Think Tank Urban Disguise 30 Camera Bag review . . . continued

The Think Tank Urban Disguise 30 has a small-to-moderate size profile which carries relatively small on most people (male or female) over 5'4" and a moderate profile on anyone shorter. Ground insulation is very good and the odd bit of standing water won't get through the bottom seams. The sealed-stitch top zipper closes tightly to prevent weather and dust from entering. General weatherproofing is very good. Rain-proofing is very good also. You can get caught in fairly heavy downpours (or in heavy snowfall which piles up on top of the bag and melts as soon as you go indoors) without having to worry, although I wouldn't make a habit of deliberately soaking any camera bag.

Padding is generally good. The internal partitions are moderately easy to move around but the slimmer profile of the bag means you may be fiddling with partition adjustments a bit longer than normal in order to get things just right. The bottom pad is thin and low density and offers light protection against impacts, so take care not to drop the Urban Disguise 30 heavily onto any hard surfaces.


The Urban Disguise 30 is a tight fit for a Nikon D700 full-size SLR with any attached lens. If you add a grip to a full-size SLR body, it won't easily fit in the bag with an attached lens. You'll physically be able to get it in, but the top opening will be stretched out sufficiently to prevent the zipper from closing. The bag was designed to carry a body in the front body pouch and that pouch provided a comfortable fit for my D700. Switch to a smaller SLR body with attached lens and everything changes however. The Urban Disguise 30 seems to have been designed in most respects for the smaller SLR bodies which account for the majority of SLR's in consumer hands today. We tried the aforementioned Canon Rebel 450D/XSi, Nikon D40 and D60, a Pentax K200 and an Olympus e420, all of which fit perfectly with a variety of lenses attached (including a 24-70 f/2.8 monster with hood reversed).

We performed a little experiment to find out exactly what would happen if we stuffed the stretchy side pouches with large, hard, bulky objects. The enormous Nikon SB-900 or Canon 580EX external flashguns? No problem - stretch, shove and away you go. A Canon 18-55 IS kit lens or a Nikkor 18-55 VR kit lens? No problem - stretch, shove and away you go. Then we poked at the stretched side pouches with a fork. Really. A light poke didn't pierce the fabric, but as we started to push harder we realized that we didn't want to damage the pouches and stopped. Obviously you can damage anything if you try hard enough, but you've got to love these high-grade synthetic fabrics. We wrapped the flashguns and the lenses in plastic baggies, stuffed them into the pouches again, then proceeded to squirt the pouches with a water pistol. Nothing penetrated. Call us goofy, but at least we're having fun with this stuff. In any event, the Urban Disguise 30 is also supplied with an all-weather stretch cover which basically makes it impervious to any downpour.

The Urban Disguise 30 has lots of thoughtful little features. Look in the front compartment and you'll find a short, tough, nylon ribbon with a velcro loop that can be used to hold a cleaning cloth, pocket knife, keys or whatever you like. There is actually a very flat, wide outer rear slot compartment which can hold ID, boarding passes and other paperwork. The bottom of that compartment is secured by a zipper and a locking tab/keeper. Open the zipper and you end up with a big flat panel which can slide over the handle extension of a rolling suitcase or luggage trolley. The main compartment is roomy with the usual velcro dividers for your gear, as well as a flat/slot compartment on each side and at the front.

Cons: The shoulder strap is good, but not quite as great as the rest of the bag. Purchase your Urban Disguise bag carefully because the compact ones (read: models 10, 20 & 30) have to be stretched very wide to get a full-size SLR in & out with any lens attached. You're better off stowing the lens in the main compartment and a full-size pro body in the front body compartment, or purchasing an Urban Disguise 40 or larger. For carrying a camera with lens attached, the Urban Disguise 30 is much better suited to smaller SLR kits (see below).

Pros: The Think Tank Urban Disguise 30 is a well-designed, very well made, versatile, slim profile shoulder bag which is ideal for carrying a smaller film SLR or digital SLR kit. The Canon EOS Rebel 300/400/1000/XT/XS/XSi series, the Nikon D40/40x/50/60/80/90 series, Pentax K100/200/KM/*IST, Olympus e4xx/e5xx, the entry level Sony A-series, and any rangefinder cameras, all with attached prime, short zoom, medium zoom or one of the longer f/3.5 or slower zooms all fit beautifully. The bag is just tall enough to accommodate a detached 70-200 f/2.8 lens with hood reversed in the main compartment along with a full size/pro SLR body Nikon D200/300/700, Canon 30D/40D/5D/5DMKII, Pentax K20, Sony A700, or Olympus E3 in the front body pocket. Our main test kit with this bag was a Canon Rebel 450/XSi with attached Canon 17-55 f/2.8 EF-S IS, a Canon 70-200 f/2.8, a Canon 430 EX flash, a couple of filters, lots of SD cards, lenspens and other junk. Excellent weatherproofing protects your precious gear, storage space is good, and the bag even has a pair of top-mounted carry handles that can also be slipped over a rolling suitcase extension. Multiple attachment points for the shoulder strap. Think Tank has built a reputation based on quality, suitability for purpose and good general usability and ergonomics. The Think Tank Urban Disguise 30 is an excellent small-to-mid size shoulder bag that might end up being the only bag you'll ever need. Excellent for tough professional environments, casual or serious walkabouts, events, travel of all kinds and it's also fully international airline/airport carry-on size compliant (check with your airline anyway). Very well made. Highly recommended. Get it here or here.



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