Lo & Sons Camera Bag Review
Want the short version?
Not enough thoughtful design features to merit the $300 price tag.
The Pros – Claremont Camera Bag Review
I really wanted a bag that didn’t scream “camera bag,” something I could use as a daily bag, so my camera would always be within reach. I chose the Lo & Sons’ Claremont camera bag for its attractive, modern design, and hands-free crossbody strap.
And for most of these criteria, it delivers.
In person, the style doesn’t disappoint. I’d be comfortable carrying it as a daily bag, and even using it for slightly dressier occasions. There’s enough interior padding to protect a camera from bumps and maybe small drops. I also like how the turnlock closure requires just a bit of effort; it won’t accidentally come undone, and makes unnoticed theft that much more difficult.
The Cons – Claremont Camera Bag Review
To be fair, my largest issue with the bag is one I half anticipated when shopping: there’s just not enough storage or organization for this bag to effectively function as a basic purse AND a camera bag. This is an problem if, like me, you don’t want to carry an additional purse.
Compared to my old practical nylon camera bag, the Claremont really has few features designed with a camera in mind, and these shortcomings can’t all be dismissed in the name of the minimalist design.
In addition to the main padded compartment, there are two memory card slots in the front, and a back zippered pouch.
The bag easily fits my small X-T2 and an extra lens, but it becomes a challenge to pack in a small wallet, keys, cell phone and lip balm. With a larger DSLR, those extra items would be even more tightly crammed.
There’s a bit of extra room at the top of the bag, but it’s not really usable unless you want to “unpack” before taking your camera out–and then again to fit it back in.
The removable divider is a good idea for flexibility, but has difficulty staying in place, and the slightly rounded shape of the bag’s base means that my extra lens will always try to topple over once I remove my camera.
If I want to pack other accessories like filters or extra batteries, they’ll be floating around in the bottom of the bag, or crammed into the back pouch (leaving me to wonder where to put my keys).
Above, I have a tissue pack, lip balm, my keys and iPhone 5s (awesome pizza case from Etsy) in the back pouch, and though you can’t tell from the photo, it’s pretty crammed. The tightness of the pocket also makes it difficult to dig out items that slip to the bottom.
A small front pouch in the place of the memory card slots, and expandable accordion edges at the top of the back pouch would go a long way to making this bag more functional.
The Verdict – Lo & Sons Claremont Camera Bag Review
Overall, I just don’t feel that Lo & Sons Claremont camera bag has enough thoughtful design features to merit the $300 price tag. If you’re absolutely in love with the style, and don’t need to carry much with you, go for it. But I hesitate to recommend a bag at such a high price point when it seems more like a purse with a couple token camera bag features added.
This bag really only works for me when I don’t want to bring along an extra lens, so there’s free space for a couple personal items. Not ideal, so I’m still hunting for something that will better fit my needs.
Two Options I’m Looking At:
Ona’s Chelsea camera bag. It’s larger, and appears to have more in the way of storage and dividers.
This vintage courier bag, which also has better storage, and is gorgeous. However, I would need a padded insert to protect my camera. (I’m half hoping someone buys this before I give in to temptation, and half reluctant to tell anyone about it!)