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Backpackin' Revisited

Just thought I'd give a few more thoughts on the Crumpler Sinking Barge backpack now that I've actually went on a trip with it. But first, as requested, two pics of the backpack being worn:

Back View

Side View

More notes after the break...

Crumpler Sinking Barge - Open Camera Pocket

For the trip I removed one of the two dividers which allowed me to place the camera with attached lens straight down (like you would on a table) instead of lens down which would have been the case if both dividers were in. Worked pretty well, nice and snug. I think it'd be a real stretch to fit 2 lenses in there along with a body+lens though. They'd have to be pretty small lenses. Without hoods.

The zipper you see on the lower right opens up a decent-sized horizontal pocket that I used to store the DRebel's extra battery along with my keys.

Crumpler Shrinking Barge - Closed Camera Pocket

With the mesh covering zippered up, you have a good-sized space up to the top of the camera compartment. I decided to forego the flash unit and instead just tossed my Powerbook's AC adapter in here. The other zippered pocket you see on the back wall provided enough space to store my lens cleaning equipment (lens pen & Canon lens-cleaning kit) and a few PSP games.

Crumpler Shrinking Barge - Main Compartment

The main pocket here turned out to be the most used during the trip. The laptop compartment works well and as expected. The magazine slot in the same area fit up to 4 mags pretty well. The rest of the open space here is probably the most versatile. At max load (on the way back to the US) I think I had my PSP, Treo, and like 5 paperbacks in here along with both our plane tickets and passports. Was pretty impressive. Expect folded covers and pages and stuff though if you're not careful while shoving things into this space. Hell you'll probably get them even if you are careful.

Also, this pocket is the easiest pocket to access when you sling the backpack off of just one shoulder and slide it around to the front of your body. The camera pocket's not that hard to reach either so it may make more sense to put more frequently accessible items there if the main pocket isn't full.

If you cram as much as possible into this thing you wind up with a pretty deep backpack so it does have pretty good expanding ability although it can get rather heavy. The straps are well-padded enough so that even with a full-load they don't dig into your shoulder uncomfortably.

The only disappointment I had with this bag was with the zippered front pocket (located in front of the camera area). It's wide and tall enough but doesn't expand outwardly enough so you can't really see what you have in there (especially if the other compartments are full). So a lot of the time you're just sorta feeling around in there for what you want. Originally I thought this would be a perfect place for our plane tickets and passports but I eventually wound up leaving those in the main compartment cause it was such a pain getting them in and out of this front pocket.

[UPDATE]: Actually, after taking a closer look at the zippered front pocket while the bag was empty, it does appear that the front pocket does have a decent amount of expansion. The caveat being though, that it only feels like it when the camera compartment is empty. Once you start loading the camera compartment with stuff, this front pocket starts getting rather shallow.

But overall I like this bag. For what I needed it for during this trip, it worked great and carried an impressive amount of stuff with minimal fuss. It's not for the dedicated photographer but for an amateur like myself on holiday it was perfect.


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Comments (2)


Hello; I enjoyed very much your excellent review of the Sinking Barge as well as your writing style and the quality of your photographs in general.

I hope you won't mind if I ask a couple of questions regarding the Sinking Barge.

Do you think a Canon D60 (about same size as 20D) with grip and 17-35 2.8 lens would fit the camera compartment, with maybe a 50 mm 1.8 and a small flash?

Also, since the photo gear lies at the bottom of the bag, how is the bottom padding?

I apologize for intruding on you like this but you seem to be the only source of information on this bag and your comments would be most appreciated.

Thanks and congratulations on your first-rate blog.


found you on google. great review. thanks!

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