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Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Messenger Bag

January 20th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

5 Stars- techdad

Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Messenger Bag

After trying a few different camera bags, I was left feeling a bit unfulfilled. None of the bags I had tried really left me feeling the same way about the bag as I did about my new Canon EOS Rebel T2i. I started looking at bags from Crumpler, which looked great and were well rated. Out of curiosity, I decided to browse through my favorite bag company’s website. Hold the presses! Timbuk2 now makes a frickin’ camera bag! Had I known earlier, I wouldn’t have bothered with the other bags.

PROS

  • Subtle, but attractive appearance
  • Very durable
  • Good camera padding
  • Weather resistant
  • Removable camera compartment
  • Easy to adjust strap
  • GREAT customer service
  • Adjustable tripod straps

CONS

  • No grab handle
  • Front pockets not very useful
  • Shoulder pad not comfortable enough

There are bags, then there are Timbuk2 bags. There are bag companies, then there is Timbuk2. In 1989, Timbuk2 began making messenger bags for, well, bike messengers and for the young, hip crowd in San Francisco. For as long as I’ve lived in San Francisco (since 1995), I considered Timbuk2 bags as the crème de la crème of messenger bags. I’d long pined for a Timbuk2 bag and was finally able to have one to call my own just a few years ago––a limited edition Commute laptop bag.

Timbuk2 Commuter Cross

Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to add a few more products from Timbuk2 and for the most part, they have been outstanding additions. The company also stands out for having outrageously good customer service as well. I have never been disappointed in their service. They’ve always been prompt, courteous, helpful, and even downright funny. When I found out that they recently added the Snoop Camera Messenger Bag, I knew without a doubt, which bag I wanted for my gear.

APPEARANCE & BUILD
The Snoop looks just like their classic messenger bags. It retains the three-panel design, their unique logo, ballistic nylon fabric, and reflector tails. If you didn’t know any better, you’d say it was just your average Timbuk2 messenger bag, which is why I love the bag so much. There would be no way for anyone else to look at your bag and tell that you had thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment inside. It comes in three different color combinations to suit most anyone’s tastes. Build quality is also top-notch, as always. Every stitch is perfect and you’ll never find a loose thread on a Timbuk2 bag. Chances are, the Snoop will outlive your equipment.

Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Bag storage

STORAGE
The Snoop comes in two sizes– small and medium. The medium is actually difficult to find as it sells out fast whenever it’s in stock. I consider the small size just big enough to carry a DSLR, a couple of lenses, an external flash, and a few small accessories. The slash pocket inside can also hold a small amount of papers, folders, or magazines. It’s also large enough to fit a small laptop inside but I wouldn’t recommend it on a regular basis as it doesn’t have any padding on the backside and it also makes the bag extremely heavy. The medium Snoop, which is the size I prefer, is larger all the way around than the small. The camera compartment can probably fit the camera, 3-4 lenses, flash, battery charger, spare batteries, and maybe a filter wallet. You could probably remove a lens or two and fit an extra body in there as well. The velcro dividers are easy to work with and can be configured in a number of ways. I only plan on storing my Canon Rebel w/18-55mm lens attached, 55-250mm telephoto lens, an external flash, battery charger, and lens caps in the actual padded compartment. It’s also nice that I can leave my Crumpler camera strap attached. I prefer the medium bag because I can put bulky items like my charger in the bag without having to rely on the front organizer, which isn’t very useful.

Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Bag organizer pockets

The front organizer is a layered layout which means that once you store something in one pocket, it invades the space of the other pockets. In their classic messenger bags, this is OK because items in those pockets can take up a little space in the main compartment and it works. The Snoop bag however, has the padded camera compartment pushed right up against the back of the organizer pockets allowing only really flat items to be stored in them. The Napoleon pocket on the other hand, is bigger and deeper and can hold more items. For now, I keep my charging cord, LensPen, and Spudz microfiber cloth there for quick access without having to unbuckle the cover. I also would have appreciated a water bottle pocket on one of the sides but as far as I know, none of the Timbuk2 bags have one. When deciding on which size to choose, I would say go with the small if you really only plan on carrying the bare necessities with you. Go with the medium if you want a little more flexibility. Keep in mind though that the medium is almost half a pound heavier than the small. The dimensions of the two sizes are below:

Size Width Height Depth Weight
Small 15.9in 9.65in 4.72in 2.16lbs
Medium 19.3in 10.43in 7.87in 2.57lbs

USAGE
Adjusting the main strap is incredibly easy and the True Fit cam buckle allows you to unbuckle it for easier placement on or removal from your shoulders. You just click the buckle back in for your pre-selected fit. The large velcro strips on the front and the two buckles keep the cover securely closed. The Snoop also comes with a pair of velcro silencers if you need to access your gear more discretely. The shoulder strap is nicely padded but I found that with all my equipment inside, it was actually a bit uncomfortable. Luckily, I bought the Timbuk2 Deluxe Strap Pad and it is much more comfortable. I highly recommend the Deluxe Strap with the Snoop. At the bottom of the bag are two tripod straps to allow you to carry your tripod with the Snoop. The only bummer is that when you go to put the bag down, you’ll be placing your tripod on the ground with the weight of the bag on top of it. Still, having the straps is better than having to carry your tripod by hand. Lastly, the entire camera compartment zips up independently of the messenger bag and can be removed. This is a cool function that allows you to use the Snoop as a normal messenger bag when you don’t need to carry your gear around with you but still need the utility of a messenger bag. How cool is that? There is one omission from the Snoop though, that I can’t understand why it was left out. The Snoop could really benefit from a grab handle. If you look at the photo of my Commute bag, you’ll notice the grab handle. It would make life with the Snoop a bit easier if I could grab it by a handle rather than having to grab the entire strap. Since Timbuk2 saw the benefit of a grab handle on the Commute laptop bag, I’m surprised they didn’t also see the benefit of it on the Snoop camera bag.

Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Bag interior

CONCLUSION
Timbuk2’s Snoop Camera Messenger Bag is a great camera bag and has some unique functions that differentiate it from your average camera bag. The price is definitely not for the timid, but trust me when I say that this bag will last a very long time and if it doesn’t, Timbuk2 will make it right. I only had a couple of small nitpicks, but they certainly didn’t detract enough from the overall quality and function to keep me from recommending the Snoop. Go get it. Now.

Available from Amazon.com or from Timbuk2 direct.

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  1. Ed
    March 21st, 2012 at 16:22 | #1

    @Matt
    That’s awesome Matt. I’m glad you found a solution that works for you and I was able to help you find it. I think the Snoop insert is a brilliant idea for people who already have Timbuk2 messengers and at pretty fair price, I’d say. Also, the 2012 version of the Snoop Messenger incorporates a grab handle, which was one of my complaints about the first version of the Snoop. It’s nice to see companies listening in on feedback and incorporating changes.

  2. Matt
    March 15th, 2012 at 14:52 | #2

    I know your review is over a year old…
    That being said, I carry a medium size classic Timbuk2 daily to commute to work. I was looking for a way to convert my bag to transport my Canon T3i, 2 or 3 lenses, external flash and accessories. While searching for options, I came across your review, then went to Timbuk2 and purchased just the insert. Sure, it cost me 50 clams, but I didn’t have to buy a new bag and my bag with the carry handle will make this a complete system. Thanks for your post, you led me to a solution which was actually made for my bag. Now I will look like I always look when commuting except this time I will be carrying $3,000 worth of equipment in my bag.

  1. January 24th, 2011 at 20:32 | #1
  2. June 21st, 2013 at 22:25 | #2