Photo by Marco Ryan
I’ve wanted to do a review of the Think Tank Photo Multimedia Wired Up 20 bag for some time. It’s been out for a while and I’ve been using it since it was released. Before I was using the Wired Up 20 bag, I was using their bag called the Change Up. You can find a complete review of that bag HERE. You can tell from the review of the Change Up that I really liked it, but the Wired Up 20 has pretty much replaced it for me.
The Wired Up 20–like its little sister the Change Up–is considered a belt bag, or as some people call them “bum bags”. It’s a very simple design. The main compartment has a padded insert that you can remove as I do or leave it in to give a little extra protection for lenses that you store inside. I still use the divider that Think Tank provides with the bag. I keep it velcro’d to the wall of the main compartment/pocket so later I can simply pull it out and use it as dividers for my lenses. The bag has two Lycra pockets on each end large enough to store a full liter bottle of water, an external flash or other gear. (fig 1)
As always, Think Tank pays attention to detail by giving each pocket a drawstring closure so as to not risk losing your water bottle while traveling. The front pocket is simple and contains clear plastic windows for displaying your business card as well as another purpose that I haven’t figured out yet.(fig 2) There’s a padded back pocket and then there is a sleeve on the very back of the bag into which you can stick the two sides of the belt to hide them. This keeps them from getting snagged on things when you’re not using them. At the top of the bag are two D-rings on each side of the handle which are used to connect a shoulder strap. It is this configuration that I use the most. Like the Change Up, I use this bag for traveling and use it like a man’s purse.
Believe it or not, that’s about all there is to this bag, so what makes this bag special? Well for one thing, it’s just the right size to carry my 13 inch MacBook Pro, (fig 3) a book, headphones, passport and other odds and ends that I need while on those long intercontinental flights. The Wired Up is roomy (without the extra padding) but it’s not too big to become unwieldy. Once I arrive at my location I use it for lens storage while shooting.
These days I shoot using a Black Rapid double strap so I have a camera on each side. (See the main image at the top.) One camera inevitably has my 16-30 mm f/2.8 and the other camera often has either my 50 mm or 85 mm f/1.2 attached to it. I then put my 70-200 mm f/2 .8 in the Wired Up main compartment on one side of the divider and another lens on the other side. (fig 1) In the front of the bag I keep my Sony PMC D-50 digital recorder. (fig 2) Stuck in one of the side pockets is my electro-voice RE 50B microphone and in the other pocket, a water bottle. (fig 4)
This has pretty much become my standard operational set up. There are all kinds of little holes purposely design for wires to be run through to recording equipment and such. Thus, the name; but I never use them. I use the bag while in transit to carry my computer and other needed items and once I arrive at my location to carry my lenses around my hip while shooting. It works very well for me and replaces the Change Up that I used for the same purpose. The problem with the Change Up, was it was just too small for my computer whereas the Wired Up 20 is the perfect size. While on the plane, I tuck in the belt. While shooting I use both the belt and the shoulder strap in combination. I take the shoulder strap, run it from the front under my arm around to the back, and reconnect the bag. Then I connect the belt. I cinch the shoulder strap just tight enough to take some of the weight off my shoulder but not enough to put extra weight on my spine.
My use of this bag is typical of what any photographer does with any photo bag. Meaning, a bag is designed for one purpose and inevitably a photographer finds it meets his or her needs in other ways.
The only criticism I have of this bag is I wish its front pocket was designed as an organizer. Of course, this probably defeats the purpose of the bag’s design but even the way it is, I still find this bag extremely handy. It has become my standard bag that I travel with along with my Airport Security (which I also tweaked to fit my needs). A special thanks to
Vanna White my daughter Jessie Brandon for being my model in these shots.