Okay I admit it. I love camera bags. Perhaps it’s something akin to ladies and their handbags, I don’t know. However I do try and justify my bag buying urges by throwing some logic at the requirement. I have been trying to find a bag that will enable me to carry one camera comfortably but also to be softer and more pliable than the padded bags currently on the market, which all seem bulky no matter how small they are. I got rid of all my padded shoulder bags and started to look at canvas ones.
You can read more about my on going search for the perfect camera bag here, here, here, here and here.
So, to the Kalahari bag. I was looking for a small bag that would take one of my DSLR’s with battery pack if necessary. I looked at all the ‘normal’ camera bags, I even looked at ‘man-bags’ and still couldn’t find anything that might work.
Whilst looking through Amazon’s listings however, I came across a brand name I had not heard before – Kalahari. They seemed to have a pretty large collection of sizes, so armed with a tape measure I went through them. I must admit I was pretty impressed with all the different styles and sizes in their range and doubly so when I came across the ‘Molopo K-41 bag for £28
The size seemed to be in the range I was looking for. It was made of canvas, so that was another criteria ticked. It was available in either black or khaki and so I chose the latter. I duly ordered it from an Amazon trader and to my surprise the next day it arrived, despite Amazon saying it could be 2 to 3 days. The bags are actually made in Botswana by Kalahari Kanvas a company that specializes in safari tents and accessories.
So, to the bag. It is well made with good seams and although the canvas is not as heavy as that on the Domke F-6, it seems good quality. the strap is canvas webbing again not so heavy duty as that on the Domke and without the anti-slip lining. Nevertheless it feels comfortable over the shoulder and doesn’t dig in. The buckle on the front of the bag is false, with the strap being suede. The front pocket is actually fastened by a magnetic button under the strap. I like this idea. there is nothing worse than struggling with a buckled strap in order to get at your camera quickly.
On each side of the bag is a small zipped pocket, again with a leather pull. These pockets are ideal for filters, batteries, memory cards or a mobile phone. I like these pockets and I wish the Domke F-6 had them. You can also see the stitching that holds the strap on here.
On the above image, you can see the large front pocket open and the magnetic button clasp. The pocket is a very good size and would be able to take quite a bit of small pieces of equipment, such as a flash gun. You can also see the lining on the inside of the pocket flap, this is also on the interior of the main compartment. Something that Domke doesn’t do on their bags.
The main compartment is reached by opening a zip on the top of the bag, which runs its whole width. Once open you can see that the whole of the main compartment as mentioned is lined and there is some light padding on the sides, front, back and bottom inside the lining.
The final picture above shows my E-1 with a 40 – 150 MKI zoom in the bag. as you can see it can take the body and lens very easily and it is still comfortable to carry.
I wouldn’t suppose the bag is especially waterproof and might benefit from a good dose of some waterproofing spray, and it probably would not stand the day-to-day abuse that a Domke could , but it is still well made and for a quarter of the price of an equivalent Domke you can’t really moan.
This is a great bag and has probably usurped the Domke F-6’s position as my current favourite.