GuraGear has made headlines with its new Kiboko City Commuter. The bag promises to be the perfect match between capacity, durability and weight. Designed not only for photographers, but also for content creators in general, the bag has a lot to offer. Let’s see how it behaves in the real world.
Let me start with a little history. As a photographer, I buy something and use it to death. That’s why I only have a few camera bags, and one of them goes with me on trips, even when the camera doesn’t (it’s suitable as hand luggage on flights to low price). My so-called everyday bag isn’t made for carrying a camera, it’s made for carrying a laptop and some notepads. So having something that’s a mix of camera and everyday bag is a relief.
My first impressions of the Kiboko City Commuter were largely positive. Designed for the urban environment, this bag looks like any other backpack. This is a big plus point from a safety perspective, as walking around with an “I carry expensive cameras” sign on your back is not a good thing. There are accessories such as waist straps, rain covers, and tripod mounts that you can purchase separately. These will make the bag more suitable for long trips. However, as it stands, the bag is shipped without them for a good reason: only a few people will need them for daily transport around town.
The exterior is made from very high quality materials, which is reflected in the feel of the bag. For example, the nylon on the outside is ripstop and inspired by sailcloth. I was very pleased with the abrasion, tear and water resistant X-PAC material used for the bag. There is an option to buy the rain cloth if the water resistant X-Pac is not enough. However, getting caught in the rain would not be a problem with this bag, as the nylon is water resistant enough.
The straps on the outside are adjustable and fairly standard with one exception: the stitching. A common problem with suspenders is that the padding is not adequate and the seams on both sides start to bite your skin. The City Commuter uses a different way of stitching the shoulder strap which eliminates this problem.
The shoulder straps and the back are well padded. Carrying two camera bodies, lenses and a myriad of other things wouldn’t be a problem. For those who sweat a lot, the back panel is well ventilated.
The bag’s zippers have a huge drawback: while the back panel zippers can be locked with a TSA lock, the side access cannot, nor the back pockets. If I put my precious Ukrainian passport, keys, money, etc. in the back pocket, I don’t want it stolen because of poor protection. The same goes for the side access pocket. It would be great to see a solution to lock down the side access pocket, as well as the back pockets.
Magnets, magnets and more magnets
Buckles are made by Fidlock and are a joy to use once you get used to them. They may not be as strong as a traditional buckle, but they are definitely more sophisticated and after all: magnetic (if magnets are your thing). The good folks at GuraGear definitely have a thing for magnets. Since they put them everywhere possible. The smartest water bottle holder design is… magnetic. The roll top, which adds a few extra liters to the bag, closes with magnets, as do the straps that hold it in place. The same goes for excess straps: another use for magnets. Overall, if you see small metal objects randomly flying towards your bag, don’t worry: it’s the magnets. All kidding aside, magnets are a really nifty way to be used on bags, however, they tend to wear out over time depending on the metal used.
Is it fashionable?
The bag’s classic black design may look dull to some people, while others will appreciate the simplicity and no-fuss color choice. Without a doubt, the design is more masculine than feminine, but it would be wrong to say that it is made for men. Without the bulky waist straps, this bag suits a light denim suit, a long trench coat or even classic jeans and a t-shirt. If you’re so inclined, wear it with a blazer and feel great. The only distraction would be the zippers, which are designed with comfort rather than fashion in mind. Add the back waist straps and put on the rain cover, and the bag pairs well with hiking gear. Overall I’m happy with the style of the bag.
There’s a lot to unpack (pardon the pun). The GuraGear butterfly design has been integrated into this bag and the two external pockets use it. There are four pockets for organizing small things such as cables, memory cards, etc. – two on each flap. The left flap is a good place to put chargers, power banks, and other slightly bulkier things, while the right flap is made for thinner things. There is a special RFID protected pocket for your passport, pen holder and other small pockets. A good feature that I liked was the two carabiners: one for the keys and the other for the memory card pocket. The fact that they are different lengths makes life much easier when I need to find my keys or my memory card sleeve. An intentionally hard-to-notice feature is the air tag pocket, which helps you track the bag’s location.
The wheeled compartment can hold a Canon EF 70-200 lens, a hoodie or a large number of t-shirts. The bulkiest of your items should go in the top compartment. There are additional mesh pockets inside, which will house even more small items that would otherwise be pushed into the cracks between the compartments or tossed in random places. The amount of little pockets is a very thoughtful design feature from the company, as there are a lot of little bits and bobs that photographers need to organize.
There is a way to enlarge the main compartment by flipping the roll-top upside down, but that’s probably a bug, not a feature.
Finally, when it comes to the main compartment, it’s a regular camera bag design: velcro dividers that you can arrange however you like. The depth of the main compartment is specially designed for mirrorless cameras without handles, which is a drawback for me: as a DSLR user. You’ll also struggle to fit a big camera like the A1, or a Z9 in this bag. It does fit an R5 though, and yes, I managed to fit two 5D bodies in the bag, with a laptop in the rear panel.
Finally, the back panel fits a 16-inch MacBook, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and two additional mesh pockets. If you’re planning on putting on two devices and then using the pockets as portafilters, think twice. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the filters break as it gets quite cramped even with a single 15in MacBook and a camera (albeit DSLR) on the other side.
What I liked
- Clever and practical design
- Style choice
What could be improved
- Not suitable for DSLRs or grippy bodies
- Magnets may wear slightly
- Zipper Safety
Overall, the GuraGear Kiboko City Commuter is a good choice for someone who uses mirrorless cameras and needs a fashionable everyday carry bag, which can also be turned into an outdoor bag . While the price bites a little, you get a lot in return. It is well made, as well as smartly designed. The pros outweigh the cons by a massive margin. If you ask me I would recommend getting this bag if you are in the market for one.
What do you think of the GuraGear Kikoko City Commuter? What things would you like to see in a perfect EDC camera bag? Let us know in the comments!