The Tenba Cooper Slim 13 bag loaded.

Yes, you read that correctly. Alas, I caved yet again. I've wanted this bag for a long time but didn't order it for two reasons: price (retail: $230!) and uncertainty about whether it was big enough. Well, as I often do, I did a search to check the bag out again and found it on Amazon for $175 new. Still a very steep price for a camera bag, in my opinion, but best price I'd ever seen it on sale for. After receiving the bag, I did, unfortunately, find one for even less new. Oh, well.

Side view sketch of what I currently have in my Cooper Slim 13 camera bag.

So why was I attracted to the Cooper Slim 13? First, it's design and build are first class. The materials ("peach-wax cotton canvas with full-grain leather accents and trim” - from Tenba web site) and construction are outstanding. Though it's a shoulder bag, it is not bulky. The Think Tank Retrospective 30 I got last year, though a nice bag and quite durable, is a bit bulky for me. (It's on sale for $45, by the way, if anyone is interested!) My Vanquest SKITCH-12 bag, also very well made, is better and it is handy that it can be resized for use in several ways, but when in its “medium” size with all my gear, it’s a little bulky. Not too bad, but definitely larger than the Cooper Slim 13. I also love how the end pockets on the Cooper Slim - that can be used for a lens or a water bottle - can be zippered up and made flat if you are not using them. Although I only anticipate using the bag as a camera bag, it is nice that the main insert can be completely removed so you could use the bag as a messenger style briefcase. The “Silent Velcro” feature on the flap is very nice, too, as is the ability to access the interior of the bag through a zipper opening in the top of the bag. That means you can quickly get to equipment inside the bag without the need to open the flap.

However, what’s the most important thing about a camera bag? Yes, that it will hold all the equipment you want to have with you! Well, it doesn’t after experimenting with configurations of the bag and packing the gear I plan to take on our next trip. But, I’m still happy with what it will hold. I may not always take both of my OM-D cameras, but knowing that both will fit with some extra lenses and my Nissin i40 flash is real comforting. I will probably end up putting those things that don’t fit for this upcoming trip in my Lowepro Streamline 250 bag, so even if we were traveling by plane - which we are not; this is a car trip - it would not be too much to handle on a plane..

I have done a video on my first packing attempt, though I doubt it will be my last. This really is a great bag. Well built. Great materials. And truly a very configurable bag. Stay tuned for real in-use reports!