My quest to find the perfect camera bag has now led me to the Tenba BYOB 10 and its companion, the Packlite Travel Bag. As I am currently traveling around New Zealand with an extended trip through Asia coming up in a couple of weeks, I need a camera bag that is lightweight, flexible, and ultimately would provide protection. In this case the Tenba BYOB 10 (Bring Your Own Bag) fulfills all these requirements. The bag is a camera insert designed to go inside any piece of luggage and thereby transforming it into a camera bag. This eliminates the need to bring a bulky, camera specific bag and in the long run makes traveling a lot smoother. Currently I’m using the BYOB system in conjunction with an Osprey Farpoint 70.
10.5 x 8.0 x 4.5″ (27 x 20 x 11 cm)
|10 x 7.5 x 4″ (25 x 19 x 10 cm)|
|Nylon, Tricot Lining|
8 oz (227 g)
The Tenba BYOB 10 is a single padded, rectangular bag with interchangeable velcro dividers. Its exterior features a D-ring for your keys, 2 small front pockets, 2 mesh pockets, and one large back pocket that can stow away the lid. Despite their simplistic design, these pockets provide enough organization options to keep things tidy.
You can configure the inserts to fit a DSLR or mirrorless camera with 2-4 lenses and accessories Mine is set up to fit a Sony A7r II with a 24-70mm/2.8 GM attached, a 90mm/2.8, and an accessory bag containing batteries and chargers.
Its top lid also features a narrow zippered pocket that’s great for holding slim items such as cables and memory cards. Although it’s possible to keep extra batteries in the zippered pocket, I found that items with a heavier girth were an awkward fit.
Transform Any Bag into a Camera Backpack
Because the BYOB 10 can fit inside any luggage, it transforms any bag into a camera backpack. This simple luxury allows me to use a backpack that’s more suited for supporting weight and traveling. The problem that I often encounter with camera specific bags is that they don’t have enough space to carry your everyday needs and they aren’t built to haul heavy loads over time. In my current situation I’m using the Osprey Farpoint 70L, which breaks into a large 55L and a 15L dayback, to carry everything I own. Osprey is a company that manufactures high performance packs dedicated to adventure and the outdoors. They designed their Farpoint series with the urban backpacker in mind. The Farpoint features a similar support system as Osprey’s hiking backpacks and the conveniences needed to travel from airport to hostel. With the BYOB 10, it becomes a camera backpack!
During longer trips I keep the BYOB 10 nestled in the middle of the 55L pack between my clothes. In this position the bulk of the weight is neither going to dip into my lower back nor hunch my shoulders down. The weight is centered and therefore I can walk for miles with everything on my back.
To my pleasant surprise, the BYOB 10 can also fit inside the Osprey’s smaller 15L daypack. I can keep the camera insert zipped up and closed if I want to store more items into the daypack. Alternatively, if I wanted quick access to other lens and accessories the lid of insert can be stowed away. This combination is deal for running around taking photos during short day tips.
Packlite Travel Bag
In the event that you don’t have an extra backpack or simply run out of space in your pack, there’s a dedicated travel bag for the BYOB series. The Packlite Travel Bag is a collapsible, self-stowing camera bag made from PU-coated ripstop nylon. I picked one up months after using the BYOB 10. Although the Packlite is an optional accessory, I discovered that using it to transform the BYOB 10 into a messenger back is a good option to have –especially during flights.
For flights I usually check-in the Farpoint’s larger 55L pack and hand carry the 15L. The 15L daypack containing the camera insert easy to carry and walk around with. However, some flight attendants aren’t always keen with the a chubby backpack being kept under the seat during take off. They’ll often ask me to move my bag to the overhead compartment. This wouldn’t be a nuisance, if I wasn’t a workaholic. In additional to camera gear, my laptop and other important items are normally in the daypack. Moving out of my seat during a flight to rummage through my carry-on can be too much of a hassle –especially if you’re seated by a window and your neighbors happen to be asleep! To avoid this fussy situation I’ll move the BYOB 10 into the Packlite Travel Bag to stow into the overhead compartment and keep a resulting slender daypack with me for the remainder of the flight.
The Packlite’s benefits are not just exclusive to flight situations. At 6.4 oz / 181.4 g the Packlite provides the convenience of having a dedicated camera bag with a minimal trade-off in weight. The bag can effortlessly be rolled into its own mesh pocket without taking up much space.
I’ve also noticed that the Packlite isn’t an exact fit around the BYOB 10. Whether it was an intentional design or not, there is enough space to fit a 1L Nalgene bottle adjacent to the BYOB in the bag or a Joby Gorillapod on top of the BYOB.
The bag will still zip up and close all the way even if you pack it to its brim.
Overall I’m pleased with both the BYOB 10 and its Packlite Travel Bag. In combination these items work together to simplify the logistics nightmare of traveling with gear. By itself, the BYOB 10 provides me the benefit of converting any bag into a camera bag while simultaneously giving my camera equipment a secure, dedicated home. I also have the option of carrying the BYOB 10 on its own or as a messenger bag with the Packlite Travel Bag.
Granted these items are perfect under the presumption that you’re traveling with minimal equipment. They work well when you’re only carrying 1 or 2 camera bodies and a couple of lens options. Although it is possible to stuff the bag with more, by then it would be more efficient and practical to use a dedicated rolling Pelican case. Traveling with more gear equates to more weight, which I wouldn’t trust the Packlite Travel Bag to carry. However, if you keep things simple the BYOB 10 will revolve most packing dilemmas.
What I Liked:
- Travel friendly size
What I Didn’t Liked:
- Looks like a camera bag
- “Tenba” is written on the outside of the bag
Who Would Like This:
Who Wouldn’t Like This:
- Photographers that need to carry a lot of gear
- Those with gear that requires heavier protection
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