It’s high summer here in Canada, and hopefully you’re making the most of it and taking lots of photos while you’re at it. But before you know it the new school year will be upon us. It’s never too early to start getting ready an here at BestBuy.ca we can hook you up with everything you need to hit the ground running.

One of the most important investments you’ll make is that new bag that you’ll use to tote your life around with you from class to class. And if you’re into photography, you’ll want a bag that will carry not just books, laptop and lunch, but also some camera equipment too. School is the perfect place to start building the portfolio that could launch your photography career, and having your camera with you at all times means you’ll always be ready when inspiration strikes. Today I’m going to look at some of the best options available to you here at BestBuy.ca.

A lot of camera bags are very specifically designed to carry equipment in a safe and easily accessible way, but there are also bags that allow you to bring some extra necessities along too. I have to admit I have a bit of a camera bag fetish – I love bags that have tonnes of handy little features and compartments.

 

Functionality

One of my all-time favourite bag manufacturers is Lowepro. When it comes to functionality they are always looking for new angles. And in terms of durability they are second to none. I bought my Lowepro bag 7 years ago and it is still in perfect condition. One of the latest models I really like is the Fastpack BP 250 AW II. There are three separate areas to utilise; one that takes equipment, one that accepts a laptop and/or a tablet, and another that will carry miscellaneous items – like lunch for example. There’s a pocket on the outside that will take a water bottle, or you can use it to carry a tripod because there’s a clip to keep the tripod safely in place. It’s called a Fastpack because it has a cool side panel that you can open to quickly access (or store) your camera. And at the bottom you have rain cover that you can deploy in a few seconds and store away discreetly. It’s attached to the bag too so no chance you’ll lose it. The equipment space will take a camera with lens, a spare lens, a flash, and a couple other items like say a hard drive and a battery charger. I like that the dividers in this space are moveable, so you can customize it to suit your needs.

 

Flexibility

The Lowepro Fastpack is a really well-designed bag in terms of ergonomics, and the shoulder straps and chest clip distribute the weight perfectly, plus there’s a removable waist strap which means you can happily take it on proper hikes. Another bag that fits in this category is the Burton Focus backpack. I’m sure you’re familiar with the Burton brand and their long association with winter sports. It’s a name synonymous with quality, and this bag certainly meets the benchmark. It has lots of flexible storage spaces, including a laptop compartment, but it also has a camera equipment compartment that is completely removable, so if you want to take it out to carry other things like sports equipment you are free to do so. And of course, you can strap your snowboard onto the Focus if you’re planning to cut classes and hit the slopes.

 

Style

If a backpack sounds a little bit bulky for you, there are other options to consider, such as a shoulder bag. Vanguard has a few shoulder bags in different sizes that allow you to carry a small amount of camera equipment plus a laptop or tablet. They also have a bottle holder on the outside of the bag, which is really important because you must never, ever carry liquids in the same compartment as your camera. I learned this the hard way (*sigh*). As you can see the Vanguard bags are pretty nice to look at as well, and a little style never goes unnoticed at school.

Also scoring well on the style charts is the ThinkTank Retrospective 7, which has a nice minimal aesthetic and is also sturdy and functional. It has a zip compartment for your laptop or tablet, and the front pocket is expandable, so you can cram in the handouts you get from your teachers. And if you happen to arrive late for class, the Retrospective 7 has a cool, silent open feature. It comes with a rain cover too, which I know is an important feature for many Canadian students.

Ok, I can’t really mention “style” and “multi-purpose camera bags” without mentioning the Kelly Moore range, because when it comes to chic and functional, this is where it’s at. You don’t get a rain cover with the Kelly Boy shoulder bag, but the exterior is weather-resistant, and most importantly – it looks awesome! This thing is 100% hipster approved, so pack it with your favourite film camera and get ready for many looks of approval. Please note however that the Kelly Boy does not have an external bottle pouch so keep a mental map of the campus drinking fountains.
As you can see there’s no shortage of options available when it comes to multi-purpose camera bags here at BestBuy.ca, and in fact if you head over to the DSLR Cases and Bags page you’ll see a “Features” section on the left-hand side that will allow you to narrow your search according to your needs.
Before you jump in and make a purchase, think about how much camera equipment you’re likely to want to carry with you. The bags I’m recommending may not be suitable as a primary camera bag if you have a lot of equipment. But if you want to make sure you have something with you at all times in case something should come up, then these bags are perfect.