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Thread started 18 Feb 2009 (Wednesday) 16:07
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Review: ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60. (26 images)

 
xenomorphic
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Feb 18, 2009 16:07 |  #1

The ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60 is ThinkTank's largest camera and laptop shoulder bag and features a large compartment for camera/lenses, laptop pocket and a number of other compartments as well as several nifty features. I recently picked one up, and thought I'd contribute by sharing some thoughts on it.

Why would I want one of these anyway?
I miss my gear too much to leave it at home. I work in graphic design, and I need to commute to a day job that can throw anything at me - I can't really pack for a particular kind of shooting - so I like to bring enough gear to be well covered. I regularly need a bag that will allow me to comfortably bring along a laptop, a DSLR, 3-4 lenses, hot-shoe flash units and accessories, and preferably have it readily accessible for use. I'm a bag-a-holic, so for this I already have a number of specialized shoulder-bags that get use depending on the amount of gear, except that none of them take a laptop.

Just for comparison...
For non-laptop camera shoulder-bags, my absolute all time favourite is the Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home. For me this is hands down the greatest camera-only bag ever made. It is discrete, extremely well manufactured, holds a great deal of gear in a space-efficient way, is great to work out of and comfortable to carry. It seems to magically fit any combination of gear I throw into it, too.
The only drawback to the 7MDH is that there isn't a 7MDH with laptop-compartment. Well there is, sort of: The largest comparable shoulder-bag in the european Crumpler range is (was?) the Crumpler Sixhundred Daily XL. It has a laptop compartment. I bought this bag, and then had a hell of a job trying to fit my regular stuff into it. It has tons of dividers and everything, it just seems like the internal proportions are slightly less than ideal - not at all like the 7MDH.

ThinkTank
I got sold on ThinkTank because I needed a carry-on roller for air-travel last summer. ThinkTank's Airport International roller is, in a word, awesome. So I had no qualms about picking up the Urban Disguise 60 on impulse the other day, on the assumption that it will prove to be the bag I'm looking for.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6756.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6757.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6758.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6759.jpg

ThinkTank's philosophy is altogether different from that of Crumpler, which is evident in their design. While both are great brands with great products, ThinkTank's gear is built with security and practicality foremost, where Crumpler makes more concessions to design and ends up looking better for it. Both strive for user comfort. Many of ThinkTank's models are built around a square frame/shape - and the Urban Disguise is one such model.

Urban Disguise 60
This is ThinkTanks largest camera shoulder-bag. It measures 16" L x 11.25" H x 4.25" D, or 40.5 x 28.5 x 10.5 cm. It easily holds 3 big lenses, and 1-2 camera body(ies) and a laptop (supposed to hold 17", I have only tried it with my 15"). Quality is superb. Adequate padding (not too much, not too little). Rugged, solid and reliable feel. Fairly discrete by design - as it should be, given its name.

The UD60 has a total of 15 pockets/compartments, not counting business-card slots or spaces created by dividers. Lets start from the front flap and work backwards through the bag:

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6760.jpg
The bag lying front-flap up.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6761.jpg
Front-flap zippered pocket open. Extends to entire depth and width of the flap. Smaller inner pockets and pen-holders. Nice detail: Extra secure zippered inner pocket (red cord) holds passport and ticket for easy access.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6770.jpg
Very nice fastening mechanism: 2 strips of velcro and a flat, solid buckle.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6763.jpg
Front flap open. 2 deep expandable pockets on front. Zippered pocket behind.

Reviews:
ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt and Modular set
ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60

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xenomorphic
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Feb 18, 2009 16:07 |  #2

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6765.jpg
Closeup. Inner pocket has a cord with a clip on the end for keys, etc. Also visble business-card slots and larger inner pockets sewn to the back wall of the compartment. One flat, zippered inner pocket with clear plastic front.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6766.jpg
But wait, there's more! This compartment also holds the included Pee Wee Pixel Pocket Rocket, which holds 4 CF cards and 3 SD cards. To quote the ThinkTank product-pages, "It has red trim for easy identification". Yup, sure is red. Sure looks important. IS important if you put anything in it.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6768.jpg
Close-up of the Pee Wee Pixel Pocket Rocket

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6771.jpg
Side of the UD60 - industrial strength zippers galore. These are the 'L's of the zipper-world - smooth, solid and confident operation.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6772.jpg
Stretch side-pocket with Sekonic L-358. There is one of these on either side of the bag. Will accomodate water-bottle or 580EX flash (as suggested by ThinkTank product-pages - but that rather takes the 'Disguise' out of 'Urban Disguise', no?)

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6773.jpg
Finally, we come to the main compartment. At the time of purchase this contains 2 + 3 + 3 soft foam dividers in addition to the main dividers already in place, as well as the carrying strap and rain-cover.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6775.jpg
Rain-cover seems to be made out of a rip-stop material and is easy to attach, remove and fold back into its integrated holding bag.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6776.jpg
Main compartment is divided into 3 deep vertical sections by two central dividers and two secondary dividers at each end of the bag (at each end of the main zipper). These are all sturdy, attached with velcro and can be moved about.

Reviews:
ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt and Modular set
ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60

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xenomorphic
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Feb 18, 2009 16:08 |  #3

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6780.jpg
The two main dividers are split towards the top end to allow folding the topmost part away at an angle to provide rest for the camera grip.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6781.jpg
(bag reversed) There is a full-sized flat but expandable pocket between the front of the bag and the dividers of the main compartment.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6782.jpg
Behind the main compartment sits the laptop compartment. This is zippered along the top like the main compartment and will hold up to a 17" laptop. The pocket includes a velcro divider that lets you reduce the inner size if using a smaller laptop. This frees some space for cables along one edge.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6783.jpg
At the back of the bag is one full-size zippered flat pocket for magazines, etc.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090214_6784.jpg
Finally, there is a smaller "pocket" next to the business-card holder which unzips at the bottom to fit over the handle of an Airport International roller or similar, securing the bag in place during transit. Or you could just use it for something else - closed that is.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090215_6789.jpg
Bag with the strap attached

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090215_6790.jpg
Close-up of the shoulder strap. ThinkTank call this "Our deluxe shoulder strap, the Curved Comfort ... soft lining wraps around both edges so that if you wear it across your chest it will not chafe your neck. It also has a “non slip” material so it will not fall off of your shoulder." I choose to quote this directly because it really does provide this experience. Packed full, this bag can get pretty heavy, but it's the weight, not the strap, that may in the end make you wonder why you just had to bring that last pound of glass. ;) The strap really is great. And my jacket slides off my shoulder before the strap does.

Reviews:
ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt and Modular set
ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60

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xenomorphic
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Feb 18, 2009 16:08 as a reply to  @ xenomorphic's post |  #4

Ok, so how about the gear?

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090215_35051.jpg
This is the amount of gear I was able to pack into this bag without using any of the exteriour stretch-pockets (theres still plenty of room for more filters, extra batteries and other "flat" stuff):

  • 5D
  • 100-400 L attached to 5D, hood reversed
  • 70-200 f/4 IS, hood reversed (f2,8 would have been no problem, I just don't have one)
  • 24-70 f/2.8L, hood reversed
  • 85 f/1.2, hood reversed
  • 2 x 580EXII speedlites
  • Sekonic 358 lightmeter
  • MacBookPro 15"
  • Filters, rocket blower, batterycharger and cable, microfibrecloth, memorycards


IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090215_3500.jpg
I used one vertical divider to stack the 24-70 and the 85 in one of the vertical divisions.

IMAGE: http://www.infinitesoup.com/externalimages/jb_20090215_3502.jpg
Bag fully packed. This is pushing the limits of what will comfortably fit in the bag. At this point the zippers were not forced, but things were tight. In this example I would recommend perhaps leaving out the flashes or one of the zoom-lenses - this leaves the bag a bit looser, not to mention lighter. Your Mileage May Vary.

Final thoughts
I have commuted with the bag for about a week now and used it on trips around town, and I'm very happy about the things that ThinkTank are good at: security, functionality and comfort. Easy access to the camera while in transit, solid feel, and - indeed - a bag that has not drawn a second glance from anyone on public transport or elsewhere.

The bag carries surprisingly well considering its box-like shape - the shoulder strap delivers near amazing shoulder staying power and pushing the bag back across my back lightens the effort of carrying the not inconsiderable weight of the gear that the bag fits when fully loaded. If I was going to spend the entire day walking around shooting, I would perhaps either opt for a backpack, or pack a bit less than what the bag fits - because the weight does get to me after a while. ThinkTank offer an optional harness you can fit onto the bag to facilitate carrying it on your back - I haven't tried this, but it might very well broaden the possible uses of this bag for me.

So how does it compare to the Crumpler? I'm tempted to say that a Crumpler would have been more comfortable - and the 7MDH is - but then again, the Crumpler with the laptop pocket is not more comfortable. I think you have to accept that a laptop dictates that the bag must contain a hard, square box somewhere, and weight distribution issues dictate that that box be located close to your hip. And that just isn't going to be the best companion of human anatomy any time soon. If this is a concern, I'd recommend getting a backpack instead, but if shoulder-bags are your thing, this one might be for you - it certainly is for me.

James

Reviews:
ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt and Modular set
ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60

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stathunter
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Feb 18, 2009 16:11 |  #5

Well done. Thanks for sharing. I am becoming a ThinkTank fan-- I have several and this looks like another great bag by them.


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jacobsen1
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Feb 18, 2009 16:21 as a reply to  @ stathunter's post |  #6

damn, EXCELLENT review...


any chance you're considering a UD30? ;) (I need a review like this of one)


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xenomorphic
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Feb 18, 2009 16:33 |  #7

Thanks, stathunter and jacobsen1 :)

jacobsen1 wrote in post #7354331 (external link)
any chance you're considering a UD30? ;) (I need a review like this of one)

:lol: I think I read somewhere on ThinkTank's site that the UD30 has just about the same layout as the UD60, except for laptop-pocket, and of course, size. It's probably a great bag - and not having to bring the laptop along is going to make it all the nicer :)


Reviews:
ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt and Modular set
ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60

Gear list

  
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sevans16
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Feb 18, 2009 18:10 |  #8

I took a good look at it here in Vegas at WPPI convention and it looked great!! I bought there module "skin" set with belt. I want to get the UD and Airport Security. Went broke saving money though!!


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René ­ Damkot
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Feb 18, 2009 18:58 |  #9

Thorough review!


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Feb 18, 2009 23:52 |  #10

Wow. That's some review! Thanks for doing it.

I definitely didn't bother at ALL with taking good pictures... and it shows in how sloppy mine are. :P


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Feb 19, 2009 05:36 as a reply to  @ tigerotor77w's post |  #11

Nice review.

I wish they would come out with a UD60 that could fit a gripped/pro body attached to a lens like the UD35.


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timnosenzo
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Feb 19, 2009 06:24 |  #12

Really nice review, it gives you a much better idea of what this bag can do compared to the pictures on Think Tank's site.

I have this bag as well, and it holds my 17" MBP and a bunch of lenses with nooooo problem. Great bag.


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Feb 19, 2009 06:48 |  #13

I have had this bag for the last year and I love it. It's so discrete. I can fit my HP pavillion DV9000 laptop in it no probs at all...but it won't fit in my Vertex 200.
The front pockets can fit 2 pro sized SLR's or 5D's with grips no probs. But the bag becomes a lot bigger and spoils it's profile. The front pockets are a little harsh on the camera paint finish too.


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No ­ Mas
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Feb 19, 2009 14:58 |  #14

Excellent bag. Maybe I would have considered it had I known about it three months ago. In the meantime I picked up a Tenba Messenger.

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Feb 19, 2009 15:04 |  #15

jacobsen1 wrote in post #7354331 (external link)
damn, EXCELLENT review...


any chance you're considering a UD30? ;) (I need a review like this of one)


You want the 35, not the 30. The 35 is Grey Lens Friendly.......


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Review: ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60. (26 images)
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