I’ve been eying the Kelly Moore + A Beautiful Mess bag for a while now. I’d been using the ONA Any Bag Camera Bag Insert inside one of the weekender bags I got in Uganda. I really love the bag, and the ONA Insert worked great, but it was far from professional. It was time for an upgrade.
The only problem: it’s expensive. And I spent $80 on the ONA Insert not too long ago, so the idea of dishing out another $229 made my bank account hurt.
Luckily, good karma finally caught up with me, and $250 basically fell into my lap. But that’s a story for another day.
I absolutely love emerald, but I figure if I’m spending this much money on a bag, it should be neutral. I don’t want it to go out of style in a few months. So, emerald was out.
This was the hardest choice: brown or black?
I took a good, hard look at my wardrobe and decided which color would work the best with most of my clothes. Then I realized they both worked well with almost everything, so it was a wash.
I ended up deciding on the brown bag, because it seems the most classic. I can’t put my finger on why, but the black one just doesn’t look as nice to me. So I ordered the brown bag and waited patiently for it to arrive.
So, what came with the bag?
It came with two adjustable straps: one is the color of the bag (brown in my case), the other is black + white strips, to match the inside and accessories. It also comes with one shoulder pad the color of the bag, which fits on both straps. I personally use the brown one because I like the classic look.
It also has some handy stuff for the inside. There’s a padded basket with adjustable padded dividers. These are great because everyone has different cameras and equipment, so you can adjust it to the best dimensions for you. Or, if you just want a messenger bag, you can take the whole basket out.
There’s also a padded case for a telephoto lens, but the largest one I have is 100mm, so I don’t have a use for it. Yet.
Lots of people also use this bag as a diaper bag, so there’s a matching changing pad, too. But I will have no use for that any time soon, so I don’t even keep it handy.
As you can see in the photo above, there’s a pocket in the front. Inside are pockets for a cell phone and some credit cards. I use the credit card slots for my access cards for work and my apartment complex, but I like having a wallet so I won’t use them for actual credit cards. And the cell phone slot is super handy because you don’t have to worry about it getting scratched by your keys!
There’s another pocket in the back that doesn’t get covered by the flap. I like using it for my planner or other small things I need to remember to bring home from work.
It can’t hold a lot, but it’s still really convenient.
I’ve only got one critique of the bag: they say there’s plenty of room in the bag for a 15″ or 13″ Macbook (or an equivalent non-Apple computer) in addition to your camera equipment. While this is true while the bag is open, I can’t secure the clasps if I’ve got my 13″ Macbook Pro, Canon Rebel T2i with kit lens, 50mm lens, and 100mm lens inside.
Well, I can close one clasp, but not the other.
So I usually just leave it unclasped. Either way, it just looks awkward.
All in all, though, it’s a great bag. I’m really happy with the color, it’s very durable, and it looks very professional. I’m hoping the clasp problem will work itself out once it gets a bit more worn in.
If you’re looking to invest in a good, versatile camera (or diaper) bag, I highly recommend the Kelly Moore + A Beautiful Mess camera bag. If I had to do it over, I’d pick the exact same one.