When you are out on a shoot, or just venturing out into the city, a messenger bag is exactly what you need. The best ones offer padded storage capabilities for your camera bodies and lenses and all of the other accessories you might carry with you. You could use a backpack or traditional camera bag, but a messenger offers you a discrete look for safety as well as a smaller profile so they are not cumbersome. If you are going downtown or traveling in an unknown area, the last thing you want to do is advertise you have a super expensive camera in your bag, so get a messenger and blend in like the rest of the crowd (and get camera insurance). If you are going to a sensitive area, you don’t want a huge bag on your back bumping into everyone or to hear the “rrrrippp” as you undo the velco straps. These will offer you versatility and adaptability for all of you gear while providing you security and just look much cooler.

Tenba MiniEveryday use$$Rubberized BottomReview
Timbuk2 The SnoopEveryday use$$Easy access pocketReview
Think Tank CityWalkerBigger shoots$$$Removable bucketReview
Lowepro Event Messenger 150 Quick trips$CompactReview

Tenba Mini

This review is for the Tenba Mini, but they also have a larger bag that uses an insert. The mini is smaller and looks more like a messenger, but uses velcro inserts instead of a removable bucket, making it more inconvenient to quickly switch to a standard bag. The great thing about Tenba bags is that they have thought a lot about the user and have features that show it. They offer steel D-ring clips for additional accessories, a zip top that opens to the main compartment so your not showing everybody what’s in the bag, as well as engravable, customizable plate. Although it is the smaller of the Tenba bags, it still fits a smaller laptop and DSLR with 2-3 lenses and flash. It also features a rubberized bottom to keep it safe when setting the bag on the ground.

Timbuk2 The Snoop

The Timbuk2 Snoop comes from the same great company that makes all of the other great bags with all of the features you need. They have really thought of everything and have put it into this bag for you. The interior has a waterproof liner and features a padded bucket for you body and lenses that can be taken out to allow you to use it for everyday use. The straps are adjustable and allow for easy carry of a tripod if you need to use one. There is also the easy access pocket you find on Timbuk2 products that allows you to easily access documents or memory cards. They have also include velcro silencers so you can cover it up for silence when needed and put it back when you want security. The Timbuk2 is good if you are looking for an everyday use camera bag, and best of all, it doubles as a messenger.

Think Tank CityWalker

The ThinkTank City Walker is big enough to hold everything you will need and then some. It has enough room for all of you accessories as well as a dedicated tablet pocket. The pocket is big enough for a tablet and small laptop, but it probably won’t fit a larger laptop. It features a camera bucket insert to quickly switch over to use it as a standard bag. It also features silencers to keep it from making the velcro noise when discretion is necessary. The only problem I have with this bag is that is doesn’t look like a traditional messenger, and looks a bit more like a camera bag. But if you are looking for something that will fit everything you need to take with you on the biggest shoots, this is the one for you.

Lowepro Event Messenger 150

The Lowepro Event Messenger is smaller than other camera bags, but that is also a benefit. Because of it’s compact size, it is ideal for being discrete and unobtrusive. Nobody will know what you’re holding in here and you won’t be bumping into people with it. But because of it’s compact size, you might need to decide what gear stays home, and what goes with you, so in that respect it is best for quick trips where you won’t need everything. It also looks like a traditional messenger, but falls short in some of the neat features you see in the Timbuk2, but it is also less expensive. This is good for those on a budget and good for short shoots.