Camera bags come in all shapes and sizes and from all kinds of places. This is the first one I’ve handled, however, that I’m embarrassed to name. The Norwegian manufacturer is called Douchebags, but I’m going to abbreviate it as “Db” going forward :)
What’s to like?
The first thing I like about this bag is that it comes in not-black. I got the red one and I love it. I’m just tired of black camera bags all the time. Black’s not my color and it’s nice to have a peppier option. Plus, black bags look like camera/tech bags and I appreciate a bit of anonymity regarding what I’m carrying. It also comes in black and light gray.
The bag is well made. Seems are taped and there are bar tacks where needed. It’s got four straps on the outside that can be repositioned and could be useful for stowing a jacket or maybe a light tripod. It also works with Db’s other suitcases. The camera insert can be attached to the outside, too. The insert is sold separately, and it’s called the CIA, Camera Insert Assistant.
It’s a compact bag without any extra stuff. It’ll easily fit under an airplane seat or overhead on a bus. It’s not designed for large cameras. You won’t fit a 1Dx with a lens mounted in this bag, but most APS-C or Micro Four-Thirds cameras will fit with a lens mounted.
Camera gear fits inside a removable cube that zippers shut and attaches inside with hooks. The soft velvety interior of the cube is fully customizable with Velcro-style dividers.
Flat, zippered pockets line the pack’s flap and the interior sides, which is fairly unique. There’s a laptop pocket against your back which fits my 15” MacBook Pro. There’s one additional pocket at the top of the bag, but there’s nothing else in the exterior to snag on things as you slide it under the airplane seat or slide it off your shoulder into the car.
Who’s it for?
Because you can remove the camera cube, this pack is versatile. It’ll take you downtown to make pictures, it’ll carry your laptop or tablet to the cafe to finish them, and it’ll carry your books to class. The straps are comfortable and it carries your gear well when shooting urban stuff for the day.
It’s small, so it’s really not for the pro who carries all their lenses and lights everywhere. With a Micro Four-Thirds kit, you could probably photograph a wedding out of it. I’ve enjoyed using it as a computer bag, too.
Its slim profile really makes it easy to grab and go.
What’s it missing?
This backpack does not have a hip belt, which is useful for taking a little weight off your shoulders. It’s not intended as a hiking bag, but even a few hours in the city can get wearisome without a belt. On the other hand, a belt doesn’t fit the urban-European-slim style of this pack.
Because it’s slim and fairly lightweight, this pack doesn’t have an abundance of padding. It’s plenty to keep your lenses from rubbing on each other, but it’s not enough that I’d give it to my 7-year old to carry my camera. If you’re reasonably careful and remember that you’re carrying expensive cameras and computers, it is perfectly adequate. But don’t let the flight attendant tell you it needs to be sent with the checked baggage.
Would I fork over the $$$?
Db sent me the bag to review, so the real question is, “Would I spend my own money on this bag?” As I said it’s well made and looks like it’ll last a good long time with daily use. I wish it had a hip belt, but that’s my style and when I’m just around town and working out of cafes, it’s very good. I like how slim it is and how easily it switches between camera bag and computer bag. It costs $179, plus $79 for the camera insert, which is not cheap, but the craftsmanship warrants it. I would buy this bag — if it didn’t say Douche Bag on it. If you can work with these caveats, then I can happily recommend it.