If you’ve ever had to go somewhere quiet and get a camera out of your bag, you’ve probably felt the twinge of embarrassment as the velcro on your bag goes “RRRIIIIPPPP” and everyone turns to look at what you’ve just done. A new product from Lowepro aims to do away with those issues by offering a quieter camera bag.
Camera bags haven’t really changed much over the past few years, with the designs often being little more than slightly new implementations of the backpack, shoulder, or sling bags we’ve all seen before, but with different colour combinations.
Lowepro’s Event Messenger doesn’t change the camera bag dramatically, opting instead to make it quieter when we’re in environments that demand silence, like a wedding, a church, or a press conference.
Designed as a shoulder bag, the Event Messenger 150 features two main sections: a front zipper pocket and a covered main compartment.
The front zipper section is designed for accessories, offering flaps for memory, pens, lens filters, and whatever else you can fit in.
The main section offers a large compartment managed by padded dividers for your camera gear, with a plush tablet section lining the back.
Lowepro’s cover for the main section isn’t a zip-up cover, however, opting instead for a fold over flap with both velcro and squeeze-buckle fasteners. The velcro here is unique, though, able to be folded back to silence the velcro and stop it from maintaining a hold on the bag.
Three other shallow pockets are included on the bag, with one on each side able to hold pens or memory cards, and a thin section for papers or small flat objects. A pull handle is also available to use at the back of the bag.
Bags generally don’t require high performance; they just need to hold and protect gear as you shuffle around the place.
Here, the Lowepro Event Messenger 150 succeeds, storing as many as two small camera bodies, a lens or two, and a tablet.
Like every Lowepro camera bag, the internal dividers can be ripped out and moved into different configurations, enabling you to set it up for nearly every camera type. While it’s obvious that Lowepro has designed this for an SLR, a couple of lenses, and a flash, we were able to – at different times – fit in a video camera, two SLR bodies and a spare lens, and even several tablets.
If your camera kit consists of one enthusiast or semi-pro body, a flash head, your tablet, and some lenses, the Event Messenger 150 will suit fine.
More than “just another bag” though, this bag includes silenced velcro, a material that can be folded back so that the velcro can’t interlock and tighten. While this means you don’t get the full hold that velcro offers, it also means that you don’t get the full “RRRIIIPPP” noise that accompanies opening any bag lined with the stuff.
You can still use the squeeze clip if you want a firmer lock, but basically this foldback velcro eliminates the loud noise pulling apart velcro brings. The velcro can be easily folded back into position when the firm velcro lock is needed.
The strap is reasonably comfortable too, with Lowepro going with a small amount of padding here. It would have been nice if the strap was replaceable, as it’s pretty much locked in here unless you want to get out the scissors.
There’s actually very little to complain about in this bag, but we wish the tablet compartment accommodated thicker tablets. It’s clear that Lowepro designed this for thin devices, but if you have a thicker keyboard case on your iPad or Android slate, you may have troubles getting it in and out of this section.
We’re not actually sure why it took someone this long to come up with a quieter velcro bag, but Lowepro seems to have done it, producing a bag that actually makes it easier to pull gear out without everyone getting annoyed at you.
It’s not perfect, and Lowepro does need to make some improvements – support for thicker cases, for instance – but the Event Messenger 150 manages to be a very good bag for the price.