Jun 19, 2011 Photography
Recently I was in the market for a new camera bag. I had a Lowepro Slingshot 300 aw camera bag that was just over one shoulder. This bag was great for just carrying it around town and on short trips. However lately I had been noticing two issues with the bag. The first was that the top compartment zipper was constantly splitting and coming open so any gear inside had the potential to fall out without me knowing. The second issue was that the bag was constantly sliding around my waist while riding my motorcycle even with the waist strap on. Riding one handed on a motorcycle trying to adjust the bag as it slides is not the best thing to be doing. For those reasons I started looking for a new bag. I was looking for two main things in a new bag. The bag had to be a backpack style with two shoulder straps and a waist strap. The second requirement was that it had to have a side entry to the camera compartment. My cousin had purchased a couple of bags from Clik Elite and was saying a few things about his bag. I went to their website and checked things out but never purchased anything. After months of dropping the subject I went back to their site to see what they had. I was thinking that the Clik Elite Contrejour 35 was way to large of a bag and it was just outside of my price range. After a while I decided to check to see the measurements of that bag versus that of airline carry on luggage requirements. It is just slightly larger than carry on requirements but it should pass. I have not gotten a chance to test this yet though. I will be doing so later on in August when I take a trip down to the Houston Texas airshow. After seeing how close the measurements were I bought the Contrejour 35 instead of the Contrejour 40. I have taken the bag on several road trips to Baltimore Maryland, Washington DC and trips on the bike around Northern Indiana / Midwest Michigan. The bag was a little rough to carry around the first day because I was not used to carrying a backpack much any longer but after that everything feels great. Taking the bag on trips on the motorcycle is great as well. The last trip I took with it on the motorcycle it was raining fairly well. I put the rain cover on but because of the wind (70MPH on the highway) it did not like to stay on. I may have just not been pulling the elastic on the rain cover right enough but thankfully it is tethered so I did not completely lose it. I am considering getting industrial strength velcro and making two bands to go all the way around the bag at the top and in the middle for when I ride. Even with no rain cover on the bag held up nicely to the rain. My gear was all in plastic zip lock baggies just in case but everything was dry where the camera gear was. The only part that got wet inside was the top of the bag where the CF cards are stored and it was soaking into the material. Overall I rather enjoy this bag and will have it for some time. Below are a few pictures of the bag. To view larger view click on the picture.
Front and side views of bag:
Back view of the bag. Able to put hydration pack in the back. No problems holding a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens and several other lenses.
Side camera access. It is possible to get a camera with a battery grip in/out. The red piece in the unzipped area is a blanket. The main compartment goes all the way from the top to the bottom of the bag with access through the side of the bag. To fit a laptop in you need to slide it in from the top not the side.
Top compartment showing digital media storage areas and other little pockets. Main compartment has a large zippered bag that you can put gear in so it does not slide all the way to the bottom.
I have had this bag for several months now. The more I keep using the bag the more I like the bag. Just this past weekend I went to the Wings over Houston air show in Houston Texas. I flew down with this bag and a small gym type bag for my luggage. No checked baggage for this trip at all. The backpack fit perfectly in the overhead bin no problems! Continental/United flights never even questioned if the bag was to large. After forgetting to empty a water bottle in the backpack and forgetting a fruit cup from the air show in my backpack I got stopped by airport security. They had to check my bag. It was so easy to walk the airport security guy where everything is and how to open the bag. He was impressed with how quick it was for him to search the bag. Then at the air show they check every bag coming in as well and it was a breeze. The only complaint I have is that I don’t go on enough trips. Will need to work on that one!