Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger Bag Review (Podcast 792)

by | Oct 5, 2022 | Gear, Podcast, Review | 0 comments

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Six years ago, I posted a review of my second Tenba Messenger Camera Bag, and I had around five and a half years of use out of the bag. It would have gone longer, but during our Namibia tour this year, our driver passed me the bag via the shoulder strap and told me that the handle had broken. I knew that this would have been caused by the excessive pulling on the handle that he had to do to get it in and out of a tiny space on top of our luggage and that it could have been avoided with better handling, but I think the world of our guides in Namibia, so I said nothing more than something like, “No worries, it was old anyway.”

I haven’t needed to replace the bag since I returned to Japan in June, but I have a short trip coming up, so I had a look around for something new. As I liked my first two Tenba Messenger bags, and after realizing that the smaller bag I bought to fit my Rollie film gear was also a Tenba, I somewhat unsurprisingly settled on getting my fourth Tenba bag.

I needed the bag to fit my 14 Inch MacBook Pro, so I had to carefully read the internal sizes, which were wrong on Amazon.co.jp, but I’m happy to report that my MacBook Pro fits snuggly into the 13 Inch laptop compartment of the Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger. I also confirmed that the MacBook Pro still fits with the plastic cover that I use when traveling fitted.

Note that the link that I have included to the Tenba Messenger on Amazon are affiliate links, so you help keep the MBP Wheels on the wagon by buying with these links if you like what I share today and you are in the market for a bag like this.

Anyway, I shot a few photos to show you how I’m going to be using this bag, and here is the first one, with it housing my 14 Inch MacBook Pro in the laptop compartment and my Canon EOS R5 with the RF 24-105mm ƒ/4 lens fitted in the center compartment. If you have a small enough lens in the right compartment as I did, you can rotate the camera around and have the camera grip keep that flap closed. The lens I have in the right compartment is the RF 15 – 35mm ƒ/2.8 lens, which is a good-sized lens, and it fits nice and snuggly down there.

Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger with Camera and MacBook Pro
Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger with Camera and MacBook Pro

In the left pocket, as we look at this, I have the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, which is about the biggest lens you’ll fit into this bag vertically, and it’s a tight fit, but it works. In the front pocket, I placed my charging adapter and cables for the MacBook Pro and a couple of SSD drives, as well as cables and a MagSafe rechargeable battery, to charge my Apple devices. I forgot to include my card reader and battery charger for my camera, but they fit into that front compartment as well, although it does start to get a little snug.

With all this inside, the front flap doesn’t close incredibly gracefully, and the bag starts to look a little plump, as you can see in this next image. Depending on the use, I may not always travel with this much gear inside, but it’s nice to know that it will fit in case this is required of me at any time. I like the styling of the bag. It comes in several colors but I like the almost black denim feel of the black model that I chose.

Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger
Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger

It’s possible to get at your gear by opening the zip that runs along the top of the bag, enabling the user to remove the camera or lenses without opening the front flap. Unlike my earlier Tenba bag, this bag does not have any plastic buckles to secure that front flap, but I’m not going to worry about that. I’m sure it will be fine.

Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger Top Access
Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger Top Access

There was a tag attached to the bag that shows that you can also pull the front flap downwards if you want to reduce the tearing sound from the magic tape as you open the bag. I’ve only succeeded in making it almost silent once, but it is a nice touch, being able to get the bag open without making a huge ripping sound when necessary.

Unlike my earlier Tenba bags, I am very happy that this new Skyline Messenger has elasticated mesh pockets on either side so that I can put things like my flask in, as you can see in this image.

Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger with Flask in Side Pocket
Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger with Flask in Side Pocket

Finally, here is a photo of the bag looking slightly less plump, along with all the gear that I had stored inside the bag. For a 13-inch laptop and camera bag, I’m impressed with how much I can fit into the new Messenger when necessary.

Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger with Stored Gear Out
Tenba Skyline 13 Messenger with Stored Gear Out

The bag is fitted with YKK zippers which feel smooth and haven’t yet snagged at all. It’s made of water-repellent fabric and has reinforced stitching. As I mentioned, the handle on my previous bag came away, but it was the fabric holding the firm padding inside the top handle that gave, not the stitching. If the fabric that this new messenger is made with is a little stronger, I will probably not have that problem on a future tour.

Apart from a few trips that I have planned soon, this bag will be on my upcoming Japan winter tours with me and generally sees a bit of moisture while in Hokkaido, the northern-most island of Japan, and boy am I looking forward to getting back up there for the first time in three years.

Show Notes

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3BYbg88

Music by Martin Bailey


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