Monday, June 17, 2024

Where is the perfect EDC bag?

For years I have been on the search for the perfect every-day carry (EDC) bag for a camera plus one lens and a few small personal items (e.g. headphones). I will explain my goals and describe the bags that I currently own. Maybe you can help me find something better?


1. Size

The baggage allowances for airlines vary, so I have combined the limitations of several carriers that I use. This results in a maximum dimensions of 33 x 25 x 12 cm. While this might be a bit too large for an EDC, it's a useful target. In order to safely carry a camera without adverse pressure, the width must be at least 10cm. This eliminates most smaller bags from consideration.

2. Form factor

Most items sold as courier bags or cross-shoulder bags are wider than they are high. This means that they bang against the side of the body when moving. I prefer a bag higher than it is wide, so that it fits on the hip and can be swung back slightly on my body. Then it is almost invisible and more comfortable.

3. Padding and weight

Many items sold as camera bags are extensively padded. This make sense for the intended use, but results in a significant reduction in interior volume, which is not ideal as a carry-on item. Weight too is a factor for a comfortable EDC. At the other extreme, a floppy bag is too dangerous for camera gear. A compromise is required.

4. Pockets and zips

Many bags sold for business or student use have far too many internal and external pockets, again reducing the effective volume. The profusion of zips and fasteners increase the chance of scratching gear. I am OK with maybe one zippered pocket, preferably on the outside of the main compartment.

5. Waterproofing

Many casual bags have a top flap that doesn't cover the opening and are hence useless in rain. I would prefer a totally waterproof bag, but will make do with less, so long as the main compartment is sealed.

6. Style

I don't want my bag to scream "expensive camera" nor do I wish to look like an escapee from a branding factory.

My attempts to date

The following are the bags I own. Not pictured is a Crumpler Pretty Boy 7500 XXXL which is 34 x 24 x 18cm and hence too wide for airlines, also being over-padded.

On the left is a bag from the Mountain Equipment Co-Op (now Company) in Toronto. It is 30 x 22 x 10cm and can be carried vertically, with a top opening for conveniently grabbing a camera. It has one internal zippered pocket where I keep lens wipes, etc. This is the closest to my ideal bag at the moment. Naturally there's nothing like this available from this firm today!

Next is a rather generic Quadra canvas bag that I bought ages ago. (The model is either QV003 or QD662 but in any case it's no longer in production.) This bag has lasted through every adversity, though the velcro fasteners long ago stopped working. It's a bit floppy, so I used to make cardboard inserts as additional structure. Though it's too small at 24 x 22 x 11 cm to optimise carry-on capacity, I pack this as a bag useful when I arrive at my destination. Though comfortable it lets the rain in.

My most recent purchase was an attempt to find a larger version of that bag. The Quadra Vintage Canvas Messenger Sahara (QD611) is 34 x 29 x 10 cm (8L and 480g). It is ridiculously floppy and has an annoying metal fastener that jangles. It also turns out to be larger than the minimal personal item dimensions (though could likely pass inspection). A reinforced version of this bag would be better... except that the design also lets in water.

And so...

I have looked at most every available bag (online and in person) in an effort to find something slightly larger than the grey canvas bag, with a sealed top, and water resistant. If you have any suggestions, please do let me know in the comments.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Robin. I use the lowepro passport sling II and like it. Looks good too. It’s slighty bigger/wider than you want but if you don’t stuff it full should pass. Here’s a review i found online:
empty it weighs ca. 500g.

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