By Joan T. Sherwood, senior editor
If you've seen their giant cardboard box castles at a photo trade show, you've probably seen Crumpler Bags. Who can resist all that colorful nylon and the beautifully stacked boxes complete with window spaces designed just to intrigue a weary show-goer? Walk inside and you're greeted with one funky logo and a lot of confounding model names for undeniably well put together gear bags. The latest model for photographers is the Brazillion Dollar Home.
The Brazillion Dollar Home is a massive laptop and camera case for the photographer who's built up the back and shoulder muscles to haul a big kit like this and won't use a wheeled bag because there are some places wheels just don't go.
I swear, it looks like it's just a trailer hitch away from the all-purpose versatility of a mobile home. Without the wheels, of course. Don't let the funky, trendy, stylish image fool you, though. These bags are solidly built out of durable material, and the function design is top notch down to the small details. The Brazillion Dollar Bag can hold two DSLRs with lenses, speedlights, and a 17-inch laptop.
Front: External pocket includes 1 zippered accessory pocket
3 internal mesh speedlight pockets
2 large internal accessory pockets
2 small internal accessory pockets
24 slot CF card organizer in Velcro closure ext. pocket
Sides: 4 accessory loops and 2 cell pockets
Rear: Large Velcro closure document/reflector pocket
roller board handle pass-thru pocket (as seen at right — a way to get wheels!)
detachable rain cover
waistbelt in hideaway pocket
22 configurable Brushed Nylon inserts for main compartment
Laptop slot for up to 17-inch MacBook Pro laptop
Adjustable double main strap w/Quick Flick buckle
Adjustable removable shoulder pad
Zippered mesh pocket under flap
Laptop stand (right)/dust cover w/Velcro closure pocket
Extra-long flap w/2 big quick-release buckles
The shoulder strap can convert into a cross-harness and put the burden on both shoulders. In honesty, I have not tried out this configuration, but I don't like the looks of it. Even Crumpler's catalog describes this feature as a last resort. How would the waist strap around the thighs (as illustrated) would work, exactly? And the pack's center of mass is way too low for the body frame. Consult your chiropractor before attempting.
Finally, Brazillion is not an indication of a South American nationality misspelled but, I believe, a number that comes somewhere before a kajillion. Navigating the Crumpler Web site is a trip in itself—not that it's hard, just entertaining in an intentionally strange way. Turn off your computer speakers if you'd like to preserve the serene atmosphere in your studio. Leave them on if want the full experience. Visit www.crumplerabc.com for some funky visual fun. Click on the camera icon if you just want to shop for camera bags and skip all the oddity.