GugaGear has a long history in the photographic market as it was founded by the wildlife photographer Andy Biggs and Trevor Peterson more than a decade ago. They focus on premium products like the KIBOKO camera backpacks built for traveling, exploring and shooting outdoors. Recently, they debut the Chobe 2.0 carrying bag lineup on Kickstarter which includes the 13″ and 16″ sizes. In this review, we are checking out the smaller Chobe 2.0 13-inch bag with insert and Et Cetera cases.
My first impression with this bag is very good as I love it sleek, minimalist look and black color. Although this bag looks pretty small and compact, it has over 20 pockets to keep all your devices, accessories, and chargers. The 2 front pockets have a lot of sections to keep small items.
The main compartment is so spacious and a great feature of the Chobe 2.0 is expandable storage. You can unzip the the expansion zipper and the bag will become significantly thicker as you can see in the picture below. You can keep your 13-inch laptop, iPad, and camera inside this compartment.
- Standard Volume: 7.7 liters
- Expanded Volume: 12.7 liters
- External dimensions: 14.2 x 6.3 x 9.4 in
- Weight: 1.8 lbs
On the inside, you can also unfold the bottom pad to keep your gears protected after expanding the bag. According to GugaGear, the expansion provides 5 more liters of carrying capacity. They can even fit a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L lens inside (without the lens shade). However, if you want to carry your camera with multiple lenses, you will need to use a padded camera insert which is sold separately.
Once you add the insert, it will be very difficult to access the internal pockets, including the laptop pocket; You will easily scratch your laptop when storing and pulling your laptop out. Notice that only the Chobe 13-inch bag has this issue. The 16-inch version has a dedicated laptop pocket with gusseted opening on the back, so it is totally separated from the main compartment.
The Chobe 2.0 bag is designed for everyday use. In fact, this is the 2nd generation of the Chobe bag and it has important improvements in every details. For instance, they use higher-density foams to reduce thickness and weight, add padding to the bottom of the bag and shoulder strap, and include a seam-sealed rain cover. Notably, the bag is protected by a tougher VX-42 material on the bottom for better waterproofing and abrasion resistance while the shell is made from VX-21 sailcloth.
As soon as I started using the bag, I could easily see the difference of the Chobe 2.0. Undoubtedly, it has the best shoulder strap in all camera bags I’ve ever used. It is so comfortable thanks to the extra padding but more importantly, GugaGear uses an anti-slip material on one side of the shoulder pad; Therefore, the strap doesn’t slip out of my shoulder like others. I no longer have to adjust the shoulder strap every now and then.
Another useful feature of the bag is rear luggage pass-through. The strap on the back allows you to slide the bag to your carry-on suitcase’s handle and securely carry it onto an airplane. Other nice accessories of this bag are the Et Cetera pouches which are designed to fit modularly into both Chobe 2.0 bag and Kibobo 2.0 backpack compartments. The pouches have see-through window so that you can easily see what’s inside and find accessories quicker.
The Chobe 2.0 is a premium bag for everyday usage and it has great improvements in design, material, and functionality over its predecessor. It can keep your camera, lenses, and all electronic devices that you need to carry to work or travel. If you are considering this bag, I’d recommend the 16-inch version because it would fit a bigger laptop and provide easier access to your items. There should be no compromise when you pay this much for a camera bag. The 13-inch and 16-inch bags are available for $199 and $239 respectively, you can purchase them from the official GugaGear website.
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