Preparing For Travel – De-Beautifying A Domke F-5XB Small Shoulder Bag


If you’re about to head off on your travels, you’re going to want to take photo equipment with you to record your journey. Likewise, if you’re considering street photography in the downcast areas of any city in the world, you’re going to want to be a tad “street-wise”. Walking down the street with a photo rucksack is going to attract a lot of attention and most of it will be un-wanted. But what if you need a decent protective bag in which to keep your newly acquired (FujiFilm X30 or similar) safe and sound at the same time as not really wishing to be mugged multiple times, 5 minutes after you step off the bus? The answer? De-beautify a Domke bag. Domke bags were created by a photojournalist who wanted a bag that didn’t look like it contained expensive camera equipment. I bought a Domke F-5XB Rugged Wear bag to accommodate my now sold X100 plus a few necessities and reviewed it here. It was actually the perfect bag for the X100 so why not for the X30? The only thing I wasn’t too happy about was it looked a tad “posh”. The “rugged-wear” finish was nice but it still looked like a bag that housed something worth more than the average East European car. The big “Domke” label was the first thing to get binned; if I’m going to provide a company with advertising all round the world I’m not going to pay them to do it! I also prefer “black” bags to “fawn” coloured bags so maybe it was time to fiddle with the aesthetics? Tesco supermarkets in the UK sell a black dye that can be thrown in any washing machine together with the object in need of a dye and lo and behold, two hours and £8 later the deed is done. That’s exactly what I did with the F-5XB and strap and was very pleased with the outcome. Due to the finish of the rugged-wear material (impregnated) the dye doesn’t sit perfectly but that’s really the point.. It now looks “beat-up” and old and not the kind of bag you’d put something expensive in, whilst still protecting your camera like a Domke does so well. So whilst my camera bag now looks like my Chihuahua peed on it, curious eyes don’t give it a second look. That makes it travel-ready in my book!