After returning from Peru, I knew the backpack I had chosen for travel, the Calumet BP935 Small Backpack, was not the one for me. It was very nice, but here were the drawbacks for me:
- Did not fit my back very well. Even with a waist strap, it was just too big for my body, and most of the weight still hung on my shoulders.
- Too big for my needs. If you have a lot of camera equipment, this bag will fit it all! But I needed extra compartments for storing books, laptop accessories, and other items for use on the road.
- One major compartment. Instead of allowing access to individual items, you have to open the whole thing to get to anything.
- Small front pockets. Pockets didn’t stretch at all, making it hard to even store batteries and camera accessories in them. They were also designed in a way that things tended to fall out when you opened them.
Calumet graciously allowed me to return the backpack. Now that I knew more specifically what did and did not fit my needs for travel, I was able to exchange it for another backpack: the Tamrac 5788 Evolution 8 Photo Sling Backpack. Though I have used it only slightly, here is what I have enjoyed thus far about it.
- Slightly smaller size fits me very well. Even though the waist strap isn’t as big, the whole thing seems to fit me better. For some reason, the weight is better distributed between my hips and shoulders.
- More room for extraneous supplies. The large top compartment, accessed separately, can be used for books and travelling items while still converting to camera space if desired.
- Multiple access to camera. The camera can be accessed from the front as well as from both sides. This makes it very easy to get things out of the bag when traveling or hiking.
- Quality padding. Even though I think the Calumet bag had better padding, this bag is top notch when it comes to protecting your equipment.
Well, I hope these thoughts are helpful for anyone looking to purchase a camera/laptop combination backpack. I don’t think I’ll be searching for a new bag in a long time.