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Bare Bones Bag
Old 11-19-2008   #1
Way
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Bare Bones Bag

Anyone looking for a really great shoulder bag for a rangefinder setup, check out the Bare Bones Bag designed by phtographer Stephen Schaub. Link is here.

Mine came in the mail a couple of days ago and it is now my go to bag. I'm still keeping the Domke F_X5B and my wife wants the Lowepro Terraclime. Look for my other bags in the classifieds soon!

The BBB is a soft, none padded (except for a bit on the bottom) cordura shoulder bag that doesn't look like a camera bag. Looks like a small messenger bag. Very light and comfortable, and it has a carrying handle which, to me, makes a world of difference in portability and confort. Besides the large main compartment, there are SIX smaller pockets that are wide and deep enough to carry a RF with small lens, lenses (90 cron fits no problem), my folding cameras, filters, meter, whatever. This keeps your equipment separate and organized. The pockets are arranged so when it's full of items the bag will still "conform" to your body. The padded bottom gives the bag some structure and form and this really helps make it comfortable. The front flap is secured with velcro and is made from a reflective material that will show clearly at night when light is shown on it. A nice safety feature.

The only thing I don't like is that cordura is a dust/cat hair magnet! Anyway, if you want a soft bag for your camera that is is well designed, well made and wont' look like a camera bag, check out the Bare Bones Bag.
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Old 11-19-2008   #2
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Interesting. In general appearance, this looks a lot like the bag I've been using for a couple of years now: An old briefcase/messenger bag that I abandoned as a daily briefcase because it was too small. (But it's perfect as a camera bag, and looks a lot like this bag, except my bag has some brown leather trim.)

Still, that's a decent price and the details are a little different than my current bag. Might just have to explore this one.
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Old 11-19-2008   #3
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Seems he's inventing new stuff from time to time. Wasn't he the guy with the "rangefinder bag", too?
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Old 11-19-2008   #4
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I'll kick the cat out and get one.
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Old 12-11-2008   #5
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It sounds like my "incognito camera bag" from Courierware: http://www.courierwareusa.com/objects/20.itml/icOid/20
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Old 12-11-2008   #6
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Just another man-bag ???
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Old 12-12-2008   #7
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This bags are made by courierware, I have one of their normal messenger style bags and it works very good as a camera bag but some times I miss the padding. If you go to the courierware site you have a lot of options and they make even true camera bags with removable padded inserts. If you want something different just email him and probably he will do it for you. Erik is a really nice guy.

P.S. Sorry for my bad English.

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Old 12-12-2008   #8
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Looks interesting - and posted just in time for Christmas.
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Old 12-12-2008   #9
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A Naneu Pro messenger bag is another alternative. Cheaper than the BBBag with more padding.

http://www.ebags.com/naneu_pro/camer...?modelid=91823
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Old 12-12-2008   #10
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Looking forward to writing about mine... when it FINALLY gets here....

From what I saw at PhotoPlus Expo is looking like a great bag for a Leica user...
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Old 12-12-2008   #11
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This bag looks good. I would love one where the Velcro was replaced with one of those magnetic clasps that women's bags have. I've got a cheap canvas bag with one and it's great for shooting out of because it's silent to open and basically closes itself. You're screwed if you turn the bag upside down but I try not to do that.

Is it easy to get the camera out quickly? Some less constructed bags are a little too flimsy and you have to sort of push the bag out of the way while holding the flap with your chin to get the camera in and out because the bag doesn't stay open, it kinda flops over blocking the opening.
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Old 12-12-2008   #12
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A very nice bag.

Domke also makes a similar sized "Satchel" called the F-803 made of canvas. I'm unsure if this is padded or the price. 5 pockets.

Then there is also the J-803 made of ballistic nylon that is padded. Priced at $107.00. For me I like the padding as I just want to grab the camera or lense. Unwrapping is an extra step. 7 pockets.

The above Sactchels are both made in the USA.

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Old 12-12-2008   #13
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I use a small Courierware messenger bag every day as my work and bike bag. Courierware makes great minimalist bag...I decided on mine over Baileyworks, Timbuk2, Chrome, etc. because it doesn't have a PVC liner (heavy), zippers, or an organizer inside - just pockets. And the inside pockets are big enough to fit a RF w/ lens. I cut a piece of sleeping pad foam for padding on the inside bottom, and I use a flexible plastic folder to hold papers and give it a very soft frame at the back. Top handle is available on any bag for $10 extra.

