recommend an insert bag?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by flamingfish, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 16, 2012
    Real Name:
    As requested by family members, I'm putting together a Christmas list (on Amazon, because that's where my family shops). I'm thinking I would like an insert to use in any one of my bazillion not-officially-camera-bags.

    Here's my current photo gear: Oly ePL3, Oly 14-42 lens (original version, not the Mark II or the R), Oly 17mm, Pana 45-175. In theory I'm not going to add anything significant in the near future, so I'm not looking for an insert with room to grow.

    Soooo -- brand and size recommendations? Crumpler, Timbuk2, other? I'm looking for pretty good accessibility and reasonable protection for ordinary walking-around conditions -- not planning to engage in any extreme sports with this stuff. Price is a consideration, but I don't want to spend money on crappy quality.


    (If it matters, I'm a noob upgrading from a P&S, still feeling my way around this photo stuff.)
  2. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I have Crumpled Haven insert in smallest size that I use. It's good if a bit expensive. Your kit should fit fne . My main complaint is that it is not really well suited for taking thing out and putting them back in quickly because the top cover kind of gets in the way. I want to try the smallest Timbuktu insert because it seems more wide open from the top.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I have Crumpler Haven small as well. I can get a body w/14 - 42IIR on its side and the 40-150 in the bag. You can stack lenses to add your 17mm. As Steven posted getting gear out of the Haven is not the fastest and that is because the Havens are pretty tall, clearly designed for big DSLRs and not m4/3s
  4. OhWellOK

    OhWellOK Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 4, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Another Crumpler Haven user here-size Small. Fits inside a day pack or an old Timbuk2 messenger bag. The nice thing about this set up is since it's not a dedicated camera bag, it makes it pretty easy to have your camera with you most of the time, in your work bag etc.
    In the main compartment:
    • OM-D (with either of below lenses)
    • Pan 20
    • Pan 14-45
    • Holga OP Pen lens
    • Wanderlust Pinwide
    • Lens hood for 14-45
    The side accessory slots hold:
    • Lens cloth
    • Lens Brush
    • Spare Battery
    • Spare SD Card
    Optional items in messenger bag-depending on where I'm going or doing
    • Ultrapod II
    • Filter Wallet
    • Cokin Grad kit
    • RM-UC1 Remote cable
    • Charger (I use a plug insert from an old Apple ipod charger in place of big power cord to keep the size down)
    The system works out pretty well with a minimum set up, but as I add lenses I will have to shuffle things a bit and limit what I want to carry. I'm hoping to get a Think Tank Retro 5 bag for xmas, which I should really be able to load up :smile:

    My only complaint about the Crumpler, is it's pretty tall and deep, this helps keep the camera covered I guess, but you do have to reach down and fish for items a bit. I wish it was a bit wider with room for another divider compartment, but I guess it helps keeping things to a minimum. I tried the medium and found it was even taller, and y camera flopped around a bit more than I hoped-the small just seemed to work better.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Yorick43

    Yorick43 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 11, 2012
    Lake District, UK
    Real Name:
    I bought a Puleme p7517 insert for a Finnish gask mask bag.
    Fits like a glove! Nice quality to!

  6. AerialFilm1

    AerialFilm1 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2012
    Wekiva, Florida
    I'm loving my Tenba messenger bag. I had a regular Timbuktu that was the cats ass. My travel schedule is grueling and getting through airports with a messenger bag is the easiest way for me. But when the OM-d and lenses came along, I needed something more camera centric, hence the Tenba. The only regret I have is buying the large, when the small would have been perfect.
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    Hi Emily,

    Welcome to the forum. I own a number of bags, camera-specific and otherwise, and recently considered inserts for my general bags. I seriously considered the Crumpler Haven inserts, but like the others have menioned, they are not easy to work out of. I ended up with an insert from Mountainsmith, but have yet to use it.

    The problem is that inserts have three important tasks that they must meet if they are to earn their keep with me. First, they must fit in the bag(s) that I want to carry. Many are just too large to fit properly. Second, they must carry the gear that I want to bring with me. Inserts that fit into bags are often too small to carry the geat that I want to bring. Finally, they need to be user friendly. If I cannot work out of the bag/insert combination easily, then it is of no use to me.

    So, I would strongly suggest that you try out as many inserts with your bags as possible. What sounds good in theory, like the Crumpler Havens, are often not so good in reality.

    Good luck,

  8. OhWellOK

    OhWellOK Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 4, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I will, I ordered one tonight. I measured my messenger bags, they tend to be on the smaller side, and it will fit perfectly. To me, it looks like the perfect messenger bag insert. However, I would like to add a post-script to my comments about the Crumpler Haven, it is the perfect m4/3 backpack insert.
  10. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    Post-Script: I was going to add a link to B&H but I think forum supporters should first click on one of the affiliate links for B&H on this site and then search for Ona Roma on B&H's site. Ona may come up as "On a", just click through until the search engine learns.
  11. Search

    Search Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2014
  12. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    I got a cheap-ish insert on Amazon for my messenger bag:

    It fits my E-M1 with lens, the removable flash, and 2 larger lenses such as the 40-150mm plus 8mm ZD fisheye or 7-14mm ZD.
    Smaller lenses can be stacked; I use soda can cozies for extra protection.

    The mesh on the lid can hold SD cards, lens caps, business cards, etc. Probably a bit tight for batteries, but those can go in the messenger bag's pockets, or in a little case on top of a lens.

    The insert's lid does not have any fastener, and it doesn't hold its shape perfectly when loaded, but it's 'good enough' for me.

  13. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    Billingham, ONA, Crumpler and Timbuk2 all make very nice smaller sized inserts with adjustable dividers that will fit in most typical messenger bags.

    Sent from my SHV-E300S using Tapatalk
  14. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    I would recommend a Domke FA-230 3-compartment insert (also perfect fit for the Domke F-803 bag). Initially I got it for the bag but recently I used it on its own inside a small backpack and it does the trick.

    OK, it's very simple. Fatures two movable Velcro dividers. Comfortably fits E-M1 with 12-40 or 35-100, lens down, no grip, in the middle compartment and two lenses on the sides. Or more if you stack them up. Works for me - however if you have a PEN body with an EVF with no hot shoe locking (like the VF-2), it will keep sliding off like it did with my E-P2 and I hated that.

    The insert is mentioned in this bag review:

    And here's the bag reviewed:
  15. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    Sorry, I missed your question when you first posted. The Roma is very nice but I prefer the soft and more pliable Crumpler Haven in my messenger bags.
  16. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    I have been using a Crumpler Haven medium. It will fit the larger lenses like the 50-200, 12-60 and the E-M1 (barely).
  17. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    I also got one from Amazon - Ape Case insert. Comes in various sizes.

    Ape Case

    I also picked up a Think Tank Turnstyle 5, which I keep my Olympus OMD EM5, 17/45 f/1.8 and 40-150 in at all times. Just a quick grab and go bag.
  18. Richella

    Richella The Wandering Scotsman

    Aug 21, 2011
    Kuala Lumpur
    I would recommend you check out this local guy here in Kuala Lumpur. He makes great messenger bags and camera inserts. I have 2 of his messenger bags. The last one I had customised to order. I also have timbuk2 bags and the are vastly superior and almost completely waterproof. Check him at

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  19. audiodrive

    audiodrive Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 9, 2013
    Real Name: