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My Thoughts On the Brevite Bag After A Week As My Daily Driver

November 20th 2015 9:19 AM

Whenever I talk about a new bag that I have seen or reviewed, one of the many things I hear on a regular basis is that “it looks too much like a camera bag!” It seems many photographers these days prefer to carry their gear incognito, in hopes (by my guess) to prevent theft by hiding the fact that they are carrying thousands of dollars of gear.

Brevite, started on Kickstarter, and after funding their project, are now about ready to start shipping the bag out to non-Kickstarter orders in January of 2016. I was able to get a bag early about a week and a half ago for review, and today I will be sharing my thoughts on it after using this bag as my primary bag (not just camera bag) over the last 1.5 weeks.

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[RELATED POST:Brevite Kickstarter]

03-performance-4-stars

As I mentioned in my intro, I have used this bag as my primary daily driver to and from work, as well as a camera bag for shoots, for a little over a week. In that time, I have had no issues with the performance of this bag whatsoever. The bag functions exactly as I would expect it to, and was honestly a joy to use on a daily basis.

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If I was being picky, the zippers were slightly harder to open than other bags that I have used at first, but they eased up though over the course of the week. Again, if I had to be ‘nit picky’, that is probably the one thing that stood out to me in the performance category of this bag.

09-features-5-stars

I could not be happier about the features available in this bag. Not only is the camera insert removable, allowing you to use the Brevite like a standard Jansport school backpack, but the bag also contains a Laptop pocket/sleeve, soft fabric-lined change/phone pocket, and a rain cover.

Put simply, at no time over the week I used this bag did I long for another bag for feature X or feature Y. The Brevite simply and completely met all of my needs, and that is not something that I can say for all of the bags that I have reviewed recently. So it was refreshing.

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13-design-4-stars

I honestly both love and hate the Brevite design. On one hand, I love that it looks just like any other standard backpack, allowing you to walk around with your expensive gear without drawing too much attention. I like where the pockets are placed, etc.

I did, however, come across some design choices that I did have to question – but that ultimately were not deal breakers for me. First, the camera pouch is designed to be a tight fit (Brevite told me as much when I asked), but I am wondering if most photographers will find it too tight of a fit. I was able to fit my lenses and a7R II with no issue. Due to the tight design, getting the camera easily in and out of the pouch was not as easy or fluid as I am used to.

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Brevite’s response to this was to say that they designed it to be tight so that your gear is not moving around while you are walking around with your bag. In regards to the ease of getting the camera in and out of the pouch through the side door, they say this was on purpose, to prevent the camera from falling out if the pouch was opened accidentally or without the photographer being ready to grab the camera. I can see that argument, and I like the reasoning.

But where it gives me pause is the fact that I had these issues with a Sony a7R II, how much more trouble is someone with a larger Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D810 going to have getting their camera in and out than I am. Ultimately, I am able to get the camera out without a ton of hassle now, but it is still something that I notice each time that I do. Personally, it’s something I can live with, I would rather this than my camera hitting the cement – but those of you with larger cameras may have a different experience.

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The other design choice that I was not super fond of was the decision to sew the tripod straps into the bottom of the bag. Many bags that I have used feature tripod straps on the bottom of the bag, it is a great feature, but I prefer bags where I can remove those straps when I don’t need them. It takes away from the look of the bag when you have random straps hanging down because you aren’t carrying a tripod that day. Again, not a huge issue, just something that I would have preferred to be done differently.

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As I said above, overall I like the design. I know I focused here on a few issues I had, but I do want to make it clear that my overall response to the design of this bag is a positive one.

18-quality-4-stars

I have been very happy with the quality of the Brevite. The zippers, while a little tight at first, are of high quality. The fabric and lining choices are great as well. The only thing that gives me pause about the quality is the choice to use the synthetic leather. It looks fake. The color is fine, and it even feels good, but the glossy/shiny look that it has puts me off.

It has grown on me a little over the last week, and what I mean by that is that it doesn’t jump out at me quite as much as when I first got it. But for Brevite 2.0, I would definitely hope for some real leather, or at least a matte finish so it isn’t all shiny and glossy. Again, though, this is a personal preference thing; you may like the look of the synthetic leather. To each their own.

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22-value-3-stars

At $155 for the base bag, or $175 if you want the rain cover, the Brevite is an interesting proposition. It does not look like a premium bag, as I noted above it looks like a Jansport school backpack, but that is also part of its charm. That said, it is packed full of features and can be used for much more than just a camera bag.

I have enjoyed using it a lot over this past 1.5 weeks, and I would gladly continue using it as my daily driver. Most bags that I use require me to compromise in some way; either I hardly have any room for my non-camera stuff, or I don’t have enough room for all of my camera stuff. Support for my 15′ Macbook is also usually lacking, but not with the Brevite; it met every one of my requirements with no issues.

Having said that, though, I do feel the price is a maybe a little high. If the leather were real leather, then I would be confident it’s a great deal, but as is, it’s a little pricy.

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32-overall-score-4-stars

Does the slightly higher price tag mean that I wouldn’t buy one? Not at all, I absolutely love this bag. As I have said, I am very happy with the Brevite, and am happy to recommend it to all of you who are looking for a bag with these sort of features and functionality.

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This is the perfect bag for you ‘incognito’ gear carriers out there. As I mentioned above, the team at Brevite is gearing up to start filling non-Kickstarter orders in January 2016. If you are interested in picking one up for yourself, you can pre-order now over on the Brevite website.

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Comments [18]

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  1. Thomas Eaton

    I ordered from the company and had my debt card charged. I have never received the pack or any responses to my many many emails 

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  2. Jason Ellis

    The now discontinued but still available Lowepro Compuday Photo 250 does the same for a lot less money.

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  3. Lee G

    I like this bag. It really reminds me of a Jansport backpack I had in school.

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  4. Guy Ivie

    Adam Sanford: Dude, you ROCK! Thank you!

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  5. Peter Nord

    I’m too old to figure out how to carry a bag with a rain cover that goes over all the straps/handles.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Optical illusion of the image, Peter. The straps and all that are hidden behind the backpack, you can indeed wear it with the rain cover in use.

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  6. Guy Ivie

    Rather than drop the money on yet another camera bag — I have more than enough already — I’d like to see someone make inserts that would let you convert an existing backpack into a camera bag. (And if such a product already exists, PLEASE point me at it!)

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    • Anthony Thurston

      The insert for this bag is removable. So, technically you could take it out and put it in another bag. I also think Tenba makes some inserts, I can’t recall exactly.

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    • adam sanford

      [Cracks knuckles.] You have come to the right person. This is kind of my thing.

      #1 choice for retrofitting a *shoulder bag* is the classic Tenba insert as Anthony mentioned: http://goo.gl/3ME35Y
      It’s perfect in a Patagonia laptop bag or modestly sized satchel. I actually put two of them in my bigger Timbuk2 messengers for trips that need more gear.

      #2 choice — get a ‘camera module’ that can be put into your backpack. Again, Tenba has a system for this (http://goo.gl/E1ASTj, play the video), and GuraGear’s Uinta product has ‘modules’ of different sizes as well, but these are pricey higher end items: http://goo.gl/2cF0Jm

      #3 choice — search B&H for ‘backpack insert’, there are tons of options: http://goo.gl/Tp5vf9

      #4 choice — Get TrekPak. That stuff is ridiculously clever. How it works is here: https://goo.gl/ywaTL1 — it’s generally meant for Pelican cases, but around the 0:26 mark you can see a custom bag setup. You can either buy a backpack they have setup expressly for this, or you can buy the material in long pieces and conveniently cut it up and do your own thing. Expensive, but *stellar* in use. I did a custom job in my home cabinet, see here: https://goo.gl/TifO3Z

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  7. adam sanford

    Yay to SLR Lounge! They finally reviewed a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag, doesn’t look like a statement piece, and costs under four million dollars. Bravo!

    (Part of the high-ish price of that bag might be to settle future lawsuits with JanSport. :-P Seems like a dead ringer for their classic school backpack design.)

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  8. penelope peralta

    There’s so many photography bags out in the market and I don’t really see anything really special about it. I’m not really impressed.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Why does there have to be something special about it? Isn’t it enough to be just another solid option? Not everything has to be earth shattering or pushing boundaries to be worth considering.

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  9. Kenny Van

    I just don’t see myself carry a camera bag with a tripod attached on the bottom of the bag. Why didn’t they design a tripod trap on the side?. I recently got a Tenba Cooper 15 and absolutely love it.

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    • Bill Bentley

      Hi Kenny,
      Where does the tripod fit on your Tenba Cooper? I went to B&H and I don’t see any place to attach a tripod.

      The side of the bag/pack is not a good place to carry the tripod as it will cause an unbalanced load.

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    • Kenny Van

      Well, unfortunately the Tenba Cooper doesn’t have any where to attach a tripod and it doesn’t look like a camera bag either.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I have carried my tripod this way on more than a couple occasions. They are just few and far between. :/

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    • Steve VanSickle

      You don’t have to carry it on the bottom- there is a side mesh pocket with an adjustable strap above it, near the upper rounded edge of the bag. I’ve carried a MeFoto RoadTrip without issue in it.

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