Crumpler is a new range of bags named after its maker Stu Crumpler. Each bag comes with a mini catalogue, which is full of wit and attitude, fancy design and illustrations of a range of bags for photographers, computer users, and cyclists.
Stu's taken a different approach to the usual over the shoulder or backpack approach going for a cross-chest shoulder strap. I recall several years ago attempting to hoist a heavy bag over my neck so the strap ran diagonally across my chest. It was not only extremely uncomfortable, but also made me look very nerdy (only a train-spotting anorak would have carried a bag like this at that time).
The Crumpler logo - trendy or what!
How things have changed! You only have to look around to see the young and fashionable all wear their bags like this now.
Because Crumpler bags are designed in this style the shoulder strap attaches to the bag at an angle to hang better when carried. This adds to the comfort and cyclists can swing the bag around their back so it holds firmly in place.
I tried the Crumpler Home Stayer 002, a small bag just big enough to house an SLR with lens attached and a couple of other lens sized accessories.
Full marks for looks - the Home Stayer 002, like all other Crumplers, has a curved appearance, with soft looking material. The material is Cordura Plus, a quick drying and robust material that's tougher bags made from Nylon or polyester. All bags have heavy-duty zips that won't get stuck and the cover flap wraps across the top and down the front. It's secured by two large quick-release buckles and really powerful Velcro. The camera area is covered by a lid that houses five films in elasticised straps and this also secures with a Velcro flap.
Room for a camera, a couple of lenses and five films.
I loaded the main compartment of the bag up with an old EOS 100 camera and Tokina 24-200mm lens, a Sekonic meter, my mobile phone and a 50mm lens. There's also a lid pocket which I had planned to use for a couple of filters, but this makes it impractical as a cover, so it can only really be used for papers or really flexible items. There's also a pocket around the front, which is zipped and difficult to get stuff in and out. I also found that the five films housed in the top flap created problems, when trying to get the camera in and out. It's all a little too tight.
Five films can be held on top of the inner lid.
With the gear in place I set of on my photo excursion. After getting used to the fact that it's now fashionable to wear a bag like a trainspotter, it felt really comfortable, the Crumpler logo attracted attention. I guess they were either thinking 'what's an old git doing carrying a bag like that' or 'I've not seen that label before, wonder where he got that bag'.
After about two hours I found the bag starting to pull across my neck and it became uncomfortable. It also started to dig into my back. I tried, as an alternative, to carry it over one shoulder to relieve the pain, but it slips off too easily. I'm no muscle-bound, broad shouldered bloke so there's more chance of a bag slipping, but I have used many other bags that stay in place without a problem.
Getting the gear in and out was also troublesome. The Velcro is so strong that you have to tug to get into the bag - great as a security feature but not that practical.
Access to the camera compartment.
A Crumpler looks good, with its great fashionable styling and is perfect for carrying on a bike or maybe for the young photographer, but it's not for me. I'll stick with a light load and continue to carry my bag over one shoulder.
Test by Peter Bargh