Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Camera Bag Review | A Durable Everyday Messenger Bag
Sometimes, you really don’t want to let the world know that you’re carrying a lot of camera gear. You want your valuable equipment to be heavily protected with lots of padding, but you don’t want a carrying case that shouts, “valuable stuff inside!” to everyone around you.
If this sounds like you, then you should check out the Gura Gear Chobe 2.0. It’s a shoulder bag that you can fit your whole digital life into, and keep it highly protected thanks to ample padding and durable materials, without attracting the attention that more obvious hard cases or rolling cases do.
In this review, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of the Gura Gear Chobe 2.0, and who should consider it. What’s your style of photography, or your favorite type of travel? You might choose to buy a different type of camera bag, such as a backpack or a rolling case, however, if a shoulder bag is right for you, then this is one of the most versatile, durable, and high-quality products we have seen.
Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Specifications
- BAG TYPE: Shoulder Sling Type Bag
- GEAR ACCESS TYPE: Top zippers (Main compartment, laptop compartment, external compartments)
- CAPACITY: 13-inch = 7.7L, 16-inch = 11.2L
- MATERIALS & CONSTRUCTION: VX-21 sailcloth
- COLORS: Black exterior, grey interior
- WEATHER PROOFING: Seam-sealed construction, additional weather cover included
- DIMENSIONS, 13-inch:14.2×9.4 in
- DIMENSIONS, 16-inch: 15.7×10.6 in
- CARRY-ON COMPATIBLE? Yes, under-seat size; depending on configuration & airline
- WEIGHT, 13-inch: 1.8 lb
- WEIGHT, 16-inch: 2.1 lb
- ACCESSORIES: Et Cetera accessory cases, various sizes
- PRICE, 13-inch: $179 without insert, $219 with insert
- PRICE, 16-inch: $209 without insert, $249 with insert
Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Review | How Much Can It Fit?
The design of the Chobe allows it to vary in size. If compacted/collapsed, you get a much more compact camera bag that doesn’t have room for the wide padded lens case, only the thin one. However, even in this collapsed form, the 16-inch model can still carry plenty of gear, including multiple full-frame lenses, a camera body, and accessories.
[Related Reading: The Runner Photo Bag from Brevite Review]
Separately, you can fit a ~15″ or even 16″ laptop, depending on the model. NOTE: Apple Macbook Pros always slip right into a bag’s laptop compartment just fine, but we’ve often found that other types of laptops are either extremely snug or don’t fit at all. We tried our large-ish (15.6″ display) Acer laptop (click to read our review!) with us here in the studio, and it fit very comfortably!
Suffice it to say, if you have the 13-inch model you’ll still be able to fit a full array of gear in the bag, but it’ll need to be smaller gear to begin with, such as crop-sensor camera system, and an iPad or a smaller laptop. Whereas, with the 16-inch model, and especially with the main compartment stretch limo’d, you’ll have more than enough room for a full array of full-frame standard lenses, including the likes of 70-200mm’s and 24-70mm’s.
The only caveat we have is this: the smaller of the two optional padded camera compartments is a bit small, and although it still fits full-frame lenses like 70-200’s nice and snugly, you’re definitely not going to be getting your lens hoods in there too. There’s plenty of space elsewhere in the bag, though, if you’re using it in expanded formation.
Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Review | Who Should Buy It?
Here’s the deal: a shoulder bag isn’t for everyone, in fact, we recommend against carrying that much gear (it’ll be easily 25+ lbs; that’s nearly 16kg!) …over your shoulder for 8 hours. Shoulder bags are meant to be commuted and traveled with in ways that allow you to set them down from time to time, whether you’re hopping in and out of an Uber, a bus/train, or an airplane. Even walking through a giant airport terminal, I’m going to rest my shoulder bag on top of a rolling suitcase if I have one.
Air Travel VS Ground Travel
Basically, are you getting on a plane? If so, you’ll have to always double-check the overhead bin and under-seat requirements, of course, and plan accordingly. On most planes, however, you’ll be able to cram even the expanded 16-inch model under an airline seat, as long as you haven’t packed it so full to the brim that the front is bulging, of course. You might choose to slip it into an overhead bin, though, if you’d like the legroom, and that you will absolutely have little problem with, unless you’re hopping on a very tiny commuter plane in which you might want to take just your laptop out and put it under the seat.
