California-based designer Joy Kelley of How Joyful upgraded her camera recently and needed a new bag to carry it around in. Instead of buying or making a single camera bag, she decided to make a flexible padded insert that can be moved around from bag to bag. After creating a very nice looking insert and testing it out for a few months, she writes,
I have to say that I completely love my camera carrier, and changing purses is super easy! My carrier fits in all my purses, in some more tight than others, so when I need to carry more than just my camera I simply choose a bigger handbag, works beautifully!
What’s awesome is that her solution features moveable dividers just like the camera inserts you can go out and buy, which let you adjust the insert based on the gear you’d like to carry. If you want to try your hand at making your own, Kelley has written up a detailed step-by-step tutorial. The ingredients you’ll need are: some felt or fleece, canvas or fabric to protect the outside of the carrier, foam for the padding, a long piece of velcro, and standard sewing gear.
Camera carrier insert tutorial [How Joyful via Lifehacker]
TrekPak is a new padded camera bag insert that does away with the annoyances of velcro by introducing a new pin system for adjusting dividers:
What makes TrekPak really unique, is that you won’t find any Velcro. When you try to adjust a normal gear bag while out in the field, you know how frustrating it can be. The Velcro sticks where you don’t want it to, is hard to pull apart, and just looks messy and cluttered. Our patent pending system uses anodized aluminum pins and durable padded dividers to offer limitless organizational options. The TrekPak pin system is much easier to adjust, very secure, and straight up, it’s slick.
They’re starting with inserts for Pelican camera bags, but are planning to release generic inserts and inserts designed for other bags as well.
Some photographers prefer using ordinary bags with padded inserts to carry their camera gear, both for aesthetic reason and to prevent theft. Instead of buying an insert, you can also make a custom one with some foam, fabric, and velcro. Abi over at vanilla & lace made one to turn her purse into a camera bag after finding that purse-style camera bags can cost up to $300. She also wrote up a helpful tutorial on how you can do the same.
DIY camera purse/bag [vanilla & lace]