Why this Bag?
I’m the kind of guy that likes to tailor my bag to my current shoot. I was looking for something a little larger than my go-to shoulder bag for tight quarters but a little smaller than my hiking back pack which is often cumbersome to get in and out of quickly. Throughout the school year I shoot a lot of high school sports and was specifically looking for a new bag to fit this need. The messenger type bag approach had a nice appeal to it. I decided to check out the Legion 65 Messenger Bag by Ruggard. This is a well thought out, rugged shoulder bag, at an affordable price (regularly $79.95, currently at this writing $64.95 on B&H) with just one little hiccup (for me). But more on that later. First the good stuff…
Right out of the box this bag appears well constructed with a large assortments of pockets for a variety of items and options. The quick-release clasp opens up to reveal two small slip pockets up front, one medium slip pocket with smaller pockets for business cards, flashcards, cords, change, etc. and one very large compartment for cameras, lenses and speed-lights. Additionally, it has a nice slim padded pocket meant for a 13″ laptop or tablet. When I am running around the field I’d rather not lug those items but instead might pack a reflector for an impromptu portrait, or, more likely I will have my trusty all purpose knee/butt-pad, an indispensable backpacking tool I use in Scouting (pictured on the right above). I can easily carry and whip this out in a moment’s notice either on the athletic field or indoor court. (The pad is simply cut from a camping mat that typically goes under a sleeping bag. I buy one and cut several smaller pads from it. There is one in every room in my house for a variety of needs.)
The large main compartment is actually a secondary bag inside the messenger bag, called the “basket” which can be easily removed for loading/unloading gear, adjusting the four dividers, or to use separately to double your load. It has a drawstring closure for extra protection which I really like and a little slot on the outside for a business card.
The interior comfortably fits my 70-200mm lens with 1.4x converter while attached to my Canon 7D body. So it’s plenty deep. Along with that I can easily fit a pair of lenses and 2 speed lights, or three lenses and 1 speed-light depending on my need. Still plenty of room left for a Rode Mic when I’m catching video clips. The only challenge here is to not overload its capacity lest your bag start to get very heavy.
What I like Best
A great feature that really sells the item for me is the top zippered access pocket for easy in and out of my camera. Either hanging from my shoulder or sitting next to me on the field this is a nice feature to grab my gear or put it away quickly.
Attention is in the details.
The Legion 65 has lots of nice extras. A smaller zip pocket up front for easy access for lens cloths or business cards. A Velcro security tab over the main compartment zipper. A handy center zipper that allows for expansion of the main compartment. Two strong velcro tabs that add additional security to the main front flap. Strong buckle for main flap. A rear pocket for documents. And an easily accessible nice looking rain jacket that covers your gear quickly and securely.
While thinking of this review I came upon an alternative idea for the bag’s use. The Legion 65 was a perfect fit for our Boy Scout Troop’s projector, laptop, and all the media accessories needed for presentations. It easily allowed us to consolidate it all into one bag with room to spare. We just may be pick up another for this specific use.
The Legion 65 can be transported three ways. It has a comfortable grip handle on top with a detachable luggage tag and a removable adjustable padded shoulder strap. I like that the shoulder pad uses velcro and is removable which allows it to be placed directly over the adjustment clasp on the strap should it fall right in the middle of your shoulder after you find the perfect fit. Many don’t do that; a nice feature. Something easily overlooked is the reflective stripe of fabric on either end of the bag for being scene at night. And the unit fits nicely on my large rolling camera bag for easy travel.
So What’s the hiccup?
The Legion 65 is an all around very good mid-sized bag. I find it now being my primary kit for running out the door to the next sporting event. It’s well constructed, durable, with plenty of pockets for good organization. My only disappointment with all this great bag offers is there is not place for a water bottle on its side. My current backpack does not either, for that matter. When I find myself out in the heat on the field I really want that extra pocket for a water bottle. The bag does offer two smaller fabric loops on its back side for a carabiner or similar clip, so I guess I’ll figure out a way to use them to hold a bottle.