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A covert bag for traveling in cities


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#21 Tom H.

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:18 PM

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Tom, thanks!

What a great response. I guess I can then say that I am prepared for Barcelona, as I've been to Madrid and have spent quite some time in Malaga on the larios street - it did feel safe to me back then and nothing happened, although, I did use precaution as always.

I think some people misunderstood me for someone who is on their first trip. :)

In Morocco and Southern part of Spain I took an old canon film camera with me - did the job, made me look less attractive for the gangs. But plenty of useful advice both on traveling as a tourist and on the topic of bags as well.

 

 

Thanks again, everyone!

 

Anytime. Ramblas in Barcelona is the area to look out. And whenever you're walking around with luggage. The moment you put it down, they're coming for you. Several of my colleagues have been robbed of their luggage at the airport when someone bumped into them. The moment they put down their suitcase to help the poor sod out, it's gone. I usually only just carry my camera on a strap acros my shoulder. No real need for bags when you're in the city and the weather is good anyway.



#22 ajurjans

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:29 PM

 No real need for bags when you're in the city and the weather is good anyway.

Water. I have twice been in situation where I overestimate my abilities and mistakenly assume that there should be a possibility to get water on the way. Once in Gibraltar (descending the rock via a scenic but completely empty pathway), once in Ibiza. in Ibiza I was about 10 minutes away from a heart issue, and i really, really don't want to experience this the third time.

 

I know a guy who was literally saved in Spain when he accidentally stumbled upon a grape field. The map showed several bodies of water, but they were all dry and his camelback was soon empty.

of course, barcelona is a different scenario, but during siesta it can get hard to find a place where to get water - from my experience in other parts of Spain.


Edited by ajurjans, 16 March 2016 - 03:44 PM.

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#23 Tom H.

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:21 PM

Water. I have twice been in situation where I overestimate my abilities and mistakenly assume that there should be a possibility to get water on the way. Once in Gibraltar (descending the rock via a scenic but completely empty pathway), once in Ibiza. in Ibiza I was about 10 minutes away from a heart issue, and i really, really don't want to experience this the third time.

 

I know a guy who was literally saved in Spain when he accidentally stumbled upon a grape field. The map showed several bodies of water, but they were all dry and his camelback was soon empty.

of course, barcelona is a different scenario, but during siesta it can get hard to find a place where to get water - from my experience in other parts of Spain.

 

True, but in cities there are plenty of supermarkets. And these don't usually close for siesta. At least not in my experience. I usually do take a bag, if only just to have somewhere to put my phone and spare battery. I usually keep the camera on the strap and only put it away when I'm sure I won't be taking pictures anymore. In smaller villages of course, that's a different story. Then again, you can always talk to a local. While pickpockets are a plague, Spanish people are actually really friendly. As are most people anyway when you talk to them.



#24 Vidalgo

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 09:35 AM

For water bottle I have simple cheap bag which attached to my waist belt at rear side. Like this one: http://www.ebay.com/...XkAAOSwQPlV8m3U
There are smaller bags and bigger. This one can accept 1.5L bottle or so.
Walking with attached bag is comfortable enough. But you need to remember about your bottle before you decided to seat.


Edited by Vidalgo, 17 March 2016 - 09:36 AM.


#25 olli

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 07:12 AM

Hello Andis. I've been enjoying scrolling through your shots of Riga. I visited Riga and Jurmala many years ago before I was into photography. I'd love to go back with a camera some day.

 

Just to add to this conversation and give you my perspective as someone who travels a lot and lives overseas for two - three years at a time I have found that the biggest asset in ensuring that you don't become a victim of opportunist crime is confidence. If you look vulnerable you are vulnerable and those who are on the look out for victims can spot your vulnerability. Look confident, like you know what your doing, like you know where you are, like you know where your going, and the criminals will probably look for an easier target. Bear in mind that there are an awful lot of gullible travellers out there who are easy pickings for crims. You don't have to be Arnie Schwarzenegger to discourage them. A combination of common sense and confidence will usually suffice. 

