ThinkTank’s new CityWalker shoulder bag vs. ThinkTank Urban Disguise briefcase: Which bag is best for your photo travels?

citywalker-20-blackRegular readers know that I’ve been a big fan of ThinkTank’s Urban Disguise photo briefcases. I used the Urban Disguise 20 when I had a 14” laptop, and upgraded to the Urban Disguise 30 when I upgraded to my new 15.4” Dell XPS laptop. I’ve enjoyed working and traveling with the bags, which you can read about in my review or in the PC Mag piece which features my travel setup. However, for photo walks or other “around town” opportunities, I’ve been looking for a true shoulder bag design. Fortunately, ThinkTank has come out with an aggressively-priced, shoulder-bag-style line with its CityWalker products. So its time to take stock and compare these two bags and let you know my thoughts on which is best for a particular use….

New ThinkTank CityWalker

Enter the new ThinkTank CityWalker product line from ThinkTank. Like the Urban Disguise, it comes in several sizes. The CityWalker 30 is perfect for my 15.4” laptop, Nikon D600 with 24-85mm lens attached, Sigma 85mm f/1.4 “portrait” lens, a couple chargers, Nikon SB-900 flash, laptop power brick, wireless mouse, flash cards, travel documents, and a few other odds and ends. The spacious net pockets at either end are especially awesome for stashing that extra something when you’re walking around. The pockets will fit two bottles of water each, or a lightweight rain jacket, flash, or rolled up conference program. The side of the bag that rides next to you has a document pocket, as does the cover of the bag itself. The bag’s front pocket has the usual nice set of smaller “pouches” you expect in a ThinkTank bag, as well as velcro attachments for its cover that can be silenced as needed.

I left the raincover folded up under my D600 and lens, out of the way but easy to get at if I needed it. It wasn’t obvious to me how to attach the rain cover, but Thinktank has thoughtfully provided this video (it is for the Retrospective, but the cover for the CityWalker works the same way):

The new bag comes in three sizes and two colors. The 10 will fit a tablet and a simple shooting setup. The 20 will fit a laptop up to about 14” and let you bring an extra lens or two or a flash along with your main camera and lens. The 30 has plenty of room for a large laptop, DSLR with several lenses, and a few other accessories.

CityWalker compared to the Urban Disguise

It’s really tough to choose between these bags. I love the flexible, roomy interior of the CityWalker, and its huge side pockets. I also like that it is longer and narrower than the more square-shaped Urban Disguise. That makes it a better bag for slipping through crowds and tight places like the inside of crypts or odd-shaped temples. The price is also right. Ranging from $125 to $160 the CityWalker is easy on the pocketbook.

By contrast, I like the solid feel of the Urban Disguise. It has a very useful “slot” in the rear for sliding it over the handle of my suitcase or Airport Takeoff roller for traveling with multiple bags. I also like that I can open my Urban Disguise from the top using only the zipper, which is important if it is underfoot on a crowded plane or train. The CityWalker has a traditional shoulder-bag-style cover, which is easy to flip up when walking, but a little harder if the bag is squeezed in at your feet. The Urban Disguise is also a little more expensive, ranging from $160 to $200 for the mid-sized models.

So for me, the Urban Disguise is my “premium” bag for use when I’m on an extended trip, while I love having the CityWalker to throw a camera and computer together and go out for a day shoot. Which bag is right for you depends a lot on which of those best describes your shooting needs.

As always, if you purchase ThinkTank products directly from them using our affiliate link you’ll get to choose a free bag with your order – and ThinkTank is offering FREE shipping through Christmas!. Or you can of course take advantage of the B&H product widgets here in this article.