Travel gear review: The stylish Jo Totes Abby camera bag

For other travel gear reviews, see our Travel Tips page. 

I’m really picky when it comes to deciding what bag(s) to take travelling. On my last three major overseas trips, I’ve taken three different bags – a bulky suitcase, a carry-on sized trolley bag, and a hiking pack. Ugh.

So it should come as no surprise that I am also really picky when it comes to camera bags. It’s just so hard to decide without being able to try them all! I can find a downside of each bag – it’s too big, it’s ugly, the strap looks uncomfortable, and so on and so on.

So I never ended up getting one. I put my Canon 750D DSLR in a neoprene pouch and stuffed it in my backpack on travel days, and when wandering around a destination I’d just have it slung across my body (using the Peak Design Slide strap) – doing pretty much exactly what the travel guides tell you not to, having my big fancy camera in public view.

This was all until I spotted the Jo Totes Abby camera bag when browsing online one day.

Fortunately for me, Jo Totes understood my camera bag anxiety and sent me one to review, so that I could use it on my travels and review it for you guys. I’m sure that there are some of you out there who are as picky as me!

The Jo Totes Abby camera bag is functional and stylish - what more could you want?

In short, the Abby bag is really great. And if you don’t want to read any further then this is the take-home message: I definitely recommend buying it!

For those who want more detail, then read on…

Why I love the Jo Totes Abby camera bag

It’s stylish

Have you seen the photos? The Abby looks great. It’s super stylish and for me, one of the major things is that it doesn’t look like a camera bag. This is important for security reasons (your camera can be tucked safely inside and nobody will know it’s there) and also for when you don’t want to use it as a camera bag (see below). It’s made of man-made leather and is pretty water-resistant too.

The Jo Totes Abby camera bag is functional and stylish - what more could you want?

It’s functional

Obviously a camera bag needs to work well as a camera bag, with lots of places to store things, easy access, and comfort. The Abby does all this very well. There are heaps of pockets, and I found the back pocket really useful for storing my iPhone so I didn’t have to dig it out of the big pocket all the time. The main part of the bag is lined with soft velcro eye material so you can place the dividers wherever you like. I ended up not using the dividers at all, but that’s just personal preference.

The Jo Totes Abby camera bag is functional and stylish - what more could you want?

The flap magnets don’t work so well when the bag is on the full side, but the flap still sits well even when the magnets aren’t attached.

It’s a great size

When travelling in the past I’ve often gotten quite sore shoulders, back and neck from carrying big heavy handbags. While using the Abby bag I still got a bit of this, this was mainly because my camera and lens are pretty heavy, not because of the bag. The Abby is not huge which is great for me as it doesn’t let me take too much stuff out for the day, which would usually lead to me getting sore, tired and grumpy. I could fit my Canon DSLR with 15-85mm lens attached, spare battery, polarizing filter, wallet, iPhone, light cardigan, and some snacks. I could have fitted a small spare lens (e.g. 50mm) too.

The Jo Totes Abby camera bag is functional and stylish - what more could you want?

It doesn’t have to be used as a camera bag

One of the best things about the Abby as I mentioned above is that it doesn’t look like a camera bag. This is great because it means that I didn’t have to take another bag for when I didn’t want to take my camera out, but still wanted a handbag! It’s nice enough to take out for dinner and to wear with nice clothes.

So there you have it! I have finally found a camera bag that is perfect for me. True, it won’t be perfect in all situations – it’s definitely more of a city travel kind of bag and it won’t work for everyone, especially those who like to carry more gear with them. But still, I think I’ve got a winner.

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