Road Trip Gear – Urban Quiver 3.0 by Dan Lum September 29 2013
With all the gear I put together for the road trip, I needed an organized way to lug all that technology with us. Unfortunately, I no longer had my Case Logic camera backpack. That bag served me and all my DSLR gear well. I don’t miss lugging around all that weight on my back though.
With 2 Micro Four Thirds cameras, lenses and accessories, I had a lot of gear to pack with us. Fortunately, I had a random selection of Lowepro camera bags sitting around. We set out on our trip with no less than 2 separate camera bags and a camera sling. It was an unorganized mess. Upon hitting our first photo ops, I realized how ridiculous it was to dig through 3 bags to get to our cameras and lenses.
It was during our first week that a cool and crazy connection happened. I had come across a bag company on Instagram. Blackstone @blackstone_bags (on Instagram) and their Urban Quiver caught my attention. The bag doesn’t fit into the traditional form factors of backpack, messenger bag or sling.
After exchanging some emails with Matt from Blackstone, I expressed interest in testing the Urban Quiver during our road trip. Since we were already on the road, I wasn’t sure how we would make the logistics work.
Here’s where it gets interesting. On the way to Crater Lake, we stopped at a Trader Joe’s just outside Portland. I called up Matt to talk about how to get a hold of the bag. Turns out, he was just 15 minutes from where we were! Crazy, I know. We met, had a great conversation about our trip and I left with the Urban Quiver. Another example of the great connections we made on our trip.
I was so excited, I ‘configured’ the bag at our campsite, after the kids went to sleep. I emptied the 3 separate camera bags of their contents and filled up the urban quiver.
The moveable padded dividers held the gear nicely in their own compartments. There’s also an velcro enclosed pocket for smaller items such as memory cards.
I’m borderline OCD when it comes to my gear and gear bags. That said, I inspected every inch of the bag. The build quality is excellent with great attention to detail, from the stitching to the zipper pulls. The exterior is made of military-grade 1000 denier nylon fabric. And, it’s made in the USA. To me, that means a lot in an age of offshore manufacturing.
There are two zipped pockets that run the length of the bag. The sling strap is well padded and tightens securely. The design of the bag prevents access to the contents when worn. A great security feature when you’re carrying the bag in crowds and urban spaces.
In the Field
In recent years, I’ve been deliberate in reducing the amount of gear and weight I carry while out on a photo walk. Depending on the outing, I’ll only take the equipment I need. For the majority of photo walks, I like to keep my camera in the bag until I’m ready to shoot. That said, I like to use my Case Logic sling, since I can swing it to the front for quick access.
I found that the Urban Quiver doesn’t fit into this usage. Instead, I realized that the bag really excels (for me) when I’m shooting an event or at a location. These are the times that I need to bring a lot of gear and have it all organized. With tripod attached (with optional accessory), everything is slung comfortably on my back.
This was the ‘perfect’ bag for me on the road trip. My wife and I were able to easily access the cameras, lenses and batteries.
The bag ships with 3 internal dividers. Depending on your gear selection, you may opt for for the padded divider pack (2 in a pack).
The bag is sewn with external webbing that allows various accessories to be clipped on. Blackstone’s Tripod Mount accessory is a simple design that clips onto the external webbing and securely holds a tripod with two straps. I use a compact carbon fibre Manfrotto tripod that matches the bags dimensions perfectly.
Lastly, there is a rainfly accessory that covers that bag in inclement weather and conditions. Both tripod mount and rainfly can be stored in one of two pockets at the ends of the bag.
I’m really digging this bag. I’m a bit of a bag whore and have used many but the Urban Quiver hits most of my requirements. It’s a unique bag with many great features and solid build, in a crowded space filled with generic offerings.
I’m just wading into the area of product reviews but really enjoy sharing my experiences with the gear I use. Please forgive the lack of detailed technical information or testing. If you have any questions about the bag that I haven’t covered here, please comment below. If I have more to share about the bag, I’ll update the review.