I started looking at Billingham bags when I was looking for a medium sized shoulder bag that could fit one dslr body, 2-3 lenses, and my 13" Macbook Air, if needed. Before I purchased the Packington, I first bought a Hadley Pro. After receiving the Hadley Pro, I found out that it was a bit small for my needs and could not hold my 5D Mk III without having a bulge. I then did more research and purchased the Packington. It was a bit of a gamble because I wasn't able to find any detailed reviews or many useful photos of the Packington on the internet. Fortunately, it has turned out to be just the right bag for me. I hope this review will help others considering the Packington make their decision.
I had a chance to take the bag on a trip to Asia over the holidays and put it to use. Overall, I am very happy with the bag. It easily fits one body with two or three lenses, and accessories. It also fits my 13" Macbook Air. When I want to carry more gear, I go with a backpack. But when I want a bag for carrying around the city, or for travel, this bag fits my needs.
- Very comfortable to carry - the shoulder pad distributes the weight of the bag surprisingly well and is one of the most comfortable shoulder/messenger bags that I've used, even when loaded up.
- Quality and details typical of Billingham - which is to say very good.
- Canvas feels and looks high quality and is waterproof on top of that.
- Classic styling makes the bag go with whatever you're wearing and suitable for all occasions.
- The "flap" dividers that come with the insert are very useful as they allow you to split up a vertical compartment into two separate shorter compartments while still allowing easy access to the item in the lower compartment.
- pockets on the sides are useful for holding accessories, cellphone, wallet, etc, while providing easy access.
- Removable camera insert allows the bag to be used as a general purpose bag or work bag.
- Lack of a handle on top like the Hadley Pro is an inconvenience. I end up using the waist strap as a grab handle, but it's obviously not as good as having a real handle on the top.
- Color and fabric is susceptible to color transfer from jeans.
- Top opening of bag would be better if it could open wider. As it is, it is hard to slip my laptop in and out quickly, like at TSA checkpoints at the airport, and doesn't give you much room to maneuver a DSLR body in and out.
- Need to purchase optional straps to attach tripod (though I probably would use my backpack if I need to carry a tripod too)
- Waist strap doesn't seem to be necessary for its intended purpose.
Those are my observations so far. When I am researching bags, I find that photos are the most useful, so let me move on to that part of the review....
The first two photos are of the front and back of the bag. Note the waist straps that hang on the back of the bag when not in use. The zippered flat pocket on the back is good for stashing documents and magazines. The loop on the top of the back side of the bag is apparently for use in an optional backpack strap system. There are four other loops on the bag for the backpack strap system.