Foam insert to protect camera instead of camera bag....

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by jenniferfraser, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. Hello,
    I have searched and searched for a camera bag that will protect my camera AND look nice. Plus, I don't want my bag to be identified as a 'camera bag' by others immediately. I live overseas and like to carry my camera with me at all times (you never know when you'll see that shot) but at the same time I don't want the locals to know that I am carrying expensive equipment with me.
    So at the moment I am carrying my camera in my large handbag - but I worry because there is no protection....
    I was wondering if my solution is to buy a foam insert to put inside my bag - which would protect my camera. I found this one on line and was thinking that it might be the answer to my problem.
    I am wondering if anyone has tried anything similar or if there are other suggestions....
  2. I think the approach of buying or making an insert is good. After all, practically all camera bags either look like camera bags and laptop bags, which at best look nice but not casual and at worse look bad.
    I don't subscribe too much into the "keeping a low profile" approach to bags, but I do think that a bag should be practical and should look good.
  3. There are many non-conventional options for camera bags / protection, many of which involve items you already might own.
    For example, if your handbag is large enough and not filled with too many other things, you can simply put a small conventional camera bag inside your handbag when you want to go "stealth mode". If you don't want to use your handbag as the outer bag, there are plenty of messenger bags that can be your outside bag and not attract undue attention.
    When I don't want to attract attention, I occasionally use a bag I have like this for the outside, a small foam tote like this for my camera (with my substantial 28-70/2.8 zoom attached), and some of those cheap soda can foam insulators for small prime lenses. They can all be thrown into the messenger bag without dividers because they are all made from foam. For a bit more protection, you can put a thin sheet of closed cell foam (eg, part of a old ensolite pad for a sleeping bag) at the bottom of the messenger bag. This sort of DIY approach obviously doesn't offer the protection of a Pelican hard case, but it's surprisingly good -- I've used setups like this for years without damage, and never once has anyone suspected what I was carrying.
    Tom M.
  4. zml


    Domke, Tenba, F-stop, PacSafe, Crumpler and many others make padded camera inserts with and without zippered lids that you may find interesting and useful. I've been doing it for years, in fact I use "photo backpacks/cases/rollers" only to transport my equipment long distances and then transfer the stuff to DIY "location appropriate" bags, i.e. nice leather in NYC and a beat up rucksack in the bundocks of Central America. The stuff I use the most are Domke dividers, Domke wraps, Tenba inserts and ThinkTank soft lens cases. And lots of velcro :)
  5. I was also going to mention various "wraps" as possibilities.You could easily rig something of the kind yourself out of, say, quilted material and some velcro strips.
    There's nothing wrong with using foam, but be sure that it is stable, and not the kind of foam that will go bad on you and get sticky goo all over everything.
  6. Thank you guys so much - great advice. I feel much happier now with the idea of just a DIY kind of idea, rather than buying an expensive camera bag that I know I would be happy with.
  7. I bought a cute camera bag off of
    The foam is not as thick as a regular camera bag, which I was slightly disappointed in, but it's definitely better than carrying in my bag from Old Navy, which had no padding! I like my new bag because I can fit my camera and my camcorder in it, and it looks good!
  8. Marian, I was going to make a smart crack about the patterns not going with my beard ;-) but I could easily see many gals really liking them, eg, my wife or daughter. To be honest, I had no idea camera bags like this were available. Thanks for pointing them out. Are they large enough for a serious camera?
    Tom M.
  9. Tom - I know - not very "manly" bags, huh?! But yes, they are big enough for a serious camera - I was surprised at how much space there is. And space for extra lenses.
  10. Clearly, Arnald (sic) and other manly-men would disapprove. :)

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