Following up on all our bag discussions from last week, I was hyper-conscious of my old Billingham bag on my trip just past, and I have to say that it really doesn't measure up very well against the hypothetical ideal of a perfect bag. It's clunky, clumsy to get into and batten down again (the single central zipper, even after you unsnap and un-flap and delve down to its layer, does not afford ideal entry and egress), and it is, I have to say, ill-fitting for the equipment I want to carry. For instance, it has slit compartments on both sides that can be used for flat electronic devices (iPad and Kindle, in my case), but in both cases there's no padding between the device and the outside layer of canvas. These days a bag with a slot that's actually designed to carry and protect electronic devices would be better.
I hate to give up 25 years' worth of patina, but a new bag might really do a lot better for my travels. I don't think there's anywhere I can go locally to see Think Tank Photo bags, but I think I'm in the market. Especially if I get a laptop (a.k.a. lapdog).
Bear in mind that mine isn't the perfect Billingham for modern times; I think mine is a 225, although it doesn't say anywhere on it what it is. One of the Hadleys could well be much better configured for my current use.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Stephen McCullough: "If we can convince people to stop innovating then our bags will last longer. Imagine if there were no Kindles or iPads? How cool would that be? But they do exist, and are essential to modern survival(!).
"I have a black Hadley Pro. It has a nice safe place for my iPad, and very easy, silent access. It melds to my body, which is one of the reasons I chose it over a Think Tank, which are also great bags. The Hadley carries all that I need: typically an X-Pro1, three or four lenses, and sometimes a second smaller body.
"Oh, and like all desirable gear it has made me a better photographer...."
Gordon Lewis: "This post confirms what I thought when I read your first Billingham bag post: 'If you hardly ever use it, then any bag is durable and any one is just as good as the next.' Unfortunately, it takes some trial and error to discover exactly what you want and need in a bag. For me it's small size, light weight, and ease of access. For someone else it might be the ability to drop the bag out of a two-story window without damaging the contents. The bag you might choose for a two week trip to France would be very different from one you'd use for a two-hour walk around town. That's why there are so many of the damned things."
Ben Rosengart: "It's your blog, Mike, but I gotta say I liked it a lot better when it wasn't all bags all the time."
Mike replies: It's just bags from here on out. What can I say? Bags are my passion, and I don't care about anything else but bags. Gotta follow your heart.