Crumpler Karachi Outpost

The quest for the perfect bag continues. This time its the Crumpler Karachi Outpost. Could this be the perfect bag?

Camera bags....just can't have enough. Since my Lumix cameras fill my needs with camera gear my bag obsession has grown to epic proportions.

Eventually I think I'm going to have to design my own bag but alas I'll probably need to have at least five "perfect" bags to make THE perfect bag. I dunno...maybe I'm crazy but I've never been satisfied with any one bag. Perhaps I'm a bag addict.

With over 40 camera bags, my obsession is real but I'd be happy with just a few bags that work.
With over 40 camera bags, my obsession is real but I'd be happy with just a few bags that work.

Recently I've been on the quest for a personal bag. I'm somewhat happy with my ThinkTank bags for work but when I'm hanging out with my people I want to detach a little from work. I say a little because I always have to have a camera with me. I'm always shooing which is my first obsession. That said, for a personal bag I have some criteria that it should meet:

It must look good

I don't care if my work bags miss the mark on fashion. When I'm working I'm working and I need function but when I'm chilling, the bag I cary is an extension of my personal style. At some level, I want my bag to represent who I am. I don't want the bag to broadcast that I'm carrying my camera.

The bag must not be massive - I don't want a beast of a bag. Again, I'm not really working and if the bag is huge I'm going to want to fill it with gear. Even though M43 gear is small and light if I fill a large bag with gear it can get heavy by the end of the day. Also, carrying a huge kit introduces the paradox of choice; too much gear makes choosing what to use difficult and thus I end up creating less. Not ideal.

Must have space for personal goods

If I have a rare day off I want to enjoy it. Being able to put goods like a hoodie, a snack, drink and other goodies in a bag is nice. Also I hate having my pockets filled with crap. I want to travel light, with my camera but also with my non-camera stuff.

The bag has to be comfortable

No matter what the bag has to be comfy. Backpacks need to fit and shoulder bags need to have a fat, non slip strap. My preference in bags is also that the shape conforms to my body. If I'm out all day and the bag is digging into my shoulders it not fun.

Icing on the cake

The bag should be able to fit a small tripod inside. Because I often capture video to animate my photography I need a tripod for stabilization. Say the tripod is strapped to the back of a backpack. That kinda defeats the above points. Also having a tripod on the out side of the bag can throw off balance and add strain on your neck, back and shoulders. Not a fun way to spend a day off.

So how did this Crumpler work out?

It must look good

The Crumpler is a good looking bag. You know me, I love red but the color, fabrics and feel of the bag are tops. It's more on the earthy side of fashion rather then my usual preferred urban style but I still dig the looks. Because of the classic rucksack looks I would not use this bag on the regular but with the right wardrobe I'd rock this like a hurricane.

Must have space for personal goods

The Crumpler has a unique designed section at the top for personal goods. If I need more space for personal goods I simply move the top most internal divider down a bit which expands the compartment. Problem is, and this is due to the overall size of the bag, the space for personal goods at the top is small. There's no way I'm going to fit a hoodie in there. Maybe a windbreaker but that's it. There's another pocket on the outside of the bag but that's good for maybe a wallet, a few filters and maybe an extra battery or two.

The bag has to be comfortable

This is what's going to prevent me from keeping the bag. The straps are just too short for a man my sized which makes me believe this bag was either designed for women, smaller, skinny men or kids. If the straps were just about six inches longer it would be a much better fit but as is, if I wear this bag for more than an hour the straps start to dig in my arm pits. This frustrates me because it's such a near miss and I really want to rock this bag daily but I can't. Not even for half a day.

The icing on the cake

I can only put the smallest MeFoto inside. Because of the small size of the Crumpler Karachi I have to use a small table top tripod which somewhat limits what I shoot.

Overall if you are a smaller person or kid this bag would be awesome but for me it's a pass and that's a bummer since I dropped $200 on it. I did try out the Crumpler in Large but that was too big. To my knowledge this bag does not come in medium but if it did that could be a bag for me.

On a side note, unfortunately for me I took the recommendation of the sales people where I got the bag and trusted that it was a good fit. I reached out to them twice and rather than take advantage of this customer service opportunity (they knew I was going to review the bag) their response was more or less "talk to Crumpler". As much as I want to support the smaller shops, my $200 is the last that this particular retailer gets from me.

The Crumpler Karachi, so close yet so far away.

If you're a smallish person and want a cool bag support Small Camera Big Picture by purchasing your bag here.

Note - Rather than throw this bag in my black hole of a camera bag closet, I gave the Crumpler Karachi Outpost to Kristen who's apprenticing with me. Here's her take.

I like this backpack so far - it fit’s comfortably and holds a good amount of gear. I especially like the vented padding that stays cool & comfortable on your back. The pockets on the sides are appear large, but are a little small/narrow..I can hardly fit my laptop charger in it. The top pouch is great and I can throw anything in there and I love the rain protector. I can’t use the sternum strap because it just doesn’t look right.