April 30, 2017

Tenba Messenger Bag Review

At roughly $110, Tenbaís large engravable messenger bag might seem a bit steep. Until you compare it to other pro gear bags on the market. There are a number of reasons why I dished out the dough for this particular Tenba bag. What follows is my complete Tenba messenger bag review, along with the several ways I use this product on the road.

The large Tenba laptop messenger bag can actually accommodate my 17-inch monster of a machine.

Yes, yes. I know. Why donít I bump down to a smaller laptop size and make my life easier? Believe me, I wish I could. Lugging this beast around through airport terminals along with all of my other gear is absolutely brutal. But the truth is, with what my husband and I do for a living the only machines strong enough to do what we need are the juiced up gaming computers. And theyíre not cheap. So having a piece of professional luggage that can keep a computer that size buffered while still being easy to remove for airport security was critical. And as I discussed in my travel bags for digital nomads article on Wise Bread, the search to find such a bag was not an easy one. So I was thrilled to find the Tenba large messenger.

These Tenba bags come with one of the better padded shoulder straps Iíve seen on the market.

If youíre not sure why this is a huge perk, then try loading a boatload of pro gear into your average duffel and carry it across your body for even a half mile. Crippling will be the word that comes to mind. Mind you, even with fantastic shoulder padding a loaded gear bag will still be heavy and a bit cumbersome. But at least these Tenba bags will distribute the weight more appropriately and keep your equipment organized in an efficient manner.

Another feature that immediately caught my attention was the Tenba messenger bag insert.

For those that need to carry around even a moderate amount of camera gear, the Tenba messenger bag insert is a Godsend. With padded sections that meet professional protective standards for your lenses and camera bodies, you can confidently carry your gear in the same bag as your laptop and other tech equipment such as cables, extra batteries and additional memory chips. Since the insert is removable, you can also store other items in the bag on days when you donít need your full photography arsenal.

Note: Photographers who normally take several wheeled cases of various lenses and giant tripods will likely not be able to use this bag to carry their full range of equipment. The people Iím referring to here are those who make their living across multiple platforms and need to carry pro cameras along with screaming laptops, smaller video cameras and other writing supplies. That being said, if you have a multipurpose work day on your horizon and need only a lense or two along with a way to send the photos in to meet a deadline, then you can likely put the large Tenba messenger to use and justify its purchase.

The Tenba laptop messenger bag has a discreet access point for crowded areas.

This is pretty critical when you donít want the entire coffee shop or group of surrounding tourists to see what you have for gear inside your bag. While this isnít a good idea for anyone, itís an especially bad idea for someone carrying their entire livelihood along for the day. A livelihood that would cost a small fortune to replace. The top zipper allows you to access your camera and other items without opening up the entire bag, and is one of my favorite features on Tenba bags in general.

The fact that the large Tenba messenger doesnít look like a designer piece is a good thing.

It certainly looks like a nice piece of gear, donít get me wrong. What Iím saying is the fact that itís made of something that looks like ballistic nylon makes it stand out less. At most, the average person on the street might assume you do indeed have a laptop inside, but they would certainly never guess about your camera equipment. Itís the sort of messenger bag that looks like youíd have files, a few clothes and perhaps a few toiletries.

Where and when do I use my Tenba bag?

Well, for starters it comes along with me to any media event. Typically, those types of professional situations require anything from live tweeting and Facebook updates to photography, email access and the ability to meet outside editorial deadlines from the road. In short, I need access to all of my gear, all of the time.

Second, I typically pack up the Tenba bag whenever I head anywhere to work outside of the house for the day. This could be anywhere from my favorite coffee shop down the road, to an area bloggersí meeting or lunch with a PR contact when Iím searching for story ideas.

Also, whenever we travel anywhere for the weekend or even to stay overnight with friends, the Tenba large messenger comes with me. When your professional and personal lives are as integrated as ours are, being able to crank out a quick article during a half hour of downtime or snag an unexpected yet iconic photo op with no prior warning is pretty critical to maintaining a location independent lifestyle successfully.

Sure, weíre still downsizing and figuring out where to go next from our Tampa Bay location. Itís been a crazy few years with flood recovery, bulldozing the lake house that got destroyed, finishing up my husbandís degree and transitioning into the second career stage of early retirement. But our work requires we hit the road quite often, and weíre also getting itchy international feet again. So equipment such as this messenger bag that allows things to flow seamlessly between travel and traditional home life is pretty critical to our long-term lifestyle mission.

Photo Credit: Amazon