The Crumpler Sinking Barge is a trendy camera bag and laptop carrier that doesn’t have the look of the typical camera bag. That’s a good thing though. You don’t always was to
The Sinking Barge is made out of a tough, water-resistant fabric with a ripstop liner. When you get your hands on the Sinking Barge, you get the quick impression that it’s a tough bag – and my time with it has reaffirmed this impression. The outer fabric is thick and the zippers are big and slide smoothly.
The Sinking Barge has two main compartments – one on the top, and one on the bottom for holding your gear. It also uses a rather unique set of dividers for segregating your gear. The dividers are rather long and don’t secure with velcro against the side walls of the camera and lens bays. Instead, they sort of wrap around your camera body, lenses and flashes. It took me a little while to get used to getting my gear situated with these wraps, but they work pretty well.
One thing you shouldn’t expect from the Sinking Barge is an abundance of space. This bag is not meant to carry every piece of gear in a pro photographer’s kit. You can carry a camera body or two, along with some hotshoe flashes and lenses. As you can see in the photo below though, it is possible to get a Canon 7D and with an attached 70-200 f/2.8 lens in the bottom portion of the bag.
The bonus you get out of it is a sleek laptop pouch in the top compartment, which holds my 13″ MacBook just fine (Crumpler says it’s big enough for the 15″ MacBook Pro). There are several other smaller pouches and compartments for memory cards, a Flip camera, cell phones and cables.
The best feature about the Sinking Barge is the comfort level. This is a very important feature in a camera bag, and Crumpler does a great job of delivering the goods here. The shoulder straps are padded and situated at an angle to fit nicely. The back portion is also heavily padded. The Sinking Barge has waist and chest straps to help secure the pack when you are on serious treks.
The Sinking Barge can also be adjusted to carry in a sling fashion, which allows you to access to the main compartments by swinging it around to your chest. Personally, I’m not a big fan of sling bags; however, it works quite well for those interested in carrying it this way.
The tripod holder and strap is top notch. Instead of a flimsy little vinyl bag or weak strap near the bottom, the Sinking Barge uses a rigid, vinyl-covered cup for accepting two tripod legs on the right side of the bag. The top strap for the tripod secures it in place, making it a very well done solution for carrying a tripod around.
The Sinking Barge has an integrated rain cover for when you get caught out in the weather. The cover is accessible via zipper at the top of the bag. Pull it out and it covers the whole bag.
The Sinking Barge is a great day pack. My first impressions of the bag left me thinking it was too small for serious photographers; however, the more I get to know it, the more I like it. It seems like features and space just kept surprising me. Things like the strap hooks to keep dangling straps at bay are nice little touches that make this bag stand out.
If you often find yourself carrying a camera body, along with 2-3 small/medium lenses, a flash and a laptop, the Sinking Barge may be just the bag for you. You’ll also get some style points from other photographers when they see the Crumpler logo on the back.