What’s in a bag? It’s possible to say that your bag, (when pertaining to photo and video), can make or break your shoot.
Like most photographers and videographers out there, I tend to choose a bag based on the task I have ahead of me, (meaning, I have WAY too many haha). Whenever I need something larger than a messenger bag, most of the time I’m left choosing either a roller case or a backpack. Both of which are great on their own, but getting gear in and out of the bag while “in the heat of a moment” can be a tad cumbersome. This is why the Navigator 75 is so great! You can pretty easily fit 2 DSLR bodies with multiple lenses and accessories, along with a 15″ laptop / Tablet, you know for when you want to go for a walk, but still, want to have access…to everything!
Immediately upon receiving the bag, I could tell the build was rugged and durable! The only part of the entire kit that felt slightly less quality is the plastic for the flap clip and the sliding shoulder pad on the strap. These are relatively minor things to replace and upgrade should you feel the need or require down the line. The rest of the bag felt like it was built like a tank. The bag has Velcro giving it a plethora of configurations to suit any need. A laptop/tablet sleeve (as mentioned above) capable of holding a 15″ MacBook Pro, is included along with a small side sleeve for paperwork/pens on the side, and a larger front pocket to hold batteries, business cards, memory cards, etc.
A zippered mesh pocket under the front flap fits a variety of things in and keep them safe. I’ve got the habit of storing my keys, phone charger/battery, and business cards I collect while on a job in there.
Around the back of the bag, there’s another small zippered pocket that contains the rain sleeve. I found space in there to store additional accessories.
The Navigator 75 is quite a bit larger than its baby brother, (Legion 65), so as mentioned above, you can carry a lot of additional gear, (if needed) to suit whatever your need of the day is. I’ve owned several large shoulder bags over the course of my career, and one thing is for sure, for the price, this thing is worth every penny! (At the time of this review, the bag is available for $149.95 on B&H and my other branded bags have gone for 2x this much!).
While there’s no zipper access to the top lid (like most messenger bags have), it’s still rather easy to get in and out of the kit while on the move to swap out a lens or light/accessory, and one of the coolest features (at least for me since I travel all the time,) is the back of the bag has a small strap designed to slide through the handles of a roller bag. I can stack them on top of each other while on the move!. With the sleeve, the handle on the top (usable when zippered and clipped shut,) and the extendable/exchangeable shoulder strap and I’ve got three modes of carrying it.
So, with all of this, there are a LOT of pros to this bag, the price, the build quality, the size and versatility of the storage options, and much more. The only real down sides to this were mentioned above, and are all minor details, but to clarify, my issues with the bag were the quality of the shoulder pad on the strap (but that’s easily replaced since the strap can be exchanged for anything you like), the quality of the plastic of the front flap clip, (i’ve gone through a LOT of bags due to breaking the clips on the straps…), and the 3rd one which wasn’t mentioned above, but is a similar “hiccup” that Dan Glass mentioned in his review of the messenger bag, there’s no external sleeve capable of holding a small water bottle. With any photographer on the move, i feel like that is one of the most important things you can have in your kit! A solution to this hiccup is simple though, you can use a reusable water bottle that has a clip you can connect to the shoulder strap.
As you can see, the cons, are REALLY only minor things when compared to the overwhelming stack of awesome that comes with this price tag!