I almost got their camera bag, but the insert was too heavy. I got a Ortlieb camera insert instead, for when I need to haul more than just one body and a couple of lenses. My bag weighs just 1.5 lbs empty...

thomasw, the velcro does get loud as the "loop" half gets pulled out and fuzzy
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Old 12-12-2008   #14
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I hope I got one of those promotional Y straps! I am also looking forward to testing it in the rain. A small and light bag is the holy grail, I think this might be the one for me...
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Old 12-13-2008   #15
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So I just got my BBB in the mail. It's smaller than I remember (which is a good thing.) I wouldn't mind a removable internal divider in the main space (to separate my m bodies) but putting one body in a pocket and the other in the main space seems to solve this issue just fine.

It is super discrete and light, I look forward to reporting how it works while shooting!

Didn't get a Y strap even though it shipped on Thursday, can you hook a brother up?
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Old 12-13-2008   #16
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Stephen,

Can you get it without the handle? Just a bit cleaner looking and I see that with the Courierware bags that the handle is an add on.
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Old 12-13-2008   #17
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Thanks!

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Old 12-13-2008   #18
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Stephen - thanks for a great product!

Took the BBB on a trip to Hawaii and it was very comfortable and natural to use. Great for everyday use too. To me the handle is a must have and doesn't detract from the looks. Took my Agfa Record III folder and a digital point and shoot, digisix meter, scads of 120 film, a moleskin notebook, pen and other misc. stuff, so I had a lot of room to spare. I like the size of the BBB, just right for my purposes.

I just noticed today that you can access the bottom padding through the back pocket. Pretty cool because you could add or remove padding as you like.

Here's a pic of the bag in action:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg BBB.jpg (45.5 KB, 539 views)
File Type: jpg BBB2.jpg (84.1 KB, 712 views)
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Old 12-14-2008   #19
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the bag looks ok, i am a bit sick of that same material all those messenger type bags are made of, ditto to the straps.

my current bag http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...hel_Olive.html

small, smart looking and made of waterproofed canvas. front pockets are nice and large. straps are strong and have domke's nifty 'gripper' thing so it stays on your shoulder.

metal rings on the side mean you can attach extra bits if you needed a lot of stuff. the main clasp makes the bag more secure then velcro as its hard to undo if you are not wearing the bag. but if you want fast access you can just leave it undone and quickly open the bag without any noise.

i feel a bit like a salesman. so i will say most of the time i try to avoid using a bag at all. especially in the winter when coats are in order. i put a camera under each arm and an extra lens and film in my pockets.

there is no real padding but you can get domke or any other brands inserts. say what you like but i usually throw my camera in partially wrapped in a scarf, have to do something with them.

the bag is also my general day bag, books, shopping, laptop. though it only just fits a 15" laptop, anything bigger wouldn't go.
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Old 12-14-2008   #20
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If you ever had a serious accident with an un-padded bag you would realize the fallacy of this statement. Well designed thick inserts weigh next to nothing, and they can be the difference between badly damaged kit and completely operational kit.
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Old 12-14-2008   #21
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Stephen: Padding in the bottom only is a great decision; Jim Domke proved the good sense un-padded compartments years ago, so the big companies jumped on "padding" as necessary, hence creating a marketing lie.

Anyway, I have two observations, and I left comments on your blog as well.
  1. A personal preference is for real canvas, not nylon, be it Cordura or other formulation. As I say, this is a personal preference, but for all but downpours canvas is more than adequate and it is breathable. Nylon will trap moisture.
  2. (and this is my big bitch) ... WHY OH WHY are 95%+ of camera bags firggin' black? Whether film or sensor, this makes no sense to me. Solar radiation ... black container ... think about it! While my white Zone VI 4x5 "bag" does stand out a bit, it does its job. My Domke bags for small format are tan.
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Old 12-14-2008   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius View Post
Stephen: Padding in the bottom only is a great decision; Jim Domke proved the good sense un-padded compartments years ago, so the big companies jumped on "padding" as necessary, hence creating a marketing lie.

Anyway, I have two observations, and I left comments on your blog as well.
]
Trius,

Your post about Domke has me thinking. Did the older Domke bags have unpadded compartments? I have three Domkes, the oldest was made in the late 90's. They all have unpadded sides of the bag, but the inset that has the smaller compartments for lenses and such are padded nylon. I have this vague memory from when I was a kid seeing Domke ads in the magazines that showed the lens compartments were canvas and not padded. Is that right?
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Old 12-14-2008   #23
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I have an M-Classics bag, which I love. It's also unpadded. I've been using it for months now and I never had an issue. I've come to appreciate an unpadded bag for its compactness and it would be hard for me to go back to a padded bag. If I didn't already have the M-Classics, I'd probably go for the BBB because of all the internal pockets. (I may still get a BBB if I get gassy.) One issue that I have is that there is that the main compartment of the M-Classics is good for two bodies with lenses attached but not so good for a kit consisting of say, one body with a lens attached and two or three other lenses. The main compartment is too big and even with the lenses wrapped in some sort of covering, there would still be a good chance metal-to-metal contact eventually and putting the lenses in dedicated pouches slows things down. I could put the extra lenses the outer pockets but I don't really feel good about putting a lens there. I've since ordered a 3"x6" Domke 2-compartment insert - which should take up a bit less than half of the main compartment. I plan on doubling up lenses back-to-back by gluing some cheap rear caps together so the insert should be good for holding up to four lenses. The problem is that it reintroduces the padding. Hopefully, it won't be too bad.
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Old 12-14-2008   #24
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The BBB looks cool, EXCEPT for the fact that the strap does not go all the way around the bottom. IMHO dumb dumb dumb dumb. But other than that a great bag.

B2 (;->
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Old 12-14-2008   #25
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Christopher,

My early Domke (early/mid '80s) is all canvas, no padding anywhere came with her.

B2 (;->
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Old 12-15-2008   #26
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One question Stephen, why no shoulder pad /gripping to the strap? Okay when worn across the chest the bag may fit fine but surely if hanging on one shoulder, a little bit of grip is needed to prevent slipping. Like the bag though.
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Old 12-15-2008   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
Christopher,

My early Domke (early/mid '80s) is all canvas, no padding anywhere came with her.

B2 (;->
I thought that's how the old ones were, but I was a little kid then so I wasn't sure if I was remembering right. I've been photographing with manual cameras since I was 8 or 9 years old! My newer Domke's all have a padded bottom panel and a padded inset with 4 lens-size compartments. The bag itself has no side padding, so the camera fits in an unpadded area and lenses and flashes go in the padded insert.
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Old 12-15-2008   #28
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Interesting design. Does picking the back up by the handle cause stress on the Velcro, or cause a unclosed bag to want to tip over?

I'll keep an eye on this - I'm just not sure I want another black bag. I used tan Domkes for many years (my first bag came directly from Jim), but went black about ten years ago. I now feel other colors are less conspicuous when been carried.

Is there any chance of a nice green or tan version of the bag? As I said, I really like the design.
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I looked and perhaps missed it.
Old 12-15-2008   #29
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I looked and perhaps missed it.

I looked at the pictures and could not see that approach when I looked at the pictures. Can you send me something that shows it? I'm just basing my opinion from over 30 years of carrying way too much stuff over both shoulders. Both cameras as well as computers. I've ripped more bags that just did a short box cross stitch for the straps. One of my favorite computer bags that works for cameras too is an old Tenba. Strap goes all the way around, but the handle doesn't. I have loaded it down with tons of stuff (it zippers open wider) but as I often carry it via the handle (I know I'm STRANGE) I have ripped where the top flap is sewn to the body of the case. Have had it "fixed" once and its ripped again. While I do not over load my camera bags as bad that often I just picky.

On the VERY positive side I do think you choice of materials and design is world class. I would rather put my own padding on the bottom, a personnel preference. Everyone has their own choice as to how much is enough, a great design point to me. I do not doubt that the WSJ was right to pick yours as the best.

Email me some shots of your stitching for the strap, I may very well be VERY wrong and happy to admit it here and to the world.

B2 (;->
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Old 12-15-2008   #30
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So I took the bag out on Saturday evening to do a little trial run. As I mentioned earlier the bag is small and VERY light. I put my M6TTL, a hardcover book and two trade paperbacks that I was returning to a friend in it and they all fit with room to spare.

One nice thing about the bag is that it is so small that you don't have to worry about the perceived lack of padding because unlike bulky padded bags this one sticks very close to your body. For me as a city photographer that has always been the main problem.

Carrying a camera and a book (which I usually do) I realized how light this bag really is an how heavy my other bags are. It makes a huge difference.

So far, so good...
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Old 12-15-2008   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
Christopher,

My early Domke (early/mid '80s) is all canvas, no padding anywhere came with her.

B2 (;->
My Domke F-2 from 1982 (about March, to be exact) has no padding on the canvas bag itself but came with a nylon/padded 4-hole insert and a foam-and-fiberboard bottom... the foam currently being gone due to going gooey/flakey after 25 years.
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Old 12-15-2008   #32
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I'm still using my original mid 1970's Leica bag, the one that the Leica Classic is a copy of. I need to replace the center piece of leather that holds down the flap, the one with a buckle. (I've needed to replace it for at least five years.) The two outside ones with snaps are still intact. Otherwise it looks like crap, having reached that wonderful state of equilibrium where on a typical shoot as much dirt falls or rubs off of it as gets added to it.

