In this other thread Tom Bihn Hybrid Photog Bags ? there were some good suggestions but I wanted to add a few generic ideas instead of mucking up that thread.
The problem that I'm trying to solve is a DSLR bag that protects my equipment and carries my stuff when I travel and when I hike. Right now the best solution I have is my Kata R101. It does a great job at protection, it's light, and comfortable but still not perfect. Here's what I think the bag should do:
- Small enough for personal item carry on.
- Be comfortable on a hike. To me this means back pack with ergo straps across chest and/or waist. Maybe others think shoulder is fine but not me personally.
- Protect the equipment. However there is some flexibility in HOW you do that.
- Space for a laptop. I don't carry one on photo trips but I can see where others would require it. My Kata has room for a small one. I think the space should be enough for a magazine or 8.5 x 11" so I can print travel documents and carry them easily. That's something I need. Needs to be easy access.
- Space for at least 2 lenses.
- Some way to store various sundries like cables and such.
- Room for other travel stuff like iPod.
- Easy access zipper for camera only (Kata has this).
- Not scream camera bag?
- Server other purposes?
I was thinking that maybe a regular padded bag with some smaller specific safety containers could meet a few needs. For example, if you could buy a sleeve for your lenses like you do for a laptop, and the sleeves where secured inside the padded bag, then you wouldn't need the pre-molded solution that most people have today. Many bags use inserts and velcro but I think something else could be done.
Big problem with camera bags is there is so many equipment specific needs it's impossible to please everyone. For example, I don't take a tripod but some people do. Anyway, just some thoughts I had on the topic.