Thursday 4 June 2020

The camera bags I use in the hills and on long-distance walks

With both bags in the Colorado Rockies

Following my review of the Billingham Hadley Small Pro camera bag here’s my review of the two bags I use in the hills and on long-distance walks – I took both on my Colorado Rockies walk last year. If I only take one of them it’s the Billingham 72. These reviews first appeared in The Great Outdoors last year.

Billingham 72                     

Billingham has been noted for English-made quality camera bags for many years. Most though are too big and bulky for hillwalking or backpacking. However, the smallest Billingham bag, the 72, is excellent for this. It’s designed for rangefinder and mirrorless cameras with one lens or small cameras with a fixed lens. I can easily fit my Sony a6000 camera with my 13cm long  Sony E 18-135mm lens inside.

The design is simple. The 72 is just a padded bag with a lid and an open-topped pocket on the front for accessories. There’s a removable padded internal divider to separate items if necessary. Inside the lid there’s a padded flap to protect the top of your gear. The lid is shaped to cover the main compartment and the pocket and closes with a leather strap and a brass ball. This is very easy and quick to use.  

The bag is available in either 3-layer canvas or Billingham’s FibreNyte synthetic material. The latter is said to be the most hard-wearing and is the one I have. The fabric is completely waterproof as there’s a layer of butyl rubber between the outer and the padding. The latter is constructed from overlapping layers of foam and is thicker and firmer than on other camera bags I’ve used. There’s an even thicker removable pad in the base too, to protect against dropping the bag. In all there’s padding on six sides.

The 72 comes with a 2.5 cm wide thick polyester webbing strap and has proved comfortable to carry and easy to use. It’s stood up to rain and sleet. There’s no seal between the lid and the bag though so it wouldn’t stand up to a dunking and spindrift could sneak inside. The front pocket is quite deep, but items could fall out when the lid is open if you’re not careful. Overall though the protection provided is excellent.

The 72 is expensive and it’s not that light but the quality is superb, and it should last a very long time.

Internal Size                 14 x 11 x 9cm       
Closure                         leather tab and brass ball
Material                        3-layer waterproof FibreNyte synthetic or 3-layer waterproof canvas/ butyl                                     rubber/closed cell foam
Compartments              1 main with removable divider, front pouch
Attachments                 D-rings for strap, belt loop
Features                       top grain leather & brass fittings
Weight                         465 grams
Cost                             £110

ThinkTank Mirrorless Mover 10       


The Mirrorless Mover 10 is one of the smallest in the five-bag Mirrorless Mover series. It’s ideal for a small camera with a wide angle or standard zoom lens. I’ve used one for many years with a Sony NEX 7 camera and 10-18mm lens. With a zip pocket on the front, two open-topped side pockets and a small inner pocket there’s plenty of room for accessories like batteries and memory cards. The bag comes with a padded divider if you want to carry a camera and two small lenses. The divider also has small slots for memory cards and a central pocket for a small smartphone.

The double closure is excellent. When closed the zip gives full protection to the contents but much of the time it can be left undone and just the magnet-closed flap used, giving really fast access to the camera. The flap also protects the zip, which, combined with not needing to close it all the time, prolongs its life. I’ve retired a couple of bags with exposed zips due to them wearing out. Note that if you lift the bag by the grab handle on the top with the zip open the flap will come undone as the magnet isn’t very strong.

The padding isn’t very thick, and the bag is fairly soft. It’s protected my camera on several long walks though. The bag itself isn’t waterproof but there’s a PU coated seam-sealed rain cover with an elasticated rim  in the front pocket. This doesn’t give 100% protection – rain can drive in round the edges – but it is adequate for all but continuous heavy rain.

The Mirrorless Mover 10 comes with a 25mm wide detachable nylon webbing strap that’s perfectly comfortable with the weight the bag’s designed to carry.

Internal Size                         12.5 x 13.5 x 9.5cm
Closure                                 zip, flap with magnet
Material                                PU coated 1680D ballistic polyester/closed cell foam/600D brushed
Compartments                      1 main zipped, 1 front zipped, 1 inner Velcro, 2 open-topped side
Attachments                         D rings for strap, belt loop
Features                              removable divider,  removable rain cover
Weight                                 265 grams
Cost                                    £43


  1. I'm slightly gutted that you've moved on from the Think Tank 10. I don't want to needlessly buy a new camera bag though, after buying one to house my Sony a6000/18-135mm.

    Do you find the definition better from your 18-135m than the standard kit lens? Or is it just a matter of reach? I have both lenses, but unfortunately no platform to view the images yet other than my phone.

    1. Jay, I haven't really moved on from the Mirrorless Mover 10. I still use it whenever I take two cameras. However it's not big enough for the a6000 with 18-135 lens with hood so if I just take that combination I use the Billingham 72.

      The definition is a little better with the 18-135 but not significantly so. The main reason I got it was for the extra reach.

  2. How do you keep your a6000 + 18/135 in the billingham bag? Do you keep the lens vertical? With my E-M5 and E-M10 I can fit them like this in the mirrorless mover 10 with a lens about the length of the 18-135. The width of fine, but if the camera were any wider they would not fit. I'm interested in the billingham bag but confused, the width is only 4.3 inches according to the website so I don't see how you could store the a6000 + lens vertically so maybe you keep it horizontal?

  3. The a6000 and 18-135mm lens does fit vertically. With the lens hood attached too, though only just. The width of the camera with atrap rings is 5 inches. The width of the bag is 5 3/4 inches at the top.