The three exterior pockets, one interior, plus that long flap inside that can be snaked between things as required, seems to keep the contents in reasonable order. The rear outside pocket is ideal for keeping a note pad and a package of lens tissue.
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Old 12-26-2008   #33
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Questions for Stephen and those that have this bag:

* How long is the strap in inches? I'm big and need a longer strap to wear across my chest.

* What's a comfortable RF load for one of these? How would one M body with mounted lens, two additional lenses and a dozen rolls of film fit? How about two M bodies with mounted lenses, two additional lenses and a dozen rolls of film? (I'm guessing four bigger items in the interior plus film on the outside would be comfortable.)

* I assume the interior pocket partitions are not sewn to the bottom of the bag. Is there any tendency for the partitions to "lift" allowing unauthorized conjugal visits between pockets?

Thanks!
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Old 12-26-2008   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Kaplan View Post
I'm still using my original mid 1970's Leica bag, the one that the Leica Classic is a copy of. I need to replace the center piece of leather that holds down the flap, the one with a buckle. (I've needed to replace it for at least five years.) The two outside ones with snaps are still intact. Otherwise it looks like crap, having reached that wonderful state of equilibrium where on a typical shoot as much dirt falls or rubs off of it as gets added to it.

The three exterior pockets, one interior, plus that long flap inside that can be snaked between things as required, seems to keep the contents in reasonable order. The rear outside pocket is ideal for keeping a note pad and a package of lens tissue.
I still have my last one of these bags (in maroon) which I replaced with a Domke way back when. Or I picked it up later, I can't remember. In any case it's still going strong after 20+ years and now is a home for my small Hasselblad kit.
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Old 12-26-2008   #35
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Quote:
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* How long is the strap in inches? I'm big and need a longer strap to wear across my chest.
Maybe I should make a poll question out of this. I occasionally see people wearing their camera bag (or man bag, etc) like this but have never done so myself. I wear mine over one shoulder so I can shed the bag quickly while shooting. Do others wear the strap across the chest; should I start doing so?
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Old 12-26-2008   #36
Ken Ford
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Ed, I switch back and forth.
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Old 12-26-2008   #37
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I've been looking for a good bag to carry around a RF outfit for some time, and preferably one that doesn't scream "photo bag" from a distance... When I read about the BBB in one of the RFF threads, I checked it out, also because I already own a Y-strap. Long story short: my order was placed yesterday, and I'm now looking forward to the arrival of my BBB with a second Y-strap (free!). I'll let you know how it works out.
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Old 12-26-2008   #38
cmogi10
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The Y strap kind of reminds me of the Strap on the leicagoodies site.
http://www.leicagoodies.com/strap.html
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Old 12-26-2008   #39
Trius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
Trius,

Your post about Domke has me thinking. Did the older Domke bags have unpadded compartments? I have three Domkes, the oldest was made in the late 90's. They all have unpadded sides of the bag, but the inset that has the smaller compartments for lenses and such are padded nylon. I have this vague memory from when I was a kid seeing Domke ads in the magazines that showed the lens compartments were canvas and not padded. Is that right?
Chris:

Sorry for the late response, I don't sign on that often.

My Domke is unpadded, but the inserts are padded, as you state. The bag is fairly new (3 years old?), so I am assuming they're still made that way.

Stephen: I get your point about the difference between water-proof vs. water-resistant. If I were working in a rainforest, I'd likely opt for the Cordura. For 99% of the time, however, I work in fairly good weather. Even in a light rain or drizzle, canvas is fine.

Colour is more a fashion thing with most folks, or a matter of not being obtrusive, as you mentioned. For me it's about practical matters such as heat. I recall one day many years ago, I was working at a clambake in the middle of summer. It was really, really hot. My vehicle at the time was a white pickup truck with a white topper on the bed. Parked under a tree, the combination of the colour of the truck and the shade from the tree allowed me to keep my gear and film a good 20F cooler than in open sunlight. Since some of the film was pro chrome film, I was glad to have that advantage.
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Old 12-26-2008   #40
Chriscrawfordphoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius View Post
Chris:

Sorry for the late response, I don't sign on that often.

My Domke is unpadded, but the inserts are padded, as you state. The bag is fairly new (3 years old?), so I am assuming they're still made that way.
Mine are the same as yours. Unpadded canvas bag, padded nylon inserts. I am thinking that the really old ones, 20+ yrs ago, had unpadded canvas inserts too. My bags are not that old, my oldest is maybe 15 yrs old and has the padded insert.
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