Recommend me a messenger bag for international travel

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by bobaab, May 29, 2015.

  1. bobaab

    bobaab New to Mu-43

    4
    May 29, 2015
    Bob
    Hey guys,

    First post here but have read countless posts here! Now I need some specific help.

    I used to shoot with an E-PL2 but recently picked up a OMD E-M5 and loving it. The compact body of the E-PL2 and the Pany 20mm f1.7 I had was a great setup for travel, but now I am looking to get the Oly 12-40mm for the E-M5. This setup makes it a bit bigger so it won't fit in my old Timbuk2 messenger bag (which I adore but must get something else).

    I travel quite a bit for work (I'm an airport regular) plus I do one or two international trips across the world a year (for vacation).

    So here are my needs:

    1) Must fit a 13" Macbook Air
    2) Must fit the E-M5 with the Oly 12-40mm lens
    3) Must have pockets big enough to fit passport and other travel docs
    4) Must have a pocket for a water bottle (or interior space big enough to slide one in)
    5) Must have some additional luggage space for other things (books, magazines, etc) but cannot be too big
    6) Must be somewhat weather proof
    7) Must be a messenger bag
    8) Under $150 would be ideal

    Niceties:

    1) Handle on top
    2) Loop around the back to slip through carry-on luggage
    3) Doesn't look like a regular old camera bag

    The one that has caught my attention so far is the Tenba Messenger bag. Not sure if I'd get the Mini or Small, but it has many of the features I'm looking for.
    638-221_alt_1.
    http://www.tenba.com/products/Messenger-Photo-Laptop-Bag-Small-Black.aspx#Overview

    Do you guys have any other recommendations? Thanks for the help in advance! :)
     
  2. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    What size Timbuk2 do you have? I have a small and that kit will fit in nicely. I use Tenba insert. I would look at the Tenba DNA series as well.
     
  3. bobaab

    bobaab New to Mu-43

    4
    May 29, 2015
    Bob
    Hey David,

    The Timbuk2 bag I have is in Small. I haven't thought about the idea of an insert, which one do you have for yours?
     
  4. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Either the Crumpler Small Haven or the Tenba BYOB 9. For the E-M5 ll with the 12-40 mounted you may want to go up to the BYOB 10. My Timbuktu is one of the newer ones with the built-in water-bottle pockets and I customized mine with the crater laptop + iPad sleeve. I also use a Barbour Tarras bag to the same effect.
     
  5. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Post-Script: the Timbuk2 XS Snoop insert fits the small bag with enough room left over for sunglasses, water bottle as well. One of the nice things about Timbuk2s is that they are popular so no one gives them a second look. It is nice that they can customized to be everything from somewhat elegant to wild looking.
     
  6. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    Timbuk2 makes a quality messenger bag. I still have one that I bought back in 2007 and although it's been used to death, it still looks great.

    I haven't seen their latest bags, but I've heard that that they changed their strap material from the thicker ones that they used to use to their newer ones which are similar to the ones used by Chrome messenger bags (another great messenger bag company). The Chrome strap is very similar to the material used on seatbelt and it does tend to twist a bit more. In the case of Chrome bags, it's less of a concern because their bags are meant to be worn across your back and cinched up.

    How are you finding the strap? Does it tend to twist and take a second to adjust/readjust on your shoulder?

     
  7. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    The strap is thinner and it is shorter. In fact it is significantly shorter, I don't readjust the strap I just leave it in longest position. I believe it is narrower as well, it is only 1 1/2" wide. By contrast my Rickshaw Small Zero bag has 2" wide straps and is of a thicker material. All that said, I don't mind the new straps, I just wish they were longer. I do like the new side storm flaps and having the buckles under the front flap.
     
  8. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I have a TB2 bag I use for work and I like. When I was looking for something smaller and less briefcase like I had a hard look at TB2 but then bought the Patagonia half-mass bag.

