Response by poster: Tomorrowful - that's nice, and I'll put it on the short list, but padded compartments would be better, as would a lower price tag.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 1:23 PM on May 13, 2008

My wife got me this for my birthday, and I've been toting a Macbook Pro around in it very happily. The camera I haul is a little point-and-shoot, but I think it'd work nicely for your rig.
posted by COBRA! at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2008

The Timbuk2 laptop bags (not the regular messenger bags) definitely do have padded compartments. Cant' disagree about the price, but I haven't found many meaningfully cheaper bags that're as durable and waterproof.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:35 PM on May 13, 2008

The chrome messenger bags have enough room for a DSLR and a laptop. You'll want a sleeve for the laptop. Unless you are planning some serious abuse, you won't need padding for the DSLR.
posted by zippy at 1:45 PM on May 13, 2008

They're not (at all) cheap, but I really like Crumpler bags, and the Brazillion dollar home seems like it might fit your needs. Plus, they have the greatest website ever.
posted by cnc at 1:52 PM on May 13, 2008

The chrome messenger bags have enough room for a DSLR and a laptop. You'll want a sleeve for the laptop.

Mine has a padded sleeve for the laptop built-in.
posted by COBRA! at 1:58 PM on May 13, 2008

I have a very similar collection of equipment (400D, 2 small primes, 1 medium telephoto prime, flash, misc bits and bobs, Macbook) and I recently settled on a Crumpler Daily 490 (aka large). I'd been eyeing one up for a while, and the 30%ish reduction to £65 at tipped the scales.

It's very heavy duty and well padded. There's a good amount of room. The laptop compartment fits my Macbook very well. You can fit it in there with a sleeve around it too, but it's very, very snug. You'll probably have room for a couple more lenses, but that's no bad thing. It's got a nice side-strap thing that secures it well across your back. A very nice feature is the ability to remove the whole extra-padded camera compartment and turn it into a more relaxed laptop bag with a good amount of room.

What I did before I got this one was use a Crumpler Ben's Pizza Medium bag inside a large backpack. It's a small but well padded bag that happily fitted my 400D with a small prime attach along with another small prime sort of wedged in. It's small enough to fit inside most well-sized bags, so a similar approach is a definite option.

The main problem is that you're in the US and I don't believe that they sell the Daily bags outside of Europe, thus rendering this post slightly pointless. But good luck!
posted by Magnakai at 2:00 PM on May 13, 2008

This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I've been trying to do the same thing for a while.

I'd recommend any of the Crumpler bags. They seem pretty well reviewed, stylish, usable, etc, but they are a tad pricey. If you're more the DIY-type, I'd recommend getting some Domke Inserts to hold your specific camera gear, and getting an appropriately-sized messenger bag to hold the insert(s) and your laptop. I'm currently doing that with an old Old Navy messenger bag, and I've used those same inserts in a variety of bags as I try to find the "perfect" one. There's a discussion about this at, where they also talk about other sources of inserts.
posted by cebailey at 2:25 PM on May 13, 2008

For my murse, I bought the Rothko European School Messenger Bag. Yes, I remember the Friends episode with Joey's European Men's Carry-all. All canvas, no padding, and velcro beware, but it will only cost you $20. It has a suitcase handle, as well as the shoulder strap8212;that was the deal breaker for me. There is a a zipper along its side you can expand it to twice its size.

This bag is a variation of the "Jack Sack" you see Kiefer Sutherland toting around in 24. When searching I also found the Dakine Station, which might fit your bill.
posted by nemoorange at 2:46 PM on May 13, 2008

Acme Made "Clyde City" bag.
posted by nicwolff at 2:48 PM on May 13, 2008

The Stealth reporter bags from Lowepro might be worth a look.
posted by pwicks at 3:25 PM on May 13, 2008

I popped in this thread to recommend Crumpler too.
posted by booknerd at 4:27 PM on May 13, 2008

I just went through the same search, except I'm female. I ended up with the Tenba Messenger Small. It definitely does not look "girly," it has much more of a generic messenger bag look.

