Langly Simple Camera Bag: Our first take

The Langley Camera Bag proves style and versatility don't have to be complex

If choosing a camera bag is like shopping for clothes, then the Langly Simple Bag is the one you reach for because of the style. And once you feel the material beneath your fingers, it’s the one you’ll want to pull off the rack.

Designed with military-grade canvas, the Simple has style combined with the durability of a bag meant to be put through whatever conditions you want to trek into. The bag sells as a regular backpack or with an insert designed to hold a pretty significant amount of photography gear (camera, lenses, etc.). And either way you use it, there’s a separate sleeve big enough for a 15-inch laptop. Priced modestly compared to other canvas and leather bags (a bundle with the sleeve costs $165), the Langly Simple should make the shortlist for stylish photographers.

Whatever you need it to be, whenever

While most camera bags use adjustable inserts, the Simple is a zippered housing that lets you pull your gear out all at once. So for times when you don’t need to haul your photo equipment, converting the Simple to a regular laptop backpack doesn’t require swapping out gear one-by-one and undoing Velcro dividers – just remove the insert, and you’re done. That also means to access your gear, you have to both unzip the backpack and unzip the camera insert, and there’s no way to access the camera without taking the bag completely out. But for many, the versatility will be worth the trade-off.

Without the camera insert, the Simple’s main compartment has plenty of open space. The inside of the front panel has three tidy pockets – one sized about right for filters and two larger pockets roomy enough for extra batteries, chargers, cleaning kits, and other accessories. A separate laptop sleeve sits at the back, while there’s more room to stash accessories and personal items in the two side pockets and roomy front pocket. The inside front panel of the camera insert also has two pockets in case the other six aren’t enough, or for storing accessories with your camera gear at home when converting to just a laptop bag.

The insert has a small handle at the top. It doesn’t have the same sleek water repellent material as the exterior of the bag, but is designed to cushion camera gear with thick, soft lining. The adjustable, sturdy inserts can be configured in a number of different ways, while two straps keep larger items in place.

Usability

The bag’s exterior dimensions are approximate 18 × 14.5 inches, with about an 8-inch depth to play with. It easily fits a Nikon D7200 DSLR with a 70-300mm lens attached; there was enough space at the sides to tuck in the camera strap, so there’s likely enough room for a larger full-frame body. It could also accommodate a 40mm macro, 50mm portrait, standard kit lens, and medium telephoto inside.

My accessories all found happy homes inside the numerous pockets, including my 15-inch MacBook Pro.

With all of those being largely compact lenses except the zoom left attached to the body, I still had enough room for a flash, square filter holder, extra DSLR body and even a mirrorless camera with a pancake lens. With that configuration, I removed two of the dividers from the bag — so it would be easy to replace that long telephoto lens with two smaller ones.

My accessories all found happy homes inside the numerous pockets, including my 15-inch MacBook Pro. The only thing I couldn’t fit was a tripod that I often use as a light stand for an off-camera flash, since there’s no tripod straps on the exterior of the bag. There’s also no dedicated pocket for spare SD cards, though it’s easy enough to put them in an organizer and toss them in a larger pocket.

A minimalist bag with attention to details

I fell in love with the style of the Langly Simple Bag as soon as I pulled it out of the box. The military-grade canvas feels wonderful — and there’s not a cheap piece of plastic anywhere on the bag. All of the zippers felt sturdy enough to last through years of abuse.

Langly Simple Camera Bag
Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends
Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends

The bag sports several leather details, including a solid Langly logo at the front, and leather zipper pulls and stitching beneath the front clasp and strap. The large carrying handles are kept together with another leather clasp, to keep them from rubbing against your neck. The backpack straps at the back are moderately padded and easily adjustable. I also liked that the bag didn’t feel overly masculine or overly feminine in style — it’s just a well-designed, minimalist bag.

While I loved the Simple’s look and feel, I did miss a few features compared to the (not nearly as lovely) hiking bags I’m used to using. There’s no waist belt, for one thing, and the back of the bag is straight, so it didn’t quite flow with the slight curve of a person’s back. When the bag is packed full of gear — including a laptop — it does get pretty heavy.

The Langly Simple isn’t uncomfortable; I’ve packed the same amount of gear into bags that I couldn’t wear for two minutes. But it doesn’t get a perfect ten for comfort as it does for style, durability, and versatility. The Langly Simple is comfortable enough to wear for a few hours — or even most of the day if packed half full. I wouldn’t trade in my less versatile and less stylish hiking bag to carry 30 pounds of gear for ten hours at a wedding, but I also wouldn’t hesitate to snatch up the Langly Simple for a portrait shoot. I’d happily trade to carry my laptop to a shoot (another feature that hiking-inspired bags doesn’t have), for more versatility while traveling or when venturing out into places where I don’t want my bag to scream “expensive camera gear right here.”

Our Take

The Langley Simple is simply a beautiful bag. Boasting the style of a canvas bag yet the durability of military-grade materials, the bag has plenty of room to pack several lens options along with accessories and a laptop. Converting from camera bag to regular backpack can be done in less than a minute and the zippered camera insert means that conversion doesn’t leave your gear homeless.

The bag retails for $165 including the camera insert or $125 without it, a fair price considering many canvas and leather bags cost more than twice that. It’s available in green, black, or khaki.

Should you buy the Langly Simple? If you’re looking for a stylish bag that fits lots of gear, easily converts into a regular backpack, is built to last, and isn’t extraordinarily expensive, then yes — the Langley Simple is an excellent backpack. The comfort level doesn’t quite hit the same high points as a high-end bag designed for hiking, and the design doesn’t have any quick access points, but many photographers’ kits will find a happy — and beautiful — home inside the Langly Simple.

Highs

  • Beautiful design
  • Durable construction
  • Versatile removable camera insert
  • 15-inch laptop sleeve

Lows

  • No quick access openings
  • No tripod straps
  • Comfort isn’t quite as perfect as the style and versatility
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