Berchirly Canvas/Leather Messenger 14inch

It’s been about eight months since I wrote about “The Bowery Berchirly” an ONA Camera Bag Alternative

Today I am writing about the bigger brother, although the smaller version can perfectly suffice for a day trip, and can easily hold a camera with 3 lenses – sometimes you just want more volume.
You could say the smaller version is the casual bag, well equipped but not over the top.
This bag is the more professional version : a laptop/tablet – camera with four or more lenses (of the type XF 18-135 / 70-300) – batteries and a lot of other accessories, it’s all possible. The dimensions are 35x27x11cm – 13.7×10.6×4.3inch.
Unlike the smaller version, this one is unpadded (at least not thick).
And that’s okay, a year or more ago I would rather have bags equipped with “Tenba” inserts, but lengthy trial and error has led me to prefer using pouches now.
By using an insert in a bag you lose a lot of volume in your bag – while with pouches you can fill the bag to your heart’s content, it’s just as safe – or safe enough, and there is still room for other personal items.

I have a green version of the bag, I think it’s less conspicuous, and it fits well in nature. In the photos I took of my bag it looks more bluish than green, but that is due to the smartphone I took the photos with, it’s really more of the typical “army green”.

The covid has turned the world upside down for all of us, and I haven’t been able to use the bag intensively in the last two years that I have had the bag. But the moments when it was possible, it was a nice bag to use.
What I personally like about this type of bag is that it is always very accessible – unlike a backpack that you have to take off every time.
I also brought it with me on my trip to see the Orient Express, and while waiting for the train, sitting on a bench with a bottle of water and something to eat that was also in the bag, I noticed how casual the bag was. No one noticed that I was “armed” with a camera and some lenses, just a regular guy waiting for his train to go to work. You can take this bag wherever you go, to the city, or to the zoo, and you can throw everything in it – your wallet, telephone, the newspaper, a bottle of water, sandwiches … and your camera equipment.
It is a very accessible all-round bag.

You can find this type of bag on Amazon and many other stores.
The price I paid for it was : € 41,24 or US $47.43 – £30.38

There are also versions available at a slightly higher price with built-in inserts – removable or not – but as mentioned, the bag gets a lot smaller inside then.

Other bags of this type : Billingham Hadley Pro – National Geographic Africa Midi Satchel – Think Tank – ONA The Brixton, all messenger/cross body type bags,

You may not be a fan of these “cheaper” bags, but consider this:
A while ago I needed a new watch, and I’m the type that goes through 100 reviews or more of something before I buy.
Now, in one of those reviews – a guy who was clearly versed in the world of watches – he talked about this particular model being a fake Rolex Submariner Date, but due to the Seiko mechanics of very good quality.
And he made the following statement: would you walk down the street with a Rolex watch worth about €25,000 every day, work with it, in the water in construction?
No, probably not unless your name is Jeff Bezos, but you would do it with a €150 watch.
Now, a Billingham doesn’t cost €25,000, however, I’d still be careful with a €500 bag, and I would hate it if it got damaged. So, if I can find a bag at one tenth of the price, I’ll take it, if it breaks over the years or I don’t like it anymore, we buy a new one – and in the meantime we have money left over for new lenses or other photo stuff.

Now, although the bag looks cool, it is not 100% waterproof (although they say it is)
There are various products available on the market for this,
but because I like the tough and rough of the bag, and because you can’t visually determine the waterproofness of many technical products (unless you purposely stand in the rain with it), I use an old army trick.
There’s wax, but you can also use candle wax.
I then lay the bag on a flat surface and scrub the bag with a candle so that the canvas gets a white sheen – don’t overdo it, it’s better to work in layers.
Then you take a hairdryer and melt the scraped candle wax into the canvas.
Even on the leather I use it – very little and carefully.
The bag can show stains, but I think that ads to the tough feeling.
You can regularly update your bag with candle wax and ensure a good watertightness.

To be clear, I have no advantage in any way whatsoever by mentioning the above store names or brands. I just recommend this product because I use it myself and I am very satisfied with it.

Thanks for reading !


Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu 20.04 LTS" :-) - My Photography software : RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. Oh yes, the email address is still there, but I'm not a Pentaxian anymore - now i'am proud to be a Fujiian !

2 thoughts on “Berchirly Canvas/Leather Messenger 14inch

  1. That’s a lovely bag, I use a similar one as a “man bag” when I go out with the family, and use the pockets as you say for camera etc as well as other things. My usual camera bags are a rucksack which carries everything (including my tripod) and an over the shoulder small/medium bag that carries camera with lens on and an extra lens plus batteries etc.

    Great article, really makes me think I should use mine more as a camera bag as it looks sooooooo sweet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mark,
      Yes, indeed, this is actually a kind of “man bag”,
      these are ideal types for all purposes, “I’m going out for a day” and/or camera bag or combined.
      I just love them, just fill them up and go.
      There’s always room for more in a backpack, but I hate it when it’s in the back – accessible to everyone, except for yourself 🙂
      Thanks !

      Liked by 2 people

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