 

When it comes to bags, as has already been said, you can't disguise yourself so the best you can do is make your bag as difficult as possible to get at. Wear it across your chest, not across your shoulder. If you're walking on the pavement wear it on the inside, i.e. away from the road where passing motorcyclists can grab it. Zippers are a bit more secure than velcro and straps since there aren't open gaps little hands can get into. There are also some companies that make reinforced straps and bags that are more difficult to cut.

 

All that said, in ten years of travelling and living overseas I've never yet been robbed of anything, so don't get too hung up about it.


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#26 Guest_thiswayup_*

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 04:24 PM

Consider something like this instead of a bag:

 

https://www.paramo-c...A9-550071377F5D

 

For water, find a metal or lexan bottle with a carabiner loop.



#27 Noel

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 04:01 PM

You are most vulnerable when you stop to take something out of the bag. With a rucksack you have to take one arm off and while that is going on you are distracted and either your camera goes or an arm goes through the now loose strap and the back is yanked off you.

 

1) Sling bag - they have one strap over the shoulder and a waist strap. To open the bag you undo the waist strap and swing the bag round from the back to your front and open the side. That means the bag is still firmly attached to you and there is no handy strap for the thief to get their arm through to grab it from you.

 

2) Camera sling - instead of using a neck strap think of using a full sling especially something like the SunSniper Steel which has a steel cable running through it so it can't be cut off you with a box cutter. Loose the big bulky pad and wear it under your coat for extra security.

 

3) Big coat - instead of a bag, wear a loose thin coat with pockets sewn inside the bottom lining. Use small light lenses like the 35mm f/2 or the 27mm pancake and they will hardly show in the lining but drag a big lens like the 16mm or 90mm around and its going to be obvious. Wear the coat over the camera sling and have the length of the coat long enough to hide your camera when its dangling from the sling.  Then carry a shoulder bag with things like your water bottle etc but nothing of any great value. If you get ripped off, everything of value is in your coat and all you've lost is a bag, the water and the remains of your half eaten packed lunch.

 

Alternative - Leave all your lenses at the hotel and just take a X100T or even an IQ2 in high risk areas.

 

Remember this, most street thieves operate by distraction, speed and shock. But if you get isolated and someone is threatening you with a knife - give them the bloody camera.



#28 sgmcenroe

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 10:02 PM

Check out the Think Tank Retrospective series - probably the #5 or #7.  They also come in a leather version now which might look even more "messenger baggie."



#29 gordonrussell76

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 12:04 PM

Tenba DNA 8 and 11

 

DNA 8 - I have got the X-T1 and 10-24/35mm/56mm or 18/27/35/18-135 or 10-14/18-135/35/27 10-24/18-55/55-200 etc, so basically any camera and 3 lens comfortably (apart from 50-140mm and 100-400mm) and sometimes 4 if you are going mainly primes.

 

DNA 11, you can fit camera in middle section width ways and get 4 lens on either side, it has depth to accomodate 50-140 so you could happily get 4-5 lens in here or 4 lens a flash/microtripod/gorilla etc. Its much less subtle. The DNA 8 for small and discreet is great and in the graphite or other colours looks more like a cycle messenger bag than a camera bag.

 

DNA 8 has served me exceptionally well, I have not bought the DNA11 yet, but if I owned a 50-140mm it would become a neccessity


https://www.flickr.c...s/10596811@N04/

 

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#30 Guest_thiswayup_*

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:58 PM

Check out the Think Tank Retrospective series - probably the #5 or #7.  They also come in a leather version now which might look even more "messenger baggie."

 

I'm not sure that looking like a hipster who is likely to be carrying a high-end Apple laptop and phone is really the best idea in high theft areas. Not to mention that nice leather messengers sell easily for a hundred plus dollars on ebay. 

 

If you want people to look at a bag and think "That guy probably doesn't have have stuff worth stealing" then I'd suggest a better alternative is to use a cheap looking bag, rather an expensive looking one. Military surplus or an old vinyl shoulder bag off ebay, for example.



#31 plaidshirts

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 08:13 PM

Ona Street Prince would get my nomination. It's attractive, doesn't have a visible name tag and looks like a messenger bag. I have a Berlin, but since you don't want leather, the Ona in canvass would be perfect for your needs.

