Bag Week Reviews: Tenba Messenger Photo/Laptop Bag

Short Version: Tenba’s Messenger Photo/Laptop bag is my favorite so far this week. It combines the two features I really need: a padded, secure way to transport my laptop, and somewhere to put my DSLR when I don’t want to pack all my camera gear with me.


  • Removable camera insert
  • Thickly padded shoulder strap
  • Rubberized bottom
  • MSRP: $114.95
  • Product Page
  • Pros:

  • Removable camera insert makes the bag incredibly versatile
  • Photo insert dividers use velcro, so you can customize
  • Top opening zipper means you don’t have to open the bag to get inside
  • Cons:

  • None that I can find


Tenba’s Photo/Laptop Messenger is a combination bag, and can be used as a simple messenger just by removing the padded camera insert. The camera insert is large enough to hold a DSLR, a couple of average size lenses, and maybe a flash. You can rearrange the “walls” inside the insert as needed, simply by using the velcro stitched into the inside. This makes for an incredibly flexible stealth camera bag, avoiding the “steal me” factor that you get with some products.

You can also remove the insert completely, and you have a simply cavernous messenger bag. With the insert in place, there’s room for your laptop, and you still have room for a few magazines, and maybe some paperwork or files.

But once you remove the insert, Tenba’s messenger shows how versatile it really is. This bag would be ideal for putting textbooks in, and the internal organizer makes packing your iPod, phone, keys, student ID, or other small devices a snap. This bag also has a great feature in the fact that you don’t have to open the bag completely to access your stuff – there’s a zipper in the top of the front flap that allows you access to the main compartment, without needing to undo the buckles or open the main flap.

Build quality is outstanding, the zipper pulls are easy to grasp, and I noticed no problems with the stitching, zippers, or any of the other fail points that this type of bag has. Tenba has also rubberized the bottom of the bag, making it water and damage resistant.

Tenba offers the Photo/Laptop Messenger in the following colors: black, olive, blue, burnt orange, plum, chocolate, and a rather sharp looking platinum. As well as being able to select your favorite color, you can request that Tenba personalize your bag with an engraved metal plate with your name, company logo, website, or whatever.

Conclusion: In case you couldn’t tell, I really like this bag. I’m normally more of a fan of the Crumpler and Timbuk2 products, but this bag really hit a sweet spot for me. It’s versatile, well made, and (I think) reasonably priced. I’ve definitely taken a liking to Tenba’s products based on this messenger, and I whole heartily recommend this bag. I’d even go so far as to say then when we’re covering CES this year, I’ll probably be carrying this one.

Don’t forget to check out the other bags we’ve reviewed this week.