    [​IMG]

    It is a decent laptop briefcase but the one thing that really drew me to this bag is the fully padded bottom (and laptop compartment) that extends up the front a bit. The bag easily holds my daily gear and the E-M1 + 12-35, 75 and BCL9 which is my usual travel kit.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that this bag is light, very light for what it is. Ie the bag won't add to what you are carrying.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  9. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Just received one of these. For fast throw a couple lenses and body in and go. It would do all you ask save waterproofing which can be aided with a spray used on shoes and fabrics. Took a month to arrive though.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00OIRK08I/ref=ya_aw_oh_pii#

    High tech options abound as well...
    http://www.thule.com/en-us/us/products/bags-and-cases/camera-bags-and-cases
    http://www.tenba.com/Products/Messenger-Photo-Laptop-Bag-Mini-Black.aspx#Features
    http://www.vanguardworld.com/photo_video/up-rise-ii-28.html#go-sectionTop

    So many options....
     
  10. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    There are a wide variety of inserts available. For example, there's the Camaroo ones available on Amazon. I have a BBP insert that would probably fit a good size messenger bag. I have a Tenba DNA 8 which is great for a small kit, but it won't fit a 13" MacBook Air. They make a larger one that will.

    So many options is darn right. Actually makes it harder. :)
     
  11. bobaab

    bobaab New to Mu-43

    4
    May 29, 2015
    Bob
    Great info guys, I really appreciate all the suggestions so far!

    Yea that's the problem...there are just so many options. I may end up getting a newer Timbuk2 messenger with an insert...never knew about the inserts until today so thats great.

    That being said, any other suggestions are welcome!
     
  12. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
  13. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    The bag looks great and seems well organized especially with a camera insert, but the big concern at least for me, would be that it's not water resistant.

     
  14. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    One of the reasons it is so light is that it is not a coated waterproof fabric. I have a fully waterproof bag and if I am going to go and shoot for the day that might be wet (on a boat or at an event this is the one I would take anyway).

    I've used a lot of outdoor gear in challenging conditions and there is one key takeaway, if you really want something to be waterproof in the driving rain, wrap plastic around it. It may not look fashionable at the time but that is OK.
     
  15. Aushiker

    Aushiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Do you use a camera insert with it?

    Andrew
     
  16. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    You can use a waterproof insert with a bag and that takes care of the expensive bits. Waterproof generally adds weight though.
     
  17. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I have a crumpler insert but I usually just put the camera and lens in the bag. The bottom of the Patagonia bag is padded and wraps up the front a bit.

    full.

    full.

    full.

    full.
     
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  18. Peter_Tenba

    Peter_Tenba New to Mu-43

    7
    Apr 8, 2015
    Peter Waisnor
    You might give thought to the Tenba Messenger DNA 13. It will fit a 13" laptop; it has mesh side pockets for a water bottle; it has tons of pockets for documents and accessories; it has a waterproof bottom panel, plus deep side hinges on the flap for excellent coverage at the corners, and then an additional rain cover; and finally it has a trolley strap to slide of the handle of your luggage at the airport. It was really designed for the person doing a ton of travel.

    Peter
    Tenba
     
  19. Aushiker

    Aushiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Thanks for the photos and explanation. This looks like a promising option for me for travel.

    Andrew
     
  20. bobaab

    bobaab New to Mu-43

    4
    May 29, 2015
    Bob
    Hey guys,

    Just an update...I ended up grabbing a camera insert from Amazon to place inside my Timbuk2 messenger bag I bought quite a few years bag. For $16, it was worth a try...and it has worked out awesome so far for the small excursions I've had!

    It fits the E-M5 fine, including the Oly 12-40mm I recently picked up. It takes up about 2/3 of the space of the large compartment of the bag, but it leaves space for things like bottle of water, charger for my Macbook, etc.

    Next month, I'll take it halfway around the world to Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore, so that'll be the true test. I think it'll work out great.

    Thanks again for the suggestions! I'll post a few pics next chance I get...too sleepy tonight!