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Crumpler Whickey and Cox Camera Bag Review
by JerryJ -  4/1/2008

Few bag manufacturers do a better job at creating innovative bags (and bag names) than Crumpler. The same company that brought you the popular "Brazillion Dollar Home" camera bag and "The Bucket for Soupansalad" is no stranger to exceptional camera bags with outrageous names. Crumpler's latest camera and notebook bag is called the "The Whickey and Cox" and despite the strange name it's one amazing bag.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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On the surface the look and feel of the Whickey and Cox is quite conventional for modern SLR system backpacks. The tripod holder and lack of multiple exterior pockets give serve as telltale signs you're looking at a camera bag. But this isn't an ordinary camera bag. The product description on Crumpler's website reads, "Come on down to the Whickey and Cox, we got all kinds of burs, winos and spurts, you can drunk till you drink you're not drunkin. But don't drive and trunk or we'll call the elephant and barrow squad."

I don't know what the heck that means, but it sure got my attention.

Design and Construction

The Whickey and Cox is Crumpler's middle-of-the-range photo/video location pack. This means it's designed to hold enough gear for a working professional on assignment but isn't the largest bag in Crumpler's product line.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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In terms of exterior construction, the Whickey and Cox is a truly professional piece of equipment with a water resistant 1000D nylon shell and 420D Ripstop nylon lining that covers the entire bag. Crumpler has a loyal following among working photographers and photo enthusiasts, and the attention to detail in the Whickey and Cox proves why.

The main compartment opens from a zipper along the very well-cushioned back pad on the backpack.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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The fully padded removable laptop sleeve is designed for 15-inch laptops and contains six organizer pockets for various accessories.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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The laptop sleeve can also be used to insulate your lap while you're working, keeping a hot laptop off your lap.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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One of the key elements that make the Whickey and Cox unique is that the bag is convertible for carrying camera and computer, computer and accessories/cargo, or just "cargo only" (in essence, a giant backpack).

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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The fully padded, removable, brushed nylon lined camera compartment with mesh zip cover comes with 11 configurable dividers and 3 elastic retention straps. The entire compartment can be removed and you can use the bag for anything that fits inside the massive compartment.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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Thick ballistic nylon fabric, soft brushed nylon interiors, solid stitching, extremely durable hardware, and thick padding help make this bag one of the best I've ever used.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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The various zippers feel rugged and the Velcro camera compartment dividers stay firmly in place. In terms of padding, Crumpler provides ample padding around both the laptop compartment and the camera compartments; with two camera bodies, several lenses, three flashes, and a laptop packed away, everything feels safe and secure.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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Cargo Space and Capacity

The external dimensions of the Whickey and Cox are 34 x 52 x 25 cm. The laptop sleeve dimensions are 27 x 39.5 x 4 cm. In short, this makes the Whickey and Cox a large backpack with a larger-than-average notebook sleeve.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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Crumpler officially states the Whickey and Cox holds "D-SLR kits with one body, tele zoom attached, wide zoom lens, an external flash & accessories or medium sized video kits and compact tripod." The company also says the notebook sleeve "fits most 15" laptops."

In practice, I found that I could fit two SLR bodies with short prime lenses attached, three flash units, a memory card holder, a battery charger, two short zoom lenses and a third prime lens inside the bag.

While the laptop sleeve easily holds a 15-inch notebook I did run into one problem. If the camera compartment is fully loaded with gear you cannot easily close the bag with the laptop sleeve and a 15-inch laptop inside. Yes, you can force it closed, but I didn't feel comfortable pushing several thousand dollars worth of camera and computer gear together just to zip the bag shut. If the sleeve was empty or I used a smaller laptop I didn't run into this problem. Luckily, you can remove the sleeve if you don't need to carry a laptop/

In Use

Over the shoulders, the perfectly padded, heavy-duty straps are so comfortable that I hardly recognize the massive weight of a fully loaded bag. One additional note about the straps is the lack of a cell phone pocket. Crumpler does offer a variety of cell phone pockets as additional accessories, but it seems unfortunate that a $220 bag doesn't come with a cell phone holder.

Another minor annoyance with the Whickey and Cox is the angled side panels. If you arrange the storage dividers inside the camera compartment as pictured you cannot place large (i.e. constant-aperture) zoom lenses vertically between these dividers: the angled panels prevent larger lenses from dropping all the way to the bottom of the bag. This isn't a huge problem if you place the lenses sideways or use smaller lenses.

Crumpler Whickey and Cox
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The back padding, like the shoulder strap padding, is beyond nice. I was a little concerned about the location of the laptop sleeve since it sits right behind the back pad. In most laptop camera backpacks this type of location for the laptop makes the back pad feel like a slab of rock is being pressed against your back. Thankfully, Crumpler gave the Whickey and Cox enough padding to make the bag comfortable to wear even with a 15-inch notebook inside.

Conclusion

Overall, while the idea of a combination camera and notebook bag isn't anything new, the Whickey and Cox is one of the best backpacks I've used.

The Whickey and Cox has more than enough room for two professional DSLR bodies and several lenses, but anyone using larger zoom lenses will find this backpack a little cramped in terms of space. Likewise, if you plan to haul a large amount of camera gear and a 15-inch laptop you may have difficulty getting this bag closed. Still, most photographers don't carry more than two f/2.8 constant-aperture zoom lenses at one time, meaning the Whickey and Cox has plenty of room for most uses.

The rugged construction and storage flexibility combined with a $220 street price make the Whickey and Cox one of the best options for digital photographers who are willing to spend a little more for a quality bag.

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