This was a much easier decision than I thought it would be.

OK, if you have been following me for a while you know I recently purchased a Canon 5D Mark III, a Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. Now that I know what I have, I can finally get a camera bag to fit my stuff.

But first let me show you what I have been using for the past couple of years for my T2i gear. It’s a 15 year old Jansport Airlift. I have used the hell out of it, and it still looks as good as when I bought it. When I did a shoot with DeeJay and showed him my bag, he laughed and said, “That’s funny, you have to blog about that”.

Tenba Shootout vs. Case Logic SLRC-206 vs Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW

I want to start out by buying the smallest camera bag I need, because from what I hear you end up collecting them all sorts of sizes, kind of like my family’s cooler collection. The biggest requirement is that it would fit on a small regional jet over head bin; I never want to hear the flight attendant telling me that I had to check my bag because it would not fit in the overhead bin.

I think camera bags are a very personal choice, I think that is true because my B&H rep told me that camera bags are the number 1 returned item. I think it is something that has to fit you and your style well, like a good pair of shoes.

There are sooooo many bags to pick from, so I put out a call to my Google+, Twitter and Facebook followers on what I should try. I was amazed by all the people that answered my request.

Based on all your responses, these are the three I picked to test:

  1. Tenba Shootout Backpack, Small
  2. Case Logic SLRC-206
  3. Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW

Yes, big difference in price, but they are all roughly the same class of bag in terms of what they hold.

Tenba Shootout Backpack Small

It is so heavy! I thought they gave me a free camera with my purchase, honestly I thought something was in the camera bag.

The Tenba comes in a 5.7 lbs!(2.59kg) empty, Lowpro is 3.0 lbs (1.4kg) and the Case Logic is 2.0 lbs, 11 oz (1.22kg).

Tenba is 3Ibs. heavier, it is twice as heavy as the Case Logic! You might be thinking that is not much weight but I could carry a monster of a lenses like the 70-200mm which I do, with a 70-200mm packed in the Case Logic, and the Tenba totally empty, they weight the same! I don’t know about you but I like to not carry around extra weight if I don’t have to.

I know many people love this bag, and it seems really well built, but it is not that pair of shoes that fit me.

Main compartment within a compartment adds a ton of weight. Unnecessary divider in laptop area. Adds weight and starchy Velcro.

Water proof zippers look really cool, but they stick every time and slow me down.

As you can see the hip belt doesn’t work for me since my torso is pretty long since I am 6′-2″.

Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW

Not a fan of the side straps clips, they slow me down.

Useless side pockets. I am not going to put any expensive camera gear in them, and I am not going to place a drink in there because it might spill on the camera bag and equipment, plus it tips over, don’t like that.

No place for a laptop. That was my mistake that I order the wrong one.

Case Logic SLRC-206 (The one I am Buying)

Case Logic SLRC-206 on camping trip

First off, I know this fits on a regional jet because I read the following online:

It easily fits under the seat in every plane I’ve been on so far including the little CRJ regional jets.

I love that it is not black inside, the high contrast helps to find things faster.

Case Logic SLRC-206 at Denver Botanic Gardens

The bottom slots are somewhat hard to use since the main flap doesn’t open far enough to make them ‘easily’ accessible.

No rain cover like the Tenba comes with. But I am sure I can get one somewhere.

Not enough padding on shoulder straps compared to 15 year old Jansport Airlift. All of them have this issue.

This is the cheapest bag by far of the 3.

Case Logic SLRC-206 Camera Bag

The side straps on the right side in the picture above carry my light weight cheap tripod pretty well.

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Lowepro Pro Runner
Lowepro Pro Runner
Tenba Shootout
Tenba Shootout
Case Logic SLRC-206
Case Logic SLRC-206

Case logic slrc206 case fits overhead bin of regional jet

Case logic slrc206 fits under the airline seat

25 comments

  • Thanks for the recommendations. People should also take a look at the Manfrotto Veloce V and VII backpacks, which are (to me) best-in-class.

  • I have the Tenba Medium and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s amazingly well-built and pretty much weatherproof. I trust the Tenba to keep my camera and lenses safe in the worst dry OR wet environments (in Florida, mostly wet).

    The zippers staying put is preferable to a zipper opening accidentally. The Medium bag will probably fit your frame better for the waist strap. The waist strap helps your back immensely on long treks, keeping your shoulders from having to support all the camera and lens weight. You can remove the waist strap if you want, shave some ounces.

