I recently acquired a new Streetwalker photography backpack from Think Tank Photo. While I am not the target market of pro-level photographers I still feel that this backpack is perfect for a photographer like me.
Something I should mention about myself and this review: I do part time work for Think Tank and I am friends with a lot of the people working there. However I am not fully biased in their favor, I still think that my Jandd daypack and suitcase are the best bags ever.
Professional camera bags are designed for professional photographers and their needs and so most of the information available about a give bag is related to camera gear, airport specification and the like. Well I figure all of that information is readily available for the Streetwalker and since I am not a professional I decided to test the bag out for other uses.
As a footrest the bag is stiff enough to use when it is balanced upright. On the side it feels a bit too mushy and on the face I don’t want to be resting on my gear. Though I suppose if it was filled with other stuff moreso then camera gear and of the side would do as a foot rest. I would like to note that I am doing all these tests with the dividers in their original position. They could be rearranged to improve these unofficial uses.
A Streetwalker a poor pillow makes. While it is soft on the tapered part at the top of the bag the support is granted by the dividers and so the head is elevated a good six or seven inches above the floor. Unless you like that of course. I will stick with a pair of shoes or a jacket as my make-shift pillow.
I would not recommend using it as a chair or stool in any circumstance.
The bag is a surprisingly good back rest. If non-valuables or stiff items are place at the very bottom of the bag and in the front pouches it works. Without any walls or stairs to lean against the back can be used to recline comfortably at at 45 degree angle or so. Good for sitting in lawns watching performances or perhaps gazing at the stars on a warm mellow night. The supple padding for the back really pays off in this regard.
For the exterior design of the bag those familiar with Think Tanks other offerings will notice a radical departure in style. This bag has a touch of bright blue highlights instead of the standard black on black with a little light black of previous bags. I like the slim accents of blue in contrast with the otherwise deep black of the bag.
So what fits inside? Camera gear is top of mind but we all knew that. Just go to the website to see cameras fitted inside in alternating configurations. What if you are thirsty? Or perhaps need a clean pair of underwear? How about a light paperback novel while you wait for the lighting to be just right? I tried what came to the top of my mind and this is what I found:
- Spiral bound notebooks: one can fit very snugly but not easily. Scavenging alternative dividers could alleviate this but I truly hate sorting out dividers. All that velcro.
- Lab sized notebooks: Two can fit with three pushing it.
- Water bottles: can fit one on each side, standard bottles, 27oz Klean Kanteens, Nalgene bottles, soda cans can zip inside the side pockets or fit inside the stretchy pockets.
- A wine bottle can fit in the side as well.
- In the inside divider spots I can fit two pairs of socks in one.
- A rolled cotton t-shirt.
- A pair of thin trousers folded and rolled can fit in a slot.
- Three pairs of underwear
- A Nintendo DS Lite can stand perfectly in the bag (so the interior is one Nintendo DS Lite high)
- A Mass Market Paperback cannot stand up in the bag.
- 15“ laptops definitely do not fit in this bag. Without or without dividers it is a no go.
Of course changing the internal dividers will open up space but then what if you need to quickly add in several lenses?
On the outside of the bag are a straps for a myriad number of unknown uses. A couple or for buckiling around the waist or across the chest, one is used to hold a tripod onto the bag (something I want to experiment with alter). One could be for holding a small shrub for camouflage in nature shoots. I guess a fishing pole could be fitted to the bag like a giant antenna. I guess an antenna could be fitted if you don’t want to leave your CV Radio at home.
What about wearing the bag?
The curved shoulder straps fit well when adjusted, they even fit well when not adjusted but I am not picky. They are narrow straps so the bag can be swung around in front without pinching or squishing of the self. When the bag is swung around in front, or mostly in front, it can be opened and about a half to a third of the items easily accessible. When holding the camera the space where it rides can be used as a makeshift stand to change lenses.
The water bottle holder I mentioned before can be reached (assuming a basic flexibility) while the bag is normally worn and they can be put back. It is important to stay hydrated. And if you are too hydrated the Streetwalker does come with its very own rain cover so at least one of you stays dry.
Overall I highly recommend this bag. There are a few things I would like to change in it but by doing so I start to approach to larger Streetwalker Pro or Streetwalker Hard Drives which are too big for me needs. I just wish I could fit some letter sized spiral bound notebooks and maybe an actual book along with everything so I can go to class and have all of my gear. And the bag is a bit black for my tastes (I like blue or green bags).
If anyone wants to purchase a Streetwalker or any Think Tank product now or in the future I am an affiliate leader for Think Tank. This means that if my code is entered before purchasing a purchase of $50 or more will get you a free product (like a Lens Changer). My code is AP-213 and it can be entered on their website here. Before you start looking the bags do not sell at a discounted rate anywhere due to the policies of the company. So a free product along with the bag is closest one can get.
Now to see how the bag holds up to several months at school with me.