The Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller 21 changed how I shoot, booked me 2 weddings, and saved me from a heart attack (Figuratively Speaking)
TL;DR: The Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller 21 is the Best rolling camera bag for photographers
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As a professional wedding photographer I have to take a lot of gear with me on location because my photography needs change throughout the day. Until recently I thought the best way to handle this was to have multiple bags. A Bag for my backup gear that I did not touch unless I needed it but also had stuff like putty for rings, gator clips for dress shots, Aspirin, and Emergen C for myself if I need it. A bag for my flash’s, batteries, mounts, and magmod gear, and then of course my gig bag that I would work out of throughout the day to hold extra lenses, memory cards, and camera batteries.
Logistically multiple bags, was a nightmare. When I would show to up to every wedding it would look like I was moving in, and at the end of the days my shoulders would KILL me. I needed a rolling case
I started to look into a larger all in one bag that would alleviate the shoulder pain and fragmentation of all my gear. I picked the Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller 21 for a few specific reasons after reading a ton of rolling camera bag reviews comparing it to several similar bags. The Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller 21 offered 2 things no other bags on the market offered that sold me.
1: The Fast Deploying Backpack Harness
This is the where the Hybrid part of the name comes from. How did backpack straps sell me when one of the main purposes of a new bag was to elevate back and pain? Well if you are a wedding photographer you know sometimes you are in situations that are less than ideal for wheels like sticks or mud. Having the backpack strap means I can carry the bag off the ground for a short period of time while still keeping my hands free to hold a camera. To be honest I wasn’t even looking for this feature, but when I saw it I knew it was just what I needed. They also stow away when not in use (which is 99% of the time) so you don’t have to worry about them getting caught on stuff or getting damaged, or ruining the beautiful aesthetics of the bag. Tenba offers a non Hybrid version of the Roadie Roller 21 but for $20 more even if you use it just once, you will thank your lucky stars.
2. The Removable Padded Camera Insert.
The removable padded camera insert in the Roadie Roller bags is proof that Tenba is thinking about the photographers needs. At the bottom of the bag is a section of padding that is not velcrod down to the frame and can be removed easily for independent use from the rest of the bag. It's like the padded section of a messenger bag. What I love is that it pairs perfectly with Tenbas Packlight 10 Travel bag. Together the combo makes a compact messenger bag! Think about that! In the case you have all of your camera gear. You know at night that you love to do night portraits with some backlit flash. You need to carry 2-3 flashes, a special wide angle lens, and a small tripod to hold and and direct the flash. Too much for your hands to hold, and too little to need to carry a whole separate bag.
With tenbas removable padded camera insert, you just pull out the insert where you keep your flashes, some gels, and that wide angle lens, put it in the Packlite 10 travel bag and you have everything you need to Quickly get out and capture some creative images! This image below was created solely because I could pack all my flash gear in the removable padded camera insert and could quickly set up the light I needed without needing to bring out the entire bag unnecessarily. In turn, this image booked me 2 weddings this next year.
I also took the Roadie Hybrid Roller with me to Iceland recently and kept my DJI spark drone in the bag. It held the drone, controller, 2 extra batteries, my Fuji x70 AND an iPad mini! All in an ultra portable bag that never got in the way from enjoying our trip and exploring the unknown terrain.
This brings me to my next point about the bag It fits everything and goes anywhere! Like I just mentioned, my wife and I recently went to Iceland via WOW Airlines. If you need to know one thing about WOW airlines, it’s that they charge for Water. Nothing on the flight is included. On Tenba’s website it says the Roller 21 Hybrid is the perfect roller camera bag carry on. And since extra bags are expensive to check, I was worried about my first flight on the airline and how the Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller would do on board. And if they would make me check it and charge me an arm and a leg to do so.
Even though the bag has incredibly well build TSA luggage locks it's still enough to cause a heart attack to have someone take potentially thousands of dollars worth of your camera gear away from you and just hope it makes it to the same destination as you. Well I’m happy to report that WOW airlines had no complaints about the bag and it fit just fine in the overhead bins! Saving me from a checked baggage fee and a heart attack. It is
But despite how much I do love this bag and think its the perfect choice for me, it is not perfect. So let’s talk about how this bag could be better.
The Backpack Harness.
Even though this is one of the reasons why I love the bag so much I will be 100% honest, it is great to have but it’s FAR from a camera backpack with wheels. The straps fold up and tuck away nicely so the straps have to be thin and compact. Because of that the straps have little padding and when carrying it for a stretch of time can get uncomfortable. That being said it is 1000% worth the additional $20 over the Tenba Roadie Roller NON Hybrid. Because the first time you show up to a shoot and need both your hands you will be sooooo happy you can mount the pack on your back.
Minor gripe, quick access without unzipping the whole top lid. One our way to Iceland I put my over the ear headphones IN the main compartment. When I went to get them out of the bag mid flight I had to take out the bag from the overhead bin, lay it on the floor, unzip the whole top to open, grab the headphones, zip it up and put it back. Having a compartment that could hold something small like a mirrorless camera or headphones that you could access from the outside without having to open the whole thing would be incredible.
Lastly, the Price.
But that's because I’m cheap. Most photographers are. We often have upwards of $15,000 in gear but complain and don’t want to spend just 1/37th of that on a bag that we can trust will not only hold it all but keep it all safe! So the question is, Would I pay $400 for this bag??
Any. Day Of. The. Week.
The quality, discrete appearance, the build, the feel, the fully customized padded interior, the removable camera insert, the smelllllll. I know my gear is protected when I put it in the Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller 21, and that’s invaluable. There are a lot of rolling camera bags on amazon but this one is my favorite. If you want to purchase the Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller 21 consider using my affiliate link below. It cost you nothing extra and lets me know you appreciate this review!
Do you have any questions about the Tenba Roadie Hybrid Roller 21 that I can answer? Leave a comment in the comments below, I would be happy to help!