I recently bought a National Geographic “Earth Explorer series” Holster bag 2342, it’s a small shoulder bag when i want to carry only my Fuji X-E1 + XF 27mm, see my post here:
But i wanted a bigger bag to carry everyday in which i could fit my X-E1+27mm and accessories and sometimes with an additional lens like my XF 14mm or my Vivitar 100mm/3.5 Macro lens. Also it would be large enough (but not too big) to carry some personal items like my wallet, keys, Cell phone, medications …
Since i liked my National Geographic bag (2342) i looked at other models from this brand as well as other brands. After some research i decided to pull the trigger on the National Geographic A2540 Midi Satchel ” Africa Series ” bag.
In the photo above you can see the size of the bag compared with my Fuji X-E1 + XF27mm.
On this Tag you can write your name, address and phone number in case you loose your bag somewhere.
For photos and dimension of the bag take a look at the link to the official site of National Geographic bags:
The prices on the site or in Canadian dollar but you can select another country. I didn’t pay that price, i found a store here in Canada that was selling them for 50$ (in sale), so i didn’t hesitated very long. I also bought the shoulder pad to go with the bag, … it’s stiff , i tried to bend it and form it to my shoulder but i still don’t find it comfortable .
The bag is made of very tough material and it feels like it can survive anything you can throw at it, so it should be with me for many years to come. The bag is not rated as waterproof but i used it in light rain without any problems, if you need it to be fully waterproof there is a waterproof cover available.
What i like about this bag is that all the pockets and the main compartment are closed with a zipper which is great to protect the equipment from rain and dust, some bags have just the big flap with 2 buckles to close the main compartment. As you can see in the link of National Geographic there is a removable insert bag which contain the camera and lenses and can be removed from the bag to make it a regular bag. I can fit my Fuji X-E1+XF 27mm and my XF14mm (or 18-55mm) as well as some SD cards in a Ziplock bag and a dust blower. Even with the insert in position in the main compartment of the bag i can also fit my Vivitar 100mm/3.5 Macro in the remaining space. Inside the bag there is another compartment to fit an Ipad or a small Laptop. I don’t use it for this but i fit my Extension tubes, cable release and quick release plate just in case i would need one of them.
In the photo above is my X-E1 + XF27mm, in the second compartment it’s my XF14mm, both in the removable padded bag. You can see that there is a place on the far right for another lens, i sometimes put my Vivitar 100mm/3.5 Macro (in Pentax K-Mount).
I’ve been using it as my everyday bag for some weeks now and i really appreciate it, feel solid and for my needs it’s a good size without being too big and heavy. I’m now used to get my camera quickly out of the bag, the zippers feel solid and are easy to operate. When i choosed that bag my goal was also to have a bag that didn’t looks like a camera bag so peoples wouldn’t know i’m carrying a camera with me. So on some occasions i went to the Bank and stores and peoples said to me ” so you just finished working” when they saw that i had my bag they probably thought it was a Laptop inside with papers from my work.
So if you’re looking for a well made, tough and practical bag that don’t look like a camera bag you should take a serious look at the Africa series from National Geographic!
When i bought my Fuji X-E1 with the 18-55mm and 27mm i needed a smaller camera bag to carry that the camera would fit with one of my 2 lenses with accessories like a spare battery and SD cards. I wanted a camera bag that didn’t look like the regular camera bags, at first i wanted a waist bag but changed my mind and decided to go for a small shoulder bag style. I had two brands in mind, Billingham and National Geographic bags because of their look and materials.
Here is the link to the USA site, that bag was not available in Canada even if the others from the series are available, so i had to bought it in USA:
Here is the main site without the prices, but all the collections are there, some interesting products:
After some research on the web and thinking i finally ordered the National Geographic “Earth Explorer series” Holster 2342 bag. The material and look reminds me of the old backpacks that my grandfather was using while going hunting and fishing. The size was just about perfect to carry my Fuji X-E1 kit without ending taking too much gear, the bigger the bag you use you will always end up filling it and it’s finally heavier than you wanted it to be in the first place. If i need more gear i will use my Lowepro Inverse 100 AW waist bag which can holds a little more gear.
My goal was also to just enjoy using my kit like the old days of Manual focus cameras, old style bag, old style camera with my old manual cable release that i was using with my Pentax K1000 when i started photography. You might think that i’m crazy to put that much thought for just a camera bag but i wanted to have a different kind of experience when shooting with my X-E1 compared to when i’m using my Canon DSLR kit which is more of a plastic, modern feel and heavy to carry in the field.
Here is a short video i made with the bag and my Fuji X-E1 + 27mm:
I tried my X-E1 + 18-55mm, it fits with the lens pointing down, i had to remove the divider in the bag though, it’s the biggest and longest lens it will fit. So it’s best to use it with smaller lenses like the 27mm, especially if you want to bring a filter, spare batteries and SD cards. For just my X-E1 + 27mm it’s perfect, i was able to fit a Polarizer, SD cards, a spare battery and even fit it with my QR plate for my big Ballhead. It would be a great bag for the Pentax Q series cameras, you can certainly fit the camera with a lens attached and still be able to bring 1 or 2 lenses ! I was able to fit my Pentax K-01 body only, i’m sure it would also fit with either the DA40mm XS, DA40mm Ltd or even the DA21mm Ltd attached.
In the field the bag work really well, it’s comfortable since it’s small and the camera in it is small and lightweight as well. The camera is easily accessible when you need to get it out as well as the accessories in the front pocket. I like the zipper and flap that closes the bag, it’s a double protection. The material looks very tough, there will be no problem using that bag in the field for many years to come. The padding looks not as thick as the ones in my bigger camera bags from Lowepro and ThinkTank but since the cameras that fits in it are small and lightweight it’s probably more than enough to protect them. There is a rain cover available for the Earth Explorer series, i might buy it eventually if i see that i need more protection against the rain.
So this is my first impressions after a short time of using this bag, will certainly do an update later this year to see how it survive in the field.