Camera bags for women

If there is one thing photographers have in common with women it’s an obsession with bags.

I have a lot of camera bags. I think about bags a lot. I find it’s difficult to find the right camera bag and when I add a laptop to the mix it becomes nearly impossible. But as difficult as it must be, imagine what it’s like to find a photographic bag for women?!


As far as I know, the world thinks that there are only three materials for camera bags. They are (in decreasing order of ubiquity):

  • Cordura. Basically bulletproof. Think Crumpler.
  • Ballistic Nylon. Actually for photography this material has a softer, more practical hand than cordura. The problem is it doesn’t take to dyes and the only color it’s available in is black. Think Think Tank
  • Cotton Canvas. Think Domke.

None of these are great material options for women.

The design problem with any camera bag for women is that the style for women’s bags are made to look like they’re hardly carrying anything at all—thin straps that can’t be used across the body is pretty much de rigeur for these bags. This becomes a joke when you want to put anything like a laptop or camera in them. Both are large, heavy, and require lots of padding.

The real problem with any camera bag for women is that most of them are designed by and for guys. And since I have no taste (or at best, a guy taste) and Marie now has a camera, I just sent a list of sites to Marie.

In light of Marie’s post on iPad case shopping, it occurs to me that maybe others might be interested in my “research.”


The Shootsac was probably the first women’s camera bag I had heard of. Jessica Claire is using neoprene in the design so it definitely is very Built NY-inspired. BTW, it’s just a lens bag, not a full camera bag.

Kelly Moore Bags

Recently, Kelly Moore Bags launched. Mostly, I was impressed with the flash video on the splash page. They’re clearly using a 5D Mk II and the depth-of-field is used to great advantage in the filming of the commercial. Looks like they rented a dolly also.

LowePro Passsport Sling

Speaking of which, Sebastapol-based, Lowepro, recently introduced the Passport Sling. Again, they produced the commercial locally on what seems to be a photo camera in video mode. It’s a great commercial, if only because we actually shop at that same Farmer’s Market on weekends—though I’m pretty sure they did their shoot on Tuesday.

Jill-e Designs

jill-e designs - professional quality, designer electronics bags for women
Jill-e also specializes in women-specific camera bags. I don’t know much about them, but they carry a lot of sizes and styles—The Jill-e clutch is clever. I will mention that they probably should have made their WordPress blog, the CMS for the entire site, especially in light of TwentyTen’s new menu system, because the dropdown navigation on the homepage is impossible to use.


I also sent Marie this link about someone who crafted her own bag.

*emera bags

The link linked a discussion with led Marie to *emera bags

Marie immediately put herself on the wait list. So I guess that means that her next bag will be designed by San Franciscans.

BTW, If you want to read about iPad cases from a women’s perspective…

11 thoughts on “Camera bags for women

  1. I’ve found some beautiful camera bags for women at my favourite is the emera bag – incredible

  2. I own & have owned several jill-e bags (5 in total), and I don’t really recommend the women’s bags. They look great, but they’re not very well padded. I sent back two bags because of poor quality stitching that had the seams split and handles come off within one use. Literally, the first time I picked up a medium bag with my equipment loaded, the handle broke, the bag fell two feet to the ground, and both filters on two lenses were completely smashed (thank goodness it was just the filters). I’ve also dropped the small bag from the height of a car seat to the ground, and that also resulted in two smashed filters. So that’s twice that the bags have fallen a relatively short distance and resulted in broken glass. That’s not very confidence building.

    On the other hand, I also own two Jack series bags (for men), and those are far better padded. I won’t buy another women’s jill-e bag.

  3. Love the Kelly Moore bags, but noticed they have magnets as closures for some of the pockets. There is a real possibility that the magnets will effect your flash cards.

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