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Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Messenger Bag (Small) Review

tf-fullbag
positive starpositive starpositive starhalf starno star
3.8
GEARS

I’m used to carrying around an absurdly large camera pack that’s usually loaded up with more gear than anyone needs for a walk around town. I’ve been looking for something small and flexible for a while now, and was really stoked when the guys from Timbuk2 introduced me to the Snoop Messenger bag back in February at Frost Bike. It took a few weeks for the bag to become available, but as soon as it did, I ordered one up. Keep in mind that some of the pros and cons that I talk about may only pertain to the size small bag, I have yet to use medium bag. With that said, let the review begin!

For a while now I’ve wanted a small bag that could carry just the essentials for walking and riding around town. After seeing the small and medium bags, I knew the small bag was the way to go for me, based on my tendency to overload a bag and make it unbearable to carry.

tf-insidegear The Basics:

The bag is a small, well constructed bag that will carry a variety of setups. Even with the small size, there’s a tendency to over fill the bag and have a hefty load on your hands. On a daily basis I carry a large body DSLR with lens attached, Speedlite Flash, power cord for a MacBook and a 13″ MacBook.

The Pros:

  • Very well constructed
  • Removable inner pouch
  • Thoughtful design
  • Low key look (It doesn’t scream that you’re carrying high dollar gear)
  • Long list of accessories to match
  • Tripod straps

tf-insertout The bag is incredibly well constructed, with every seam and stitch looking like it could hold back a ticked off Chuck Norris. The only things that look even remotely questionable are the two straps on the bottom for carrying tripods. They’re well done but seem to be the “weakest link”. It took some use to break in the bag, but I see that as a good thing. I don’t really want something that will be half worn out by the end of its first week.

The bag was designed with the end user in mind. The top flap has additional velcro tabs added to help create an extra barrier against the elements and the inner padded pouch is removable for use as a standard bag; each of these have proven to be welcomed additions. It also features many of the cherished standard Timbuk2 traits: the large easy to use buckle for quick and secure strap adjustment, and the additional waist strap and velcro front enclosure for holding the lid shut when you want quick access without buckles.

The Cons:

  • Hard to access pouch zipper
  • Non-padded laptop compartment
  • Rigid construction can be limiting
  • Front pockets affected by large bodied cameras
  • Sub-par fit on bike with laptop

tf-sideclosure Although the intent was good, the padded pouch, in combination with the additional weather flaps, makes for a tough zipper to get at. It’s not impossible, but it can be frustrating when you sling the bag around hoping to catch that perfect candid moment and can’t draw your weapon quickly enough. The non-padded laptop compartment leaves me a little concerned for my computer, but since it’s against your back, it may be somewhat of a non-issue.

The rigid construction is excellent for durability and ruggedness, but it seems to restrict flexibility a bit. An example of this is when carrying a larger DSLR body with lens (in my case a Canon 7d or 5d) and placing it in the center of the padded case. The large body pushes the hotshoe up against the pockets on the front of the bag making it difficult to get things in and out of the pockets.

The non-padded laptop pocket makes for an unusual fit while riding on the bike. It lays really flat across your back and has a tendency to roll side to side when pedaling, making the included waist strap a necessity. But, what do you expect hauling a 13 inch piece of plastic and electronics around?

Conclusion:

tf-velcrooption Overall the bag is really well designed and I would purchase it again. The draw backs weren’t substantial enough for me to be deterred and decide to pass it on to a friend. There is room for improvement in the bag, specifically with loading and unloading gear on the fly. A lot of the nit picky complaints that I have may be resolved in the medium sized bag.  Now that the bag is broken in it has really grown on me. I enjoy the fit and options, particularly with the tripod straps and customizable interior walls of the padded liner. I look forward to seeing how the bag travels on planes as well. Look for an updated review once the bag has been weathered and proven itself worthy of its place on my shoulder.