By now, most people who visit this website know that I am a bagoholic – always in search of the perfect camera bag that doesn’t exist. But, there some really great bags out there and my goal is to find them.
I own several excellent bags which serve specific needs. There are times though when I want to use a bag that, “kills two birds with one stone” – that is, have a single bag serve multiple purposes. I like to travel with compact camera systems and I often shoot with a DSLR plus large lenses – but rarely at the same time. It would be great if I could own a bag that worked well with both systems, without being unwieldy or a compromise for either system.
The Urban Disguise 35 is the little brother to the Urban Disguise 60 that I wrote about previously. It is 26.7 cm x 34.3 cm x 15.2 cm (10.5″ x 13.5″ x 6.0″) in its dimensions, and will easily fit underneath the seat in front of you on the smallest commercial aircraft. It weighs 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs) when empty and has a vertical orientation when placed right side up (or on your shoulder with the included strap).
This bag does not have any obvious markings on it indicating that it is a camera bag which is great when you want to transport your camera gear discreetly.
Often when I have a local assignment (and sometimes when I travel too), I want take my Nikon DSLR kit with me – which usually consists of:
All of this fits very nicely in this bag, with room in the external pockets to spare.
Up to a 13 inch laptop computer fits easily in the rear compartment, so the 11 inch Macbook Air is not a problem.
Think Tank supplies a generous number of Velcro dividers, so you can configure the interior any way you’d like. They also include a rain cover like they do with all of their other bags.
I usually travel with compact system cameras (CSC) to minimize the weight and bulk as much as possible.
On a recent trip to China, I took the following gear (as seen in the photo below) with me which easily fit into the Urban Disguise 35:
Since the Urban Disguise 35 has a vertical orientation, the top third of the bag was actually empty after I placed the above CSC kit into it. At first, I thought this bag was going to be overkill for my equipment given this extra space, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
On the flight to China, I used this empty space to store a change of clothing and my medication (just in case my checked luggage decided to take a different flight) which was nice as I did not have to take a second carry on bag. In the end, I was actually able to further minimize on what I took on board the aircraft with me which was a big bonus.
The extra room in the bag was also useful once I arrived in China as I could change lenses, etc, without having to take the items out of the bag – I could be even more discreet when I wanted to be. I was constantly on the move in China (8 cities, many buses and 5 internal flights over 3 weeks) so I needed to keep everything in the bag at all times. It was always comfortable to wear and never bulky.
If you are curious what entire CSC kit above weighed – it was a total of 5.5 kg or 11 lbs – including the bag.
An interesting feature of the Urban Disguise 35 is the ability to access the contents at the top of the bag from the rear pocket (that contains the laptop computer). This makes it very easy to access both the computer and some of your gear by opening just the rear zipper. Nice touch.
The front pocket of the bag has lots of space to store pens, memory cards, your passport, batteries and many other items. Accessing these items was effortless as the interior of the front pocket is well laid out.
There are also side Lycra pockets on each side which can easily hold a flash or a bottle of water.
Once you lift up the front flap, there is an additional pouch that can easily hold a pro-level DSLR. Above it is another zippered pocket to store (relatively) flat items. Placing a DSLR in this pouch does make the bag quite bulky and IMHO, front heavy. Sometimes I place my Kindle in this pouch as I keep a PDF copy of all of my user manuals on it, just in case I need to look something up.
A very comfortable, wide and non-slip strap is provided and I had no issue wearing it all day.
My main bag (with clothing, etc) when traveling is always some sort of roller bag – and the Urban Disguise allows you to easily place it over an extended handle. This made it really easy to transport both bags at the airport – especially when there are long distances to the check in counter or between gates. Of course, if you also use a photo roller bag (like the Airport series from Think Tank), you can schlep an extraordinary amount of gear with both bags stacked this way.
If you are looking for a well thought out shoulder bag that can accommodate a lot of camera gear comfortably, check out the Think Tank Urban Disguise 35 – it is available for purchase from our site sponsors, Amazon, Adorama and B&H Photo/Video
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