A short time ago I bought a Crumpler The Whickey And Cox. This is their medium size backpack that will also accommodate a 15" laptop. The two other bags currently in this range are The Keystone (smaller) and the The Karachi Outpost (larger). I've been a long time Lowepro user and finally decided that I wanted a bag that felt a bit better on my back. This was the main reason for the change. I've still kept the Computrekker though even though I think it feels like two large bricks strapped to your back when loaded. I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated Crumpler store in town close to where I work. I road tested the bag twice with my gear to see how it would fit before I bought it.
Still working on some photos. I currently carry the following. 30D + BG-E2 with the EF 24-105mm attached, EF 70-200mm F2.8 IS, EF-S 10-22mm, Sigma EF 30mm, 580EX, Spare cards, Blower, Off Camera Shoe Cord 2, lens hoods for all lenses, Card reader, Spare batteries for the 580, Filter Case with CP etc in it.
1. It carries very well! This bag feels more like a regular backpack. This is probably because of the shape and the weight distribution. The shoulder straps are very substantial and well curved so they sit better on your shoulders. The shoulder straps have a plastic loop on then to attach things. They sit about shoulder level for me. Never understood what I'd personally use these for myself.
2. A nice solid feel to the bag, the main material on the bag is thick and heavy. All of the stitching and zips are good of quality. The zips to open the bag are not accessed from the front of the bag. You have to lay the bag down on its front and then open the zip that runs along the seam at the back. The idea of the zips opening at the back of the bag doesn't worry me, adds a bit of extra security. Crumpler promote the idea of laying the bag down on the front as a way to not get your back messy when you wear the bag after opening it in a muddy area.
3. It comes with plenty of dividers. I removed a quite a few dividers and the mesh bag that was at the top. How you arrange things will probably depend on the lenses you wish to carry but I think as soon as you add a longish zoom you'll be removing dividers to fit it in. The mesh bag is a nice idea but takes up valuable room at the top of the bag.
4. The two zip pockets on the sides are not huge but do hold a bit due to their tapered shape. These pockets curve around towards the front of the bag. The zip opening is small and tight and getting my hand in is a little difficult. I guess you could say the bag really doesn't have sides, at least the big boxy sides that the Lowepro Computrekker has.
5. The removable inner shell is a great idea. This just attaches to the inside of the bag via velcro. It does a have a tendency to slip down a little but it can only go so far. The space it leaves at the top is perfect for storing the waste strap. When you remove the inner shell this it converts the bag from a camera bag to a normal daypack.
6. The pouch for the laptop attaches to the back of the inside via velcro and I like the idea that it is removable pouch. I don't use this most of the time and this leaves a little extra room in the bag against your back. I've sometimes carried a folded up jacket in this space.
7. The waste strap is removable. This is a great idea and it folds up small enough to store in the bag for when you don't need it.
8. It doesn't look like a camera bag, it looks more like a regular backpack than a camera bag.
9. It holds more than you think at first look. With a bit of rearrangement I can fit one less lens in the The Whickey And Cox than I can in the Lowepro Computrekker.
10. It does have a loop and a strap on the front of the bag to sling a tripod from. I haven't tried this yet.
1. I'd really like a rain cover like the Lowepro AW series of bags have. That said the construction of the The Whickey And Cox looks well enough constructed to live up to its blurb as water resistant, not that I hope to test this out anytime soon.
2. I find it real hard to remove the camera from the bottom part of the bag. It doesn't just slip out easily so its not a option to quickly take the bag off your back and whip out the camera. You really have to undo two separate zips, the first is the main zip on the back and the second is the one for the camera gear area. I guess you could leave the second one undone and just pull back the flap if you wanted, I choose not too to give get that extra level of security.
3. The sloping nature of the side pockets mean that they don't have the depth of a Lowepro style bag. Small primes fit in easily, longer primes like a 100mm macro will best fit on their side. This takes up more room and means you have to remove additional dividers. If I need to carry the macro I have to reorganise and carry the lens hoods loose. This means the macro can go vertical in the centre of the bag and the 10-22 moves across to the sides.
4. Price. All of the Crumpler line is priced at the top end. This was a bit if a stumbling block for me as seeing I was planning on keeping the Computrekker I had to be sure I was getting all that I wanted.
5. The little loop on the top doesn't compare to the handles that come of the other bags have.
6. I'd like it to have some loops on the side to attach some lens cases like the Lowepro Sliplock series. You could use the loops on the front that are for the tripod for this but that wil preclude carring a tripod here.
I'm very happy with this bag, it suits my needs at the moment. The best thing I find about it the comfort factor. If you have got this far you MUST check out the Crumpler Web site. It has got to be the one of the most original and out there web sites around.
Update - March '09
I've had this bag for more than two years now and it is still going strong. It is still used as my main bag almost all the time.
I did have a problem in mid 08 with a zipper that broke. I presented the bag to the local Crumpler store and received a repaired bag two weeks later. No receipt needed.