Timbuk2’s Subtle Camera Bag : The Snoop

I hate camera bags … no, that isn’t true. I have been involved in the design process for two camera bags for the legendary Domke company, I have designed a photo insert for Mountainsmith bags and played a significant role in designing a compact camera bag for Mountainsmith. My collection of camera bags has caused me to lose count … but really I do hate camera bags, or more to the point I have grown to hate camera bags that look and act like traditional camera bags (with the exception of the Domke F-2 because the Domke F-2 is perfect exactly as it is) …


… so, where does this leave the Timbuk2 Snoop?


While searching for a better camera bag for the road nearly a year ago I began speaking with a number of bag companies and the folks at Timbuk2 were nice enough to send me a fairly new bag to their lineup of messenger bags, the medium Snoop Camera Messenger bag.


The Timbuk2 Snoop Messenger was a different design than I was accustomed to using in that the bag didn’t sit on my shoulder, but rather was worn like a well … a messenger bag.  After a brief adjustment period of getting used to a messenger design I found I loved this bag and found myself carrying this bag with me nearly everywhere, on a plane for work, to the city for a day out, to the park with my kids, the library because when loaded it makes a nice ottoman for the chairs at the local library.     In short, when I don’t need a backpack or belt-kit, this bag can take everything I can reasonably shove in it, and carry it comfortably.


The internal design of the Snoop is different than I other bags I was accustomed to due to the design of its shaped and customizable insert (and I say this having designed a photo insert for Mountainsmith). The insert is lined with Velcro to customize the dividers, rather than connecting the dividers to the bag’s interior directly.    The insert slips into the Snoop Messenger in a unique way, in that it does not take up all of the space inside the bag.  By allowing excess space inside the bag, users can pack additional accessories within the main compartment.


On the ‘short sides’ of my Snoop Messenger, between the insert and the bag, I pack a single-sling Black Rapid strap and a pair of Mechanix gloves on one side, and a Newswear belt-loop lens pouch on the other side.   Along the rear-wall, against the laptop slot I usually slip in an iPad. At times I slip a 13″ MacBook Pro into the laptop slot and my 11″ MacBook Air between the insert and the wall.


The front design of the Snoop Messenger is brilliantly designed with a clear window, along with other accessory pockets.   The clear window is great for small vital accessories such as a card reader, cords, an iPad Stylus, jump drives, etc. Being able to see what is in the pocket saves a considerable amount of time and effort in retrieving the item you want … you won’t realize how much time and effort this saves you until you try and pull an item out while staying in the rain.


Speaking of the rain the interior of the Snoop Messenger is completely weather proof. I have taken my bag out in awful New England rainstorms and my gear has always remained perfectly dry!


The closure of the Snoop Messenger gives photographers a lot of flexibility, the bag can be closed with either two clips, or a Velcro closure   I prefer to use the clips, but when working quickly, being in and out of the bag, I switch to the Velcro, Need to carry your tripod?  The Snoop has lash-tabs to keep it attached to your bag while out shooting … I tend to use the lash tabs to hold a jacket or sweater.


So … what’s in my Timbuk2 Snoop Messenger?   I unloaded my bag the other day while out shooting to find out …


2 – Canon EOS 5D / Mk II bodies, with vertical grip

1 – Canon EOS 16-35f2.8L

1 – Canon EOS 28-70f2.8L

1 – Canon EOS 70-200f2.8L

1 – Apple 11″ MacBook Air

1 – BlackRapid DR-1 Double Strap

1 – BlackRapid RS-7 Curve

1 – Newswear Large Press Pouch

1 – PacSafe CarrySafe 100 Strap

2 – USB Jump Drives

1 – Beats by Dr. Dre iBeats in-ear headsets

1 – Kodak SD USB Card Reader

2 – iPhone/iPad USB Dock Connector Cables

1 – Press Credential Lanyard

1 – Mechanix Original Gloves

1 – Moleskine Notebook

2 – Pens


Below are a few photos of my Timbuk2 Snoop Messenger and just about everything I stuff in there

(Not Shown:  Apple iPad and Apple MagSafe MacBook power supply, but they’re packed in there)


What would I change about the Snoop Messenger?  I’d add a handle to the top of the bag … but as it turns out, Timbuk2 added a handle to the updated version of this bag recently, so now it is pretty much perfect.


If you like to keep your smart phone handy, I might also suggest checking out the 3Way Case. My iPhone spends a lot of time in there on my bag.


Happy Flying!




a black and grey bag on the ground

a bag with items inside


a bag with camera lenses and other objects inside


a bag and camera on a table


  1. Any issues with the Mac Air being in a non rigid case and curving on your back?? And which size is this Snoop??


  2. JB,

    I have had no issues with my MacBook Air or iPad in the Tmbuk2 Snoop, even when the bag’s gear is unloaded onto my shoulders, leaving just the MacBook Air in there. I tend to place my MacBook Air between the photo insert and the laptop slot, rather than in the slot.

    I have used this bag nearly daily for just under a year and it is a fantastic bag.

    Happy Flying!


  3. A big improvement for this bag would be to make it lighter. Even the XS size weighs in at 1kg.

    By the time I add in my stuff which is not even much – just my m43 camera, notebook, water bottle and other small miscellaneous stuff, the bag will easily weigh 2 kg – that’s too heavy.

    Anyhow, now crumpler has come up with a 2012 updated version of their camera bag which has removable tripod straps.

    Death match on.

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