Crumbler Bags Are Delicous

8th August 2007

Oh my goodness, friends. I love me a Crumpler bag. If you’re a photographer, I can’t recommend them enough. I own a 1 Million Dollar Home, which I often use as a purse, and also a Customary Barge. The latter is one of the few camera bags that also has room for your laptop and some everyday stuff, and I take mine everywhere. It’s especially awesome as a carry-on when we travel.

However, I’ve been avoiding recommending the Customary Barge on Mighty Goods, because it’s a few steps away from being the Perfect Thing. I want them to do a few things to fix it, so I can take it to bed with me at night and cradle it in my arms.

Dear Crumpler, please make these slight adjustments to your Customary Barge, because I adore it , but I also sometimes find it frustrating:

-Make a back that works for women.
The back straps seem like they were built to fit a man. I’m a 5’9″ woman, and I can’t seem to adjust the back straps into a comfortable position. This kind of blows when I’m traveling, because it results in achy back.

-Make the zipper logos less obtrusive (for personal safety reasons).
Speaking of travel, I bought the black bag so it would look less obtrusive when I’m traveling in third-world countries, but I had to go to great lengths to de-logo it. The Crumpler brand is getting to be a flag for “expensive stuff in here.” I know it’s important for your branding to be out there, but it would be cool if you could make it a little easier to de-brand the bag for the small percentage of your customers who are concerned about personal safety issues when they travel. My suggestion would be to just make the the little guys on the zippers black so they’re not visible from a distance. I cut off the rubber tags, but still had to color my zippers in with a sharpie, and it obviously looks kind of ugga.

-Include at least one place to slip a pen.
I’m a writer, so I have a deep attachment to my favorite pen, but the top of my favorite pen keeps coming off when I tuck it into a pocket. Then the ink gets all over the stuff in the pocket–stuff like my awesome green leather wallet, and my cell phone. Boo. Also, when I go to fish it out, ink gets all over my hand. This blows. just one little loop of nylon inside the pocket would fix it.

-Make a place for easy cell phone access.
My cell and keys both go in the outside pocket because I need quick access to both. But because there’s no nylon divider, my keys are scratching my phone. I tried putting the phone inside the camera bag, but then I lose lens space, and I can’t get to my phone in time when it rings.

-Tuck a key hook in the outside pocket.
Just one of those little leashes with a clip on the end, so you never have to fish and you can keep your keys on the opposite side of the pocket from your iPod if you need to.

-Make the outside pocket easier to access.
I have small hands, and the zipper scratches the back of my hand when I try to reach in. This may be because of the rain guard flap, which is awesome, but it would be extra-awesome if there were a way to keep that protection while making the pocket slightly more accessible when I need my wallet or my phone’s ringing.

-Like the camera bag, make the laptop sleeve removable.
It’s one of the first things folks ask me about when I’m showing off my excellent bag. Doesn’t bother me too much, but apparently it’s something other people want.

That’s it. You are moments away from the world’s most perfect bag, Crumpler! Let’s do this thing.

Love,
Maggie

Update: Saaaay. The Lowepro Compu Daypack looks like a cool alternative. It’s not exactly the shape or interior space I want, but then again, it’s only fifty bucks. (Thanks for the tip in comments, Kym B.)

38 thoughts on “Crumbler Bags Are Delicous

  1. amanda

    Hmm, brilliant letter, if I had but an iota of your clout I might try the same thing. I have the Breakfast Buffet and I would feel safe slapping a tab of velcro on either of my daughters and swinging them from the top of the Chrysler building, so fiercely stick-stick-stickety is the velcro on the flaps. I mugged more than one airport waiting chamber of hell with its pucker.

    Good luck!

  2. Kat A.

    I like the looks of most Crumpler bags, but they have two big problems for me:

    –the velcro. *Acres* of velcro they have, holding the flap shut, and the sound of velcro being ripped apart is like nails on a blackboard to me.
    –Also, there seem to be two kinds of people in the world: those who find Crumpler’s website cute and endearing, and those who are driven MAD by it. I am in the latter group.

    They do seem to be really well-made bags, though; people who own one usually rave about them.

