• Home
  • /
  • Gear
  • /
  • Field Tested: Think Tank Camera Bag

Field Tested: Think Tank Camera Bag

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Overland Journal, Gear Guide 2017.

One of the quandaries photographers face is how to transport an assortment of expensive equipment in different environments. When on field assignments my camera gear is toted around in a daypack, with additional lenses, bodies, and strobes stowed in a Pelican case. However, when walking an event such as the New York Auto Show or SEMA, I need quick access to magazines and business cards, as well as a place to store brochures and propaganda I collect.

Below: The Retrospective 7 features Dakota leather accents, cotton canvas, and nickel-plated metal hardware.

I picked up a Think Tank Retrospective 7 shoulder bag a year ago and have enjoyed its versatility, stylish lines, and traditional look. The exterior is a combination of full-grain Dakota leather and sand-washed cotton canvas treated with a water-repellent polyurethane coating. The nylon strap is sturdy enough to support a fairly heavy load and has a comfortable leather pad that doesn’t cut grooves into my shoulder. An expandable outer pocket provides quick access to maps, and all hardware is finished in an antique nickel-plated metal. I usually travel with my laptop, and the zippered sleeve on the back is just large enough for a MacBook Pro or large tablet.

Below: An exterior zippered pocket fits a MacBook Pro or large tablet.

Above: The interior is large enough for a basic DSLR kit.

I like the padded exterior and adjustable dividers, and the interior is large enough for a full-size DSLR, additional lens, and strobe. Thoughtful additions include a secret zippered pocket for small items such as a passport, note pads, or memory cards, as well as two interior flaps called “sound silencers” that flip up to cover the Velcro closure. This is handy when working in a noise-sensitive environment such as a press conference where you need to avoid the grating sound of Velcro being pulled apart. The Retrospective is offered in three sizes, including the larger 30 and smaller 5, each of which comes with a rain cover. This sturdy, feature-rich bag comes with a lifetime warranty and has been a great addition to my travel kit. thinktankphoto.com, 866-558-4465

Chris spent his formative years riding dirt bikes with his dad in the deserts of Southern California and Baja, Mexico, which led to a lifelong quest for adventure. He is handy behind a viewfinder and at the keyboard, and brings four decades of international travel experience to Overland Journal as Editor-in-Chief. His career, which includes work for National Geographic Adventure, Four Wheeler, Hot Rod, and Autoweek, has taken him through 50-plus countries and to every continent. He has also served as correspondent to magazines in a dozen countries and in as many languages. In 2013 he was part of the Expeditions7 team that crossed Antarctica and he has recently been inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame as a pioneering journalist. When not behind the camera Chris can be found on The Office (his sailboat), or undertaking meticulous “research” for upcoming articles in locales such as Tequila, Mexico.