Before I left on my vacation, I mentioned that I splurged on a new camera bag from Epiphanie. Today, I’m happy to share some thoughts about it now that I’ve gotten a chance to test it out.
What I was looking for
Here’s my thing with camera bags (and it’s nothing new, others have said it, too): I hate it when camera bags look like camera bags. Schlepping a big Canon bag around airports or public places makes me nervous, and screams “steal me” (or at least it does in my mind). The biggest appeal of the camera bags I currently own is that they all look like a purse – problem solved.
So, if I’ve already got purse-type camera bags, why did I need a new one? Because I’m a crazy purse lady. No, just kidding. I was on the hunt for a new bag that held both my laptop and my camera equipment (not that I have a lot, but they still need separate compartments). I made myself a promise that if I were to buy another camera bag, it had to be able to carry both at the same time. That was the motivating purchase factor for me here.
And the Clover I chose worked fabulously. I was a little concerned it wouldn’t fit a 15 inch laptop, even though the description said it did, but those worries were unfounded.
On the inside
The interior is split lengthwise into two sections – the designated laptop pocket and camera pockets that you can configure with adjustable padded inserts. Any computer 15 inches long or smaller will fit snugly into the designated laptop pocket, even with all of your camera gear tucked in the other areas (any bigger than 15 inches and you’ll need to keep looking for bags).
I thought perhaps having a designated laptop pocket would be a bummer if I wasn’t hauling around a laptop, but it was a convenient place to stick my wallet, my Nook, and a couple Moleskins when I left the computer at the hotel. Going forward, it’s large enough to slide in a notebook or files, too.
As for the camera dividers, those were great because they were thickly padded and easy to move around. I kept it simple and divided the camera side into three sections like the photo above. The right section held my kit lens, my camera battery charger, power cords, and iPod. The middle section held my camera on the bottom (with my new strap cover and 50mm lens attached), eye and sun glass cases on top. The left section held my laptop power cord, a mouse, my Nook, and a Ziploc baggie for my liquids (for the plane). My wallet, which is more of a clutch wristlet, either sat on top or was tucked in next to my laptop. What I especially liked was that some of the dividers had a top part that folded over, so I used those to surround my camera and kit lens so I could put stuff on top (no wasted space in my carry on!).
Smaller interior and exterior pockets held other random things I needed easy access to while traveling – lip balm, cell phone, gum, plane ticket, etc.
On the outside
There was also thoughtfulness about the design, too, little touches like no labels on the outside. I loved that it comes with regular purse straps (which on the Clover were thick and braided, so they didn’t dig into my shoulder even when I crammed thirty pounds worth of stuff into it) and a removable and adjustable across-the-body strap (which was lovely when I was out walking), both of which I used repeatedly.
I especially loved that, even with how full I stuffed it, and it was stuffed full, it still fit under the seat in front of me on the plane. I can’t stress how happy this made me, as I hate putting my purse in the overhead compartment, and I was nervous that it wouldn’t fit until it slipped easily under the seat.
I opted for the gray Clover, though I waffled and still think I maybe should have gone for the teal. It was between those two colors for me, not just because they’re my favorites, but because the interior of both were light colored. That was something I totally appreciated – being able to see everything inside. Trying to locate a black object in a black interior was a frustrating part of my last camera bag, so I wanted to avoid that this time around, and I did. Fair bit of warning, the interior for the gray Clover is pink. Not just pink, but bright shocking pink. It took some getting used to, as I’m not generally a shocking pink person, but it’s growing on me and is a fun pop of color.
Don’t worry though, if gray or teal isn’t your thing. The Clover comes in other colors, too. As for accuracy of the colors, I found my Clover to be a little warmer gray than the item description photos, but it wasn’t a huge deal to me. With studio lights and differences in monitor screens, there’s going to be variations, and I love a warmer gray anyway.
Before I close up this post, I feel like I need to emphasize one point – the Clover is understandably big because of what it’s designed to carry. This was the main reason for me going for gray – I didn’t want to call any more attention to the big bag I was carrying around; the size is enough of an attention grabber.
So, if you’re small in stature, not used to hauling around a big purse like I am (it’s a sickness, really, I love big purses), or don’t want the heft, the Clover is probably not for you. If you don’t need to carry around a laptop, just your camera, then one of the smaller, but equally adorable, purses from Epiphanie would be a better choice.
I will also say that once full, it got very heavy very quickly. On its own and empty, the Clover was remarkably lightweight, so all the heft was due to what I put into it and not the bag. With all of my camera gear, a laptop, sundry cords, and miscellaneous purse and travel stuff, it turned into quite the monster. Again, that’s on me, and luckily, I won’t need to haul around that much stuff on a regular basis. But I like knowing that I can if I have to.
As for day-to-day carrying as I was traveling, it was perfect. I never worried about my camera gear being unprotected, I took out what I didn’t need so it wasn’t any heavier than a regular purse, and any extra space was perfect for a spare change of clothes or souvenirs I had to have. The across-the-body strap came in handy, too, when I needed my hands and arms free for photos or wrangling my niece and nephew.
When it’s all said and done, I’m totally happy with my purchase. The Clover did all of the things I needed it to do, and it looked cute at the same time. The only thing I wish it had was little feet to protect the bottom from getting dirty or scuffed, but that’s okay.
To see more colors or details (like specs and materials), visit the Epiphanie website right here. Last I checked, there are new colors and new designs available or coming soon – perfect for Christmas.
Sidenote: I’m not an affiliate for Epiphanie, and didn’t receive any compensation for a review. My Clover was bought and paid for by me, and my thoughts here are my own.
Photo sources: Top photo by me, other photos from EpiphanieBags.com.