 

https://www.onabags....color=field-tan



#32 Nero

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 04:05 PM

I've never had problems when traveling, and I don't try overly hard to be covert about my photography. I have a Billingham Hadley Pro that I carry. Yes, thieves who know cameras may recognize what I'm carrying, but it will fool many and this is also a bag I trust in all weather conditions and that is easy to fit all of my necessary gear into while never being questioned as appropriate dimensions for a second carry-on for any airline I'm flying. I need to be able to trust the bag in all conditions before I will travel with it. What good is a bag that cuts the risk of thieves if it also gets left at the hotel because of risky weather?

 

My second strategy is to limit my potential losses. I have an X-T1 and an X-Pro2. Depending on where I'm going, my favorite lens kits are either 16, 23, 35 f/1.4, 55-200 or 10-24, 35 f/1.4, and 55-200. All of them fit in my Billingham with both bodies when I'm on the plane. My wife carries an X-E1 with the 27mm in her purse. If I'm in a city that is known for having issues with thieves, I'll usually just have one camera and at most one spare lens and a spare battery or two. The rest stays at the hotel, in the safe. I don't carry everything with me at all times. That's a recipe for total disaster. A thief can completely eliminate your ability to get photos for the rest of your trip unless you buy another camera on the spot or just use a phone camera. Carry just what you need for the day and a thief might make that day really, really, bad, but they won't completely destroy your entire trip by cleaning you out. If I'm in the countryside, I'll probably carry a bit more, the risks are lower.

 

And how do I deal with bringing less gear out each day? As long as I'm staying multiple days, it's easy! I just plan a day for scouting. I put my 23mm on the Pro2 and walk around. If I see any shots that I need to have and just can't get with that lens, I'll make note of it to come back later. That day is usually where I have the most fun and get the most authentic experiences. Carrying minimal gear can make your day more enjoyable as long as you can set aside the thoughts of what shots you're missing in favor of the ones that are in front of you.



#33 macabee

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 09:01 AM

I am afraid that whichever bag you will take with you, it will be very difficult not to be conspicuous if you carry a camera and 4 lenses.

 

The moment you take you camera from the bag and you change lenses ( otherwise why taking 4 with you?) you will attract attention.

 

Expert thieves on the ramblas would immediately spot you as a tourist and they would suspect a camera and lenses in any large or even small bag.

 

My advise to people who are afraid of their camera being taken from them is to avoid a bag altogether, especially when you are in Barcelona, and put your main lens on the camera.

 

Then carry the camera on one shoulder and wear a jacket or at least a body warmer or something without sleeves ( if too warm) to make it less visible and protect the camera from being snatched while not photographing. Have one or two other lenses in the pockets, preferably if closed with a zip.

 

The other thing that I would advise is to always be with at least one other person and while you are shooting have the other person act as a look out. People being relieved of their telephone while phoning in the streets is absolutely not unheard of and the same can happen with a camera while you are concentrating looking in the evf.

 

Good luck!

 

I tend to agree. If I was going somewhere that I felt insecure carrying a lot of gear, don't carry a lot of gear, I would use my X100T just take a spare battery or two, plus a couple of cards, I also wear a Domke vest [or similar] it is quite surprising how much you can hide in one of those, this obviates the use of a camera bag.

 

When I am 'street shooting' in a crowded place I have a Peak Design cuff strap as well as the camera neck strap.

 

Good luck and enjoy your trip



#34 Chayelle

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 06:07 AM

Some good bag recommendations I will check into...

(an addicted "bag lady"...  )     ;)


Edited by Chayelle, 24 August 2016 - 01:59 PM.


#35 darknj

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 11:37 AM

Some good bag recommendations I will check into...

(an addicted "bag lady"...  )     ;)

 

The PeakDesign Tote bag on their current Kickstarter page looks nice, I might get one much later since I do need to carry diapers and some camera gear when going out for a small sortie with the whole family.

Plus, it looks fulls of usability even without camera gear.




 
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