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Gear Review: Vanguard Veo Discover 38 Messenger Bag

Ever since my switch to the Panasonic Lumix GH5, I’ve been on the lookout for a good messenger bag I can take on photowalks, or when traveling. While I have Vanguard’s Heralder 38 messenger bag, I find that it’s often too big for what I need.

Enter the Vanguard Veo Discover 38 Messenger Bag, an offering with a slimmer profile than my Heralder 38, but still with the capacity to hold my camera body and a few lenses.

The slim profile of the Veo Discover 38 makes for an appealing, unobtrusive option for photographers. Photo by Cathy Seaver.

Appearance

One thing that drew me in immediately was the appearance of the bag. It’s dark slate gray on the outside, and featured a main two-way zipper for easy opening on top with a tripod area at the bottom. It also hasa slim pouch to hold things like IDs, lens cloths and other smaller accessories.

There’s also a zippered compartment that holds the rain cover, a standard feature of Vanguard’s bags.

Storage and Access

The two-way zipper at the top of the bag allows for quick access to your camera and lenses. It’s very easy to pull back and forth, and is a pretty secure and well-padded fit. Inside the main compartment, I could fit my GH5 body and 1-2 small lenses or other accessories. Forget about putting a larger telephoto lens in here (like a 70-200mm, or my Olympus 40-150mm), as it just won’t fit well. The downside to this compartment is there’s not a lot of vertical space for these taller lenses, which my Heralder 38 offers plenty of.

And while my camera body fit securely in its slot, having a battery grip proved to be somewhat of a challenge, making for an awkward, tight squeeze that made it difficult to take in and out. Sitting upright, it was nearly too tall for the compartment, and sitting with the lens down, it made the bag bow out slightly. Those with larger DSLR’s may want to think twice about having a battery grip attached to the camera while using this bag.

The Veo Discover 38 is small on space, but holds everything very securely. Photo by Cathy Seaver.

The bottom compartment is designed to hold Vanguard’s new Veo2 or similarly-sized tripods, and they fit rather well. I found it to be a breath of fresh air that I wasn’t having to strap my tripod to the outside of my bag (though you can certainly do that, too).

If you aren’t lugging around a tripod in your bag, you could use the lower compartment to hold your larger lenses, as it’s very well padded.

You can also squeeze in a tablet or small laptop up to 11″ in the main compartment. Finally, there’s also a side compartment to hold small water bottles.

Comfort

I found the strap initially difficult to adjust, but once I moved it around a bit, it was easy to change the length of the strap as necessary. It’s a comfortable fit, featuring a padded area that rests on your shoulder.

I’ve never been one to find messenger bags applicable for wearing all day, though this is more comfortable than most I’ve tried.

Final Thoughts

The Veo Discover 38 is a great messenger bag for carrying some of your essential items while out on the town. It’s comfortable and well-padded to hold your equipment safe and secure, and unless you’re strapping a tripod to the outside of the bag, no one will have any idea that it’s a camera bag.

Despite that, the Veo Discover 38 is too small to hold all the gear I usually want to take with me. If you’re a prime lens user, by all means this is a great bag for you. But once you enter in a telephoto lens, speedlight, standard zoom lens or other accessories, the bag really starts to seem small. For DSLR users, I would be more cautious here, as those lenses tend to be larger, and they may have trouble fitting.

However, if you’re just going shooting with a prime lens and a smaller standard zoom lens, this is a great bag to pack with. Street photographers — this is the bag for you, as it’s easy to get at your main gear, without being in the way.

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