It’s a grey, rainy day here (which is okay with me because it’s a Saturday, I have no where I have to go, have a stack of movies, a bunch of tea, and a date with my couch in my future), but there’s a ray of sunshine in my brand new, bright yellow JoTotes Betsy bag.
In the past, I’ve used knitting bags as primary bags. I’ve used both a Namaste bag and a Jordana Paige bag, and both of those bags are absolutely awesome as knitting bags. But when you want to carry around knitting and any camera that isn’t a small point-and-shoot variety, things get dicey. The knitting bags, understandably, do not provide any sort of security for the camera, being neither padded nor easily divided into smaller sections. So I decided to try a different route on my journey to be able to carry my camera and my knitting on a daily basis—a fancy camera bag!
A lot of camera bags are designed to solely hold cameras (again, this is understandable), but thankfully some companies have started making camera bags for cameraphiles who want to carry other things. I’d found JoTotes a few years ago, and really loved their Millie bag at first sight, but couldn’t justify the purchase. Now, a few years older and wiser and more in-tune with what I want in my “perfect” bag, I’m happy I splurged on the Betsy bag.
Betsy came with two options for handles, a set of short double handles and one long strap with a shoulder pad. More evidence that I am slowly becoming my mother—I hate two-handled bags. Even if they’re deep enough to fit over the shoulder, one handle is always falling down and nothing really feels secure and OMG I CAN’T STAND THEM. I can deal with them in short bursts, but inevitably I get fed up. I like that JoTotes provides two options, and the long strap is adjustable, and really probably wide enough that it wouldn’t dig into the shoulder. But just in case the bag gets really heavy, the shoulder pad is a lifesaver.
I was going back and forth between the Betsy and the Millie bag. Betsy is just a little bit bigger than Millie, and while I think all of my stuff would have fit in a Millie bag, Betsy allows for just a little bit more room. I’m able to carry my DSLR (Canon Digital Rebel XSi) with a lens attached (which you can’t see because it’s taking that picture—right now I’ve got my 50mm lens on the camera, but the 24mm would easily fit as well), my wallet, glasses in their case, checkbook, catch-all case (it mostly holds a variety of lip glosses), a small knitting project and knitting notions case all in the main zippered body of the bag. My phone and keys go in the outside front pockets. My Kindle Fire in its case and iPod live in the back zippered pocket. The top of the bag also opens to a zippered compartment, which would be good for papers (or patterns) to have handy, as it does require something either flexible (like paper) or small in order for the top flap to fold down.
These pockets are really quite deep, which is hard to capture in a photo. Three dividers come with the bag which is really nice, as I know that on days when I will focus more on photography, I can use the last divider and stack a couple of lenses in the bag without taking up much more space.
Since the shoulder strap is adjustable, I’ve currently got it at the perfect length to either hang off one shoulder or be worn cross-wise. My phone can go in the outside pocket and my headphones are long enough to reach my ears without being uncomfortable. As far as weight goes, I’ve been walking around with a fully-laden bag and my camera bag with 13″ MacBook Pro, and I think my Betsy bag feels lighter than the computer bag. They’re really close. If you’ve ever picked up a DSLR, you know they can be kind of heavy cameras, but the width and structure of Betsy help distribute the weight more evenly, I think, so this bag feels so much lighter than any of the other bags I’ve used to carry my camera and knitting (and every day items) in the past.
Now, this bag is not going to be able to hold a sweater in progress (er, in more progress than that 4″ of sleeve that’s shown in the second photo) or any other larger project, but that’s okay, I have plenty of general bags that hold lots of yarn. If you’re also looking for a camera and knitting bag, I highly recommend looking at JoTotes. I also love the look of the Epiphanie bags, but I’ve never even held one, so I can’t speak to the suitability of these bags for this particular purpose.
And with that, I’m off to lounge about like… a thing that lounges. I’m tired. Give me a break.
I purchased this bag myself and wrote this review on my own volition, receiving no compensation from any party for this review. I’d promised Melissa and Ashley that I’d talk about my bag, so here it is.