I finally had too many lenses for my nearly year-old Timbuk2 bag I’d originally purchased for carrying my macbook, and thus went hunting for a better bag.
I liked the Timbuk2 shoulder bag since it provided easy access to the lenses, and could just stay around my neck either in the front, or the back. But all that weight hanging on one side from the opposite should gave me some back pains while I was in London, so I figured I needed some sort of better weight-distributing backpack.
In speaking with friends, it seemed I needed a “transportation bag” for all the gear plus my macbook, as well as a “location bag” for just carrying around the camera. A bit more research, and finally a chat with my friend Nik connected me with Frasier Spiers (who wrote FlickrExport for iPhoto and for Aperture).
He praised his own Computrekker Plus AW – sturdy, comfortable and held everything.
On the good side, it’s huge: most of my lenses can fit upright, and I can stack two flashes without any problem. Here, I’ve got two Nikon bodies, 6 lenses, 1 lensbaby, two flashes, a rolleiflex TLR, lightmeter, random junk and two orange-topped zipper bags. The zipper bags are great, since I can just bring them with whatever bag I happen to be using (this one, or the “location bag”).
There are two internal zippered compartments (here holding OS X 10.4.6 installation discs, “just in case”), and an outer zippered section with room for pens, and papers and whatnot, and big engough for a light change of clothes.
It fits a 17″ laptop along the back (beneath the camera gear), but it looks so empty with my 13″ macbook that I could fit in another without a problem.
The straps are well padded; there’s a lumbar support, and a waist strap to better distribute weight. Even with all this gear, I was more comortable with the CompuTrekker on my back than I was with my messenger bag and far less gear.
Organization could be improved a bit. There’s not really a convenient place for travel documents (i.e. plane tickets) other than the huge exterior section with its odd assortment of pockets. There’s no place for a water bottle or cellphone per se … but it’s easy enough to make space for them in the interior.
And, it’s completely impossible to retrieve equipment if this is on your back, but then that’s not the purpose of this bag. For transportation it’s just great, and well worth the US$190 I paid for it.
It’s claimed to work as a carry on, so I shall test that next week when I head abroad… to take more photos … to make more photobooks … to publish with more companies … to review 😉