Locho Camera Bag review By Justin Heyes

Locho Camera Bag review

By Justin Heyes

Camera bags come in all shapes and sizes from little pocket pouches to heavy-duty rolling rigs and for the most part they can be pretty ugly. Would you ever walk around carrying your belongings in something that resembles a heavily padded diaper bag? No. Then why would you want to carry your camera, a tool for your creativity, in something like that? Style should matter to you when it comes your photographic life – enter Locho.

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Usually fashionable camera bags cost you as much as much as you paid for the camera itself. You justify the cost by telling yourself that everyone else has that bag so it must be good. Locho is a new comer to the seemingly overcrowded camera bag world. Jeremiah Robison Kickstart-ed the Locho DSRL Satchel in December of 2012. After a month the campaign was unsuccessful, but that didn’t stop the bag from coming to market.

The Locho Satchel is modeled after the Cambridge style satchel and can either be worn on the shoulder or as a backpack with the set of included straps (3 straps: 1 shoulder, 2 backpack). Measuring 16.5” x 6” x 11.5” the Locho Satchel is by no means a small fry. The exterior is made from top quality water resistant vegan leather (polyurethane) and the interior is a soft felt material. It comes in four colors: black, blue, brown and red. It has a subtle distressed look like it had already been well-worn. The side of the satchel was stiff and a touch boxy. The main flap is not floppy like a messenger bag and kept its shape when folded back.

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It has ample room with pockets for a 13 inch laptop and tablet. It also provides a padded interior pocket and magnetic side pockets. The pockets are described “for phone storage” and seem a bit small with the dimensions able to hold something the sized of an iPhone 4. The satchel comes with 3 adjustable Velcro dividers that almost are the full depth of the bag. Two dividers can be laid on their side to crate a bottom compartment. Locho’s logo is embossed on each side pocket flap and on the front pocket with their stylized “locho” underneath.

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Locho uses a tuck-lock closure instead of hidden magnets or traditional buckles. This give the bag an old world style. The closures are attached by a non-adjustable buckle and don’t have satisfying click when closed, but they held strong when needed. On the back there is a zippered pocket that can be open to slide over the handles of your luggage; it can also be used to store the set of straps that are not in use.

When I chose to carry my tripod with me, I used the backpack straps to attach it to the bottom of the satchel. The straps attach to D-rings around the satchel. There are two on the sides for the shoulder strap and three in a V-shaped pattern on the back. Neither set of straps include padding. Wearing the back as a backpack doesn’t cause any strain or fatigue on the neck or shoulders, but the body strap will dig into the shoulders a little when the bag is fully loaded.  When the satchel was shipped to me it was in a plain cardboard box. It was wrapped inside a dust bag with Locho logo printed across the front. There was a subtle smell of leather not as strong as a normal leather bag, but not overbearing.

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My initial feelings toward the bag were not very good. I thought it was big and boxy. It was much different from most soft sided bags I have used, not at all what I was expecting. I was informed what the difference between Cambridge style satchel and a messenger style bag were. It is a different style and required a different approach.

With any traditional soft-sided camera bag I have had, placing it on the ground I would make sure it wouldn’t get bumped or get knocked over. The Locho Satchel has proved time and again that it is rugged and tough. I have placed it on the muddy and rocky ground with out damage to my glass inside. I just wiped it off and continued on my way.

I always wonder why only few people care about the weight of the camera bag, albeit many seem to care about the weight of the camera. Camera manufactures are also crazy about reducing the weight of the camera, but bag manufactures aren’t. Bag weight only reflects it’s construction and padding or lack of.

The recommended capacity from Locho is one DSLR and three lenses. It can handle the 5D Mk IIIs and D800s out in the world without a problem. What I got into my satchel was a Fuji X-E1, a fist full of lenses, two flashes, a flash recorder, external drive, my tablet and notebook and miscellaneous cables and extra batteries with room to spare.

The use of vegan leather (polyurethane) as the external material may be a problem for some, but it has its benefits. It’s waterproof and socially conscious. It won’t age, become discolored, or stretch out over time. Leather is nice for occasional carry but is susceptible to damage from abrasion and stains. While genuine leather is great, it is costly and needs regular maintenance.

I gave the bag to another photographer and a local artist an this is what the had to say about the bag.

Few things to say about Locho Satchel:

Let me start by pointing out the obvious but also my favorite thing about this satchel; the color! I’m a really big fan of vibrant colors and this bag nails it. The 4 colors available really appeal to my sense of aesthetics. Its got an old style feel to it (with its design and clasps), a leather look to it, soft interior, and eye-catching colors with a handle and strap (very functional).

Now to move beyond the eye candy, the other aspect of this satchel that I like is the SPACE. I personally did not give the dividers a chance because most of my art supplies I keep in their own containers, but I was able to fit so much into the bag. I could fit my tablet, sketch book(s), 2 containers of markers, and 2 separate pencil cases. I never felt my stuff was crowed or worried the I would crush anything. Re-arranging things I bit, my 15 inch laptop, charger, small sketch book, and more were able to be fit in the main compartment. This isn’t even with me taking advantage of all the extra side/back/interior pockets.

My only real complaint for this bag it that its bigger then what I personally would need for my supplies. It’s large and very block-y. It’s a very rigid bag. But I’m also not using it for camera gear were I assuming the need for dividers and space to keep fragile equipment would come in handy. The plus-side to a bag design like this is that with wear I believe it would hold up and it would give you a really nice worn in look and with colors that would last.

