To prove that you can merge fashion, protection and deep respect for the environment in one bag, the National Geographic Earth Explorer Photo Bag collection combines the ultimate in modern protective carrying technology with a traditional “explorer” look and feel. They’re spacious, nicely padded and finished with the finest snaps and fasteners. Equally important, all bag materials are environmentally friendly and made from naturally sourced, renewable materials. The National Geographic 2475 Medium Shoulder Bag holds a D-SLR, small camcorder and notebook computer, plus lenses and other accessories. It features a padded internal camera cradle, four external pockets and detachable bottom padding. The concealed storage pocket (just right for airline tickets or other documents) makes it great for travel. Dimensions: 11x6x10 inches. Estimated Street Price: $99.
A pioneer in lightweight protection, Tamrac offers so many well-made and useful bags that it’s tough to decide which to carry. For under-the-radar convenience, the elegant new Model 3537 Express 7 Camera Bag provides time-proven functionality in a modern, stylish design. Sort of a cross between an attaché case and a messenger bag, the Express 7 allows quick access to gear without skimping on protection. Adjustable, foam-padded dividers protect and provide customizable internal compartments while front and back pockets give ample space to store smaller accessories. There are several other matching models in the Express series, including backpacks and lightweight shoulder bags. Dimensions: 13x6x10 inches. Estimated Street Price: $49.
The Shootout series from Tenba includes everything from backpacks to rolling bags to media card wallets. Tenba describes them as being “light on your shoulders but heavy on protection, accessibility and features,” and if you’ve ever worn one, you know that’s dead-on. The Tenba Shootout Small Shoulder Bag measures 11x10x8 inches, yet it provides protection for a D-SLR with a mid-range zoom attached, two additional lenses and miscellaneous accessories. It also looks great and provides handy front and side pockets to store small items. Estimated Street Price: $90.
Mountainsmith Reflex II
Mountainsmith Focus II
They’re not bags exactly, but they certainly are light. And they live up to their name, Skin, because they’re durable and weather-resistant, but include no fat or padding. Think Tank Photo’s Skin is a modular system of cleverly designed bags, pouches and cases (five in all) that are worn on a dedicated belt. They can be used as a set or in conjunction with any of Think Tank’s other waist-worn carry solutions. In addition to distributing the weight of your equipment in the most comfortable way imaginable, the system keeps your vital accessories and lenses literally at your fingertips. Each piece is flexible so it collapses out of the way when empty. Thesystem accommodates larger lens such as a 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, and all cases include seam-sealed rain covers for added protection. Estimated Street Price: $149.