Move over Mary Poppins – Epiphanie’s Brooklyn and Madison are here! Here are two versatile and gorgeous laptop camera bags (and baby bags!) that transform from a tote or cross-body satchel to backpack.
As a writer, I’m on the road meeting case studies and clients all the time. Sometimes the job I’m on requires a photo shoot, or sometimes I just need to squeeze in 15 minutes of writing while my toddler busies himself with books at the library. I’ve written about how awesome my existing baby / camera bag is before; my Ginger Epiphanie bag has lasted me three years (and counting) and still gets compliments. It’s a bag that can carry almost everything a mum writer/blogger/amateur photographer might need bar one item: my laptop.
Enter Epiphanie’s Brooklyn and Madison:
They are two camera bags that sport the same signature style and versatility of all the Epiphanie bags, with the added functionality of a dedicated laptop sleeve. And, thanks to Cambags, they are available in Australia with free shipping. Get excited photographer friends – free shipping.
Shipping. Of quality American camera bags. For FREE.
Cambags (an Australian-based camera bag provider) was kind enough to send me the two laptop camera bags to road test for a couple of weeks. Read on for a detailed review.
When the postie arrived I actually squealed in excitement. I get excited when I get any mail that isn’t a bill, but packages with pretty things inside deserve squeals of glee.
Each bag came with an Epiphanie dust bag, which is great for protecting these beauties when not in use (though, let’s be honest, I’ll probably be using them every day). The bags also came with:
- the Epiphanie camera key chain (which is cute but probably unnecessary),
- 4 removable Velcro panels to create sections for lenses, mics and other fragile gear,
- detachable handles and shoulder straps, and
- a sweet hand-written note from Katrina at Cambags (I like those simple touches of thoughtfulness).
If you’re into the detail – here are the specs of the Madison and Brooklyn laptop camera bags, side by side:
[table id=madisonbrooklyn /]
What I love
Let’s face it; I’m getting old. And I know (because my physio keeps telling me) that carting a lot of weight on one shoulder or arm is not doing my spine any favours, so I love that these laptop camera bags are backpacks. I know leather backpacks are a little 1990s, but a backpack distributes weight evenly across my shoulders.
So not only do I save myself from back and shoulder aches, the style of these beauties means I can go to a client meeting without looking like I’m on my way to the gym or about to backpack through Europe. (Btw, leather backpacks are about to make a big comeback, so there).
Besides, these bags are soooo pretty! And, for me, pretty + functional = happiness.
And there’s no doubt these beauties are functional. Both are generous in size and sport a wide base, so they sit flat and sturdy.
They can hold everything I need for a day of writing and shooting:
And everything I need for a big event or simple day out with the family:
There is a pocket for everything. Even without constructing the interior compartments, the Madison has 12 pockets and the Brooklyn as 10.
When I looked at them side-by-side and realised I could only keep one, I was pretty torn. I love the rustic detailing of the Brooklyn. But I also love the colour and feminine touches of the Madison. Arrgghhh! How to choose?
What I don’t love
Both bags were a lot bigger and heavier than I originally expected them to be. The bags alone (including straps and Velcro pockets but no other contents) each weigh 1.8kg / 4lbs. Adding a laptop (even something as light as a MacBook Air), DSLR, a lens or two, a microphone and/or tripod means I’d be carrying more than 10% of my body weight around for a shoot. Which is not practical. Or good for my back.
I get that part of the bag’s weight is due to the padding needed to protect camera gear, so I would love Epiphanie more if they considered ways to decrease weight of all their bags (e.g. lightweight materials for the metal links).
In terms of size, both are only a few inches larger than my regular work tote:
But those few inches make a difference when you’ve got a build like mine (I think I’m about 5’3”). I don’t know if the designers considered how big arm loops actually need to be on bags, but the detachable backpack straps were way too big for me. To avoid tipping over, a heavy backpack needs to stay close to your body’s frame, which is hard if the straps can’t tighten enough. So when I carried my laptop and camera gear on the 20 min walk from the station to my office, I had to hold the straps down so the bag would stay close to my back.
I figure making the bags smaller (e.g. removing an inch or two in height and width) and decreasing the length of the backpack straps would make these bags perfect. They would also decrease the overall weight of the bag.
I ended up using the tote straps on the Madison (which are shorter) and connecting them to the front loops to create a backpack. This worked really well (though I’m a little scared of the wear and tear that will do in the long run).
I actually haven’t made up my mind yet. They are both gorgeous. On one hand, the Brooklyn sports an authentic old-school backpack look (and is a bag The Husband wouldn’t be ashamed of carrying around for me on days out). It is classy, practical and the satchel style has “bookish type” written all over it.
On the other hand, the Madison sings femininity and gorgeousness. And it’s got two extra pockets. And the tote straps actually make the backpack fit like a proper backpack. And that colour…
Which one would you choose?? Arrgghhh!! Decisions, decisions.
If you’re in Australia and are ogling these bags and want to check out the luxurious and practical camera, laptop, tablet or professional bags for girls and guys by Epiphanie, Jo-Totes and Jill-E, then head to Cambags, the home of stylish camera bags (and take advantage of that FREE SHIPPING in Australia baby!!).
You can also get 10% off full priced items until the end of November. Just enter the promo code ‘mamaminute’ at the checkout.
These make for an awesome Christmas gift for any writer or photographer friend (cough, cough, hint, hint) or mum and dads who want a bag that fits all their baby gear in it but doesn’t look like a daggy baby bag.
But before you go, leave me your verdict in the comments below. I can’t make up my mind… and might just end up keeping both.