It should fit all the gear you mentioned (including the laptop). There is also a large size, but I find the small to fit everything I need (except a 70-200 mounted). The padded photo insert is removable, so you can pull it out and use it just as a computer/daily bag. There are plenty of extra pockets for anything you could think of. It has a fold-over style closure, but there is a zipper in the top so you can open it quickly and pull something out.

As you can tell, I've been incredibly impressed with this bag. I joined, just now, just to answer this question.

I tried the Crumplers, but I found them to be excessively expensive, and they seem to have a very limited line. I also considered the Stealth Reporters from Lowepro, because I really liked my other Lowepro bag, but having to buy separate inserts for the bags was a big put-off.
posted by miscbuff at 6:22 PM on May 13, 2008

I got myself a Crumpler Part and Parcel a while back for my laptop, and then separately bought a 2 Million Dollar Home for my camera (a Fuji s6000fd—not a dSLR but similarly built). I got both on sale so it came out to quite a bit less than the $200+ the combo would cost off the website, and it's pretty nice since I can either stuff the camera in the messenger bag, or stuff it and my laptop into my backpack for road trips, or take the camera on its own without the bag screaming STEAL MY CAMERA YO.

It's been a pretty durable combo for me thus far, and it looks pretty inconspicuous and unisex. It also doesn't have finicky zippers or slip pockets on the front (i.e. no one can shove things into them or steal things out of them without you unawares) and it has an easily adjustable strap. Finally, should you not want to take either your laptop or your camera along, it's also a reasonably large messenger bag on its own. The downsides are that it's not as elegant a solution as the Tenba, slipping the camera in and out of two bags quickly can be a pain sometimes, and the 2 Million Dollar Home will only fit your SLR—you'll need something bigger for extra lenses/bodies, like maybe the 4 Million Dollar Home or something.

For you, I'd try the size below the Part and Parcel, the Hee-Goer, or else something from the cheaper Embarrassment range (I think the Considerable Embarrassment is the best bet for 13.3-inch), and then see if one of the camera bucket inserts Crumpler sells for their messenger bags fits. Obviously you can try fitting inserts from other companies as well. But this may all be more work than you're willing to invest in a camera/laptop bag solution, in which case that Tenba actually looks pretty awesome (having never owned one myself).
posted by chrominance at 8:13 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I haven't had the chance to handle one yet but on the Dpreview forums, the Urban Disguise line by ThinkTankPhoto gets high praise. The Urban Disguise 50 can hold 15" laptops. They're designed with the photographer in mind that needs to carry a laptop as opposed to most bags that are laptop bags with a large extra compartment.
posted by junesix at 10:52 PM on May 13, 2008

Best answer: My Tamrac Superlight 46 is designed for SLRs, and came with a bunch of padded inserts, and has a zip compartment at the front which is perfect for a 12" thinkpad, but I'm pretty sure you could fit a 13" laptop in there.
posted by primer_dimer at 3:17 AM on May 14, 2008

I found this nice Osprey messenger bag. It has a padded laptop sleeve that's also accessible from a separate zipper through the top without opening the rest of the bag, and the main compartment is big enough for a DSLR and a few lenses, and there are a few zipper pockets, at least one of which is big enough for a flash. It's not very padded except for the laptop sleeve, but you could combine it with a Domke insert if you want extra padding. It does not seem to be waterproof. It is, however, made out of recycled PET bottles, which really pleases me.
posted by Caviar at 6:01 AM on May 14, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks to some of your suggestions, I found some sites that reviewed a bunch of bags and chose the Domke F-802 Reporter's Satchel. I'll report back with results if it arrives and I get to use it before the thread closes.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 6:05 AM on May 15, 2008

Response by poster: Turns out the Domke wasn't all that great, and I am going to return it. But I picked up a Tamrac Adventure Messenger 5, since the Superlight 46 seems to be unavailable, and I'm loving it so far.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 11:31 AM on May 22, 2008

« Older Paypal alternatives   |   I just can't do it Captain! I don't have the power... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.