Include in the box with the Locho Satchel was their DSLR strap. It is a nice little strap with a woven wool exterior and rubberized backing. The nylon attachment straps are a little too thick to easily thread on the plastic slide. The padded rubberized backing was nice when used on the shoulder and didn’t slip off nearly as much as a stock strap; when used on the neck it grabs the skin and can be uncomfortable. I would have liked this if it were padding on the satchel strap. Locho offers the straps in colors to match their satchel so you can mix or match.

 

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33 Comments

  1. Yep, I agree with all of the posters…why would anyone want to draw attention TO one’s camera bag?? I purposely choose low profile, yet quality made camera bags such as those from thinkTANKPhoto, Tenba, or Tamrac. These companies know what photographers need in terms of quality protection, functionality, weather-resistance, and usability. Personally, I think that “style” is the very LEAST important criterion of a good, functional camera bag.

  2. Well, I’m not sorry to be the only one with a modicum of taste here, but I love the look of the bag, and compared to my LowePro it’s gorgeous and would much prefer wandering around the cities of the world with this slung over my shoulder than most ugly camera bags. Also as a veggie the ‘vegan leather’ sounds amazing. I would question the security of this bag though, and while it looks better for an urban environment I wonder if my lenses etc would be as safe in this as a tradition camera bag. Those clips don’t look that secure, and the open sides don’t look v waterproof.

  3. $165 for the bag? I may consider it at $20 to use it for storing my gears at home. This thing shouldn’t ever be wore outside.

  4. Looks like a pre school bag from Wal Mart. What a dogs breakfast ( the colours, oh man, oh man ).

  5. Wow that´s amazing. This bag is so ugly it could be a piece of modern art !
    But on the other side if you spend thousands of Dollars for useless Leica
    gear wondering why you pictures don´t getting better – why not carrying it
    in a doltish bag ?

  6. It would be reasonable to expect the Taste Police to boot down the front door at 3am when they got wind of one of these in the home.

    I particularly liked the back mounted shot and the yawning openings at either end. Not to mention the side pockets providing a sporting chance for a quick grab by the local footpads.
    But let’s not be negative, in a downpour, with a scale stuck to the inside, it’s a ready rain gauge.

    Yes, “to move beyond the eye candy” is excruciatingly cruel, but heck, let’s be strong, nay, bind ourselves to the masts for insurance, and resist the siren call of this blue beauty.
    ,

  7. All credit to Locho for trying, but this is such a competitive market to enter you’ve got to offer something truly special in both design and use of materials.

    Unfortunately this looks like a school boy design project knocked up on the cheap from a used PVC sofa.

    • Hi Rich,
      i wish i could have bought one, but at this time, it´s just a tad to expensive for me.
      The guys behind Compagnon are very enthusiastic. They even made a photo for me when i asked if a Pro-Body with three big Lenses (incl. a 70-200) would fit into their bag. They do.
      At the moment i use a Lowe Pro Flipside for the 4 lenses and a Spider Holster for the Camera with Lens attached. For short trips or with less wight i think the Compagnon with the wide strap ist made for me.

  8. Sorry but I agree with the comments above, it is an awful looking bag and the rain would soon get in those gaping sides when worn as a back pack. Sorry but I like proper leather you cant beat the aging or the smell.

  9. The review says: “Style should matter to you when it comes your photographic life – enter Locho.” It should say “…exit Locho.”

  10. “Style should matter to you when it comes your photographic life”

    Agreed. Which is why I wouldn’t be seen dead with a bag like this.

  11. It seems from all the negative comments above the mfg should have paid attention to the failed Kickstarter campaign..

  12. in 1986 when I started to visit elementary school I have same type of bag on my back …different leather colour …I think it was red & yellow ….but this reminds me it . sorry but not for photo tools

  13. This reminds me of the bag that came with a vintage 1970s OM-1 that I bought a few years ago…. All I can say is that I hope they find their niche.

  14. Thanks for the review, the effort is appreciated. BUT you could have bought a beautiful leather bag and enjoyed that delightful smell and how it improves with age. If you want the same style a proper Cambridge satchel can be had for half price on asos, bung in a camera insert and off you go 🙂

  15. Sorry, that bag is just plain ugly in my eyes. Being water-resistant means it should resist rain with non-open sides. Even the color looks strange imho.
    There are so many nice an high-quality leather bags out there, this on is plain superfluous in my opinion.
    For example here in Germany there is a young Bag-Producer named compagnon-bags. One of those will be my next camera-bag for sure, because, as you say, design matters.

  16. PU products pretending (however openly) to be leather need to be banned on taste grounds alone. I know that this bag is not sold as being leather, but it is designed to look like leather and only leather looks like leather. I also agree with the comment above about the dust-proofing (or otherwise) qualities of this bag. It’s a nice idea but poor basic design and dreadful materials mean it’s a no from me. A proper leather satchel with more camera-centric design would, I’m sure, sell well. I have seen leather satchels at very reasonable cost (WELL under £100) so cost need not be an issue either.

  17. Hooo Weee!! That is one of the butt-ugliest bags I have ever seen! Sorry, but it would be OK for a 6 year old kid carrying his/her lunch and books to elementary school but for an adult photographer? I agree with Rich (above) that this is “ridiculous looking.” But I do appreciate that everyone has different tastes and I sincerely thank Justin for his review.
    Best regards,
    Bob

  18. This bag is a fail IMO as the photos show that the ends open up while carried, allowing rain, dust etc access to the inside of the bag. Check out the photos of it being carried as a back pack.

    A cute idea is one thing, but proper execution is another.

  19. I’m sorry but that is the most ridiculous looking and questionably functional camera bag that I have ever seen.
    Thanks for the review,
    Rich

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