I recently bought a Patagonia MiniMass messenger bag. I have a couple of bags already, so why do I need a new one? I don’t need one, but it is nice to have a new one that fills a specific purpose.

Multiple Bags

The other day I listened to a relatively new photography podcast called “Your Itinerary” whose focus is travel photography. In that particular episode, the host interviews a VP of a camera bag manufacturer. During the conversation, the thought that no one camera bag is perfect for all situations kept coming up. I agree with this thought, and am happy that I can now feel less guilty about satisfying my love of messenger bags and backpacks.

The Current Lineup

Before I bought my new bag, I had two main bags. The first is my REI Messenger bag, with a padded insert for carrying camera gear. The second is a North Face Router backpack, also with a padded insert. Both are good for carrying my dSLR and lenses, the messenger bag being more nimble since I can get the camera out of the bag quickly. The Router holds a lot more and since it’s a backpack, the heavy load is distributed between both shoulders. If I get really tired, there is also a waist strap so I can use it as a pseudo backpacking pack.

The Missing Link

The problem with both of these is that thye are large. Lots of times I don’t want to carry them. I mistakenly thought that I could carry either of these wherever I went and have access to my beloved dSLR (actually SLT, for you purists). But now I realize that a smaller bag would be better for an “everyday carry” and since I have my Fujifilm XF1, I don’t need to carry the dSLR for general walkabout photos. The XF1 and RAW can produce some great photos.

The New Bag

I did some research online, watched video reviews, and then went to REI to check out the bags they had in person, specifically looking for a small messenger bag. The Patagonia MiniMass stood out as the best one, and REI had it on clearance! What great timing! Unfortunately, they didn’t have the color I wanted in stock, but I ordered it online and had it shipped to the store. After a week, I had the bag in my possession.

Patagonia MiniMass
Patagonia MiniMass

So, how is the bag? In a word: Great! It’s small, but not too small, comfortable, the pockets and storage are for the most part well-thought out. I can fit everything I need into it, and in fact if I wanted to squeeze the dSLR and an extra lens in there, it could do it.

Here’s a list of stuff I currently carry in it:

As you can see from the list, there’s a lot that I carry! But in reality, it does not weigh that much. It’s a nice little kit and I can even shoot RAW, edit on my Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet, and post to Instagram all while on the go. One useful feature of this bag is that the two cover-straps also double as compression straps, so you can expand or slim down the width of the bottom of the bag. I wish I had this on my larger messenger bag and backpack!

My Daily Carry
My Daily Carry

Of course with any bag, there are a couple of things that I’d change. Well, just one in fact! There is only a single outside pocket for a water bottle. This pocket is perfect for carrying the Fujifilm XF1 compact camera, but I wish there was another pocket on the other side so I could carry my 12oz. Liberty water bottle. Since that bottle has a handle, there may be some way to attach it.

All-in-all I love the Patagonia MiniMass messenger bag. It fits into my life perfectly!

My Bag Collection
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 35mm, f/2.4, 1/350 sec, ISO100
My Bag Collection


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    1. Yeah, I saw Arietty in the theaters when it was here. Great movie! My favorite Ghibli movie is Spirited Away, closely followed by Kiki.

      My favorite DS game is Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I haven’t played in a while, but it’s so relaxing and fun.

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