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Camera satchels a la Domke

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    Camera satchels a la Domke

    Dear Tom (and all) -

    Here's a suggestion as to another line of bags, similar to ones you make now: Domke, the legendary camera bag manufacturer, has been run into the ground by a company called Saunders. While it looks like they will continue to make their classic (boxy) camera bags, they have discontinued the camera satchel / briefcase line altogether (or so I've been told by the person I called there).

    The best of the lot for all-around use (day to day, travel, photo shoots) was the F-805. You can see the 805 (and other satchels) here:

    It's not too far removed from your Cafe bags, just a bit bigger and a few more pockets. Something like this - 15-16" wide, 6-8" deep, and about 12" tall, with the appropriate pockets and snazzy aesthetic, might be quite a hit. The genius of Domke bags is that they aren't padded all around like other camera bags (which become bulky, inflexible boxes on your back). Domke instead make a range of padded inserts which velcro into the bag, and can be taken out and rearranged as your needs warrant. It can go from camera bag to clothes bag to shopping bag easily and quickly.

    In any case, I think this is a market with potential. There aren't many other bags like this at all. And it's a very versatile design. So I throw the idea out there. I have some design training, and would happily donate my time to help with any part of the process if there was interest.

    Best wishes, thanks for the quality work -

    [email protected]
    Keith McCluskey, McCluskey Keith, mccluskey keith, keith mccluskey, keith, mccluskey, opifice

    Really cool Web site and work. I like the use of the PJ Harvey song, too.
    Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

    Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.


      PJ Harvey

      Darcy -

      Thanks for the kind words. I think the PJ Harvey song was cheating - it would've made whatever I did in Flash seem cool. That's an amazing album.

      On the bag front, it seems I have finally found a bag to replace Domke, so maybe you don't need to jump into that market right away. Lightware makes a few courier bags with camera inserts:


      I'll let you know how it works out. (But they're still one of only like three manufacturers I found making bags of this type...)

      Best -



        Domke has/had a great reputation (we actually came close to buying some sewing machines that one of their contractors was selling).
        If we ever get seriously caught-up with our current product line, I agree that camera/video bags could be a great addition, and I really like the modular concept you suggest, as it would allow us to offer inserts to our current bags that would allow them to be used as camera bags perhaps.
        What can I say? Stay tuned!



          I was just about to post a thread begging for some sort of padded compartments one could use in your bags. Especially ones that can clip in or otherwise stay put so you can easily get at the stuff in them.

          Stuff, not just cameras. There are other breakable, expensive things one might carry. Or even just being able to tame non flat things you might stuff into the bag.

          Like, say, a padded compartment that sat at one side of one of the Brain Bag's main chambers. Able to hold most camera sized things.

          I looked at a lot of backpacks that do laptop + camera, and there are quite a few between Lowepro, Crumpler, etc., but I honestly think something for your just-really-well-designed backpack would draw in plenty of customers.

          It nabbed me!


            As an avid Domke user throughout the past 15 years, I an attest to thier great designs. If you ever want to take a look at some of their bags, let me know. I work across the street from the Seattle store and am in thier every now and then. I have about 5 or 6 "classic" Domke bags (canvas) that I have used over the years. Its truly a shame what has happened to their product line.


              looking forward to a camera bag

              i would love to see a camera bag (or two) from tom bihn!

              i've been using a small bag from tamrac that works alright. not ideal, but it works. i've purchased more lenses and am carrying 2 bodies, so i've been shopping for a new bag. tried a backpack design, but it doesn't make for easy access to gear.

              darcy, let us know when something is in the works from tom bihn.

              what was described of that bag from domke (now discontinued) is apparently no longer in production.