Camera and laptop bags do a great job of organising and protecting your dearest of gadgets, but there's a big problem with both of them. They look like they're holding camera or laptop stuff.Photo by Richard Masoner
This is never actually a good thing, but it's especially bad while travelling, because when you're in unfamiliar territory, the last thing you want to do is to make yourself an easier target for theft than you already are. One easy solution is to ditch the product-specific bags, and get yourself a good messenger bag instead.
You might wonder why a regular backpack isn't just as good — it would be, except most people tend to wear backpacks slung on one shoulder, making it just about the easiest thing in the world for a thief to grab and pull off of you. A messenger bag slung across the torso, on the other hand, is not coming off without a struggle.
And that's where the issue of muggers comes into play. Camera bags and laptop bags scream expensive, but a messenger bag just means you've got some stuff in a bag. A mugger in a crowded tourist area is more likely to go after the people who look like they brought every expensive gadget they own, not the guy who's sauntering off the train with his book bag slung across his chest.
If you're worried about padding, there are actually inserts available that take care of that for you. B&H has several pages worth of padding inserts in its catalogue, ranging in cost from $US5 to $US100 depending on size and intricacy, while Photojojo has an all-in-one piece for $US60, that even holds your keys and sunglasses.