No less than 16 camera bags are loosely stacked in my closet, accumulated over the last 18 years. And this is something my wife reminds me about whenever I contemplate yet another bag.
So, exactly how many camera bags does a photographer really need to have? And why do some of us have so many?
While it is well-known that many photographers are serious gear heads, there are practical reasons for having at least a handful of bags. First, you might be shooting multiple systems — SLR, video, mirrorless, point and shoot — each of which will want a home. Second, you may need bags of various sizes and styles for various shooting scenarios. You many need a smallish over-the-shoulder bag for shooting travel photos with an SLR and 3 lenses, or an ultra-light-weight minimalist bag for photographing in the back-country, or a water-proof case for sea kayaking, or an “everything but the kitchen sink” bag for “serious” nature work.
And bag manufacturers there to help. Browsing through “camera bags” on Adorama I found 843 bags to choose from.
With so many factors to consider, such as size, weight, style, weatherproofness, gear accessibility, airplane carry-on limits, laptops, fashion or a special pocket for your iThingy, it’s no wonder there are so many bags on the market.
This is also why, unlike the rest of my photo equipment, I shop for camera bags in a good local camera stores instead of on-line. You just can’t beat how in-store shopping lets you actually put your own gear in the bag, test its real comfort on your body and experience how your equipment might really be accessed in the field.
So how many of these 16 bags do I really use? Well, I am regularly using only three (and I guess it’s time to fire up my eBay account). Here are my favorites: