My Canon 5D Mark II has been a faithful companion for five years. It’s followed me on even the most mundane trips, as I wanted to be sure no experience was lost in the years where I found myself growing beyond the furthest plans I’d made. However, it’s remained tucked away in the closet for the last while, as part of an effort to more mindful of each moment; moments that may be lost when I’m finding the right angle or waiting for the right scene.
As a result, the trusty LowePro Fastpack I used to take everywhere — with space enough for a camera body, three lenses, and an assortment of odds and ends — no longer fit my lifestyle and needs. Fortunately, I was given a chance to try out Knomo’s Troon messenger bag, and discovered it’s the perfect fit for my new journeys.
The most important considerations for me when choosing a bag are size and compartmentalization; what it can hold and how it holds it. On my usual travels, that means a pen, tablet, book, keys, and a cheque or document. The Troon manages to tuck all of that away neatly, thanks to a wide base and pockets galore, while several elastic straps along the side of the main pocket can be used to keep accessories from shifting.
All that room meant it was months before I realized the bag needed to be cleaned out, and I was shocked at how many random things managed to accumulate in the recesses.
The padded compartment will hold a 13″ laptop, and even when full, the bag fits over my body comfortably, thanks to an adjustable shoulder strap. It’s considered a “cross-body messenger”, and unlike other messenger bags where the shoulder strap attaches parallel to the outer sides, this one attaches to the back from two ergonomic angles. The disadvantage of this is that the bag is meant to be worn on the right, as the straps twist awkwardly when worn the other way.
The Troon comes in a cotton canvas exterior, which makes it extremely lightweight and portable, while being durable and rugged. That means it’s not a soft bag, and doesn’t tend to wrap around my waist; an advantage when holding anything that shouldn’t be bent. The padding is closer to the stiffness of rubber (which they call “shockproof”). I’d trust it to protect more against accidental bangs than drops. Thankfully, the entire bag feels rock solid, from the fabric to the metal hardware to the stitching, and I’m comfortable moving freely with a MacBook strapped to my body.
At one point, I found an entire bottle of water had spilled into the main compartment. The lining absorbed all the liquid, with minimal damage to my documents. I was able to dry it out over a few days by hanging it upside down. Even hot breakfasts have gone to work with me in this bag, and after six months, there barely any signs of wear or fading.
Style serves as a function in my life, so the look of my accessories is always an important consideration. The Troon may not be as blinged out as other Knomo bags — many of which come in luxurious leather — but it still retains a classic sense of styling, thanks to it’s minimalist esthetic. Instead, the twill pattern is reminiscent of informal outerwear, which I take as an advantage; when it comes to holding expensive electronics, the more understated the better.
One of my favourite features of the Troon is the vintage hook and loop fastener, made of leather and brass. The strap stands out against the canvas, and serves as a focal point that draws the eyes. It’s amazing that it can hold so much with no velcro or zippers, as the flap is stiff enough to keep the contents from falling out (although I wouldn’t trust it to hold my prized marble collection).
There are four colour options available (black, blue, olive, sand), and each one comes with a different coloured internal lining. I opted for the black, cause I’ve been exploring new colours in my wardrobe, and wanted to be sure it could match as much as possible. The rich orange lining contrasts wonderfully; a detail that begs for attention any time you open it up. Part of the price tag goes to the unique style, as there are much cheaper messenger bags out there that can serve a similar function, but they rarely feel different from the typical IT drone bag.
The Troon is an excellent combination of class and function. The small size means being restricted to certain minimal lifestyle — even if you tend to carry just a bottle, it may not be big enough for your needs. But if you’re looking for a bag for short, regular trips, it’ll hold everything you need, and make you look good while doing it.
Big up to David Byrne from GearZap for sending me my beloved Troon, all the way from England.