So you’ve spent all this money on great lenses, a good camera, and all the other kit you need to start shooting. The next question is, how do you travel with it? In the past I’ve shown you a few of the bags I’ve used, but over the last few years I’ve been making the transition to Tamrac Pro series bags. I was working with a fellow film maker who had a couple of these bags in his collection and I fell in love. Great design, lots of pockets, water resistant, and one of the most comfortable shoulder straps I’ve seen on a camera bag.
When I first started searching for some larger camera bags, I was turned off by the price of Tamrac’s pro series. The camera bag above (Tamrac 614) for example, will set you back almost $350 new. That’s quite a bit of money for a camera bag, but the the strange thing is, the used price of this bag is around 1/4 of the price. I picked up the above bag for right around $60 used on ebay.
The design of the bag gives you zippers for every pocket, but also offers up the option to use click locks on all 4 sides of the top compartment. Those 4 latches also pull the water resistant top layer over the front zipper pockets to keep rain and moisture out. There’s also plenty of velcro along the inside of the top flap to keep things secure even when the click locks aren’t being used.
For whatever reason used Tamrac bags are really affordable. Sure you’re not getting a brand new minty fresh bag, but Tamrac’s bags are built well, even with years of ruff use they stand up to abuse. I’ve been using the above bag for almost 2 years now and it doesn’t show much more wear and tear than the day I bought it. As you can see I keep the bag pretty well packed, with little room left over.
The shoulder and hand straps on Tamrac’s pro bags are basically made out of a car seat belt making them thin, flat, and solid. The padding on the straps is made from a nice large piece of soft leather stitched over the handle and shoulder areas. Unless you take a knife to it, these straps aren’t coming apart anytime soon.
That same seat belt makes a full trip around the outside of the bag in one continuous loop. It’s double stitched into the side pockets as well as the bottom of the bag, giving the bag an extra level of support. Even though this bag sees a lot of continues use the thick canvas material on the bottom of the bag has held up very well. No rips, or areas starting to fray, just the usual bits of dust and debris gathered from loading and unloading the bag.
Although few people shoot on film any more, these pop-off pockets are great for loose hardware. Keep your loose audio and hdmi cables in one bag, and mounting hardware in the other. 3 snaps as well as velcro attach each of these bags to the top of the bag giving you plenty of support.
I currently use 2 Tamrac pro bags for two camera shoots, a smaller Tamrac bag for all of the EOS-M stuff, and a Tamrac rally bag for stills. I still have the APE cases around, but they are used mostly to transport light bulbs and batteries.
If you’re in the market for a large camera bag, take a look on ebay for one of these Tamrac bags. They’re an excellent value if the price is right.