What’s The Bag And What’s In It

I‘ve been asked by a few people lately what camera bag I use to carry my gear when I shoot and what do I have in it.

You can read about my camera and lens choice at this previous post, http://paulbarson.com/the-camera-and-lens/
This post is about the bag and what’s in it….


Clik EliteI’m a little, let’s say particular, in my requirements. I knew what I wanted out of a camera bag. I wanted comfort (something I could carry all day), easy of use, easy access to my camera, good protection for the contents, secure, well made, long lasting, sturdy and not too big but big enough to carry everything I wanted to take with a little space left over. I find bags to be like Hard Drives. If you are not careful, you will end up wishing you’d gotten one a little bigger so that you can fit that ‘thing’ in that you really don’t need to!

I tried a number of bags on my quest to finding my perfect bag, probably too many! Kind of like lenses, I couldn’t really find that perfect all rounder that would be great for everyday, summer and short walk use AND winter, longer walks, treks and skiing.

So I ended up with two bags, which for me are perfect, from a 10 min stroll in the park to a day backcountry skiing.

I shall soon be trying another bag, the Manfrotto Pro Light Backpack, which they kindly sent to me for me to write a little piece on it for their blog.

My go to camera bag for longer walks, treks, skiing, winter, bad weather is the Clik Elite Contrajeur 40 backpack. I’ll be writing a post on this one come winter when I shall be using it non stop!


My ‘short’ walk, everyday, summer bag is the Tenba Messenger Camera Bag.

As I have said, one of the main features I was looking for was easy access to my camera. I didn’t want to have to take a bag off, put it down and open it all up every time I wanted to access my camera.

The Tenba Messenger has a great feature that satisfies this need and this is what initially got me looking at this bag.

The camera and other contents can be accessed as with any other messenger type bag, by opening up the flap. However, the Tenba Messenger also has a zip running along the top of the flap!

Tenba Messenger  Tenba Messenger  Tenba Messenger

No more ripping velcro, opening the flap, trying to keep it out the way while accessing the camera or other items. Just zip and go for easy, quick access to camera, lens or any other item!

Other plus points for the Tenba Messenger…

  • Zip or flap access to contents.
  • A huge number of pockets and compartments for storing anything from lenses to memory cards. There are actually a total of 25!
  • Excellent construction.
  • Tough, hardwearing material.
  • Large, well padded shoulder strap.
  • Padded back.
  • Reinforced bottom.
  • Very comfortable to carry, even when fully loaded and carrying all day.
  • Metal hardware for strap attatchment.
  • Hand handle on top.
  • Velcro and clip fasetening of flap.
  • Mole straps on the sides for attaching accessories, in my case MACE!
  • Internal, removable camera compartment which is well padded and configurable.


Tenba Messenger  Tenba Messenger

I generally don’t use a tripod. The only time I’ll take a tripod is if I have planned to do HDR, landscape, slow shutter speed etc.
The Tenba Messenger can carry a tripod though, thanks to those quick release straps for the flap closure.

You can also fit a body with lens attached, 3 or 4 other lenses, speedlight, filters and accessories inside.

There is also a well padded, internal laptop/iPad sleeve at the back.

The front pockets under the flap are large enough to hold an external HD.

The internal camera insert can also be completely removed, while leaving your gear inside it if you wish, so that the Tenba Messenger can be used as a normal, overnight or laptop bag.


So what’s in it?

Tenba Messenger

I don’t carry a lot of gear, just what I think I could need to get the job done. Maybe a throwback from my backpacking days when weight was everything and I cut the end off teaspoons and drilled holes in handles to save a little bit of weight, The littles soon add up to a lot!

Here is the everyday, summer, small walk gear…

  • Canon T3i, paired with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro (almost permanently attached)
  • Canon EFS 18-135mm kit lens. Not the sharpest of lenses but you never know what may present itself that calls for something wider than 100mm. After all, the best shots are the ones you take and the time to take a shot is when you see it.
  • Cleaning kit.
  • Spare battery.
  • Lens Pen.
  • Small spray bottle full of water.
  • ND400 and CPL Filters.
  • Manfrotto Pixie, because you just never know. Amazing pocket tripod that easily handles the T3i with 100mm attached.
  • Soft cleaning cloth.
  • Large zip lock bag. Mainly used in winter to prevent condensation build up on camera and lens.
  • Freedom Pop 4g WiFi hotpsot.
  • Spare memory cards.
  • MACE, in case of any more vicious dog attacks, or crazy people.


98% of the time the only item I take out is the camera. Of course, the one time you don’t take something is the one time you need it!

The most important piece of gear is YOU. Use what you have, carry what you want, have fun, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, keep shooting and learning and stay true to yourself!




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