    The Tenba backpacks also have a very innovative system for carrying tripods/monopods, which is something I use often. Honestly, I know the Tenba costs some insane amount, but for me personally it was the best investment in a bag I could make for the time being.

    I’m sure I’ll buy something even bigger and stronger (something solid and square with rollers) in the future. Surprisingly, the medium Tenba fits under all the airline seats I’ve encountered, but I’ll need extra capacity one of these days for bigger shoots at conventions.

    Anyhow, to each his own! I guess I’m a fanboy. 😛

  • Dave I settled on a the Case Logic DCB-309 backpack. It has a laptop sleeve and rain cover. I didn’t like the suspension system in the Case Logic you reviewed. I always attach my hood backward before I put the camera away and it would get hung up on the suspension hole. My base has a rubbery footing, not quite as weatherproof as the one you reviewed. I often use the side mesh pocket to hold my Rapid strap.

    I also have a Crumpler 5 Million bag for everyday shooting.

  • I totally agree with Mark Wilhelm! I absolutely love my Tenba Medium backpack. I agree that it’s heavier and the zippers are harder to unzip but the weather proofing is insane!

    I was shooting fireworks at a wedding and rain started to pour, so I throw my stuff (not literally) into the tenba, zipped it up, and had about 300ft to walk. Not a drop made it into my bag (without the rain cover) and it was pouring!

    Another time it started to pour, I was shooting fireworks once again. (Maybe I should stay away from fireworks). I had about 2 miles to walk, put the rain cover on, and once again, zero drops in my bag.

    But I do like the color contrast on the Case Logic bag! And yes..that Tenba sure does get heavy!

    Cheers

  • Like you, I searched far & wide for a good bag that would hold both my gear and also the laptop at the same time for when I’m traveling.

    When I came across the case logic, I fell in love with it instantly. It works great for traveling with my gear and computer when I going all over speaking.

    You mentioned fitting in a regional jet overhead compartment? Well, I have to take one of those probably 2 times a month at least when traveling and it will fit snuggly into it. You might however have to take anything thick out of the small outside compartment on the lower half of the bag. I normally store the power cord for my macbook there and when I travel I have to move it inside the bag or it wont fit 🙂

  • I bought the Kata DR 467. It’s amazing! Holds everything and then some. I can carry 2 DSLRs, my Canon 100-400 L IS, Canon 24-105 L IS, Canon 18-55, 2 batteries, camera charger, filters,lens wipes/solution, and other misc. stuff. Even holds a small eagle creek cube with a couple of snacks, wet wipes, etc. Not only is it comfortable on my back, I was surprised that even in 95 degree Washington D.C. heat, it didn’t feel hot against my back. It has survived 3 trips to Africa and a number of other locations. I just get out the air compressor when I get home, and blow off the exterior dust. I also like the bright yellow interior as it makes everything visible. The price was amazing – under $80. It can easily fit under a commuter plane seat or in the overhead. However, on a long trip, say to Africa, it fits perfectly inside my rolling carry on bag with some room around it for a change of clothes and toiletries. The handle has held up fine with all the weight. The biggest negative is the straps have extra length and I don’t want to cut them, so I roll them up and take a heavy duty rubber band to secure them.

  • “3 pounds, oh my gosh!” LOL. So true, though. After a long day of humping gear, 3 pounds is a life or death difference.

  • Hey Dave, when you’re ready for the next step up in your bag collection, you’ll have to test out an Ape Case. I’ve had the ACPro4000 (http://www.apecase.com/acpro4000.php) for about 3 years now and it’s been GREAT! TONS of storage, is able to fit my 5D, 70-200, several other lenses, Rode mic, H4N, Z-Finder, 17″ laptop, tripod, and countless other accessories! Just like you liked on the Case Logic, it has a bright yellow interior so things can be easily seen. The shoulder straps are probably closer to your Jansport bag, and comes with a waist strap AND chest strap, which sure makes it nice when hiking. The 4000 model comes with detachable wheels and a built in rain coat which makes it PERFECT for traveling (used the rain hood multiple times in Hawaii)! I’ve fit it under airplane seats and in the overhead bins with no issues. Anywho, at $165 I feel it’s a tremendous bang for the buck backpack!

