Several months ago I received a copy of the Think Tank Signature 13 for a review on a website where I was
writing reviews. At the time I had been using the Peak Design Every Day Messenger 15 for more than a year. I honestly wasn't expecting to change bags. I was expecting it to be nice, and I was expecting to write up my review on it, and then I was planning to give it away in some wort of a promotional campaign.
Fast forward several months later, and I am still completely in love with this camera bag! It became my full-time primary bag as I was using it to build out my article, and then it remained my main bag ever since!
Now, let me just clarify that in the interim, I have rated and reviewed a wide variety of shoulder bags and messenger bags. I have seen more bags in the past few months than I ever imaged. I have literally found nothing that comes even close to this bag. Think Tank has a massive 'homerun' on their hands with this one!
During the first week that I had it, I was literally stopped on the street by a fellow who literally absolutely HAD to have the name and brand of the bag. It turned out he was an executive with Apple, and he was on vacation in Philadelphia, and he wanted to have one in hand before he returned to the office, so he could be the first in his department to have one. He recognized the Think Tank logo when he was looking at it closer, and it was really funny to see how excited he became over the fine details in the Signature 13. I was secretly very happy to see someone else as excited about the bag as I was, because I was feeling a little bit silly about how much I adored the bag.
The bag is available in two colors, Dusty Olive, or Slate Gray. It's also available in two sizes, a 10" version ($249) and a 13" version ($279). I received the 13, and I can comfortably carry my Canon 5D Mark IV with a 70-200 mounted, a 24-70 and a 16-35 inside the bag. I can actually also fit a fisheye in there at the same time, if I don't mind the weight. There is a compartment in the rear for a laptop or an iPad. I happen to use a 15" MacBook Pro, so unfortunately it doesn't fit, but it's a perfect spot to place either a note pad, or a tablet.
In the front of the bag there is a leather strop which unsnaps to reveal a double pouch. One pouch includes a zipped enclosure, and the other is just a large open pouch. Between the two is a pouch that will hold a cell phone (pictured to the right), and I actually use that for my memory card wallet.
In the front pouch I can easily carry business cards, cleaning supplies, allen wrenches, Arca-Swiss plates, and quite a few other sundry items.
On the back of the bag there is another zipper compartment, and one thing I absolutely love, the luggage pass-through. I actually partner the Signature 13 with a Streetwalker Rolling Backpack v2.0. The Rolling Backpack has an aluminum handle that telescopes out, and the Signature 13 fits absolutely perfectly on the handle. This setup gives me the perfect amount of room for both of my camera bodies, all of my lenses, and my off camera flash gear, that I use for a wedding or event. The fact that it is a rolling option is an absolutely godsend!
As with all of the ThinkTank bags, there is a waterproof rain cover included in the bag when you purchase it! Recently I received an absolutely massive Production Manager case. The case is literally so large I have to move the front seat all the way forward in the passenger side of my Jeep in order to fit it in the car! And yes - that huge case also comes with a rain cover! This is an incredibly thoughtful touch, and I have used it several times since I started using the bag.
The quality of the materials used in this bag are one of the biggest reasons it's so darned amazing. The main parts of the bag are made of a wool-like material that is incredibly luxurious and soft. The accents are an extremely fine grade leather. The metal hardware is a beautiful antiqued finish. Every tiny detail of this bag is just stunning.
The main shoulder strap can also be detached if you are not using it, or if you are going to use the hand carrying handle on the top of the bag. One major plus to the design is the fact that the handle on the top of the bag is perfectly centered. After I received this bag, and loved it so much, I spent some time trying to find a 15" bag of equal quality (since I use the 15" MacBook Pro.) I was very surprised to find that competitors don't seem to be worried about the placement of that main carrying handle. Perhaps the assumption is that people wont be using it as often, but I use it all the time, and if the location is all the way on the back or front of the bag, instead of centered, it makes for a very awkward and nearly useless handle. ThinkTank positioned theirs absolutely flawlessly.
Another absolutely terrific aspect of their design is the zipping inner cover. Under the main flap, there is a secondary flap that zips into place. This is especially helpful if/when I have my 70-200 mounted. One of my primary concerns with the Peak Design Everyday Messenger was the fact that there was no way to secure the camera inside the bag with complete certainty. Once the swinging flap is open on that bag, if it leans forward, your gear can come falling out. The only time that happened to me was actually in a car seat, not while I was carrying it, but I was very frustrated by the fact that there wasn't a way to secure, with certainty, inside the main bin of the bag. ThinkTank completely thought this through, and with the addition of a zipper cover, you can be 100% positive that your camera will not come tumbling out. Here are the specifications/dimensions as per the ThinkTank website:
Internal Dimensions: 13.3” W x 9.1” H x 5.1” D (34 x 23 x 13 cm) Exterior Dimensions: 14.6” W x 10.4” H x 6.3” D (37 x 26.5 x 16 cm) Laptop/Tablet Pocket: 13” W x 9.1” H x 1.2” D (33 x 23 x 3 cm) Weight: 3.1 lbs. (1.4 kg)
If you are interested, I have embedded a YouTube video where I go through the bag on camera. I'm more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the bag, if it isn't covered in the article or video!
Also, I have since become a ThinkTank affiliate. I am such a fan of this bag, and so many of the other bags that they have sent me over the past year or so, I want to do all that I can to encourage fellow photographers to check them out! I wouldn't put my name behind them if I didn't think they were an exemplary product. This is the good stuff! MindShift Gear, a separate branding that is also done by Think Tank is equally amazing. I have included the affiliate link to both of them here, in case you are planning to buy anything from either company. You will receive a free gift for any purchase over a certain price point, plus free shipping! I will also benefit by a small commission, and that will help me keep the product reviews and information coming your way! Thanks so much for all your support, every little bit adds up! Think Tank Affiliate Site