My recent bag experience on our cross country (plane) trip to Seattle, Washington, has made me think seriously about what my ideal camera bag would look like. On this trip, as I described in detail in my post on Sunday, I transported all the gear I thought I would need in my new Think Tank Retrospective 30 bag. While in Seattle, I offloaded most of that gear to my Lowepro Passport Sling (which I'd packed in my checked bag) and left it in our hotel room. Expandable front pockets on my Think Tank Retrospective 30. How about ones on the ends too?

Though my main camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40mm lens, and my smaller E-PL6 with a 25mm lens would fit in the bag, I usually carried the E-M1 on a sling strap and the E-PL6 in a large coat pocket. This meant I could slim the Retrospective 30 down some. To accomplish this in warmer weather when I'm not wearing a coat with big pockets, I guess I'd either have to use a second strap for the E-PL6 or keep it in the bag. Both are viable options.

So, my ideal camera bag would be flexible. It would be big enough to comfortably hold everything I want to take on a trip yet small enough to be taken on a plane as a carry on. Then, it would collapse to serve as a day bag, holding just what I need when sightseeing. I guess the closest I've gotten to this is using my old, soft material Eagle Creek shoulder bag by packing it in my checked bag (though, now, I could probably roll it up and fit it into the Retrospective 30!) and using it as my day bag. The fact that the two front pockets of my Retrospective 30 are so large that they can, actually, each hold a full sized camera body with no lens yet, then, be flatten so they reduce the bag's profile size significantly gave me the idea for a "convertible bag."

A sketch of what I am describing with expandable pockets on both ends as well as in front.

Why couldn't the bag be shorter in length from end to end and each end have similarly expandable pockets with covers that hold them flat to the bag when the pockets are empty and compressed. Likewise, the bag's width front to back could be expandable as it is on my little Lowepro Slingshot 250. When you don't need the width, you zip up the expansion material to make the bag slimmer, more narrow.

As I envision this bag, I'm betting it already exists. Because it seems so logical, I can't believe I'm the first to have the idea. Additionally, I would like the bag to be under $200 (US) in cost. So, if you know of a bag that fits the specs I describe, give me a shout!

I found one bag that is somewhat expandable and also compressable and but a bit larger than my Retrospective 30:

Here’s an interesting concept for a suitcase/garment bag - could something along these lines work for a camera bag? Let me know what you think in comments on Facebook or Google+ - I look forward to reading your ideas.

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