For those of you that would like to watch the review, you can watch the entire review by clicking below. Because we had 3 products in the review, the review is 15 minutes long, so we have also included the review in text below the video as well.
Photography, and in general, the entire gadget world is filled with accessories full of function and utility, but virtually devoid of form. That is where Kelly Moore saw an opportunity. Her mission, to create a line of camera bags that are as stylish as they are functional.
Three years after her trek begin, the photography world was introduced to Kelly Moore Bags. Upon release, the photography community (in particular the female community) has gone Kelly Moore crazy, and for good reason.
We thought it was time to get our hands on some Kelly Moore bags for review. A few emails later, we had the Libby, B-Hobo, and Kelly Boy bags sitting on our doorsteps just waiting for a little review love.
Cost:$159 – $249 + Shipping
SLRLOUNGE Discount Coupon: Enter “SLR” code at checkout to receive $15 off your Kelly Moore bag purchase.
Everyone has been wanting, waiting, and worshiping Kelly Moore bags since they were introduced in December of 2009. In fact, when new styles were launched just recently, Kelly held a Facebook contest to give away a beautiful bag to two lucky winners!!! It was mass hysteria! A steady stream of comments on Facebook with the text, “@Kelly Moore Bag is giving away TWO bags today!! I WANT TO WIN ONE!! popped up on everyone’s status on their personal and business pages. A cousin of mine, who shall remain nameless *ahem* Lisa, even texted me to see if she should have her husband enter under his Facebook page. A friend of mine, who is not a photographer, posted this on the Kelly Moore Bag Facebook page, “I don’t know what a Kelly Moore Bag is, but my daughter walked for the first time today. Haha!
Alas, the contest came and went, and I was Kelly Moore Bag-less. So were my personal and Facebook friends. Until . . . through the magic of television, 3 beautiful, shiny, new Kelly Moore Bags landed on my doorstep. [Okay, so I drove 30 minutes to go pick them up from SLR Lounge HQ, but still . . .] The B Hobo [gasp], the Libby [ooh], and the Kelly Boy [ahh]. They were mine for the test driving.
Aesthetics – At first glance. They are definitely cool looking bags, I can certainly understand what all the hype is about. When a photographer carries around a Kelly Moore Bag, he or she can wander about in public inconspicuously.
“Oh I’m sorry Mr. Security Guard, are we not allowed to photograph here? I’m not a photographer, just an average Joe carrying around $5000 worth of camera gear in my Ëœpurse.’
In fact, when I took the lemony B-Hobo out to a photo session, I met my clients and started walking to a location when they asked, “Where’s your stuff? “In here, I said pointing to the hobo bag strapped across my body, with a sly grin.
Space – With 3 main interior pockets, the B-Hobo was just enough room for a camera body, and two extra lens. The accessory pockets were perfect for CF cards, wallet, keys, and lipgloss. However, if you need more room, or a stylish way to haul your gear while traveling or to a wedding, the Libby might be the solution for you.
The Libby is the workhorse of all of the bags. In its main compartment it features 4 large configurable sections along with a laptop compartment. It was large enough for my camera body, 4 lenses, 2 flashes, a video light, and all the other knick-knacks I take with me when working a wedding.
Keep in mind though that with this much space for gear, the Libby wasn’t a bag that I wanted to sling all day long on my shoulder. However, any bag that holds so much gear really isn’t practical to wear all day long.
So, the Libby is really more of a main bag storing and transporting everything you need, while the B-Hobo is more of a bag you can constantly sling to hold just what you need at any particular portion of a shoot.
In fact, we found out that a lot of photographers will actually shoot that way. They will use the Libby as their primary bag, holding everything, while they use their JoJo or B-Hobo to sling on their shoulder holder just what they need in any particular moment.
Construction – Both bags are made extremely well. From the stitching to the zippers to the buttons, everything screams “quality.” However, as stated on Kelly’s website, all of the bags are made with man-made leathers. While the B-Hobo had a very leather-like feel, the Libby was slightly more “plasticy.” However, both do the part of looking just like genuine leather. To be honest, if these bags were made of genuine top-grain leather, you should be expecting to pay around double the price. Kelly choose man-made leathers for the first line of bags to ensure the bags could be available and affordable to everyone.
Notes – While there were no “deal-breakers” I did find a couple issues worth noting. First, with any man-made leather, die transferrance can be an issue when the material rubs up against bright colored clothing. I noticed this happening a little with the yellow B-Hobo bag as it is a lighter colored bag. So, if you do wear a lot of bright and strong colors, it may be a good idea to choose a darker bag color.
Regarding the Libby bag, I was wishing that the pocket dividers could be velcroed in to sub-divide each pocket. While the dividers can be used for this purpose, there is no material to adhere the velcro to preventing the divider from securely sticking.
Aesthetics – The Kelly Boy Bag is a wonderfully handsome looking bag. I loved the fact that the Kelly Boy bag held everything I needed for smaller shoots while looking nothing like a shooting bag. This again goes back to the whole “not looking like a photographer” thing which is really more an issue of practicality than of geekness.
While we do our best to make sure to have permits when we shoot. There are times when we simply cannot get a permit and we need to be able to get in and out of a location without being noticed. That is what is so wonderful about the entire Kelly Moore Bag line up. All of the bags do a wonderful job of concealing the “professional photographer” look.
Space – The Kelly Boy bag was very spacious. The main compartment has four primary pockets along with a laptop compartment. The bag easily holds all sizes of lenses including professional lenses like the Canon and Nikon 70-200 2.8 IS/VR. In fact, I found that for smaller shoots such as engagement and portrait sessions, I could fit everything I needed in the Kelly Boy Bag.
However, keep in mind that with 15 – 20lbs of gear in the bag, it wasn’t practical to leave it on my shoulder. But, what I loved was that every time I moved from scene to scene, whether during a wedding or a engagement shoot. I could just set the bag down next to me, and it would stand up perfectly allowing me quick access to all my lenses. So, while the bag can hold a ton of gear, don’t think that you will be comfortable loading it up completely and slinging it all day long.
There isn’t a single shoulder strap messenger bag that would be comfortable with 20lbs of goodies after an hour on your shoulder. However, with just a couple lenses and some small accessories, it was light and comfortable enough to wear for longer durations.
Construction – Like the other bags, the Kelly Boy Bag is made of man-made leathers and is very high quality. Like the Libby, the leather does have a slightly more plasticy feel. However, it looks great. I could find no fault in the construction of the bag.
Notes – There were two notes that I had after testing the Kelly Boy Bag. The first is that I wish the strap was made from the same material as the bag itself, similar to how the strap is on the Libby and B-Hobo bags. As it comes, the Kelly Boy Bag strap is black with a matching colored shoulder pad.
The second note really has nothing to do with the Kelly Boy Bag, but more of just their mens line up in general. Kelly, make more mens bags! I would like to see some more variety and options in the mens section, including a premium bag that is made of genuine top grade leather for those will to spend the extra dough.
Both Lindsay and I loved both of the bags. Kelly Moore Bags are definitely products that we would purchase and use ourselves, and are 100% SLR Lounge Approved. Kelly was kind enough to give the SLR Lounge readers an exclusive $15 off coupon, so be sure to enter the coupon code upon checkout at www.kellymoorebag.com
Congratulations Kelly on creating such a wonderful and successful product!
SLR Lounge Copy Editor
Owner of Lindsay Chavez Photography
Post Production Pye
SLR Lounge Senior Editor
Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography