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Billingham Bag for M System and What Larger Travel Bag?

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I’ve got 3 Billinghams, a small, a medium and the Hadley Pro as the biggest, I use that one as a homebase on trips and depending on the plans of the day I pick a selection with the small or medium. I like to carry on the hip often, so I have some Crumpler thing for my 2 Rolleiflexes when I choose to go with them. I refrained from a rucksack made by camera bag brands like Billingham or Lowe because I feel limited by them to combine weekend trip toothbrush things together with my LF stuff. So I bought an Osprey Farpoint 40 which fits perfectly into airport regulations. I hate trolleys, they contribute to the overwheliming presence of masstourism, which we all participate in and I think we should become modest as travellers


I have not used it on a trip yet, but I bought recently the Osprey Farpoint 40 and intend to use it initially on a foreign trip later this month.  I normally prefer luggage with wheels, but I liked that this bag has a zipped cover that will enclose the shoulder and hip straps, to make it like a duffle at airports, on buses, etc.


Here's how I plan to pack it.  I will have a separate, checked bag for clothes, shoes, etc.  The separate bag will also carry a Marmot day pack for daytime hikes with a camera, sunscreen, water bottle, etc.  That day pack folds into about the same flat size as a t-shirt and weighs about the same as a t-shirt.


In the Osprey Farpoint 40:


1) A Billingham M camera bag, loaded with my M10, three lenses and accessories.  It will sit at the bottom of the Osprey.  On the go at destination, I leave the Osprey behind and walk around with either the Billingham bag already loaded, or instead, the Marmot daypack with the camera (if it's not out and around my neck or on my shoulder) and an extra lens, plus water, sunscreen, eyeglasses, and plastic sealed bag in case of rain.


2) Above the Billingham, I will have an Eagle Creek cube with extra eyeglasses, contact lenses (I like to use contacts with a rangefinder camera or the optical viewfinder on any camera.), pills, and possibly a few toiletries in another cube.  These items will come out of the Osprey at destination.  


3) In its own Leica lens case, my APO-Telyt 135mm lens (which would otherwise overload my Bilingham M bag that already has three lenses).


4) In the internal sleeve at the back of the Osprey, I slide in my Incase zipped computer sleeve containing my 12-inch MacBook and its accessories, including its power cord, a solid state external drive, and other accessories.  This bag will also come out at destination and be its own container.


Even after loading all the above, there is plenty more room in the Osprey, but I do not intend to put anything else in--possibly a change of underwear and socks (in another small cube) in case of lost or delayed baggage on the flight.


What I like about this arrangement:  The bag is not overly large or heavy, because it is not overly packed.  Everything is modular.  At destination, I take out the computer bag (which is almost as thin as a computer sleeve) and leave it out.  Likewise, the Billingham bag.  Everything in them is already organized.  All these things, if inside the Osprey, count as just one item for purposes of getting onto the plane.  If I get any flack from the airport personnel or find full overheads or inadequate under-seat space,  I will spend 15 seconds taking out my computer and/or camera bag and, if necessary, handing over to the flight attendant the now-virtually-empty Osprey backpack.  Walking around at destination, I just use the Billingham bag, or the Marmot daypack (but not both) and have the Osprey stowed away for the next destination.

Edited by david.kize

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On 5/8/2018 at 6:41 PM, pico said:

As it concerns function, Billingham bags are not cost effective. Are they used for functionality or style, appearance, advertising affluence? Does any serious photojournalist, for example, use one? Just wondering.

No journalist shoot with Leica either. 

I've been through a number of bag manufacturers over the years. I have sworn off any bags using velcro years ago. I discovered Billingham about 5 years ago with my purchase of the Hadley Large. As my kit got smaller, I sold that bag. My current Billingham bags, in order of most frequent use, are the Hadley Pro, 1.4 and the new Hadley One. 

I have the AVEA (large ones) pouches to match which I use when I travel.

My bags have been used in snow storms, tropical rain storms, desert heat and nice weather. My equipment was always protected with no water or snow intrusion into the bags. And, they are much lighter than similar size bags from other manufacturers. I love them!

Like my Leica gear, Billingham bags are a "buy once, cry once!" experience.

Bud James

Please check out my fine art and travel photography at www.budjames.photography or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/budjamesphoto.

Edited by budjames

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I have on order from Adorama(NYC) a Billingham combo bag. It was designed specially for an M system. It is described as being capable of holding 1 M body and 3-4 lenses, or 2 M bodies and a couple of lenses. It will also hold a fair amount of the little necessities. I'll be getting it delivered next week so am anxious to see. Price, USA, $249.00.

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Received my Billingham combo bag. It is made by Billingham in England for Leica. It arrived in the familiar grey box with Leica product number. I filled it with an M 7, M winder, 35 f 2 asph. fitted, and my 75 f 1.4.There is a small zipped front pocket for the necessities, behind the main compartment is a slip pocket. A permently attached padded covers it’s over the main compartment. A very nicely bag designed for the Leica system.

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