Bags, bags, bags! I love camera bags. What photographer doesn’t? When I go off for a short or long trip, I pack most of my gear in my Vanquest VSlinger bag. However, I usually also take a smaller bag that I can get to easily if I’m in a plane or even in a car. In it, I have my E-PL6 camera with, maybe, one extra lens, my iPad Mini 3, my Kindle reader, and an extra camera battery, and earbuds. Likewise, when I reach my destination, I use either this second bag as my walk-about bag or I sometimes bring another bag packed in my checked bag (flying) or my main luggage bag.

Assortment of small bags.

At home, I will often switch which bag I decide to take with me if we go shopping or on a day trip. This, and when relocating gear from the Vanquest bag to my day bag, is where the problems begin. Inevitably, I will forget the correct camera battery if I change cameras for an outing or, if I bring both my E-M1 and my E-PL6, I will have an extra battery for one but not the other. Or, perhaps, I want to do some off-camera flash, but I forget to bring the corresponding pop-on flash for the camera I want to use. You might say, “Geez, Bill, just use the same bag and put the things you always need in it!” In theory that is a good suggestion, but, in reality, it doesn't work for me.

My little red bag for miscellaneous stuff.

Now, I am not only a camera bag hoarder, but also a “little bags” hoarder. Whenever, I see a small bag that I think might be useful, I often break down and buy it. As a result, I have quite a collection of small bags I’ve purchased at discount stores or gotten free at a conference or other such gatherings. My favorite bags are my small Eagle Creek travel organizer bags. Though they are small, they hold a lot. I already kind of designate each of the three that I have for different content, but I am rethinking this approach. My plan is to designate one bag for my E-PL6 and one for my E-M1. Another will be for flash. This is not rocket science, obviously. Any of the bags I typically use, except for my small Mountainsmith bag, can accommodate two of these Eagle Creek bags. I also have 3-4 Domke Wraps and, currently, one is unused, so that can serve, too, as kind of a bag.

Domke Wraps are very handy.

Then there are those other small bags I have. This is a new realization for me, so I have not thoroughly thought it through. When I am back home, I need to empty all of my bags, sort things out by function and camera, and decide how to modularize my accessory gear packing so I never find myself without what I need again.

NOTE - Update: This article generated some comments on Facebook. I am adding an exchange between Bob Panick and myself, as it adds to the idea put forward in this article: 

Bob Panick: Interesting idea Bill. I've been thinking something similar but with a different twist. I have only one camera system. But I often switch bags depending on what I'm shooting. The lenses and bodies aren't a problem. Its all the ancillary stuff that gets nuts; e.g. batteries, strobe parts, etc... And heaven help me if it's a long trip away from home. I dread finding I forgot to pack my batteries or charger. 

So the same idea might just work, but with the twist of function not system in various bags.

My Response: What I envision, Bob, is sort of what you're talking about, i.e., the black bag would always have the essentials for both cameras (E-M1 & E-PL6), such as batteries & chargers, USB cables, and pop-on flashes. (Plan, too, to put color dots on batteries and corresponding chargers when I get home), the green bag would have flash-associated things, such as a set of triggers (small, cheap Cowboy Studio set), AA batteries, wall battery charger, etc, etc., etc. so, if I decide to just take the E-PL6, as I often do, I know I have extra batteries as long as I also have the little, black bag. If I think I'll want to use flash (and I have the i40 packed), I make sure I have the green bag. 

My Vanquest bag always has all of the stuff. "Always" if I haven't removed something and put it in my day bag! With my new arrangement I'll be good to go!

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Still trying to decide how to divide up all the little things you need to have with you!

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