I have one or two cheap camera/equipment bags, but I also live in a fairly bad neighborhood and I have this sort of fear of being mugged. Not that it's something that I constantly worry about, I just try not to be stupid. So I bought some camera bags and stuff, and my gear fit nicely into it. But then I realized, "holy ****...when I wear this, it looks like I'm a photographer. That means that it looks like I am carrying stuff that people can steal and then later sell by either beating or stabbing or shooting me."
So ultimately, I eventually decided to just start stuffing all of my ***** into cheap-ass backpacks. It might not fit well ergonomically and some of my gear might get damaged by getting stuffed together so tightly. But at least it just sort of looks like I'm a middle-aged loser clinging on to hopes of education by carrying around a backpack full of books, rather than looking like I'm carrying a satchel worth possibly thousands of dollars worth of equipment, which is free for the taking if I were to just get shanked or shot.
You MIGHT resort to shooting or stabbing a middle-aged loser to get his textbooks, but even most thugs probably won't do that. The potential payoff just isn't worth the murder conviction. But advertise that you're carrying around photography gear, and the potential payoff goes up. Which makes the incentive for shooting or stabbing my ass just that much more sweet. So...these days I generally just tend to carry all my stuff around in cheap-ass backpacks from Wal-Mart. It might not be best for keeping my gear safe, but at least it doesn' scream "this dude has **** I could sell, if only I were to shoot or stab him."
Anyway, am I just being paranoid?
Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable carrying around bags which clearly say "photographer"?