ONA Bags The Bowery review

A stylish and compact messenger-style camera bag

TechRadar Verdict

If you want something a little bit special for taking your camera on your travels, The Bowery messenger bag won't disappoint.


  • +

    Extremely well made

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    Stylish design

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    Comfy shoulder strap


  • -

    Only one padded insert

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    Quite pricey

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    Limited pockets

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Most people will buy a camera bag to stash a whole heap of gear in, and will want that gear to be well protected, which means bags can often be large, cumbersome affairs that aren't much fun to lug around for long periods.

Not so ONA Bags' The Bowery. This is a compact messenger bag that's aimed at those who want to travel light and carry only essential kit – perfect for wondering round the city or a short break. 

The design of The Bowery doesn't shout 'camera bag', but the stylish retro design certainly looks the part. It's beautifully crafted from a premium water-resistant waxed canvas (more costly nylon and leather versions are also available), and finished off with a leather trim and a tuck-clasp closure on the front. 

And this definitely isn't a case of style over substance – the Bowery is no fashion item masquerading as a camera bag. It's padded with a closed-cell foam to protect your kit from any external knocks. Slightly disappointingly though, it only comes with a single padded insert – this might be fine for some, but should you want to to carry more than a couple of lenses it could be an issue. 


With internal dimensions of 254 x 152 x 101mm, The Bowery is nicely compact. It's ideal for mirrorless camera users; you'll be happily able to fit one body in it with a lens attached, while there's plenty of space for an additional (short focal length) lens. There are also two small front pockets in which you can store additional batteries, memory cards and leads. 

While The Bowery may be more suited to mirrorless camera kit or a premium compact, DSLR users shouldn't disregard it – we managed to squeeze in a full-frame DSLR with standard prime lens attached with some room to spare. 

While the strap isn't padded, it's nice and comfy and can easily be adjusted. It can be easily detached as well, should you want to use The Bowery as a dedicated protective camera insert that you can slip into a larger bag. 

There's certainly no shortage of messenger bags to choose from these days, in a range of shapes and sizes, but if you want something a little bit special then The Bowery, even allowing for its premium price, won't disappoint.  

Phil Hall

Phil Hall is an experienced writer and editor having worked on some of the largest photography magazines in the UK, and now edit the photography channel of TechRadar, the UK's biggest tech website and one of the largest in the world. He has also worked on numerous commercial projects, including working with manufacturers like Nikon and Fujifilm on bespoke printed and online camera guides, as well as writing technique blogs and copy for the John Lewis Technology guide.