May 20, 2019

The Manfrotto Camera Bag Review: What You Need to Know About The Unica V Messenger

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Unica V Messenger Camera Bag at Sigmundskron Castle



As a professional traveller and photographer, my gear matters a lot to me. This Manfrotto Camera Bag Review of the UNICA V Messenger forms part of that work. If you buy through a link on this page then I will earn some small commission at no cost to you. However, as with all our reviews, we write what we really think. And only recommend products we really like and that we think you'll find useful. Onwards!

What makes the perfect travel camera bag?

And so, my search for the perfect camera bag for travel photography continues…

And it’s a tough set of criteria to match.

A few years ago, I finally gave up on the idea of one bag = all circumstances. If shoes and coats can't transition from black tie events and hiking through ice and snow then why should a bag?

Protection Yet Quick Access

Together with my laptop, my camera’s one of the most expensive pieces of equipment I haul around and yet I also need to get it to it quick.

I need fast access, I need protection from the wind, rain, fog, snow and sweat from backstage at a rock concert or dust from the hot sands of Africa... and I need to look credible.

Body Buffed

I also need not to break my back. Now, most photography bags (and indeed perhaps most pro photographers) look like buffed up marines just back from Afghanistan.

I, dear reader, do not. So I also need the gear to be as light and skeleton protecting as possible.

As I said at the start, a lot to consider.

So, let’s see how the Unica V Messenger from Manfrotto performed on the testing range.

Unica V Messenger Bag Urban


Protecting the Camera

First of all, it gets the basics right: it protects the camera.

The adjustable padding within the main section allows for a DSLR camera with lens attached to easily fit in plus space for a spare lens or other personal items (my pen and notebook work well here as I’m in and out grabbing those all the time too.)

Organisation On the Go

There’s a separate, zipped compartment for smaller items like spare batteries, flash cards, phone, wallet, keys, hotel cards and business cards which I really appreciate as I know that they won’t fall out with all the other action going on.

Quick Access Zip Along the Top

The bag opens in the standard messenger way to allow you to have complete access to your stuff but it also has a quick access zip along the top. This is perfect for travel photography when the right moment can come and go in a matter of seconds.

Tripod Section

There’s another section at the base for a tripod but to be honest, I found myself using this for jumpers, coats, scarves and water bottles more than I used it for the tripod.

Laptop Section

Finally, there’s a padded section for a small laptop, another handy feature for travel photography as you can’t always wait until you get back to your main computer at home.

Inside the Unica V Messenger Camera Bag

The Travel Part of the Camera Bag

Comfortable Strap

This bag has one of the best straps I’ve seen.

Who cares about a strap?

Someone who spends far too long lugging around kit, that’s who. It’s padded and webbed as many are but this one does protect your shoulder and rarely slips out of place. Top marks there.

Not Easily Squashable

Where the travel aspect doesn’t work out quite so well is the issue of size. It’s not quite big enough to fit in the essentials for hand luggage during a flight. But, it doesn’t fold down to fit into a suitcase either. Conundrum.

Passport or Hotel Key Card Access

As a final nifty part, there's a handy zipped pocket on the back for passports, tickets, boarding cards and the like. I wish more bags had these.

Related: The Best Cabin Luggage For ALL Occasions (Seriously.)

The Credible Part

Smart, black, inoffensive. I’d prefer a more exciting range of colours myself (not too wild so that I can still blend in where possible) – but the style side of thing depends on your job.

The Manfrotto Camera Bag Unica V Messenger Review Summary

Excellent travel photography bag for road trips, boat trips and train journeys. Some limitations for flying.

Check prices and buy the Manfrotto Unica V Messenger bag here.

Disclosure - I received a complimentary Unica V Messenger Bag for review purposes. As ever, as always, I write what I like here. Otherwise there's just no point. 

Planning Your Next Trip?

Don't miss our collection of free travel planners available here.

For city breaks and around town, check out the Arcane Osprey Tote Bag review and the cabin-sized Osprey 36 review.

For big family trips, check out the Osprey Rolling Transporter 120 and for solo adventure, check out the Osprey 65 Review.

Find our other travel gear reviews and packing lists here. In particular, check out the ultimate travel packing checklist with printable.




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  1. Thanks Abigail for sharing this piece of information. I and my friends often set out to some place, near or far, whenever we can. So a camera is a necessity. I would love to try the Unica V Messenger camera bag. If you can then kindly lemme know the budget required for purchasing one like this. Thanks!

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