Go Stealth With Your Existing (Timbuk2) Messenger Bag

Posted · 1 Comment

I love my Timbuk2. It’s small, it’s comfortable, it has tons of pockets on the inside and out, and the waxed canvas has taken on a certain patina over the years. It looks used. It is used.  I’ve always used a separate camera bag for my gear, but recently I was wishing I could find a way to get my cameras into my Timbuk2 bag. Well, it turns out you can: they actually sell a strong, well insulated, camera bag insert that fits exactly in to the bag, with room to spare for your 15″ computer. Here are some of the things that fit into  my bag:

Computer, Tablet, Full Frame camera and lenses, M43 camera and lenses, Flash, Chargers, AC Adaptors...

Computer, Tablet, Full Frame camera and lenses, M43 camera and lenses, Flash, Chargers, AC Adaptors…

  • Nikon D800 with 16-35mm f/4.0 zoom
  • Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 12-40 f.2.8 zoom
  • Olympus 75mm f/1.8
  • MacBook Pro Retina
  • iPad Mini for reading on the airplane and sampling photos during shoot
  • Flash unit and external flash units
  • Battery packs, Computer AC Adaptor
  • Passport for travel

Here’s how it fits:

The Timbuk2 liner is brightly colored, making it easy to see what's inside. It comes with a zip top and a small handle for easy carrying.

The Timbuk2 liner is brightly colored, making it easy to see what’s inside. It comes with a zip top and a small handle for easy carrying.

You can have up to three compartments in the bag; when I’m using just the D800 I carry three lenses – one on the camera – and have easy access to all three while out on the street.

Drop the insert into your messenger bag and it fits perfectly.

Drop the insert into your messenger bag and it fits perfectly.

Here I have my M43 kit as well: below the silver 75mm f/1.8 lens on the right is the flash unit in a padded case, and below that is the E-M1 with attached 12-40 f/2.8.  So basically, an entire M43 kit can be stuffed into one of the three available pockets. It’s not immediately available (at least, until you pull out the Nikon and drop it around your neck), but it does travel well.

Zip the top of the insert to project your gear from dust.

Zip the top of the insert to project your gear from dust.

The zip top of the insert is not particularly convenient but it’s useful when you are in ‘travel’ mode because it protects your gear from dust and rain which can get into your bag from the sides.  Drop your computer in the padded back slot and you’re almost ready…

Back pocket for quick access.

Back pocket for quick access.

There’s even a back zip pocket that holds – perfectly for me – my iPad Mini, Passport, and Notebook.

Packed and ready.

Packed and ready.

Voila. Now, nobody will know you’re a photographer! Bag geek, maybe.

Tech note: All of these photos were taken with my pocket camera, the Olympus E-PL5 with 20mm f/1.8 pancake lens. Love it. And yes, it will fit in one of the side pockets of the Timbuk2.