What’s the best bag for street photography?
Wow . . . that’s one big question. I have tested, reviewed and used just about every bag known to man and have never managed to find the best bag for street photography. Billingham, Domke, Lowepro, Crumpler, Thinktank, Fogg, Tenba, Ona – you name it, I’ve used it.
Some have been far from the mark, others have come close – but never ‘just right’. They have been to heavy, too small, too rigid, too big, too bright, too uncomfortable, poorly designed, too flashy or just plain ‘wrong’. And most look like a photographer’s bag; I like my bag to be stylish but discrete and understated – I don’t want it to say ‘look at me, I’ve carrying two grand’s worth of camera gear’.
Photographers’ bags have always polarised opinion. Most of us struggle to find the perfect bag and I reckon that for most photographers the bag is the most frequently changed piece of kit. Everyone has their own views about what constitutes the perfect bag and personally I’ve never found one that truly meets my needs.
But then something happened. Peak Design came along, via Kickstarter and with a breath of fresh air. Before you read any further just watch this short video.
So, what do I want my bag to do? I actually need different bags for different days. If I’m running workshops I’ll carry extra gear – maybe an extra body and a couple of lenses as well as course materials, an iPad, maybe a couple of copies of my book – and lots of other small pieces of gear. So I’ll probably take the Peak Design Everyday Messenger out with me which holds just about everything I need. If I’m traveling – maybe running an overseas workshop – I may need to carry more gear including a laptop, travel tripod, external hard drive, maps, food, drink and loads more. When I need this sort of capacity I’ll take the Everyday Backpack with me. Conversely, if I’m walking the streets of London on my own for a day I’ll probably travel light with a minimum of kit – just my X Pro 2, a handful of batteries, memory cards and the usual bits & pieces; in this case the Everyday Sling is just about perfect. In fact the Sling is my ‘go to’ bag for street photography. It’s light, discrete, stylish, capacious and very, very comfortable.
And it’s the comfort which drew me to these bags. If you’re a street photographer you’ll know how tiring it can be pounding the streets for hours on end. Any bag which isn’t a good fit quickly becomes a liability and it’s this ‘fit’ where Peak Design bags really score highly. But it’s not just the comfort – it’s the cleverness of the design. These guys have thought very hard about what photographers want and need from a bag – they’ve listened to us – really listened.
I like these bags so much I’ve become an ambassador for Peak Design and I can get great deals on their gear for my workshop students. Take a look at the Peak Design website and look at the bags, straps and other cool goodies. For me, this stuff has been a game changer.