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REVIEW – Urban Tool camBag

As a professional photographer and even more as a time-lapse photographer I’m always looking for different gear to make my passion a bit easier.  Over the years one of my big challenges as a professional photographer and even more as a time-lapse photographer camera bags have been my nemesis.  As many of you know I’m a tall fella at 189cm or 6’3″ and around 200lbs.  Hong Kong offers many unique challenges as some of my favorite locations are not easily accessible.  Hiking for hours and up and down many mountain ranges are not uncommon.  Other times I’m on the move but want something where I have everything as quick as possible.  As like most locals I don’t drive so I need my daily minimal gear in small compact and ergonomic as possible.  As I’m hitting the half century point I have to keep fit as I have constant pain from wear and tear of pushing not just my gear to its limits but myself.

I recently visited a trade show and in particular one company stuck out with it’s product design.  I had not heard of Urban Tool before but after meeting Sabrina Tanner the founder from Austria I was very impressed with the design and compactness of the bag.  At the time I was carrying around a large backpack that had many issues.  One was that the weight distribution was terrible as the camera sat in the top of the bag.  I was also carrying it over one shoulder as the heat build-up wearing both straps causes sweating of my back that results in back issues if it gets a chill.  When I started to look into it I was very impressed.  I’ve been using it since Oct 21, 2014 and will continually update this post as time goes on.

About  Urban Tool – The company philosophy is about being a forward thinking company with a European sense about both style and functionality with a specific focus on emerging gadgets.  I feel that they do deliver on that objective.  The company is focused on it’s niche since 2004 and is getting international recognition for it’s design and functionality.  My overall impressions of this company are so far very positive and look forward to see their products as time passes.

Closer look at the camBag as reviewed by myself.  The first few days since my acquisition of this solid little camera bag are proving to be very positive.  Is it the perfect bag?  The following pictures all have tags talking about the different features and for such a little bag it punches above it’s weight class that is very impressive.  Click on image for closer look of the camBag

Camera loaded and ready to go.

Camera loaded and ready to go.

I was able to get my midsize DSLR into the camera bag with attached battery pack. If the camera was any larger it would not have fit so a full frame with battery back could be an issue.

I was able to get my midsize DSLR into the camera bag with attached battery pack. If the camera was any larger it would not have fit so a full frame with battery back could be an issue.

The overall quality of design and high quality workmanship is very impressive.

The overall quality of design and high quality workmanship is very impressive.

The front has a hidden pocket that is not zipped and I like it this way. There is a removal pull out key chain where my keys are now housed. There is also an external clip. Inside the pouch I keep my phone charger.

The front has a hidden pocket that is not zipped and I like it this way. There is a removal pull out key chain where my keys are now housed. There is also an external clip. Inside the pouch I keep my phone charger.

The camera bag is best used without a battery grip but that's not to say you could not use it this way.

The camera bag is best used without a battery grip but that’s not to say you could not use it this way.

The inside of the case lid has a couple of secure holders for a battery and or memory card holder that I'm presently using them for. The bag is deep enough that I can actually put a few things in the bag as well as the camera.

The inside of the case lid has a couple of secure holders for a battery and or memory card holder that I’m presently using them for. The bag is deep enough that I can actually put a few things in the bag as well as the camera.

The side straps are not able to hold a bottle of water but I did find them ideal for carrying an umbrella that is always good to have in Hong Kong. The case does also come with a water proof cover.

The side straps are not able to hold a bottle of water but I did find them ideal for carrying an umbrella that is always good to have in Hong Kong. The case does also come with a water proof cover.

This bag has at least 4 different ways of carrying it. So far the 2 I use most are over the shoulder and top handle. The backpack and waist belt are not something at this time I see a use with.

This bag has at least 4 different ways of carrying it. So far the 2 I use most are over the shoulder and top handle. The backpack and waist belt are not something at this time I see a use with.

 

So as you can see from the above images the bag is a beauty and is an excellent value at MSRP of $99US.  I did get a discount on the bag as it was the last day of the show, but I did pay money for it.  I also left a copy of my movie bluRay “This is Hong Kong” that we will run a promotion on to win.

Now my wish list for things I would like to see changed on this bag.  Straps on bags are always my nemesis.  Because the straps are longer than usual ones because it can be converted to a stylish backpack they could use a better management system to keep the straps from moving about and the one long strap becoming an inconvenience.  As I have no plans to use it as a backpack I’ll cut the strap as recommended.  To separate it even more from the rest of class it would be great to see different options for the strap.     The only other improvement I would make at this time is I would love to see pouch accessible from the top for holding a mid-sized tablet or cell-phone.    Both these issues should hopefully be addressed in future issues but in the mean time I could cut the strap as I don’t see myself using the back pack feature.  It should be noted that straps are an area of expertise I would like to see Urban Tool focus on in the future as it seams that this is the greatest weakness in their industry.  Looking at their website this should be exciting times for Urban Tool and photographers looking for a well designed and quality camera bag.

As of Oct 24, 2014 I give the camBag from Urban Tool a recommended buy and it very much a part of my daily gear.

 

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