  • You should check out Click Elite.
    A bit on the heavy side. I have a Bottle Rocket and took it to Disney world. Military Grade materials and lots of space for everything. Heavy though. Water Pack fits in the front portion next to your back. Great Back support. Your 70-200 will fit in the side pauch and this is the best pack i Have. Now I need a Canon camera Canon 200mm F2.0 IS and a 24-70 IS. all of Which will fit and a new 15inch Mac Book Pro. This has hip support that works and is adjustable.
    I love this thing. ONe cavat is that it doesnt look like a regular pack. I think these come in different colors but I got the Military Green. Thought it was going to be less green.
    Heavy duty Zippers and Rain Cover is for it too.
    The Guys over at Click Elite are great to work with.
    The internal compartment is adjustable in height or you can remove it along with all the internal padding. This company makes everything for us.
    I think they are out of Utah.
    Check them out.
    I think this pack was $225.00
    Great Stuff that you Do.
    Keep it up.
    Michael Williams

  • I second the above Commenters thumbs up for Kata bags. Purely by accident i.e. deals that just happened to come my way, all 4 of my gear bags are Kata and I love them all. I have the 33n1 backpack for weekend trips etc., the CC-197 which has the room for my entire Lanparte rig and camera pre-built plus accessories, and two other padded suitcase-like bags (I forget the actual official Kata name for them) – one of them I use as a lens case, the other for my Glidecam, GoPro, LED light and a few other bits and bobs.

  • Hi Dave,

    the backpack you´re looking for is the Kata 3N1-33. I think it has everything the Case Logic SLRC-206 has plus much more easy accessibilty and a rain-cover…
    (I allways have it under the seat in an airplane btw…) 😉 (and i´m not an Kata employee…)

    Best regards from vienna, austria,

    Jakob

  • Hiya…
    Just found this site as my journey into DSLR video has just started.
    Great review of the bags… started looking around for the best price on the Case Logic and noticed Amazon has it on sale for $50. Great deal if you’re a prime member and can get free shipping.

  • Great review Dave and very timely since I just picked up the 5DM3 and was looking for a new bag…thanks for doing!

  • Great review Dave, this helped me looking to things I didn’t thought about. Also I enjoyed the 5DM3 vs D800 review. You should be paid by Canon as I selected the 5DM3 after looking to your review.

    Rene van Kleef
    Netherlands

  • Dave,

    My recommendation is to stick to what you do best and it isn’t reviewing backpacks. I too have spent eons trying to find the perfect backpack – there is no such thing. But your review was less than worthless. It turned people off from a perfectly good alternative for people looking for an extremely comfortable and rugged bag and don’t mind carrying an extra 10% weight on a 30 pound load to get the extra protection. No complaints about your selection if weight and price are your criteria. If protection and comfort are important, then you should have given the Tenba a fair review. You didn’t even try it fully loaded. You joked about the weight and showed how the hip belt came halfway up your torso. Well maybe the small size might not fit you but did you even try adjusting the shoulder straps. The Tenba is no ultralight for sure but if the Tenba is dropped or kicked I’d rather my gear be in the Tenba than the Case Logic for sure. I have hauled 90 lb. loads for many miles and I know you need the right tool for the job. 5 days on the AT my load is less than 30 lbs. 10 days in the Rockies my load is more like 70 lbs. If you are truely carying a lot of heavy lenses, a pack like the Tenba shootout Large with Aluminum stays will due the job. Yea it starts out at 7 pounds. If your tootin around town with you’re 24-70 then the case logic is fine – heck even go with a sling pack. If you have some serious adventure or travel, I’d take the Tenba anyday and have. I also use a Kata Bumblebee Ultralight but its too big for a regional jet overhead. The Tenba Shootout Small Backpact fits almost all overheads with room for a small laptop. The mini is thinner and lighter with no hip belt or laptop compartment. All the Tenba’s are built like a tank and thats what I want for what I do. For most use with consumer equipment, the Case Logic is fine. I would never trust that pack with Pro Equipment especially for extensive travel or adventure.
    Regards,

    John

  • OK, OK – I way over reacted. Not 10 minutes before I read your review, my wife just complained how I took over the hallway closet with my photo bags. My quest for the perfect bag has caused me to be exactly like your family’s cooler collection. To make matters worse, I cleaned out the garage two weeks ago and my wife made me give away 3 of my 6 coolers. Yes, its true, I’m a gearaholic. Actually, I’ve done a lot of outdoor gear testing for various businesses and I have acquired a mass of packs, sleeping bags, tents, stoves, and yes camera bags. Some I love and some have tortured me. I should not have taken out my OCD gear issues on you. However, you have to admit, its hard to trust a guy who for years stored his expensive equipment in sock monkies in a loose bag.

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