Five months ago, I bought a Caselogic EVA Hardshell Camera/ Laptop Backpack in preparation for my first plane ride with the new camera. Before this, I had been using a Targus laptop backpack that my old Canon G5 fit into pretty well, along with my 17″ laptop. But when I bought the Olympus E-510 and everything it came with, I needed a bag that was designed for DSLR’s and laptops. I searched and searched (see original post), and looked at options all over the price range. I decided that, with the type and frequency of travel I’d be doing, the Caselogic was worth a try.
Since purchasing this bag, I have been on planes to Orlando, Florida and Rochester, New York. I have also been on a camping trip to Lake McConaughy, Nebraska and numerous weekend day trips all over Colorado. It is also my everyday, to and from work bag. Let’s break down the pluses and minuses, then show some photos (this is a photo blog after all).
- Quick access – the camera and laptop pockets are readily accessible, and I can get my gear out very quickly.
- Spacious – for the limited amount of things I have (1 body, 3 lenses, batteries, cords, filters, laptop power brick, mouse, mp3 player, Palm Pilot, misc), this bag has plenty of room. The lens area has six compartments that can be adjusted to fit your needs (dividers are in place with velcro). There is plenty of padding in there to keep everything safe and sound.
- Quality materials – I am hard on my bags (camera, luggage, sports, you name it) and have seen others fail pretty quickly in the past. I have always been a fan of Caselogic products – never had one fail – and this one is no different. The handles, straps, padding, zippers and outer skin itself are holding up just fine to my abuse. I assume the weatherproof zipper on the camera portion works, I just haven’t had it in the rain yet.
- Stands up on it’s own – sounds silly, but this was an important criteria for me. I hate having to lay a bag down to make sure it won’t fall over. Especially when I travel, I’d like the footprint to be as small as possible (in the waiting area at the airport for example). This bag does not disappoint.
- Price – let’s face it, you can spend a fortune on a camera bag. I didn’t have a fortune. When I bought it, it was selling for about $67. A quick check reveals that is still roughly what it costs. I haven’t handled any $200 bags, but I have friends who have them. I didn’t want to spend that much, and this fit my budget perfectly.
- Laptop storage – the laptop storage holds the machine like a glove. Very useful since I move it in and out of my car every day. If it moved around much, it would wear on the materials, leading to a shorter service life.
- Attachment points – there are plenty of places to attach things. As you will see in the photos below, I keep an flexible tripod clipped on with one set of the buckles. Elastic mesh exterior pockets and shock cord also give you more places to put things.
- Weight – fully loaded (laptop, camera, extra gear), this thing weighs a ton. That’s more my fault for carrying so much stuff. I don’t think the case adds any extra weight really (it’s pretty light when it is empty), but all this space for stuff means you fill it up.
- Space for extras – with my Targus case, I liked to carry extra things with me – notepads, maybe a 3-ring binder if coming back from a conference, a book or three. The design of this bag doesn’t lend itself to that. Although I have been able to fit some books (only one at a time) in the laptop pocket with the laptop in there, it does feel like I am stretching the zipper a bit when I close it up. To it’s credit, the zipper is holding fine.
- Total weatherproofing – I am still confused as to why the would put a weatherproof zipper on the camera pocket, but not on the laptop or accessories pockets. That being said, I still haven’t had to test this feature (thankfully). And, at this pricepoint, I guess I shouldn’t expect that much.
All told, there aren’t too many drawbacks, and I happily use this bag every day.
All in all, I am 100% satisfied with this backpack.