  3. Maggie Ann

    Damn those bags are fine…

    but that site… well, maybe its just because i’m a bit high, but it seems very loud.

    the bags though, they rock.

  4. almost vegetarian

    I so love this. I have been trying and trying to explain to the husband how woman shop. We know what we want. Truly. We have put thought it in … this much thought … and we know what we want and we will look until we find it and we will not settle, damn it.

    And nor should we.

    Cheers!

  5. amandarin

    Clearly the price for the perfect bag is an exceedingly imperfect website.

    I understand the gimmick, but when I found that the descriptions on the “shop for bags” pages are written in phoenetic, hillbilly argot I was immediately frustrated and turned off to the entire product line.

    I might buy one of these bags if I found it in a store, but there’s no way I’m navigating that mess of a website simply to give them (a lot) of my hard-earned money.

  6. simon

    I have a 7-million dollar bag and was going to tell you to check these awesome bags out, but of course you already knew about them. I echo the super loud velcro comment. What is with the huge loopy straps on the outside of the bag? I have no idea what a photographer would use them for.

    I don’t mind the website, because even though it was ugly, it was still easy to order. BUT, the most offensive thing is on the site it says, “made in the you ass of a.” is the web designer 14?

  7. zan

    Someone stole our Luncheon when they broke into our apartment earlier this year. It kills me, because we were so nervous about spending that much money on a bag in the first place. Now that I think about it, though, I never really took the bag out because of several of the issues you listed above.

    Still, I miss the poor thing. I’ll have to wait until the Crumpler MightyBag comes out before I invest in a new one.

  8. Sara

    I think either of the Barge bags could be exactly what I’ve been looking for– a backpack for traveling that will hold my laptop, camera, requisite toiletries and various magazines and books. Alas, the $190 price tag makes my stomach hurt a bit, and your comments are exactly the things I would complain about if I did buy it. So, no bag for me right now, but good to know they’re out there!

  9. Ms. Jen

    I had the “Moderate Embarassment” laptop bag for my 12″ PowerBook. I loved the purple color, but my two big complaints were:

    1) No way to lock the bag. Fine when trotting to & fro, but when traveling or on public transport I wanted to use a lock.

    2) Ah, I really hated the Messenger bag style uni-strap. I have a bust and over the chest straps just don’t work for me. On top of Maggie’s statement about the backpack straps, I do believe that Crumpler’s designers may all be male who aren’t thinking about body shape, proportion, and busts that get in the way.

    When I got my 15″ MacBook Pro, which does not fit in the moderate embarrassment, I went on the Crumpler site to see if I could find a bag better fit to my needs and I could not. So, I did not buy.

    A friend of mine is a product designer who is currently designing backpacks for film/tv crews. I have put in a request for a laptop/camera bag that would work for a woman. With a lock.

  10. kym b

    Good work, you should design yourself a line o’ bags.

    For those who don’t want to spend quite that much but want a multi-functional one, I love, love, love my Lowepro CompuDaypack. It holds a MacBook Pro, digital SLR with several lenses and a flash. It also has a little iPod pocket with a place for the headphones to emerge from. Also it has a hook for keys, pockets for phones and other gadgets, several pen slots and also a place for a notepad. Plus, get this, no velcro except for in the camera compartment so you can move the dividers around for various lens sizes. Awesome padding as well. And for, um, now under $50

  11. Emily

    You know, I realise this might be missing the point a bit, but Crumpler have a ‘custom’ shop in Fitzroy (Melbourne). Maybe you could get them to make you a special one just for you? It would probably cost an arm and a leg, but maybe it would be worth it for the perfect bag…

  12. Melanie

    My husband has a Canon backpack that he loves – regular backpack straps and plenty of camera pockets, and he got it pretty cheap. He carries about 8000 cameras with him wherever he goes and he likes abandoned and dangerous locations and the bag’s held up great so far.

  13. Josie

    Hmm, I think when I saw these bags at a nearby camera store there were accessory deals you could add onto the bag (like a cell phone pocket). This may be a false memory, but I don’t think so.

