Tenba Packlite & BYOB 9 Review

I love photography, but carrying around a lot of gear can be a chore.  Readers of my blog know I love bags and there is no one size fits all as far as I'm concerned.  Some outings call for backpacks, others a shoulder style bag.  My choice of bags is always dictated by where I'm going, how long I'll be out, what type of photography I'll be doing, weather conditions, etc.  For street photography, the lighter the better and I want to be inconspicuous.  

Packlite in it's smallest form. Image courtesy of the Tenba website.

Packlite in it's smallest form. Image courtesy of the Tenba website.

I recently reviewed the Tenba Switch 8.  Tenba was not a company that was on my radar, but I came across the bag and decided to give it a go.  I was very pleased with the design of the bag and the features. Shortly after purchasing this bag, Tenba released the Packlite series.  A friend of mine picked one up and gave it a good review so I decided to invest in one.  

The Packlite comes in 4 different sizes:  7, 9, 10 & 13.  I purchased the Packlite 9 for $22.95. On it's own, it's a simple nylon bag that folds into it's mesh pocket and weighs under a half of a pound (see the photo to the right). It folds up so small, it can be stowed easily inside your camera.  Without pairing it with Tenba's BYOB inserts, it's uses are limited. The nylon is far too thin to carry my gear without further protection.  It could be useful to carry other items, but not my cameras or lenses.  If you purchase one of Tenba's inserts, which are paired by number, then the bag becomes much more useful.  I purchased the BYOB 9 ($39.95) and it fits all the gear I need for street shooting.  It's not a snug fit, so you are able to add some additional items to the bag if you like.  The Packlite also has a mesh pocket on the outside that is perfect for carrying a water bottle.

Even with the insert, the bag is very light and portable.  I walked around the streets of Chicago for many hours and was not bogged down by this bag at all.  Having the extra room inside enabled me to pack some snacks for the day as well. 

The BYOB also fits in many of the other bags I have and can literally transform any bag into a camera bag. It's very well made and has pockets all around the outside of the bag.  It zippers shut for security and has a handle on the top which is convenient if you bury the insert in a larger camera bag, it's easy to reach in and yank it out.  The lining is super soft and it comes with a bunch of dividers that are configurable. 

Paired together it's an awesome lightweight duo, but they have many uses as stand-alone bags in their own right.  Pictured below is the BYOB7, which is the smallest insert.  The BYOB 9 is slightly larger and has two dividers instead of one as pictured below.  The BYOB is very small, but can easily hold a body with lens attached or two lenses.  The Olympus 7-14mm Pro lens is pictured below both in and next to it to give you a sense of scale.  

Check out the video review below.