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All in all, this was a pretty good summer– except, of course, for the trip that didn’t happen. I was supposed to hit the road with some friends last month, but events beyond our control pulled the rug out from under us at the last minute. My bags were packed. I was ready to go. The taxi was waiting outside my door. OK– not really, but my Think Tank City Walker 30 really was packed and I am all out of cheesy musical metaphors. I took a few shots of this pretty amazing bag before I unpacked it and thought I’d share a few impressions. I see so many articles about packing gear for travel and it’s always some big rolling case that fits an entire studio’s worth of equipment and a sherpa to roll it. But what about a simple bag full of basics?
This is my eighth Think Tank bag (Hey– don’t judge me…I can quit any time I want!) and I’m pretty sure it’s quickly becoming my favorite. I generally don’t write “fresh-out-of-the-box” reviews. I prefer to put a product through its paces for a while before formulating an opinion or recommendation. But since the 30 is a larger version of the City Walker 20 that I’ve been using for about ten months, I think we’re in the clear. Certain things jump out at you when you pick up any Think Tank bag, and the City Walker messenger-style bags are no exception. Superior construction is at the top of the list. Even a light-weight bag like the City Walker is obviously built to last. Everything from the zippers to the straps are designed with efficiency, durability, and comfort in mind.
So, what’s the big deal about yet another shoulder bag? Besides its soft-sided, light-weight design, the entire City Walker line boasts the one thing I love most about Think Tank bags– it doesn’t scream, “Hey, I’m a camera bag! Come steal me and my $8,463.75 worth of gear!” Conceived with the needs of the urban street photographer or photojournalist in mind, the CW is also perfect for any photographer looking for a way to travel light– regardless of whether it’s on assignment, vacation, or a day out with the family. As with all things Think Tank, there is an abundant supply of pockets, compartments, and dividers, and the dedicated interior laptop/iPad pocket is a huge welcome addition. But perhaps the coolest feature of this camera bag is that it doesn’t have to be a camera bag at all. The entire padded gear section can be removed, converting from camera bag to messenger bag or overnight bag (and back again) quickly and easily.
Fresh out of the box, the City Walker doesn’t look like it’s going to hold all that much, but it really does. Here’s a quick look at the gear I had packed for the trip, with plenty of room to spare.
2. Memory cards (Think Tank Custom Pixel Pocket Rocket)
3. SB800 Speedlight in an internal side pocket
4. 16-35mm lens
5. Nikon D90 with 24-70m lens attached
6. 70-200mm lens
7. Two Think Tank DSLR battery holders
8. CapturePRO Camera Clip from Peak Design
9. Included Think Tank rain cover in an internal side pocket
10. NOT pictured, but stashed in the pockets: Business cards, notebook,, pens, lens cloth, AA’s, miscellaneous cords, chargers, and Peanut m&m’s.
The fact that you can completely remove the gear section adds some great diversity. It actually wasn’t until my trip got cancelled that I realized I can completely pack for a long weekend with nothing more than my two City Walkers– some basic gear in the 20 and clothes in the 30 (or the other way around). This photo shows almost a week’s worth of clothes and other essentials in the 30 with plenty of room to spare.
Whereas I use different bag and configurations for different jobs and assignments, the City Walker 30 could easily be that one go-to bag for some professionals, as well as serious hobbyists and amateurs looking for a reliable, durable, comfortable bag with quick access to all of the gear.
As a travel bag it would be tough to be beat. I’ll let you know next summer.