ThinkTank CityWalker Review
The ThinkTank CityWalker series is comprised of three ultra-light shoulder-bags, each available in two colors. These messenger-type bags are flexible and designed to appear inconspicuous in an urban environment. The two smaller sizes feature a dedicated tablet pocket and the largest size has one for a 15" laptop.
These shoulder bags are made of sturdy ballistic nylon with a removable interior compartment made of firm padding. More padding sandwiches the tablet or laptop in its own compartment. The remainder of the bag, including top flap, is unpadded to keep it light and flexible. An extremely well padded shoulder-strap is supplied with all CityWalker shoulder bags.
The blue mid-size CityWalker 20, reviewed in this article, measures 13.8" x 9.8" x 6.7" on the outside with a 13" x 8.7" x 5.3" main compartment and a 10.3" x 8" x 0.8" tablet compartment. The bag itself is extremely light and weighs around 2lbs. The smaller CityWalker 10 saves just an inch in width and height with a correspondingly smaller interior compartment measuring 10" x 7.5" x 5.3". The tablet compartment has exactly the same size in order to accommodate a 10" tablet.
The CityWalker 30 is notably larger with external dimensions of 16.3" x 11.4" x 8.3", a main interior compartment measuring 13.4" x 9.6" x 6.7" and a 15" x 11" x 1.4" laptop one. It weighs just under 3lbs. All CityWalker bags are designed for use with professional cameras without a vertical grip plus one or more lenses. The 20 comfortably fits 2 additional lenses in addition to the one on the camera, more for smaller lenses. The 10 has room for one less and the 30, room for one more. As always, this depends on the actual lenses.
A seam-sealed rain cover is supplied with the bag to protect its content in inclement weather. This is no doubt a necessity with this series since most compartments, including the main one, do not close completely.
The ThinkTank CityWalker 20 is available from Amazon.
Shoulder bags like the CityWalker are designed to keep gear easily accessible without encumbering much the wearer. To distinguish itself from other shoulder bags, the CityWalker series goes for an extremely light weight with a design that will surely polarize people. Some people will applaud it for being much lighter than similarly-sized bags, while others will consider its design choices unsuitable.
Most photography gear are expected to go right into the removable compartment. It is padded at the bottom and on all four sides which gives the maximum gear protection afforded by the CityWalker shoulder-bag. There is obviously no protection on top and neither is the flap which closes the bag. If you need to put down the bag on one of its sides, this makes the camera easily vulnerable, leaving the rear LCD screen unprotected. On the other hand, if the bag is always hung on you, padding at the top would be largely superfluous.
The compartment fits in the center of the bag, leaving room on the sides for more sturdy accessories such as add-on flashes. There are interior pockets on each side just the right size for this. If knocks are not expected, these can be used for small lenses instead.
There is a zippered flat pocket in the interior towards the back and one for the tablet towards the front. This one is closed by a small Velcro in the middle. A more sizable pocket is found on the outside of the bag with the main flap closing over it. It is also closed by a single Velcro in its center. A stretchy pocket for water-bottles or small non-fragile item is found on each side of the bag. The last compartment is built into the flap and closes with a metal zipper.
Part of the lightweight design is achieved by an omission of zippers. The main compartment and expandable front pocket have no zippers and cannot close completely. This is fine in safe cities and as long as the bag is carried. However, those using a bag in high crime-rate areas will have to watch theirs much more carefully. A thing to consider is that traveling with the bag is also less than ideal as placing it lying down, such as under the seat of a plane or in overhead bins, runs the risk of loosing content.
Those who travel of their destination and pack their shoulder-bags to be taken out after arriving, will be happy to see who the CityWalker 20 can collapse into a nearly flat shape after removing the interior compartment. While traveling the main compartment can easy be stuffed with other items in checked luggage.
Carrying the CityWalker 20 is extremely comfortable. The provided shoulder-strap is generously padded and the sides of the bag flex against the body instead. Given the large size of the flap, opening the bag in the intended orientation makes it hard to work with its content but reversing it so that it opens away from the photographer works avoids the issue. There is an removable low-profile carrying strap on top of the bag which can be used to displace the bag without hanging it on the shoulder.
The hallmark of ThinkTank products is their high build quality and the CityWalker is no exception. The outer shell of the bag is made of tough ballistic nylon which has a high quality feel and an inconspicuous matt finish. Each model is available as all-black or black-and-blue.
A transparent business card holder is found inside the main flap which also has Velcro silencers. The flap can either be closed using a light-weight plastic clasp or two Velcros. The silencers block each Velcro, making the bag easier and quieter to open, if desired.
The Think Tank CityWalker takes lightweight to the extreme, giving up several usual elements such as zippers and padding along the way. For use as a day bag in a safe urban environment, this is great. However, to carry gear between destinations, one should consider the more protective Urban Disguise reviewed here instead.
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