HoldFast is known throughout the photography community for their amazing and well-made dual camera straps. What most people don't realize is that they also have a camera bag. The Roamographer bag has the same attention to detail as their straps and is also constructed out of the same great-looking leather. It's designed to look like a vintage doctor's bag and provides both style and function.
Outside the Bag
The main thing that drew me to this bag was the all-leather build. Made from American bison leather, it has a worn, vintage texture that I find visually pleasing in a leather product. Most of the time, it takes a long time for leather products to get that worn-in look, so I appreciate that this bag comes out of the box like that, even though it’s brand new leather. In fact, upon first opening the bag, the leather is stiff and a little rigid, like you expect new leather to feel.
Aside from the all-leather construction, the standout feature of this bag is that it opens like a vintage doctor's bag. The all -etal hinge allows the bag to remain open when you need access to the inside, but is concealed by the leather so you don't have to worry about the metal damaging your gear.
When you need the bag closed, there is a small leather tab that hooks onto a metal stud. In order to hold the bag closed more securely, there are also two leather straps that can buckle it. There are also loops on both sides of the bag, which make it possible to secure the straps with the bag open and closed so they are not flapping around.
The leather straps that buckle the bag closed can also be used to fasten a tripod to the bottom of it. The problem here is that with a tripod fastened to the bottom, you can't actually set the bag down without it tipping over. This is fine for when you are traveling, but not very practical if you are walking around shooting and need to get things in and out of the bag with it on the ground.
The shoulder strap connects to the bag with a lobster claw style clasp, and both ends of the strap connect to a single side of the bag. What this does is allow you to carry it around while open, allowing access to the inside contents without needing to set it down. This shoulder strap also has a soft, padded area that makes the bag comfortable to carry around.
Inside the Bag
The part of the bag that holds all of your camera equipment is fully padded with customizable inserts. This allows you to adjust the size of each compartment so that your gear fits more securely. As you can see, this compartment can hold a decent amount of gear and I could even consolidate some lenses onto the camera bodies to make a bit more room. The only problem I had with this compartment is that there were not enough inserts to lay out the bag the way I wanted, so I had to steal some inserts from another bag. It wasn't a big deal, but it’s always better to have more inserts than not enough. This also left me with one insert that stands out like a sore thumb because it doesn't match all of the other inserts.
The entire compartment that holds your equipment is also fully removable and has a red flap that can close over the top of the enclosure. This red flap is actually the most frustrating part of the bag for me. When I open the hinge of the main leather bag, I don't want to also have to open this red flap of the inner compartment to access my gear. So, what I end up having to do is stuff the red flap down in-between the red insert and leather bag. The problem is that the red insert has pockets all around the outside, so when I stuff the flap down on one side, I’m essentially blocking all the pockets on that side of the insert. This red flap also has the only zippered pocket in the entire bag and I like to use this pocket to hold some smaller items that could easily be lost. This zippered pocket is the only reason I have not committed to just cutting the flap off, which I’ll probably end up doing anyway so that I can have easier access to the pockets on that side of the compartment.
What I love about this removable camera compartment, though, is that I can easily remove the entire insert while leaving all my gear packed away. This means I can now use this good-looking leather bag as an overnight bag when I don't need any of my camera gear. Once the insert is removed, the bag is lined with a nice-looking cloth that also has two small pockets on one side. I would have liked to see pockets on both sides of the inside, as well as some bigger pockets that could close with a zipper or even some sort of Velcro flap. As it is, not much can fit in these two small pockets and whatever does fit stands a decent chance of coming out as the bag is tossed around.
What I Liked
- Doctor's bag styled hinge
- Great-looking leather
- Removable and customizable insert
- Comes in small and large sizes for mirrorless or DSLR use
- HoldFast is known for their great customer service
What I Didn't Like
- With a tripod fastened to the bag, you can't set the bag down easily.
- That dang red flap
- No zippered or closable pockets, aside from the flap
- Pockets in the leather part of the bag are small and cannot be closed.
Although there are some cons, the good things about this bag vastly outweigh them. It is now my full-time camera bag and will remain so for the foreseeable future. It holds everything I need, doubles as an overnight bag, and looks fantastic while doing it.