Late last year, Think Tank Photo released a new line of stylish, messenger style shoulder camera bags. According to Think Tank, the CityWalker line of shoulder bags are lightweight, soft, messenger bags with hip hugging form and room for a tablet or laptop. Removable insert allows for multi-use capability. I’ve been using the CityWalker 20 for about a month now, and put together this short review.
The CityWalker line comes in two colours (Black and Blue Slate), in three sizes – CityWalker 10, 20 and 30. I have the CityWalker 20 in Blue Slate (pictured above). I got this bag to replace my old Think Tank Speed Freak V1 shoulder bag/belt pack, which i’ve used for years on smaller assignments and on days when I only want to carry a limited amount of equipment. I personally own a lot of camera bags – all from Think Tank. From large rolling cases, to backpacks, modular belt pouches and shoulder bags. All of these bags serve a purpose, and choosing the right bag for the job is very important.
The CityWalker 20 is designed just like all the other Think Tank bags I own – it’s functional, practical and very stylish. On the front flap, there is a large zippered pocket for items you need to access quickly. The front flap is held on by two velcros and a clip. Like all the other Think Tank bags with velcro, you have the option of using the Sound Silencer to tuck away the velcro for when you are in situations where you need quick access, or do not want to create noise when opening the velcro.
As you can see in the photo above, the velcro on the left is tucked away while the velcro on the right is out. There’s also a convenient business card slot for you to stash some business cards on the flap. The shoulder strap is very similar to the strap on the Think Tank Retrospective Series of Shoulder Bags. It’s thick, sturdy and comfortable. A great improvement over some of the first generation straps on old Think Tank bags I used to own years ago.
Don’t let the size of this bag fool you! The CityWalker 20 holds a TON of gear. Here’s a photo of it carrying a typical, basic kit I would have with me.
Pictured here is a Nikon D600 with 16-35mm f/4 lens attached, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens with hood reversed on it’s left, as well as a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 on the right. There are two small pouches, one on each side that will hold flashes or other small accessories. I have two SB-900 flashes in the photo above. My iPad is tucked nicely into a dedicated tablet pocket just in front of the main compartment. Although Think Tank states this bag can only fit a standard sized dSLR, I use this bag all the time with pro-sized dSLRs. It’s a tight fit, but works fine and it doesn’t feel like I am stretching anything too much. Here’s a photo of the same setup, with the D600 replaced by my D3S with 24-70mm f/2.8 attached.
I find that with such a loaded kit, sometimes it’s hard to put the flashes into the side pockets. To be fair, the SB-900 is a large flash. Oftentimes, instead of putting the flash into the side pocket, i’ll just stick them directly into the side of the bag, just outside of the dividers. That allows a bit more room, and I also don’t have to worry about the little strap when I am trying to access my flash quickly. There’s a nice large pocket in the front of the bag that has plenty of room for travel documents, smaller accessories (such as hard drives, card readers, batteries, etc), pens and other items you may have to carry. There’s also a large zippered pocket on the inside back of the bag, as well as a large velcro pocket on the outside back of the bag. There are also stretch pockets on each side of the bag.. perfect for things like water bottles, sunscreen, etc.
A unique thing with the CityWalker line is that the dividers are actually an insert, and can be easily removed. It’s held in by a few pieces of velcro, and when removed, the bag becomes a regular messenger style bag!
I use my CityWalker 20 when I go out with friends and family and on small assignments where I need to travel light. It’s even traveled with me to the United States and the Bahamas a few weeks ago. This is my dream bag for travelling with a small kit. The bag is stylish and doesn’t look like a camera bag (very important to prevent theft, especially when travelling in developing countries). It has tons of compartments and pockets for documents and other small things you need to have on you when travelling. Once at your destination, if you need a bag for the day, you can leave your camera gear and dividers behind and transform the bag into a normal messenger bag. There isn’t really anything I can think about that is lacking, or I would like to see changed. I highly recommend this shoulder bag to anyone looking for a bag for one camera body with 2-3 lenses, some accessories and a tablet. Nothing beats the quality, functionality and service of Think Tank Photo.
Check out the full line of CityWalker bags on the Think Tank website at www.thinktankphoto.com/categories/shoulder-camera-bags/citywalker.aspx