Michael Topham gives this colourful, sturdy messenger bag a work out
National Geographic AU 2450 at a glance:
- Cabin-luggage compatible
- Flexible internal dividers
- Water-repellent fabric
- Price: £129
- Website: www.manfrotto.co.uk
The Australia collection is the latest series of bags from a collaboration between National Geographic and Manfrotto. Inspired by the vivid tones of the Australian outback and the deep blue seas that surround the continent’s coastline, the National Geographic AU 2450 Messenger is made from a water-repellent canvas fabric with striking leather detailing on its exterior. Unfasten the basic strap arrangement that keeps its main flap closed and you’re presented with a colourful eucalyptus-leaf print lining and a golden interior with soft, removable dividers. The medium model I tested held a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens attached and offered additional space for a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom, and 50mm f/1.4 prime.
To save the hassle of unfastening the front straps, I left the exterior flaps unfastened and accessed my kit via the zip that keeps the main compartment closed. There are suitable padded areas for storing a tablet or 15in laptop and additional space for filters, cables and chargers beneath the large leather flap. The seatbelt-style fabric of the main strap is strong and matches the earthy-red of the leather. The shoulder pad provides a good level of comfort when the bag is fully laden and there is a handy side pocket.
National Geographic AU 2450 – key features
The bright golden interior makes it just that little bit easier to find what you’re looking for in dark and gloomy conditions.
The bag will happily accommodate a 15in laptop. You’re given plenty of pockets to store power chargers and adapters.
Internal and external pockets have zippers to keep cameras, lenses and accessories safe and secure.
National Geographic AU 2450 – our verdict
The colour and styling of the Australia collection won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re after a strong messenger bag that’s comfortable on the shoulder, practical for day trips and is made to an exceptionally high standard, it’s worth a look. If you happen to own a mirrorless camera and want to save a few pounds, you could try the small version at £92. It doesn’t have the same size pockets or laptop compartment, and comes with a single strap at the front.
SCORE: 4 out of 5
The National Geographic Australia Collection
The AU 2450 is one of five bags in the Australia collection; including the AU 2350 (£92) messenger is the smaller version of the AU 2450. While the AU 5310 (£155) is a three-way camera bag and features a tripod holder and a compartment for a 13in laptop. If you’re interested in a backpack, the AU 5350 (£160) is designed to hold a medium-sized DSLR such as a Canon EOS 5D Mark III or Nikon D750 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, up to five additional lenses and a selection of accessories. The most affordable bag in the range is the AU 2250 (£60) and most suitable for use with a mirrorless camera and two small lenses.