The camera bag is an essential component in any photographer’s kit. Let’s call things as they are, it’s where you store your camera and lenses but it’s also how you take your gear out in the world. Over the years, it has become a huge segment of the industry, and as a result of that we now have thousands of models from hundreds of brands to choose from.
But what do you really want from a camera bag? Why is it such a big deal and why doesn’t the first bag you come across in the photography store measure up to a universal set of needs?
We’re here to help you answer some of these questions with a list of five crucial elements you need to look for in a camera bag. With many of these “sort” of articles, we will usually focus on a particular brand or model as reference. In this article hands down I’m going with the Ikigai Rival backpack. Now I test A LOT gear, and have seen the good, great, bad and flat out ugly when it comes to camera bags. What makes this young company so awesome in my book is they have brought innovation to a segment of the camera industry you don’t often see. So Kudos to you Ikigai… you have earned my heavy recommendations! So let’s get on with the article:
A camera bag has to be above all comfortable. The more gear you pack, the heavier it becomes and the harder it will be to carry. There are plenty of formats to choose from, including shoulder bags, slings, cases and backpacks. We favor the later. A backpack is always going to be the easiest way to carry a heavy load, thanks to the equal distribution of weight on your shoulders. Some backpacks like the Ikigai Rival have sculpted back panels that make the bag even more comfortable to carry.
Even a low budget beginner’s kit will set you back at least $1k. You want to protect that investment as best you can and buying a good bag is the safest way. The durability of a bag is something very important. After all, that’s what’s going to stand between your camera and something hard on impact. There are several materials that are being widely used in bags today. One of our favorites is ripstop nylon because it offers superior durability and great weather resistance.
3. Load capacity
First and foremost, you need to assess how much gear you have and how much you intend to buy in the future. Either way, it’s preferable to buy a bag with a generous load capacity. Your future bag should be able to store at least one pro DSLR and four lenses, including something the size of a 70-200mm f/2.8 .Backpacks like the Rival can hold a pro body along with up to 9 lenses and accessories.
4. Tripod carrying system
You should be able to attach a tripod to your bag in case you need it in the great outdoors.
A good camera bag will have a tripod carrying system, and the top end models have a detachable system.
The best camera bags can be tailored to your needs. Configurable interiors are essential for adding more gear and easing accessibility. The Rival’s removable and configurable camera cell is by far the best system we’ve seen and with its own carrying handle, it is one of the most flexible solutions on the market.
These are the main features you need to look for in your future bag. We recommend the Ikigai Rival because of its brilliant design, its high performance materials, flexibility and ease of use.
P.S. Literally we are going live with this article and I just noticed Ikigai is having a huge promotion called “Buy the shell get the cell free”