Sometimes, when you are looking for a versatile camera backpack, they tend to lack in the style department, or on the other hand, you may sacrifice space and utility for a more fashionable bag. But, what if BAGSMART has combined both? Take a look at our review!
As a photographer who often photographs streets and travels around, it has definitely been a struggle to find something that will hold my equipment on the go, including other nonphotographic items, such as my laptop and personal belongings, and at the same time remain comfortable on my back and not bring too much attention to what I may be carrying. My current camera bags, both a large backpack as well as a hard-back case, have been with me all around Europe, but I have never quite found something that allowed me to combine style and functionality and didn't make me look like I was about to go on a hike with half of my belongings on my back. That is why I have been excited to review BAGSMART New York camera backpack, as it promises to be an everyday backpack and a functional camera bag all in one!
This New York backpack comes from BAGSMART, a company that has a list of various items to "make carrying smarter," from duffel bags all the way to travel organizers. Their New York backpack is one of their currently six available camera backpacks. At the time of writing this, it's retailing for $116.99 on Amazon and comes in either black or green, both with brown leather straps on the front. Between December 24, 2018 and January 7th, 2019, BAGSMART is offering our readers a 20 percent discount coupon; the code is 5RBNK75G.
The bag is sized at 12.6" x 17.3" x 6.3" and made out of 210D water-repellent and rugged polyester. The outside consists of:
- Leather straps on the front
- One zipped front pocket with several divided sections to hold small items
- Two side pockets, the left one allowing you to hold a small water bottle, for example, and the right one for your tripod
- Anti-theft design, as there's no quick access to main compartment unless the bag is taken off
- Thick padded back support and shoulder straps
The inside consists of:
- Main compartment with removable dividers to store your gear and/or personal items for traveling
- A sheath to prevent your gear from falling out upon opening the bag
- One compartment with elastic corner straps to hold up to a 15.6" laptop, tablet, books, or other items of a similar type
- Spare rain cover
- An additional zip case that fits snug in the upper main compartment and can hold personal items, chargers, batteries, memory cards, cables, and more
The design of the bag is very modern and would suit both male and female photographers. I found the bag to be comfortable on my back, but also be aware that it actually is slightly bigger than it appears, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your frame and what you're looking for. What I did enjoy is that it is not too bulky considering the sheer amount of items you can carry in the bag.
It is very versatile for either travel or photography work or both. I am relatively light when I travel and work, so I don't actually need heaps of space, and this bag definitely holds enough of what I need for street photography, including my laptop, so I can do work on the go, as well as for shooting events, boudoir, or couples' photography. Depending on your setup, it may just be enough for shooting weddings, too! The extra zip bag is big enough to hold small items that I need to bring with me, as is the front zip pocket.
If you're an international traveler, you will need to check carry-on size restrictions for your airline, as this bag may be too large to be taken on board. An airline I regularly travel with has recently reduced their free carry-on size limits, which means I won't be able to use this bag when jet-setting unless I upgrade my ticket. However, it's a great luggage alternative for traveling by other means, such as on the train or on foot.
This may be a personal preference, but I am used to having a bottle of water with me when I travel, which holds 550 ml of liquid, and it didn't quite fit in the side pocket, so you'll have to consider having a smaller bottle with you or free some space inside your bag for a larger one. Other than that, it's a very spacious bag, and with a lot of us going towards lighter gear setups, I can see this being very useful for a variety of photographers.
What I Liked
- Stylish and minimalist design
- Padded back support and straps
- Spacious enough to carry gear, laptop, and personal items
- Additional zip case for storing smaller items
- Support sheath to protect gear when opening the bag
- Competitive price
What Could Be Improved
- For some, may seem slightly too large to be an everyday backpack
- Elastic corner straps for my smaller laptop didn't quite keep it in place, and it would slide out easily
- Side pocket not big enough to hold a regular size water bottle
- May not fit as an airline carry-on
All in all, it seems unfair to fault a bag by saying it's too spacious. It does do a great job of helping us carry more in a functional way, so you have to ask yourself what's more important to you when looking for a camera backpack. I see myself using this on location shoots, because it will be able to hold everything I need, but for smaller trips where I only need to bring with me one camera and perhaps one additional lens, I may instead consider the BAGSMART Commuter range, which features smaller backpacks.
Theier prices for both photography and regular backpack ranges are fairly competitive considering their functionality, so I wouldn't mind getting both to cover me for most situations I will find myself in. If you think this bag is perfect for you, head to Amazon and get it. Don't forget, BAGSMART is offering our readers a 20 percent discount; all you have to do is use the code 5RBNK75G to get your discount between December 24, 2018 and January 7, 2019!