If you’re traveling by car, bus, or train, then of course you have less of a space constraint.
What types of photography would you actually use a shoulder bag for? Anything from portraiture to event photography might be prime candidates, however, wearing your bag for an entire photoshoot can make you sore,
Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Review | Pros
Let’s be honest: the absolute most important job your camera bag can do is, of course, how well-protected your camera gear and accessories are. Well, if it’s gear protection you want, you’re in for a treat! The Chobe has nicely padded walls; even the most external accessory pouch felt protective.
Of course, if you’re hesitant to trust external forces not to just crush your bag, then you can easily switch things up and fit items like had drives within the main camera compartment, too, where they’ll be protected by the bag’s thick main wall pads.
The camera compartment itself is very nicely padded, and its overall stiffness means that altogether, your camera gear will be very safe.
I don’t know anything about how fancy certain materials are, but I do know quality work and durable materials when I see and hold them. This is not a cheap knock-off camera bag with straps that rip off, or buckles that fail, after just a few months of being a workhorse.
The Chobe is a very well-made, durable, and relatively affordable investment
Design & Features
It was fun to explore the design and overall features of this camera bag, because not only are there oodles of pockets inside and out, the overall layout is actually conducive to storing the more common types of accessories, such as batteries, memory card wallets, hard drives, and battery packs for your phone/camera.
The Chobe is very well-protected against nasty weather, with a lot of weatherproofing done to the materials and seams themselves, plus, there is also an accessory rain cover too, for those truly terrible downpours!
Comfort & Ergonomics
When fully loaded, how comfortable is it? How adjustable is it for certain body types?
Well, as a shoulder bag, the padded strap is both grippy and comfy. Other than that, you only have the usual adjustments for a shoulder bag, and not much else.
You can fit a ton of equipment in this camera bag. And it comes in two different sizes, each of which can be expanded, plus there are accessory pouches you can use to further organize your stuff within the bag.
Honestly, ~$250 is an incredible deal for a camera bag that is made with so much durability and longevity in mind. Spend too much less than this, and you’ll likely regret it if the workmanship fails and your gear drops to the concrete. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Review | Cons
Basically, there’s not much to complain about. We did find the top zipper opening to be constricting enough to make it slightly more difficult to get big lenses out of the two compartments on either end, but it’s not a major inconvenience. inconvenience.
Other than that, there’s just the simple fact that a lot of photographers decide they’d like a backpack instead, for even distribution of weight on their shoulders and back. If you’re going on a hike, or walking any far distance, by all means, do that!
Other than that, if a shoulder bag is what works for you, then check it out.
Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Review | Compared To Alternatives
If you’d like something that just looks really stylish, then camera bags like the Think Tank Retrospective series are very attractive. However, style is always a little less functional, and those cool-looking bags
Peak Design‘s shoulder bag is one of the more comfortable bags we’ve ever slung, but it too has its quirks regarding compartment access and gear protection. Simply put, the bottom line is this: The Gura Gear protects your gear the best, and yet still allows easy, quick access to your camera gear.
Honestly? The big decision you’ll have to make is probably this one: Should you get a shoulder bag like the Gura Gear, or should you get a backpack or a rolling camera case instead?
Backpacks are usually much easier on your back and shoulders but don’t offer as effortless access to your gear as a shoulder sling design. Rolling cases, of course, offer extreme protection for your gear, but you will forever be leaving your camera bag somewhere, and kneeling down to get stuff out of it.
Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 Review | Conclusion
A shoulder bag isn’t for every photographer. You might get a backpack instead for long hikes, or you might get a rolling case for certain types of travel.
If a shoulder bag is a right fit for you, though, the Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 is your best all-around camera bag that will hopefully last a lifetime, protect your gear very well, and as we mentioned at the beginning of this review, it won’t scream “steal me!” as loudly as most all other styles of bags.
Check Pricing & Availability
You can still back the Gura Gear Chobe 2.0 on Kickstarter, with Earlybird backer prices ranging from $179 to $249.
After the campaign ends, prices will range from $249 to $319 on the Gura Gear website.
Or, you can get a “super-duper bundle” for $459 during the campaign, and $665 afterward; which includes both sizes of bags, two inserts, and three accessory pouches.