  14. Jess

    I second the velcro comment. My travel companion had one of the crumpler camera bags in Thailand and every time he opened up that sucker *RIIIIIP*, it just drew attention to his OMGLARGE camera :(

  15. Lisa

    Hi Maggie,

    I’ve been wanting to ask you this question, and hope this is an appropriate place in which to do so since the topic is bags.

    What diaper bags do you recommend? I am 25 weeks pregnant and really need to figure out the baby gear thing. Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have.

    Also–from time to time I’ll think of your “Pregnancy Doesn’t Suck” series which makes me feel a whole lot better by searching for the positive despite waking up with numb hands and/or achy hips in the middle of the night (I liked the one about taking naps). My contribution to the “Pregnancy Doesn’t Suck” series would be this one: Husband declares “mandatory Dairy Queen blizzard” nights. For the calcium, of course.

  16. Kelley

    PacSafe bags are supremely awesome. I got a City Safe 200 for my most recent trip and it is a perfect camera bag/purse/diaper bag/day pack. Has a pen holder! And two pockets on the outside, one for keys and one for the Treo. Fits the laptop perfectly as well. Check them out, you will be in love.

  17. Maggeh Post author

    Hi Lisa, We have the Skip Hop one with an expando zipper around the outside and the one front pocket that has a velcro flap over it. We love it, except that when you overstuff it, the stroller-attachment clips sometimes come loose.

  18. Nancy

    I almost thought that website was too hip for me the first time I visited (I was asked to move out of the Mission in 1998 for the same reason) but I loved it on my second visit.

    I eschew over-velcro-ed bags but except for that, these look wonderful.

  19. Lynne

    Leave it to me to fixate on something largely unrelated to the thread, but….Can you tell me about your favourite pen? I too have my favourites. Glad to know I’m not alone!

  20. BOSSY

    Looks handy, but Bossy prefers to jam her camera down into her scratchy sandy purse – directly next to the car keys and sticky mints.

  21. Elizabeth

    Great ideas! As for your cell phone getting scratched from keys…check out The Invisible Sheild (shieldzone.com) I have it on my iPhone and all iPods, plus I’ve had it on every cell phone in the last few years. They are amazing and best of all scratch proof the items. You can literally take keys to them or a knife and no scratching

  22. char

    Aren’t they delicious!! I have two a 7 Million Dollar Home and a 3 Million Dollar Home and I have a Winkler S, next on my list is the Winkler L for my 5th Gen iPod.

  23. jkottke

    I like Crumpler much more in theory than reality. There’s the overly loud/strong velcro problem mentioned above. I’ve also found that their bags don’t “sit” correctly. I have a small camera bag that won’t sit flat on my back because the strap is sewed onto the bag in what I’d say is a stupid angle…I used the bag twice and threw it in the closet because it flopped around too much to wear it. My current Crumpler backpack fits awkwardly too.

    But the biggest problem with their bags is that they seldom obey the 5-second rule: you should be able to get something (pen, book, magazine, small notebook, iPod, phone, etc.) into or out of the bag in less than 5 seconds without setting the bag down or even really looking at what you’re doing. I feel like the Crumpler bags are holding my items hostage while I’m out and about. Is a quick zipper pocket on the outside of the bag too much to ask?

  24. the idiot

    I haven’t seen anyone mention Brenthaven yet, so I’ll stick my 2 cents in here: Mine is a Duo (a discontinued model) I got second-hand. While not specifically designed for a camera, it does the job pretty well anyway-it’s really made for laptops first. But it’s successfully commando in that there are no huge logos, there is no velcro to speak of, and there are more pockets than you can shake a stick at. The straps are adjustable, so it would probably work well with a 5’9″ person (I’m 5’11”.) Heavy duty ballistic nylon, heavy outside zippers, easy egress, and it fits a DSLR well too, along with cords, cables, pens (three holsters), disc sleeves, a map pocket, outside cellphone pockets, and even an snap sleeve you could probably jam a tripod into. I’d say my only beefs with it are that it’s a little hard to get the camera out, and that there are too many pockets-it’s easy to lose stuff in there.

  25. stacey

    i just bought the lowepro too! costa rica, here i come! (with my d70 in tow!) thank you! i like the crumpler bag, too, but the $50 price tag was a lot easier to swallow…

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